Getting Used to the LED Headlights - 2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Acura MDX: Getting Used to the LED Headlights

November 18, 2013

2014 Acura MDX

At first, I wasn't a fan of the Jewel Eye LED (light-emitting diode) headlights on our long-term 2014 Acura MDX. The five individual elements inside the headlight housing were hard to get used to in the daylight. But over the weekend I discovered that they look much better at night.

2014 Acura MDX

When I drove around after dark, the headlight beam was clear, giving a well-lit path down the road and they became much more attractive as well. While the row of LEDs that light up when you remotely unlock our Cadillac ATS are elegant and crisp, and the headlight beams are powered by HID's, Acura's design is appealing too.

 Cadillac ATS

All things being equal in terms of headlight functionality, which style of design would you choose?

Travis Langness, Associate Editor


  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Guys... per Donna's October 31st update, the very first comment by hank39 was "How about some pics at night against a wall so us headlight geeks can get a glance at the beam battern?". As se_riously noted, these kinds of posts have no value to us unless you do an actual comparison shining the light against the wall and do a comparison to other cars as well.

  • I like the look and welcome (hopefully) new designs as the rules around headlights change.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Who even wrote this article?

  • tlangness tlangness Posts:

    Sorry about that guys - looks like the name at the bottom is missing, I wrote it (Travis Langness, Associate Editor). I've noted that you want a picture of the headlight beam at night and I'll get it ASAP, the question however is one of aesthetics. Note that I say "all things being equal in terms of functionality".

  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    Travis, thanks for responding, but the problem with headlights these days is that "all things being equal in terms of functionality" does not apply. Most headlights are getting worse, not better, and it's that emphasis on daytime aesthetics that is apparently contributing to this decline. I drive a lot at night in unlit areas, and can observe the light patterns of other vehicles on the road, many of them are pathetic. The old standardized round sealed beam headlights outperform many of the "pretty" projector beams and HID lights of even some of the more expensive prestige makes these days. Even brands that historically had great headlights, such as BMW, have been backsliding. Lots of high-style vehicles are unsafe to drive on lonely roads with deer crossings, for example

  • fsunole fsunole Posts:

    All things being equal, I supposed I'd take the single projector approach, with the LED as a styling element. However I think LED's offer a much better and more uniform output then a HID bulb. I was next to a new Corolla last night and was seriously impressed with the standard LED headlights. Considering how bad most headlights are, it's nice to see a solid pair like that come as standard on a very affordable car. The rest of the vehicle might not be the greatest, but I can't fault Toyota on their headlights!

  • hank39 hank39 Posts:

    I'd take the LEDs :) @ duck87: Thanks for the shout out! @ tlangness: Looking forward to the night time pics.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    seppoboy: I have to disagree. Objectively, most new headlights are better than the old sealed beams. This is of course not to say that there are no good sealed beams, or that all new headlights are good performers though. However, most headlights today are putting out more lumens, and have generally better beam efficiency and distribution. Also, you need to think about the consumption of modern headlights compared to older ones. The only thing that we should really miss about sealed beams is the standardized sizes, which made headlight replacement and upgrade far easier. If you'd like more information, I'd recommend the University of Michigan Transport Research Institute's (UMTRI) library, specifically market-weighed descriptions of headlights through different years.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    Until I can see which light is better at doing its job all I can say that in terms of looks I like both just please make sure your lights are aimed right.---------------------------------------------------------------------- I notice a lot of the cars that I am being blinded by these days are the newer cars with HID that are for one reason or another searching for night bombers in the sky and that is from being a lifted pickup truck I can only think a normal car is even worse.

  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    @quadricycle, the sealed beam era ended twenty five or more years ago, shouldn't we be seeing more progress? We had aftermarket sealed beams such as Cibie Bobi which were better than most high performance lights today. Average sealed beam output was not

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @seppoboy: Saying that we should see more progress and saying that the old sealed beams were better performers than current headlights are two different things. As I said, there were some good headlights (Cibie and Marschal come to mind) but the average h

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I had a set of Cibie Z-beam lights with 55/60 H4 bulbs on my 96 Firebird, and I would be pushed to say I have driven a US market car since that had markedly better lights, even those cars fitted with HIDs. The DoT has limited the amount of light you may legally use even on high beam while continuing with the "fuzzy cutoff, blind everyone" low beam even with HID bulbs. Talk about having your priorities messed up.

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