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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone:

I am looking at buying a 3rd gen Mazda 3 GT sedan. One of the biggest selling points for me of the GT over the lower trim levels are the upgraded headlights. As we're all well aware of, the refresh in 2017 introduced all-LED lighting for the front headlights and a departure from the HIDs used in the past. I am wondering how the new LEDs compare against the old bi-xenon HIDs in terms of brightness and reach.

Historically speaking, at least in the aftermarket, the performance of HIDs has been vastly superior to their LED counterparts, and I'm concerned that the new "upgraded" lights won't perform as well as the older HIDs. Does anybody have any first-hand experience with both forms of lighting? Your input is certainly welcome and appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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I had a 2014 and the LEDs are just as good if not better.
 

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I have a 2017 GT with the LED and have no complaints about the brightness. Just like you that was one of the reasons i went with the GT trim level.
 

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I had a 2016 with the halogen headlights...eww... 2018 GT lights are awesome. Great visibility.
CK
 

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When you say performance what do you mean? not as visible? Last longer etc?

I have 2017 GT with the LED lights. I think it's great and super bright compared to my old accord with the normal yellow lights. I love the white light.
 

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I've driven both 2015 Mazda 3 with bi-xenon and 2017 Mazda 3 with LED. They're similar. Bi-xenons are slighlty yellowish, LEDs are pure white. I think bi-xenons are a little better than the LED.

Here's my 2015 Mazda 3 with bi-xenon headlights.



 

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I converted my halogens to LEDs..the ones from ijdmtoy..when I had the 2016. The visibility was vastly improved. Distance and clarity.

The adaptive headlights (I think that's what they are called) in my 2018 are very helpful. Really helps when cornering at night. Get behind a car with halogens and you will be lighting the way for both of you. It's kind of fun to watch.
CK
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate the feedback, fellas. I think I still lean towards HIDs just out of personal preference, but it's good to hear that the LEDs are just as good as the older headlights.

I actually used to own a 2014 i GT hatch. Although it was a nice car (and as CerealKiller mentioned), the standard halogens were absolutely terrible. To be frank, I've never had a car with such poor headlights. Eventually I swapped-out the factory bulbs for a set of Sylvania Silverstars, but even then the light output was mediocre at best.

7.JPG

I sold the car a few months ago to try and find a nice S GT, but I just haven't been able to find what I'm looking for yet. Hopefully one comes up soon. I miss driving my old 3!
 

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When you say performance what do you mean? not as visible? Last longer etc?

I have 2017 GT with the LED lights. I think it's great and super bright compared to my old accord with the normal yellow lights. I love the white light.
Just based on what I've read online and the comparison videos I've seen on YouTube, LEDs seem to be bright and white up close, but the beam drops off considerably at longer distances. In general they don't seem to have the same reach as HIDs and that was my main concern. Granted most of the comparisons I've seen are with plug-and-play kits installed into the factory halogen assemblies, so perhaps they aren't the most ideal of comparisons.

Out of curiosity, how do you replace the LED bulb in the 17+? Are they just like the standard twist-and-remove halogen bulbs?
 

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LEDs are great and affordable.
 

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I’m considering a plug and play led kit. I’m not looking to spend too much on lighting as there’s other mods I want to focus on. Just looking for an improvement over the stock halogens which are really noticeable coming from HID on my previous car. A whiter light would also be nice for aesthetics.


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I like my turning HID headlights. They've been reliable, and bright as heck.
is the adaptive LED not swivelling ones too?? i know in their marketing stuff they did list that the bi xenon swivels. but nothing mentioned with the LED except for the fact that it narrows and broadens depending on if there's traffic in front of you..
 

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I think what the OP meant about LED being not as bright as HID is very true in aftermarket. Taking the stock halogen headlights and upgrading them to aftermarket HID would be brighter and have more throw than aftermarket LED. It's not that LEDs can't be a bright or brighter that HID but you need a headlight that is designed for LED. Just popping in LED headlights into an H11 socket doesn't cut it. The LED headlights on the 17 and 18 GT are much much better than aftermarket LED. If you look at all high end cars now, they have all switched to LED and said goodbye to HID, but not all LED headlights are the same. The LED lights that the Corolla comes with are probably the worst out there coming just brighter that halogens. I have never compared the 2016 HID to the 2018 LED but I really do not think you will see a decrease in the lighting. If this is the major reason for you to chose an older Mazda3 over a newer one, it cannot be justified. If your reason for purchasing a 2016 is to save money, I would say go for it. The 2017-18 has some other nice features and the front end looks much nicer that the 2016. All in all both great cars, if you go newer you will not regret the headlights at all, they are great.
 

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I think what the OP meant about LED being not as bright as HID is very true in aftermarket. Taking the stock halogen headlights and upgrading them to aftermarket HID would be brighter and have more throw than aftermarket LED.
That may have been true 5 years ago but no longer.......

It's not that LEDs can't be a bright or brighter that HID but you need a headlight that is designed for LED.
Or an LED that is designed to be a direct replacement for the halogen bulb. As long as the emitters are placed correctly they work just fine.
 

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I’m considering a plug and play led kit. I’m not looking to spend too much on lighting as there’s other mods I want to focus on. Just looking for an improvement over the stock halogens which are really noticeable coming from HID on my previous car. A whiter light would also be nice for aesthetics.


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iJDMToy 9005
Get these and get the R1 decoder to make DRLs work properly.
CK

These are for the high beams and will replace the yellow halogens that suck horribly. I know for sure they work on '14-'16 gen 3s. Probably other years too.

Vast improvement over the halogen high beams and DRLs.
iJDMToy H11
CK

These replace the low beam headlights. Get one set of the H11. Same deal for the model years as I mentioned above.

No flicker or anything. It's easier to install them if you go in through the wheel well. Turn your steering wheel all the way to one side. Unclip the plastic dust barrier in the wheel well and peel it back. They unclip if you stick a flathead screwdriver in the slot. There's not much room under the hood by the lights. Real tight squeeze. You may be able to wiggle the passenger side one in and out, but the air intake inlet blocks the driver side light.
CK
 

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is the adaptive LED not swivelling ones too?? i know in their marketing stuff they did list that the bi xenon swivels. but nothing mentioned with the LED except for the fact that it narrows and broadens depending on if there's traffic in front of you..
LED is adaptive also and swivels as well.
 
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I appreciate the feedback, fellas. I think I still lean towards HIDs just out of personal preference, but it's good to hear that the LEDs are just as good as the older headlights.

I actually used to own a 2014 i GT hatch. Although it was a nice car (and as CerealKiller mentioned), the standard halogens were absolutely terrible. To be frank, I've never had a car with such poor headlights. Eventually I swapped-out the factory bulbs for a set of Sylvania Silverstars, but even then the light output was mediocre at best.

View attachment 254763

I sold the car a few months ago to try and find a nice S GT, but I just haven't been able to find what I'm looking for yet. Hopefully one comes up soon. I miss driving my old 3!
HID works great in the halogen projectors, just FYI, and produces more light and better coverage than most LED setups...
 
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