2014 Impala Headlight Performance

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Thread: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

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    2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    I've owned my 2014 Impala LS for a couple of months now and like almost every aspect of the car very much but I'd like GM to address one important safety concern.

    The standard halogen projector headlights on the Impala rely on a single light source with a shutter to control switching between high beam and low beam -- a method more normally reserved for HID installations. The problem with the system is not so much the intensity of the light produced (which is not great), but its beam distribution. On both high and low beams very little light is dispersed to the front sides of the vehicle and on high beam the long distance component of the light is very narrow -- approaching a pencil like distribution with limited scatter to the sides. This means that sharp right turns are very tricky (you cannot see the side of the road to the right as you make the turn) and any pedestrians to the side of the vehicle at an intersection are invisible. The narrow beam distribution is also far from ideal for winding country road driving at night. This is not the case with our 2003 Malibu, for instance, which has separate reflector main and low beams, and throws quite a bit of light to the sides. It was also less of a problem with the 2013 Malibu I drove recently, which has projector low beams and reflector high beams.

    A fix may be as simple as redesigning the projector lens to throw more light to the sides of the vehicle or installing supplemental cornering lights, but ideally the system should have a stronger light source too. The status quo is not satisfactory and potentially unsafe. With so much riding on an otherwise excellent and modern vehicle, I hope GM is responsive in addressing this issue with a design change and a speedy recall to fix the existing fleet.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    I rechecked my Consumer Reports where they rated the 2014 Impala one of the best sedans they ever tested. CR rated the headlight performance good, but they drove an LTZ with HIDs.
    Barry
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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dovetonsils View Post
    I rechecked my Consumer Reports where they rated the 2014 Impala one of the best sedans they ever tested. CR rated the headlight performance good, but they drove an LTZ with HIDs.
    I have nothing but praise for just about everything else about the car. Fantastic highway car, balanced handling, quiet, extremely comfortable.

    My last car was a BMW 325i with adaptive HIDs (self leveling, steered with the car). They were excellent, but I was realistic about going to a car with standard halogen lights -- many work very well but these unfortunately do not. I'm sure that a fix could be engineered.

    That said, I would have happily paid $1000 extra for a good adaptive HID stand-alone option with fog lights.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    Is it possible to aim the lamps for improved visibility?

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCritical View Post
    Is it possible to aim the lamps for improved visibility?
    I think the lights are set at the right height and direction. It's the spread of light in the beam and the ability of the lens to distribute light to the immediate front/right and front/left that's the problem.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    I guess that is one downside with projector beams as opposed to the old reflectors.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    I got used to my Renault Megane's fancy headlight pretty quick, so last week in Sweden the standard-fare headlamps on the Peugeot 508 wagon I got from Avis were absolute crap... Pretty useless to drive with hogh or low beams on... Just awful...

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    One thing I do like about the Euro spec headlights in general is the ability to set the beam height from within the car. However, the cutoff is very sharp at the top of the low beam.

    I wonder if the LTZ's HIDs and daytime running lights could be installed on lesser models by the dealer (wiring and control module constraints)?

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    Drive a 2010 Dodge Ram- you'll praise the lights on any GM vehicle after that! If I didn't drive with my fog lights on all the time, I wouldn't be able to drive after dusk. Absolutely horrible!
    Get used to more.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    One thing I do like about the Euro spec headlights in general is the ability to set the beam height from within the car. However, the cutoff is very sharp at the top of the low beam.

    I wonder if the LTZ's HIDs and daytime running lights could be installed on lesser models by the dealer (wiring and control module constraints)?
    The sharp cutoff is due to the projector housing. It doesn't matter if they are Xenon's or halogen bulbs in there. You will have that sharp cutoff. The reason for it is because the projector housing focuses the light our where the reflector housing just scatters it wildly.

    You'll get used to it.
    Last edited by ChevyRules; 11-11-2013 at 09:38 AM.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    The sharp cutoff isn't the problem -- just commenting on my experience with Euro-spec headlights (sharper cut-off, in-car beam angle adjustment and no requirement to distribute some light upwards for road sign illumination, unlike the Fed standard).

    The problem is the lack of light to the side of the road immediately in front of the vehicle, and the generally low level of illumination provided.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    The sharp cutoff isn't the problem -- just commenting on my experience with Euro-spec headlights (sharper cut-off, in-car beam angle adjustment and no requirement to distribute some light upwards for road sign illumination, unlike the Fed standard).

    The problem is the lack of light to the side of the road immediately in front of the vehicle, and the generally low level of illumination provided.
    The headlights on our 2009 Malibu are best i have owned. I was thinking of the Impala as a replacement for the Malibu. I will have to be sure to drive one at night before making up my mind.

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    Re: 2014 Impala Headlight Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Myron 65 View Post
    The headlights on our 2009 Malibu are best i have owned. I was thinking of the Impala as a replacement for the Malibu. I will have to be sure to drive one at night before making up my mind.
    Don't get me wrong, the Impala is still a great car, and the LTZ does come with HIDs. Overall I love mine.

    I rented a last-generation Malibu a couple of years ago. Great car -- much preferred it to the current gen.

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