Blinding Lights: Skoda Rapid vs Volkswagen Vento vs Toyota Yaris vs Hyundai Verna vs Honda City - Headlamp Performance Compared

Published On Jun 20, 2021 01:00 PM By Tushar for Honda City

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Which compact sedan has the best headlamps?

Choosing the right car headlight setup can prove to be quite an uphill task. Yes, the options include halogen reflectors/projectors, LED reflectors/projectors, bi-xenon projectors and, if you’ve got the money, laser lights as well! 

So what makes one setup better than the other? Does spending more money get you superior lighting performance or are you just making your car look cooler? These questions are on our list today as we compare six popular compact sedans on their headlight performance. While we’d certainly like to find the BEST of them all, the true purpose of this test is to ascertain which car’s headlights are ideal for what kind of usage.

Meet The Contenders

What Are We Measuring?

Using a lux meter, we measure illuminance. In simpler terms, we are measuring the light intensity at different points. To mark these points, we’ve used a few interesting props. The Lux readings translate as such -- higher lux numbers simply mean you would be able to spot the said object better. But just how much is enough? Here are some examples to set expectations:

Condition

Illumination (lux)

Sunlight

107527

Full Daylight

10752

Full Moon

0.108

Where Are We Testing the Headlamps?

  • We conducted the test in a dark room, with the test area measuring 18-metres in length. 

  • Readings were obtained on a lux meter mounted on a tripod at a height of 21 inches. 

  • A typical Indian road was recreated with objects placed at 5-metre intervals. 

  • Car was placed in the exact centre of its own lane.

  • The wall on the far side has markings on the vertical axis at every foot. 

  • Headlight levelers were set to 0.

The diagram helps explain the positioning of the vehicle, the camera, and the props:

Snapshot: The Contenders 

A quick look at the cars and the headlamp tech on offer:

  • Skoda Rapid

Low Beam: Halogen Projector

High Beam: Halogen Reflector

Fog Lamps: Yellow Halogen

  • Volkswagen Vento

Low Beam: LED reflector

High Beam: LED reflector

Fog Lamps: Yellow Halogen

Low Beam: Halogen Projector

High Beam: Halogen Reflector

Fog Lamps: Yellow Halogen

  • Hyundai Verna

Low Beam: LED reflector

High Beam: LED reflector

Fog Lamps: Halogen Projector

  • Honda City

Low Beam: LED reflector

High Beam: LED reflector

Fog Lamps: White LED

Which Car Has The Widest Low Beam?

It doesn’t matter if you’re driving out on the open highway or through narrow city streets, the likelihood of coming across a poorly lit road is rather high. So, it’s important for your headlight’s default setting to illuminate as much of your path as possible. The wider the spread, the stronger your chances of spotting a loose paver block, a stray dog or a careless pedestrian.

Verdict

  • The low beam on the Honda City is easily the widest and also the whitest. This cool white light ensures you spot any objects in your periphery. You wouldn’t feel the need to use high beams on unlit roads.

  • Toyota’s Yaris may not have a bright white beam, but it is quite powerful. In low light situations, you might feel the need for a wider beam (or switch to high beam) to view objects on your right clearly.

  • The Vento’s low beam is just as wide, but it illuminates the road a tad better. While you may not feel the need for an upgrade/additional light, we do wish the beam was focussed slightly ahead instead of below. The upside is that this low beam will help you park in the dark more confidently. 

  • The Skoda Rapid’s low beam appears dull. It just about gets the job done, although we’d recommend you switch to stronger lights if you travel on unlit roads frequently. 

  • Objects closer to the Hyundai Verna will be visible but not as well illuminated. You will be able to tell there’s something in front of you but may need to focus a bit more to see exactly what it is. Its strength is seen at a two car distance.

Low Beam (Spread) 

L1

R1

L2

R2

Rapid

18.5

1

14.3

1.5

Vento

13

4.1

17.5

2.9

Yaris

27.2

21.5

16

1.8

Verna

0.9

1.3

30.6

13.1

City

14.2

43.9

29

6.9

Insights

  • Honda City: Low beam intensity was highest (more than twice of the next best) at 5-metres on the right at 43.9 lux. As the distance increased, illumination on the left betters that on the right.  
  • Toyota Yaris: The Yaris gets off to a good start, offering strong and consistent illumination across the targets. The dog (5 metres on the right) and the man with the child (5 metres on the left) get illuminated almost equally well and the performance drops by less than 10 lumens as we move from the 5-metre marker to the 10-metre marker on the left. The drop on the right is expectedly sharper.

