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Headlights - Model 3 vs S and X comparison

TrevTremaine

Active Member
Mar 27, 2016
1,309
1,110
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
For those who might have multiple vehicles, I'm curious to know if the Model 3's headlights are on par or any better than the other Teslas? My Model S is okay at night, but think it could be better. If there's any pictures taken at night that one could provide of the different cars it would help answer my question.
 

FlyF4

Son of a MX
Mar 21, 2017
845
669
moved to San Diego
For those who might have multiple vehicles, I'm curious to know if the Model 3's headlights are on par or any better than the other Teslas? My Model S is okay at night, but think it could be better. If there's any pictures taken at night that one could provide of the different cars it would help answer my question.
Interesting question. Might we know why this of concern? There must be a reason you are asking :)
 

SSonnentag

Let’s go Brandon!
Apr 11, 2017
1,752
2,361
Arizona
I'm very satisfied with the Dec 2017 Model S headlights. My driver-side light was aimed wrong (way too low) at delivery, but that is a simple adjustment against a wall to bring the pair of lights into agreement.

I don't have very good night vision, so I'm picky about my headlights too.
 

run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
7,342
SF Bay
946NrFF.jpg


MMtq8YZ.jpg
 

TrevTremaine

Active Member
Mar 27, 2016
1,309
1,110
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Interesting question. Might we know why this of concern? There must be a reason you are asking :)

Simple: I'm hoping that they make improvements with the lighting. The scores from the IIHS for headlights isn't good, and I won't say they're far from wrong. Comparing it to my wife's Subaru Forester, the headlights on her car are far brighter, crisper, and detailed.

I would also wish they would incorporate headlight heaters and washers since the LEDs are susceptible to icing as well as the effectiveness of the beam is compromised by dirt quickly.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: FlyF4

run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
7,342
SF Bay
Simple: I'm hoping that they make improvements with the lighting. The scores from the IIHS for headlights isn't good, and I won't say they're far from wrong. Comparing it to my wife's Subaru Forester, the headlights on her car are far brighter, crisper, and detailed.

I would also wish they would incorporate headlight heaters and washers since the LEDs are susceptible to icing as well as the effectiveness of the beam is compromised by dirt quickly.

The above image is a bit misleading, FWIW. Subjectively the Model 3's headlights are substantially better than the S', moreso than the pictures imply. The human eye isn't great at dealing with the contrast between the "hot spots" in the Model S pattern and the other areas, so the Model 3's much, much more consistent beam output is a huge improvement.

This is the first car I've been in that has better headlights than my Cadillac XLR did, and that was the only car I'd driven in the last decade or so that had better headlights than my gf's 2010 Forester.
 

SSonnentag

Let’s go Brandon!
Apr 11, 2017
1,752
2,361
Arizona
Nice pics, Joules. The Model 3 has much more even lighting without hotspots, but puts out less light. The tree on the left and above, as well as the house on the right aren't lit up compared to the S.
 

run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
7,342
SF Bay
Nice pics, Joules. The Model 3 has much more even lighting without hotspots, but puts out less light. The tree on the left and above, as well as the house on the right aren't lit up compared to the S.

What I'd really like to do is get someone with a recent Model S and someone with a Model X and have us all meet somewhere in the Bay Area, and bring my SLR and a tripod, set everything up to capture as close as possible to what we're seeing with the naked eye. Then we could tape off a place for each car to stop, take a high beam and a low beam pic, then the next car pulls in to the same spot and does it, etc etc
 

SSonnentag

Let’s go Brandon!
Apr 11, 2017
1,752
2,361
Arizona
Sounds like a great idea. Please put some off-road (shoulder) area objects so that we can compare side lighting as well. I drive a lot of long, dark rural highways with animals and need to be able to see the shoulders as much as possible.
 

run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
7,342
SF Bay
Sounds like a great idea. Please put some off-road (shoulder) area objects so that we can compare side lighting as well. I drive a lot of long, dark rural highways with animals and need to be able to see the shoulders as much as possible.


yeah that's what I'm thinking, just try and make it as useful as possible. Hell, we could have some fun with it and have someone dressed all in black stand on "the shoulder" about 150 feet out and such.
 

mtndrew1

Active Member
May 12, 2015
1,371
3,884
Gardena, CA
The Model 3 I rented on Turo had the best headlights I’ve ever experienced in a car, hands down. Brilliant illumination with no hot spots and clean edges, as in the photo example above.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Runt8

TrevTremaine

Active Member
Mar 27, 2016
1,309
1,110
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
In the facelifted S (LEDs), I find that the beam gets diffuse and tends to be a little weak in the rain. Nothing nearly so bad as with my previous 2013 Ford Explorer Sport (halogens), but borderline acceptable for safety in my opinion. Best lights I've driven with were from Audi (Xenon), second best are on the wife's Subaru (LEDs) - just a little better than my 2008 BMW 5 series (Xenon). The temperature of the Audi was a bit closer to daylight but it also tended to "dazzle" oncoming traffic more.

I think the IIHS is making the right call to measure the effectiveness of headlights.
 

JeffK

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2016
6,997
6,930
Indianapolis
From the photos, it does look like the Model 3 lights are pointed further out while the Model S just hits the road right away.
Maybe I am seeing this wrong, yet it appears that there is no difference in brightness. It appears that the Me is just focused higher up than the MS.
The cars also seem to be in slightly different positions.
 

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