I just got back from Portugal, where I rented a car. I noticed that this car (a diesel Focus) had a feature that my previous European rental had (seven years ago in Italy). On the dash there was a four-position selector for the headlight elevation - the concept being that, in cities, you aim the headlamps down, and as you move into more sparsely populated (and less illuminated) areas, you progressively raise the headlights to extend the reach of the headlights. Both of these cars also had a second filament for high beams. The proper use of this switch was made clear to me by other drivers, who flashed their high beams at me when I was driving around the city with the headlights in the raised (country driving) position. This seems to be a standard feature on cars sold in Europe, but I’ve never seen it here in the states. Particularly given the increase in the number of cars in America with laser-beam headlights, I wonder if any cars sold in America have this feature, and if not, why not?
In much of the country this feature is made unnecessary by the use of road-mounted reflectors. Personally, I don’t want this feature. My headlights work just fine the way they are. I don’t need another feature with movable parts to break.
If you load some heavy stuff in the back of your car the headlights will be too high. That is the reason for the headlight raise selector. This is a mandatory feature in Europe. The xenon headlights are adjusted by computer that monitors speed and suspension of the car, so that lights should never point up. This is also mandatory feature for European cars.