Toyota RAV4 Adaptive Headlights Led to New Class Action Lawsuit

This morning, Toyota is in some hot water about one of its most popular SUVs. A new class action lawsuit says that the 2022 Toyota RAV4 adaptive headlights the automaker promised were not included at all. Toyota contacted some RAV4 SUV owners and admitted the issue but offered no recourse for buyers. What’s the big deal about some missing headlights?

Owners allege that the 2022 Toyota RAV4 adaptive headlights are missing

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 adaptive headlights are missing
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 SUV | Toyota

According to Car Complaints, a popular website for drivers to compare car issues, a Toyota RAV4 class action lawsuit is underway. Law.com says the lawsuit alleges that Toyota said the brand-new RAV4 SUVs came with the adaptive headlight technology or that buyers ordered the SUV with this headlight technology. Higher trim levels came with the upgraded headlights, while it was an option on others.

The suit says the Monroney stickers, or the window stickers commonly seen on new cars, designate that the 2022 RAV4s came with adaptive headlights. Specifically, it reads “Adaptive Front Headlight System – LED Projector Headlights w/ Auto Level Control & Auto On/Off Feature.” Safety groups have been focusing on headlights lately as it is a small change that can make the vehicle safer.

All of the RAV4 trims that were supposed to have adaptive headlights for this year are below. The RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid version and the hybrid options are included.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid
2022 Toyota RAV4 XLE2022 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid2022 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium2022 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid
2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure2022 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road2022 Toyota RAV4 Limited2022 Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid
2022 Toyota RAV4 adaptive headlight trim levels

The Toyota RAV4 adaptive headlights serve a major safety purpose

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Adaptive headlights are a new technology that helps drivers see better, thanks to the sensors that can adjust the lights automatically. The lights sense when the vehicle turns (thanks to the steering wheel) and change the lights accordingly. Additionally, the lights are supposed to adjust the vertical angle of the beam should the vehicle recognize extra occupants or weight that might weigh the SUV down.

One of the main plaintiffs in the case from California said she purchased the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD SUV in January 2022. She chose the Toyota RAV4 due to the adaptive headlights listed under optional equipment.

After about eight months, Toyota let the buyer know that the adaptive headlights were not included. Toyota did not plan to offer any repair or refund. The lawsuit alleges that “Toyota’s advertisements are false and misleading and meant to cause consumers to overpay for the RAV4 SUVs.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety places extra importance on this new technology

These adaptive headlights aren’t just a vanity feature, either. This year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) changed its safety testing to include headlights. In fact, the updated Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards require better scores on the headlights.

For 2022, the IIHS gave seven of the trim levels with adaptive headlights the Top Safety Pick award. The trim level without the upgraded headlights, the LE trim, only received a “moderate” score. The IIHS specifies that the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Top Safety Pick award “applies only to vehicles with specific headlights.”

Case number 3:22-cv-04661 Sharlene Shu, v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., et al. is working its way through the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It isn’t clear how many vehicles this has impacted yet, but buyers might have received a call from Toyota about it within the last year.

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