  • VW Vento: Notice how you can see more of the floor, especially in the area between the vehicle and the objects placed at 5-metres. It also has a slight advantage in illuminating objects farther away compared to its cousin, the Rapid. 

  • Skoda Rapid: Save for the illumination immediately around the car, the Rapid is more or less on par with the Vento in terms of output. That said, the leftward bias is stronger in the Skoda. Objects on the right aren’t as well illuminated. 

  • Hyundai Verna: This one came as quite a surprise. Cool as the Verna’s LED headlights look, they throw most of their light around the 10-metre mark. With next to nothing recorded on the lux meter at the 5-metre mark, we find a sudden spike up to 30.6 lux at the mile marker.

Which Sedan Lights Up the Road Straight Ahead the Best?

Verdict

  • The Honda City has the strongest low beam at the 5-metre marker, however, the beam is focused straight ahead which is why it does not directly illuminate the road as much. The fog lamps will prove useful on poorly lit roads.

  • The Verna’s headlights have a very sharp centre focus, giving it a great balance between lighting up the road and the traffic ahead.

  • With the Vento, you get an even spread of light that is best suited to developed city roads. However, on unlit highways, you may find yourself reaching for the high beam.

  • The Yaris lights up the lane you’re in very well but it could do with better intensity.

  • Compared to the others, the Rapid’s light spread is scattered and also lacks the intensity that they offer. Even on roads that you’re familiar with, the experience is acceptable at best, which is particularly surprising considering the car gets a projector lens.

Low Beam (Intensity)

Rapid

Vento

Yaris

Verna

City

5-metres

197.3

420.4

345.4

844.5

1048

10-metres

12.3

42.3

55.8

404.3

247.6

Insights

  • Honda City: With a lux reading of 1048 (at 5-metres), the Honda City comes out on top with the strongest performance here. For perspective, the Honda’s City’s low beam is stronger than its rivals’ high beam!

  • Hyundai Verna: The Verna comes off as a balanced performer here, not only offering the second strongest performance at the 5-metre target but also doing the best job of controlling light loss and offering the strongest performance at 10-metres.

  • VW Vento: The Vento’s lighting performance drops significantly every 5-metres. From 420.2 at 5-metres, it drops to 1/10th of that, 42.3, at 10-metres!

  • Toyota Yaris: While the Vento and Yaris are close rivals at the 10-metre mark, the Yaris’ performance isn’t as strong at 5-metres.

  • Skoda Rapid: The Rapid is the weakest performer here, offering the lowest intensity with a drop of over 90 percent as we move from 5-metres to 10-metres.

Which Sedan Has the Widest High Beam?

High beams have an important role to play, especially when the roads lead out of city limits. Even the most heavily used highways in India usually have no external lighting at all, which is why having a good high beam often proves to be the most important safety feature of all.

(Note: Use your dipper periodically when you are following traffic on a poorly lit road. Never use your high beam while following another vehicle as the reflection in their mirrors will severely hamper their visibility and compromise their safety as well as yours.)

Verdict 

  • The Honda City’s performance continues to impress, adding more definition to objects farther away from the car. It has been calibrated well to avoid blinding oncoming vehicles.

  • The Vento’s high beam spread isn’t as strong and there is an evident focus straight ahead. If you use the high beam/flasher, it can easily pinch the eyes of any driver ahead of you, so use it considerately.

  • The Verna’s high beam improves focus on objects that the low beam already highlighted. We wish it illuminated the outer edges better to pick out on the odd animal/errant road user better.

  • With the Yaris, you get a slightly better light spread than the Verna but otherwise, the traits are similar i.e. it highlights objects the low beam already illuminated.

  • Unfortunately, the Rapid’s high beam didn’t make much of a difference to its performance. These headlights continue to disappoint.

