2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged Alaska Road Trip: Lame Headlights
September 21, 2012
Our 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged has the $850 "Adaptive Front Lights and Intelligent High Beam" option.
They're woefully insufficient on seriously dark roads. (And no, it wasn't because the cover was dirty. We cleaned them constantly and headlamp washers are standard.)
That's the view you get with the high beams. Virtually no edge-lighting and not nearly enough forward light to make good decisions at near-freeway speeds. The "official" time between when an object was illuminated and when it was, more or less, at the front bumper was "one-Mississi." Kurt said, "The sealed-beam headlights in my 1966 Mustang are better. Honestly. Think about that."
Driving isn't like visiting a haunted house. It's not fun when things randomly appear out of the aether and into view and when you're driving the Alaska highway, there are a lot of things that randomly pop up on the road. Things like
-cyclists (again, seriously)
-roadkill of nearly all of the above
-chunks of rock
-abandoned cars that have hit bison
-random patches of gravel
-sharp corners that keep you out of giant lakes
You know us well enough to take this next statement seriously: The headlights were so bad we felt unsafe going the speed limit and had to take it down by at least 5 mph as soon as the sun fully set. Thankfully, the sunset was sometime after 10pm. Still, this annoyance made us change both our plans and our scheduling. No more late night mileage marathons.
As for that automatic high beam thing, it was the first feature we turned off because they kept flicking on-and-off in reaction to any and every light source.
There was, however, one side benefit to being forced to go slower. Once the light, and the heat, was gone, temperatures dipped into the high 20s. Summer tires don't like freezing temperatures.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor