Home Cars & Bikes What are matrix headlights and what’s the cheapest car fitted with them?

What are matrix headlights and what’s the cheapest car fitted with them?


If you mention safety features when discussing cars, equipment like ABS brakes, airbags and electronic stability control come to mind. But to motorists who often travel after sunset, effective headlights are a vital safety feature too.

The widespread adoption of LED lights has made night-time travel much safer than before. The problem is that the driver still has to dim his headlights when approaching other road vehicles. For those 30 seconds or so, the driver’s forward and lateral vision is reduced significantly. Not so with matrix LED headlights.

How do matrix headlights work?

These headlights, also known as adaptive or intelligent headlights, offer several advantages compared to standard LED, xenon, or incandescent headlights. So, how do they work?

Matrix LED headlights (pioneered by Audi) use an array of individually controllable LEDs that can be selectively dimmed or turned off to create adaptive light patterns. This allows the headlights to adapt to the surrounding environment and oncoming traffic, providing optimal illumination without blinding other drivers.

What will it cost me?

As with most new tech, the cost can be very high at first. However, when it becomes more widely applied, the price decreases. So, what is the most affordable new car that offers matrix headlights?

It’s the Volkswagen Polo Life 1.0 TSI 70 kW 5-speed manual, which has a list price of R385 300. This does not include VW’s IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlamps, which adds R16 400 to the price. The total amount comes to R401 700, which excludes licensing, registration, and other optional extras.

Other options

It’s worth noting that the Volkswagen Polo GTI (R535 600) has IQ matrix lights as standard equipment. So does the brilliant Opel Mokka GS Line (R539 900)

The Polo Life is reasonably well equipped, with the following features included as standard: park distance warning, cruise control, folding and heated side mirrors, digital instruments, 15″ Essex alloy wheels, hill-start assist, stability control, six airbags, auto dim interior mirror, and cloth upholstery. (Visit the VW website for the full list of standard and optional features.)

Other pros of matrix lights

In conclusion, here are four additional advantages of matrix headlights:

Enhanced visibility

The ability to control individual LEDs allows for more precise and dynamic lighting patterns. Matrix LED headlights can adjust the shape and range of the beam based on factors such as the vehicle speed, steering input, and environmental conditions, providing better visibility and illumination of the road ahead.

Anti-glare technology

Matrix LED headlights can detect oncoming vehicles and adjust the light pattern to avoid direct glare to other drivers. This is achieved by selectively dimming or turning off specific LEDs that would otherwise shine directly into the eyes of oncoming drivers, improving overall road safety.

Dynamic light control

These headlights can dynamically adjust the direction and range of the light beam based on factors such as steering input, speed, and road conditions. This feature enhances the driver’s visibility around curves and corners, contributing to safer driving.

High-resolution light distribution

Matrix LED headlights can achieve a high level of precision in distributing light, providing a more detailed and accurate illumination pattern. This contributes to better visibility and safety, especially in challenging driving conditions.

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