Hyundai’s new crossover was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety this week, but only when equipped with specific headlights. In fact, this headlight caveat is what kept the Venue from earning the coveted Top Safety Pick Plus award, according to IIHS.
In order to be named a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle has to earn a “good” rating in six crash tests, “advanced” or “superior” ratings for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention and either an “acceptable” or “good” headlight score. The Venue easily passed the first two, and while its optional LED headlights earned a rating of acceptable, the base halogen lights only warranted a “marginal” score.
“The base headlights — halogen projectors — rate marginal due to inadequate illumination on curves,” IIHS said in a statement Thursday.
The added burn here is that the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award is given to vehicles that have headlight ratings of good or acceptable across the board, in addition to other Top Safety Pick criteria. If Hyundai fitted the Venue with LED headlights as standard equipment — which is kind of a curious cost-cutting omission, to be honest — it would be a Top Safety Pick Plus winner.
Still, credit where credit’s due, the Hyundai Venue earns stellar crash test ratings, bucking the common misconception that small vehicles aren’t as safe as larger ones. We’re fans of the little Venue here at Roadshow, but we’re also big believers in adequate headlights. Here’s hoping LEDs will come standard soon.