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Yeah, auto leveling lights don't have adjustment that does anything. There is an adjuster but it works temporarily. I tried adjusting mine but the auto leveling mechanism would level it back up.

I think the main issue is that the auto light control is lazy an doesn't run them at full brightness unless it is pitch dark. You can see the difference as the lights inspite of being HIDs stay yellow most of the times. You can try this out when you turn them on. They start bright white and then turn yellow.
 

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I just purchased a 2017 SX with the adaptive HIDs and most of my night driving is in dark country roads and the headlights have more than enough output. No complaints here so far.
 

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I have a 2014 Sorento SXL and yes. They are horrible. The worse I have had on a vehicle. I limit my driving at night, especially when out in remote country areas. Even putting them on bright doesn't help.
I have owned a lot of cars and agree - these are horrible headlights in my '16 SX with the HID's. They are literally the worst headlights of any car I have owned in modern years and are almost scary in some situations, like coming to the bottom of a hill into a corner, they can't show more than 50 feet ahead. Several other of our cars don't have any issues comparatively.
 

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IIHS seems to think so.
Most midsize SUV headlights are marginal or poor

Honestly, haven't had mine out in boonies after dark yet and didn't think to make that part of the test drive.

for the lower trim levels:

Low beams
On the straightaway, visibility was fair on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was inadequate in all 4 tests.

The low beams created some glare.

Low beams
On the straightaway, visibility was inadequate on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was fair on the sharp right curve and inadequate on the gradual right and both left curves.

The low beams never exceeded glare limits.

.

So, our Sorento is really my wife's daily kid-mover so I don't drive it much, but I had the opportunity on a drive back from the New England hills a few weeks ago and I was horrified at how terrible the low beams are. The high beams are fine, but the low beams are next to useless. After reading the IIHS new headlight data, the lowbeams on the '17 Sorento with HID's, on a flat road, shine about 80 feet out. This seemed to validate my experience, but I wondered how poorly other SUV's were, so I looked at EVERY single SUV they tested and the Sorento had the worst headlights of any SUV, and in many cases 100% worse. Many lowbeams from other SUV's were good to 200 feet.

If there is anything we can do on the auto-level HID's, I'd love to hear it, but so far, it doesn't appear we can. How a car manufacturer can botch this up so much is beyond me, but someone at Kia was asleep when they engineered the headlights.
 

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So, if I have the regular bulbs is upgrading to LED bulbs worth it?
I think from reading the prior thread LED bulbs dont perform as well as halogens given the projector lens and shape of the reflector etc. i for one dont think HIDs are bad and cant believe the Hyundai Santa Fe got the top spot while Kia Sorento ended up in the basement on this list. I could swear the projector on the Santa Fe resembles that on the Sorento. The high beam / DRL light is a conventional one that resemble my Honda Civic 2003. I realise now how poor the lights were on that car.

I for one question these findings - havent had an issue with the (HID) headlights
 

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'16 LX AWD V6, Had it a couple months now. I have no issues with my low beams. Not sure what bulbs are in it but they light up the road better than my Expedition or Corolla.
 

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I'm not too worried about it, even though my trim level differs from those who are higher.

Honestly, before the report came out, anyone before had noticed the not-very-good headlight performance? Almost all the mid-size SUV segment isn't doing well. That's no excuse of course. Personally, it does the job. I could see if you lived or drive in areas where you need better headlight visibility that COULD be something. But then, that's only when you compare side-by-side. By itself it's adequate I think. That's like saying a newer model phone has 15% better brightness and contrast. Doesn't mean my current phone isn't good already.
 

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I have an LX model with the halogen lights. When I compare them to my 2003 4runner and 2005 Xterra the Sorento's are significantly better.

So I think some of the issues relate to what the driver is comparing the headlight performance to.

At the same time I can appreciate the folks who have the "up-scale" HIDs and find they appear to perform poorer than the base halogens. That has got to be frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
In the case of the fixed bulbs, you can tweak them a little higher without getting flashed (at least I haven't).
 

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16 LX AWD and my lights are fine. My friends wanted to drive it one night so I let them and they both were impressed by the headlights. I think it depends on what you've come from but I wouldn't ever call them unsafe. Another friend has a 2017 loaded out GMC Sierra and those headlights are dangerous in the other direction... they blind EVERYONE! I drove in front of him and had to let him pass because I was being blinded and he gets flashed by every other car. Admitedly, my lights aren't as powerful as his but fine for me. I came from a Silverado with conventional bulbs and before that a Scion xB and these are just as good as those.

