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Why do new cars like to use split headlights?

In recent years, split headlights have gradually replaced traditional one-piece headlights and become the vane of automotive design. Whether they are German, Japanese, American, French or independent brands, they have all applied this feature on new cars. item design. Although car manufacturers recognize split headlights, users have mixed reviews about them. Some models have become industry-leading benchmarks, while others have been criticized. Since split headlights are so controversial, why do major car companies follow suit and adopt this design?

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 1

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 2

When it comes to split headlights, many people may mistakenly think that they were invented by new energy vehicles in recent years. In fact, split headlights are not new at all. As early as 1996 of the last century, Fiat launched a personalized MPV-Multipla. Its high beam lights were arranged under the windshield and the low beam lights were arranged on the front bumper. Although even from today's perspective, , the appearance of Multipla is still indescribable, but it is the first car in history to adopt split headlights.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 3

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 4

As time went by, the Nissan Juke (picture), Citroen C4 Cactus and the familiar Jeep Free Light also adopted this design. Since then, split headlights have also entered the public eye. Therefore, split headlights are not a new product accompanying the birth of new energy vehicles. However, because car companies in the early years did not have enough control over the design of split headlights, these fuel vehicles that used split headlights many years ago generally It doesn't look good. It is not until recent years, with the rise of new energy vehicles, that split headlights have truly blossomed. So, why have car companies in recent years turned the previously unpopular split headlights into the mainstream?

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 5

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 6

As mentioned earlier, the Fiat Multipla used split headlights in the last century, but this design was not recognized by other car manufacturers at the time. Therefore, in the next 10 years, most new cars still used one-piece headlights. headlight design. However, things changed in 2009. When Nissan designed a concept SUV that was smaller than the Qashqai, it drew on the classic round auxiliary light design on the rally cars of the 1960s and 1970s, and at the same time retained the top of the front of the ordinary SUV. It is also the first major international manufacturer to adopt a split headlight design.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 7

The subsequent mass-produced Nissan Juke continued the shape design of the original concept car SUV, so it has two sets of lights on the front. The upper part is the width indicator light and the turn signal light, and the circular light set below the air intake grille is the high and low beam lights. Although the shape of the Juke with split headlights has caused huge controversy, its sales performance in the European market has been quite good, greatly exceeding Nissan's expectations. In other words, many Juke users pay for its unique appearance...

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 8

Although the Juke's split light group is individual enough, the exaggerated upper light group is a bit too eye-catching, and the circular light group below is not strong enough in design to balance the visual beauty of the entire front of the car. So the French, who are better at design, took action. Citroën designers launched the Cactus concept car, which further beautified the split light group. The upper part was changed to a long and narrow light bar, and the main light group was larger in size and more attractive. eyeball.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 9

The Citroen C4 Cactus, which was later born based on this concept car, is much better than the Nissan Juke in terms of visual harmony, and consumers are obviously more satisfied with its appearance evaluation.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 10

In addition to making the appearance cooler, split headlights also adapt to the size changes of new cars. According to IIHS statistics, the height of new car fronts increased by 5% between 2014 and 2019. Although the heightening of the front of the car helps improve collision safety, it also leaves more blank space in the entire front of the car. Not only that, with the popularity of SUV models, the front height of this product itself is higher than that of cars, and the problem of blank space in the design will become more obvious.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 11

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 12

In the eyes of designers, split headlights are one of the best solutions to solve the problem of blank space on the front of the car. For example, when the BMW X7 was first released, people often ridiculed that the size of the kidney grille was too exaggerated. However, after the facelifted X7 has been replaced with split headlights, the kidney grille does not look too big, and the proportions of the front of the car are more coordinated. Looking at it from another perspective, everyone previously thought that the size of the X7's air intake grille was a bit exaggerated. It was not because the size of the air intake grille was really too big, but because the integrated headlights had a small visual proportion and did not match well with the air intake grille. coordination, and the application of split headlights solves the proportion problem well.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 13

As we all know, most new cars are now equipped with daytime running lights, which are the most recognizable part of the entire front of the car during the day. Therefore, in order to further enhance the recognition of car models, major car companies have begun to play new tricks in the shape of daytime running lights, launching daytime running lights in various shapes such as dot matrix, lightning, round, split, etc. With lights, designers have significantly more room to play.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 14

The same is true for Korean cars that have always been good at design. Take the Hyundai Paristi as an example. Its upper light group and lower side light group form a vertical daytime running light strip. Even if the high and low beams are not turned on, the recognition is easy. The visual effects are also quite outstanding. It can be said that split headlights have greatly expanded the thinking space of car design. Designers are no longer limited to a simple light group, but can better integrate the light group with the lines of the front of the car. With the continuous accumulation of design experience of various companies, today's split headlights are much better in consumer evaluation than in the early days.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 15

