Lighting systems in the car: halogen, LED or Xenon?

Lighting systems in the car: halogen, LED or Xenon?

It is always important to have good lighting system in the car. Here we try to answer questions about whether the LED headlights are always the best choice.

Analysis of lighting systems in the car

Analysis of lighting systems in the car

Analysis of lighting systems in the car

Analysis of lighting systems in the car

We say in advance: If what you want is to save, not going to get better your headlights. Although LED headlights consume no more than one quarter of energy consumed by H7 headlights, They never are written off economically. Nevertheless, on security issues, the money should go to the background.

With some halogen lamps They are obtained pretty good results, as shown by our tests, but as for life, light intensity and scope classic lighting headlights have important limitations. Their operation is very similar to bulbs. Nevertheless, to perform adaptive functions, as long glare lights, is used almost exclusively led headlamps. Even Xenon headlights, also called discharge lamps, are being increasingly replaced by light-emitting diodes, and have completely discarded in the development departments of some manufacturers. Although mechanical rotary modules have ten years allowing functions such as dynamic cornering lights, just allow other options.

The LED lights are replacing the xenon. By contrast, LEDs convinced at several points simultaneously. So with a lifespan of over 10,000 hours, often they outgrow the vehicle, emit light 5,500 Kelvin like solar and present a low energy consumption. In addition, thanks to its huge reaction rate, these headlights illuminate the road high accuracy and resolution. While LED headlamps are able to illuminate at full intensity in a split second, xenon headlights take a few seconds to be able to offer all its brilliance.

Of course, if we look at the equipment lists some manufacturers will see that the selection of lighting technologies is very limited in many models, or subject to other options, although others already offer laser lights and the most diverse adaptive functions.

So we performed our tests

Measured values ​​in lux and lumen are important, but irrelevant in practice. What really matters is that the light is well distributed. To compare different sets of headlights, started by analyzing beams projected on an asphalt surface of a light circuit, and We check the prints for a few laps on the circuit round.

In this first installment of our report we based on three popular models on the market They are including in their equipment two or three different options for lighting systems, and can be extrapolated to other models if you are hesitant to decide on LED lights, halogen or xenon.

Seat Leon: Halogen vs. LED

Seat Leon

Surprise! Halogen headlights are better: adjusted optimally illuminate the road more widely and uniform LED headlights.


Seat Leon led

Together, the LED lights are weak. The light distribution is somewhat irregular. The sharp contrast of the line of the low beam makes the scope seem very short. By activating the high beams, the entire module rotates upward, increasing both the height and the width and scope, but further weakening the light intensity.


Seat Leon halogens

Potent halogen headlights illuminate the surface facing the vehicle very homogeneously and distribute light from a very pleasant way, both widthwise and lengthwise. The beams also achieve better results, illuminating the area in front of the vehicle with a uniform brightness. In addition a useful cornering light is offered.

Opel Astra: Halogen vs. LED MATRIX

Opel Astra

Matrix LED headlights and in the C segment: here, the decision is clear. Even with the car stopped, and without using the matrix functions, halogen headlights are not an alternative to LEDs.

LED matrix

Opel Astra ledes

always illuminate the road optimally without dazzling other vehicles. Also the dipped headlights are potent, intensely illuminating a wide area. The light beam over long distances with great intensity and very uniformly transmitting driver safety.


Astra halogens

Here, the differences are so pronounced that the halogen headlights, even in high beam mode, can hardly compete with LED lights crossing. The extent and distribution of light have notable deficiencies: the driver only seen before him a channel of bright light, whose brightness decreases rapidly sideways and distance.

Volkswagen Polo: halogen, xenon and LED

Volkswagen Polo

Without a clear recommendation: LED headlamps, no adaptive functions, not totally convincing, but xenon headlights are not available on all models.


VW Polo ledes

Their beams are second to none: no other lighthouse of this comparison is able to light so far, so intensely and so so uniform. However, the low beam do not maintain the level: weak illumination across and the stark contrast of your cutting line is subtracted points.


VW Polo halogens

These halogen headlights do not commit any error lump. However, its scope and quality of its illumination are not able to compete with optional lighting systems. Also the distribution of light, dirty and irregular something, it can be annoying.


VW Polo xenon

CrossPolo and BlueGT only offer xenon headlamps. Its usefulness for the day to day is higher than that of the LED headlamps, as the surface facing the vehicle lights wider and evenly. Only the distribution of light, a bright spot in front of the driver, requires some patience at first.

Verdict: Is it worth paying $ 1,000 more for LED lights?

There are things that it is better not to save. Although the results of these tests are not sufficiently conclusive, we can consider the weak LED headlights Seat Leon exception. In most cases, xenon headlights and LED greatly increase night visibility. The great advantage in security this implies is worth 1,000 euros which typically cost. It should also be borne in mind that optional lighting systems increase the resale value. If, in addition, adaptive functions offered, the choice is simple.

Moreover, the manufacturers usually take advantage of the good intentions of its customers, relegating headlights optional equipment lines more expensive or including them in packages along with other extras. For the sake of road safety, they should change their attitude, especially as far as small and inexpensive vehicles are concerned.

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