No offense but it feels like the level of discontent with some posters is directly related to trim level. Seems like us L and LX folks are less nit picky. I wonder if it's because we purchased a Kia Sorento L / LX and are pleasantly happy that it exceeds what we expected for what we paid? And the SX people purchased a Kia Sorento but expected more... i.e. German import level, for what they paid?
 

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If you look at the IIHS results, you see that the L, LX, and EX with their halogen bulbs performed better in the tests than the SX and SX-L with HID. So, I don't think it is just perception of those buying the more expensive vehicle. Since there are no adjustments on the HID assemblies (like there are on the halogen assemblies), I wonder if there is a way to 'trick' the auto-leveling HID assemblies to aim a little higher, perhaps by slightly shimming the auto level control box at the rear of the vehicle? Thoughts? I want to buy a used 2017 SX with HID (tech package in order to get AEB braking for safety) but am disappointed to hear the subpar performance of the HIDs. Does anyone know where the level control box is located and can post a picture? sidenote: I drove a 2010 XC90 once with HIDs and it was amazing at night.
 

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My HID headlights seems fine. Although wish that I could make it higher but for me its ok. Not so much area here though that it is pitch dark night so was not bothered at all. I adjust the aim to be a little bit higher. But auto leveling is kicking in whenever car has some speed.

Its abit of puzzle that santa fe gets one of the "best" headlight but im pretty sure that components on hyundai headlights and ones on kias are almost same.
 

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If you look at the IIHS results, you see that the L, LX, and EX with their halogen bulbs performed better in the tests than the SX and SX-L with HID. So, I don't think it is just perception of those buying the more expensive vehicle. Since there are no adjustments on the HID assemblies (like there are on the halogen assemblies), I wonder if there is a way to 'trick' the auto-leveling HID assemblies to aim a little higher, perhaps by slightly shimming the auto level control box at the rear of the vehicle? Thoughts? I want to buy a used 2017 SX with HID (tech package in order to get AEB braking for safety) but am disappointed to hear the subpar performance of the HIDs. Does anyone know where the level control box is located and can post a picture? sidenote: I drove a 2010 XC90 once with HIDs and it was amazing at night.
The 2018 models are supposed to have "Enhanced headlamp performance".

2018 Kia Sorento What's New
 

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The 2018 models are supposed to have "Enhanced headlamp performance".

2018 Kia Sorento What's New
If the '18's really have better headlights, I'll pay to have mine swapped with them if they are compatible. I've mostly driven Audi, BMW, Acura, in recent years and I've never liked projectors because of the hard line, but the ones in our Sorento are just pointed too low. It isn't that they aren't bright, but that they aren't aimed well.

I've even considered cracking the headlight assemblies open and shaving off some of the low beam reflection plate, but it seems more work than it's worth since I rarely drive the Kia at night.
 

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It is the auto light control that is the culprit. When it is pitch black or less ambient lighting the headlights operate at highest brightness and work pretty well. But the control overcompensates when there are street lights.
 

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I think CB is right.

I test drove the 2017 SXL AWD tonight. I mentioned the headlight issue and they let me borrow the car for the night. I live outside the city (dark roads, no street lights). I drove roughly 10+ miles on such dark roads tonight. I felt the headlights were fine. Yes, in maybe one or two scenarios (downhill for example and the situation CB mentioned earlier), the distance seemed short but I never felt it was bad. And 99% of the time, I would be using high beams on these roads but tonight I used low beams on purpose the whole time. After driving this car tonight, I have no hesitations buying it. Now it all depends on what kind of deal I will be getting.
 

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2018 SXL updates

I ordered a 2018 SXL V6 (Canadian version) today and asked the dealer to send me a summary of the changes. This is what he wrote:

Of note, changes include: larger blind spot indicator on side-view mirrors, deeper cup holders, headlight lens improvement, USB cable hole in center console, and taillight humidity control improvement (prevents fogging up). Also changed is the removal of the alloy/chrome pedals, replaced with standard. Also changed were the chrome rims and side mouldings and the steering wheel is now all leather.
Not sure how much improvement they'll be in the lights just by changing the lens, but I guess it's better than nothing? I don't think all these changes are mirrored on the US version, I think that still has the piano black topped steering wheel and the alloy pedals.
 
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