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New Matrix projector LED vs "old" reflector LED headlights comparison on US cars

Ok guys here they are!

I've been contemplating whether I should get a Model Y Performance vs a Y LR. Luckily I was able to secure an overnight YP with the new matrix projector loaner this weekend. I already have a model 3 with the "old" LED and a buddy down the street happens to own a YP with the "old" LED as well so I was able to compare them briefly. Look at the pics and decide for yourself.

Thanks to @vtplm for lending me his car and showing me his amazing neighborhood I'm so jealous 🙌

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Thanks for the pictures! The old lights cast a wider low beam pattern, but the cutoff on the new lights are very impressive. I've always found that one challenge with lights with great cutoff is you are more lightly to get flashed in a highly sprung car. On coming traffic will perceive that they are being flashed, when in reality, it's just the sharp beam cutoff and the car bouncing up and down the road.
 
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Great photos! Definitely not worth waiting. Looks a bit more precise but not game changing.

I think people on the sidelines should consider this:

Do they live in a rural area with many winding roads? That is effectively the scenario where the new Matrix lights will provide a significant upgrade. If 99% of your time is in an Urban/Suburban setting with plenty of artificial light and mostly straight roads, it's not going to make much of an improvement.
 

Mrbrock

Active Member
Mar 26, 2020
1,967
1,663
Walla Walla, WA
Not yet, but they do have the hardware to become adaptive.
Where is this information from? Adaptive headlights are not illegal so why include it but not turn it on? The headlights have Matrix technology built in. The beam pattern can be changed but to my knowledge the projector housing does not rotate to illuminate around curves. If there are additional LED elements to the sides that are normally off then yes, those can be activated when turning but I do not think that is the case with the new lights. I believe the only difference is the projector/matrix element.
 
After driving the Y with the new lights for about an hour, then jumped in the Y with the old headlights and drove it for half an hour in city streets/ freeways. I can barely tell the difference. Maybe if you live in the boonies where it's pitch dark it'll be more dramatic like in the photos above. But during my drives I could barely tell. They are much more similar than the pics above would have you believe. It's like blind folding beer drinkers and give them cheap red wines and white wines, they probably won't be able to tell the difference. I did like the matrix high beams though. I think in rain or fogs the new high beams will be more functional and cause less glare than the old lights. The new high beams shine in front of you not in the sky and everywhere in between.

One thing I liked about the old headlights is that there are no sharp cutoffs. The lights just gradually blend from bright to dark and that was more pleasant to my eyes. I'm saying this even though I'm actually planning to get a YP w/ the new lights. Now if the matrix lights here in the US are able to do what the european ones can that's another story. But I think the chance of that happening in the next 2-3 years is pretty slim. I think they are making the US lights in compliant with europeans laws to save on production costs.

The big question is if I wanted a non-performance Y would I wait (assuming I can) to get the new lights? Depends on how long you plan on keep your car. They are that similar and there is something to like about each light. I do like the cool patterns on the wall and the sharp cutoffs. I also like the darker looking lens during the day but that's purely esthetics. At night they are pretty much the same but some might not like the super sharp cutoffs. The high beams on the new lights are better but we barely use high beams. Finally, there's that possibility that these lights might some day work like the European ones.

So if you plan to keep your car for 3-4 years I say get your car now and enjoy it. If you plan to keep it for 5 years or longer than maybe wait if you think the laws might change. Otherwise, you're not really missing anything.
 
Thanks for posting this. The questions I was getting in the other thread were a bit more than I had time to answer. Your post is extremely thought out and detailed.

agreed with you. They’re extremely similar when driving. I need to tell my wife to take mine out more instead of hers to see if she has a different perspective since she leaves at around 4:30 AM. I’ve had it since 3/25 and it still has 143 miles.

cheers!
 
Where is this information from? Adaptive headlights are not illegal so why include it but not turn it on?
This is based on the Model 3 German regulatory filings. I'm making the leap that the lights are the same in the MY.

As for why they're not activated? My guess is because the full functionality is either not ready, or not passed regulatory approval, or some other reason. I don't see them enabling partial functionality.
 

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