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 16

In addition to the design aspect, split headlights also play a role in safety. For example, in the IIHS test in the United States, the lighting effect of headlights is also included in the vehicle safety rating. The rating of headlights depends not only on the illumination distance, but also on the anti-dazzle of the low beam. Everyone understands the illumination distance. If the headlight illumination distance is too close, you will not be able to obtain enough safe sight when driving at night. The anti-dazzle feature is to prevent the low beam illumination angle from being too high, causing the light to "sway" to oncoming vehicles.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 17

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 18

However, for aesthetic reasons, the integrated headlights are generally located close to the upper end of the hood and air intake grille, so it is difficult to reduce the height of the headlights alone, which naturally increases the probability of glare. In contrast, the far and near lamps of split headlights are generally located at a lower position. At this time, relatively low and flat light can be used to obtain sufficient illumination distance without glare due to the lamp unit being too high.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 19

Of course, anti-glare has only been an advantage in recent years. When models such as the Fiat Multipla and Nissan Juke were born, IIHS did not have headlight safety rating tests, so major car companies adopted split headlights that year. Mainly due to design considerations.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 20

Take the Jeep Liberty Light as an example. When this car was released in 2013, IIHS did not have lighting tests. However, in the IIHS test, the low beam score still reached the optimal irradiation distance (blue bar in the yellow box in the picture above). However, because the high beam irradiation distance did not meet the standard, it only received a "good" evaluation. In 2018, the new Free Beam replaced the integrated headlights. Since the vehicle headlights are positioned higher, in order to avoid the "dazzling" of the low beam, the illumination angle can only be lowered. The low beam illumination distance of the new Free Beam is actually shorter. (blue bar in the blue box in the picture above), but because the high beam position is higher, the illumination distance becomes longer. In the end, the new Liberty Light only received a "good" rating in the IIHS lighting test due to the low beam, and did not receive an "excellent" rating. It can be seen that the use of split headlights can indeed increase the irradiation distance of the low beam while ensuring the anti-dazzle of the low beam.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 21

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 22

Nowadays, pedestrian protection has become a must-test item in the safety evaluation of new cars, so automobile manufacturers have thought of many ways to improve performance in terms of pedestrian protection, such as equipping exterior pedestrian airbags or automatic hood pop-up devices. Although the above-mentioned active protection devices have a certain protective effect on the pedestrian's head or upper body, there is still a risk of injury to the pedestrian's lower body.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 23

Since headlights may come into contact with pedestrians' legs in a frontal collision, some people think that the shape of the headlights will affect pedestrian safety. As mentioned before, the split headlights themselves are more flexible in arrangement. Therefore, after adopting this design, the contact area between the headlights and pedestrians can theoretically be reduced, thereby improving the collision safety of pedestrians.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 24

But in actual scenarios, reducing the area and size of headlights has little help in improving pedestrian safety. This is because although the shell of the headlight is relatively hard, the bracket connecting the headlight and the body is relatively soft, so in the event of a collision, the headlight bracket can collapse backwards, reducing the impact on pedestrians. In other words, as long as the structural design is reasonable, integrated headlights can also provide good protection for pedestrians.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 25

Actual test results also prove that integrated headlights are no worse than split headlights in terms of pedestrian protection. For example, among the 65 models that received the top safety evaluation from IIHS in the United States in 2022, 52 models have integrated headlights. Four of the five models that received the best safety evaluation from European E-NCAP in 2021 have integrated headlights. It can be seen that the use of split headlights by car manufacturers has nothing to do with pedestrian collision safety.

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 26

Why do new cars like to use split headlights? 27

After seeing this, everyone should understand that new cars now like to use split headlights. First, they want to use the stronger design sense of split headlights to highlight the recognition of their own models. The second is to improve the lighting effect of the headlights to a certain extent and reduce glare. However, it is precisely because of the ultra-high degree of design freedom of split headlights that once the designer "performs abnormally", extreme results will occur. Either they are so ugly that they are "spoiled" by consumers and have to be remade, or they are so ugly that they have to be remade. So handsome that it has become the most recognizable family language of the entire brand. Although split headlights are good, they also test the designer’s skills more. At the same time, the leader of the manufacturer who is responsible for styling decisions must also have a very high aesthetic level. But it is foreseeable that split headlights will be used more and more in new cars in the future, and everyone can only slowly accept it~

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