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In a world where safety in automobiles is becoming the top priority for consumers while making their next purchase decision, getting bestowed with one of the most coveted Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick + awards that are awarded by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety(IIHS) is a huge marketing boost to a manufacturer and does certainly help push sales for them. For the 2020 Model Year, it is the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox– A compact crossover SUV from the domestic brand that takes home the trophy for the Top Safety Pick while just narrowly missing the top slot for the Top Safety Pick +.
To put it into perspective as to how well the Equinox performed in the testing conditions, one can see that the Equinox received a “GOOD” rating which is the highest attainable rating in all six of the IIHS’ crashworthiness tests that are listed below:
- Driver-side small overlap front
- Moderate overlap front
- Roof strength
- Head restraint
- Passenger-side small overlap front tests
The IIHS also awarded a “Superior” rating to the standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system which is also the highest rating available for it’s tested, class. It was noted that the standard system helped entirely avoid collisions in the 12 mph test and reduced impact speed by an average of 22 mph in the 25 mph test. The pedestrian front crash prevention system available on the Equinox also received a rating of “Advanced” which is just one level inferior to “Superior”.
The fly in the ointment though comes in the form of the Equinox’s headlight performance as it is the only factor that has resulted in the Equinox not being eligible for the Top Safety Pick+ award. In order to qualify for the same, a vehicle must possess a “Good” or “Acceptable” headlight rating whereas unfortunately, the Equinox’s standard HID headlights only manage an “Acceptable” rating while the available LED projector headlights received a shockingly abysmal “Marginal” rating which is just a step up from the lowest available rating which is” Poor”.
The IIHS made it known that the Equinox’s LED Headlights provided inadequate lighting on curves and poor brightness on the sides of the road, when used in it, ’s high beam setting. Yes, the LED high beam assist equipped on the Equinox does compensate for some of the limitations of the vehicle’s low beams on the straightaway and on both left and right curves but is still not redeeming enough. It is also a very well known fact that the IIHS is extremely stringent while rating the headlight performances of vehicles and had recently announced tougher testing criteria pertaining to headlight testing norms. Most of the modern vehicles that are tested are not eligible for higher ratings due to the glare they produce on the oncoming traffic as this is a common problem with modern illumination solutions but contrary to normalcy, the Equinox has subpar road illumination performance making the headlights more of a hazard for the pilot of the Equinox and not the other way round.
With 2021 MY of the Equinox visible on the horizon, it is very plausible that the Equinox might just grab the Top Safety Pick+ award the coming year as Chevrolet features a comprehensive update to the Equinox that comprises of a new front fascia and a different set of headlights.
Will this be enough to redeem the Equinox in its headlight testing? We will let the 2021 IIHS scores for the same do the talking as and when they arrive.