High Beam (Spread) 

L2

R2

L3

R3

Rapid

17.4

7.5

17.8

9.2

Vento

27.8

11.8

46.9

16.7

Yaris

27

10.8

31.5

10.8

Verna

33.5

17.1

40.8

22.7

City

54

14.4

63.7

11.7

Insights

  • Honda City: The City continues to impress. It has the strongest beam to the left and the second strongest on the right.

  • Hyundai Verna: Much like the City, the Verna also sees the lux meter reading go higher as the distance increases. The Hyundai also fared better at targeting a crossing man (10-metres) and a walking man (15-metres) on the right-hand side.

  • VW Vento & Toyota Yaris: The Vento and Yaris lock horns again with their readings being neck-and-neck at the 10-metres mark, but the Vento edges ahead, doing a better job of lighting up the cow (L3) and walking man (R3). 

  • Skoda Rapid: Unfortunately, even with a projector headlight setup, the Rapid didn’t perform as well as its rivals here, scoring the lowest on all targets. The increase in illumination relative to the low beam was the lowest as well. 

Which High Beam Has the Best Reach?

An extension of the previous test, a strong and tall high beam will ensure you spot those parked unlit trailers and the overhead signboards in time.  

Verdict: Much like we saw in our 7-seater SUV test, the performance peaks by or before the 4-ft mark. 

Insights 

  • Honda City: The City’s performance is strongest at two (136) and three (148.6) feet. While it does fare better than the Verna at four feet, it trails the rest of the pack.

  • Hyundai Verna: The Verna’s performance peaks at the lowest height of 2ft and keeps dropping as we go higher.

  • VW Vento And Skoda Rapid: The Vento and Rapid begin a mirroring trajectory. While the Rapid performs its strongest at 3ft (doing better than the Vento), the VW edges ahead on all other markers. 

  • Toyota Yaris: The Yaris’ performance is similar to the Rapid and Vento. While it does better than both at the lowest height, it trails them by a small margin as the target height increases. 

High Beam (Throw)

Rapid

Vento

Yaris

Verna

City

2ft

55.3

241.2

242.4

174

136

3ft

194.1

174.8

162.5

65.7

148.6

4ft

98.4

120.1

92.3

30

85.6

5ft

53.8

73.9

43.4

19

27.7

6ft

27.8

54.8

23.7

15

14

7ft

13.6

33.8

10.7

9.3

7.8

Do Fog Lamps Really Help?

Fog lamps can prove to be very useful, not only in the rain/fog but also when driving through dirt tracks and narrow, poorly made roads.

Verdict

  • In all cases, the fog lamps only increase the light intensity marginally. While the added light will make a difference, the real benefit is illumination around the nose of the car.

Low Beam+ Fog

Rapid

Vento

City

Verna

Yaris

Without Fog

With Fog

Without Fog

With Fog

Without Fog

With Fog

Without Fog

With Fog

Without Fog

Without Fog

Left

18.5

24.1

13

15.7

14.2

17.5

0.9

3.3

27.2

29.2

Right

1

7.7

4.1

7.4

43.9

49.5

1.3

3.7

21.5

24.1

Centre

197.3

213.4

420.4

427.7

1048

1054

844.5

859.5

345.4

352.3

Wrapping up

Leaderboard

First Place: Honda City

The City’s bright, wide, and intense low beam gives it the edge to take the top spot. The high beam spread is adequate too but we wish it lit up the area near its nose slightly better.

Second Place: Volkswagen Vento

Volkswagen’s Vento is the best at lighting up the road evenly. The low beam is powerful and wide, and the high beam has the best reach overall. 

Third Place: Hyundai Verna

Most of the illumination from the Verna is focussed right in the centre. If the Verna’s headlamps offered better spread, it could’ve snatched second place from the Vento. 

Fourth Place: Toyota Yaris

The Yaris has a rather neutral lighting setup. Something that has just the right amount of coverage and brightness. Compared to the top three, the headlamps fall behind in outright intensity. Better bulbs ought to fix this. 

Fifth Place: Skoda Rapid

With dull yellow lighting, the Rapid comes in last. Lighting is patchy with the low beam and doesn’t improve by much when you switch to high beam. Consider upgrading the lamps if you frequently travel in the dark.

Read More on : City Automatic

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