Skip advert
Advertisement

What are adaptive and matrix LED headlights?

We explain the ins and outs of adaptive and matrix LED headlights and whether you should specify them on your next car

FOR: Brilliant safety benefits, convenient
AGAINST: Can be an expensive option, not always fool proof; can glare oncoming cars

As their name suggests, adaptive headlights adapt to the road ahead to ensure the best possible visibility. These headlights can pivot as the road undulates and turns to ensure maximum illumination. Some adaptive headlights also benefit from high-beam assistance. This incorporates sensors in the front of the car which can deactivate the high beams whenever they detect an oncoming vehicle, to avoid dazzling them. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

While the majority of adaptive headlights are LED units, some are available with halogen or xenon bulbs – so make sure to check before you buy.

Matrix LED headlights take this a step further. Using a combination of LEDs, mirrors and a host of technical wizardry, Matrix LED headlights are able to shut off individual parts of their beam. This means that the maximum amount of the road remains illuminated, while small parts are darkened to avoid blinding other drivers.

A new innovation called ‘Digital Matrix LED’ headlights allows for more precise adjustment of millions of internal ‘micro-mirrors’. This setup, as seen on the new Audi A8, is able to project images onto the road, as well as illuminating your path.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Some new cars that come with LED headlights also offer Matrix LED headlights for an additional cost. This can range from a few hundred pounds to over £1,000. Depending on the price of the upgrade in respect to the cost of your vehicle, we’d recommend upgrading to Matrix LEDs as the safety benefits and convenience factors usually justify the price. 

However, we can’t quite recommend you specify your car with digital matrix LED lights. While this technology does have a promising future, being able to project information for the driver onto the road ahead, at the moment it remains an expensive gimmick.

Want a car with all the latest safety features? Check out our list of the safest cars that you can buy

Car technology made simple

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

What is Android Auto? Apps, music and how to use
Android Auto
Tips and advice
10 Jun 2024

What is Android Auto? Apps, music and how to use

Cruise control and adaptive cruise control explained
Cruise control stalk
Tips and advice
21 May 2024

Cruise control and adaptive cruise control explained

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?
Ford Puma SUV front tracking
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?

Most Popular

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024