Are xenon or LED headlights better at night?

I am purchasing an Audi A6.

Garen E., De Pere, Wis.

We wouldn’t say that LED headlights are “better” at night, but they are more efficient, so they require less energy than xenon lights. Some of us also think they look cooler. Xenon high-intensity-discharge lights are brighter and more illuminating, though some of that advantage can be erased by using more LEDs.


The efficiency aspect is why LED headlights are available on cars such as the Toyota Prius hybrid and Nissan Leaf electric car and will be offered on more vehicles in the coming years. A recent report said LED lights can add six miles to the driving range of an EV, a significant gain considering most EVs can travel less than 100 miles on a single charge.

Automakers are looking for ways to reduce the amount of energy it takes to operate their vehicles, so LEDs will become more common. One obstacle holding them back is cost, which is considerably higher than halogen lights and somewhat higher than xenon lights, which aren’t cheap, either. Matching the output of xenon lights requires adding more LEDs, which only raises the cost.

Learn more

Answered by Rick Popely on October 11, 2011 in Audi , Audi A6 , I'm Just Wondering | Permalink

Search Results Search Results for


See if your question has already been asked and answered

Thank You!

Your question has been successfully submitted to It will now be reviewed by our editors and we'll answer it soon if we think it's a useful question. You will be notified via e-mail when the answer is posted. tackles your questions about new cars and the car-buying process. Unfortunately we can't answer questions regarding:

  • Used cars.
  • Most aftermarket products.
  • Mechanical issues. You can visit our friends at Car Talk to discuss your mechanical problems.
Thanks for your interest.


Have our experts answer any of your questions about new cars.

Email us at

Maintenance Advice
Get answers from the
Car Talk Community