All About the Different Car Headlight Designs

Car Headlight Designs

  • Pop up Headlights
  • Round Headlights
  • Rectangular Headlights
  • Shaped Headlights
  • Clamshell or Hidden Headlights
  • FAQs

A headlight is an element that tends to both safety and aesthetic aspects of a car. From the design point of view, this car part has evolved significantly over the decades. Today, we see several car headlight types crafted in different layouts. From sleek lines to traditional ovals, car headlights have embraced several designs. 

Here, we have noted down some of the most common, both old and new, car headlight designs. Let’s move forward to their details.  

Types of Car Headlight Designs 

Car headlights have evolved beyond functional necessities. There is a wide array of different headlight types crafted in various layouts, all adding to the vehicle’s appearance. With this in mind, let’s go through the different types of car headlight designs. 

Super-Slim Headlights

Super-slim headlights mark a notable advancement in automotive design. These sleek and compact lighting units enhance the aesthetics of a vehicle and also embody efficiency and innovation. Moreover, this headlight design gives a streamlined appearance. These headlights also have car aerodynamic benefits, promoting fuel efficiency and reduced drag. 

super-slim car front headlight designs
Super-slim headlights strike a balance between form and function

Super-slim headlights represent a balance between form and function. Notable examples of models adorning such headlights include the latest Cadillac Lyriq Al Awael, Mitsubishi Outlander, Bugatti Centodieci and Hyundai Kona. 

Pop up headlights 

Pop-up headlights were once a distinctive feature, popularised in the latter half of the 20th century. These headlights could retract into the car’s body when not in use. They provided an aerodynamic advantage while offering a sleek and futuristic appearance. 

vintage car headlights designs like the pop-up
Pop-up headlights became synonymous with sporty cars

This car front headlight design emerged during an era of automotive experimentation and became synonymous with sporty and high-performance vehicles. It became one of the coolest car headlight designs of its time. Besides, many well-known models like the Porsche 923, Chevrolet Corvette and Pontiac Fiero boasted this design. Even in the Toyota Supra history, pop-up headlights became a prominent feature of the third generation. 

Long Horizontal headlights 

Long horizontal headlights represent a modern trend in automotive design. Unlike the pop-up headlights of the past, this approach prioritises a sleek, streamlined appearance. Cars such as the Tesla models feature long, horizontal headlights that stretch across the front of the vehicle. 

led car headlights Designs in long horizontal layout
This headlight design provides ample illumination

This design choice allows for incorporating advanced lighting technologies, such as projector or reflector headlights. In addition, these headlights serve a practical purpose by providing ample illumination, ensuring safety without compromising on style.

Round headlights

Round headlights are like a timeless design that takes us back to when cars first started looking elegant. They’re simple circles of light and even today, lots of cars use this classic style. This vintage car headlight design lights up the road and makes a car’s front part look neat and put together. 

round car headlight designs
This traditional headlight design is commonly found on Bentley cars like the Mulsanne

Moreover, iconic car models like the Bentley Mulsanne adorned this design. Other prominent examples include Bentley Continental GT, MINI Cooper electric 2024, Volkswagen Beetle and earlier models of the Ford Mustang. 

Oval-shaped headlights

Oval-shaped headlights are a variation from the more traditional round or circular headlights. As the name suggests, they take on an elliptical or oval form. Oval-shaped headlights are commonly associated with vintage cars. However, they are more difficult to manufacture as compared to other car headlight designs. 

Coolest Car Headlight Designs like oval-shaped headlights
Oval-shaped headlights are a staple feature of Porsche models

As for which models are known for this design, the history of Porsche has enough evidence. The oval-shaped headlights on the Porsche 911 996 served as a bold departure from convention. Moreover, the Porsche Panamera 2024 can be seen flaunting this headlight layout with a low roofline.  

Rectangular Headlights 

Rectangular headlights are a prevalent headlight type featured on a diverse array of vehicles. These include classic cars, SUVs and even pickup trucks. Known for their straightforward, rectangular shape, these headlights offer several advantages over alternative designs like beam shaping and protection against road debris. 

car front headlight designs like rectangular headlamps
This design gives a robust look to the vehicle

Vehicles with rectangular headlights include classic cars like the Jeep CJ, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, as well as modern SUVs such as the Toyota Land Cruiser or Nissan Patrol. Modern trucks like the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 also feature this bold design.


Shaped headlights are an innovative addition to the front end of a car. They are divided into the following categories: 


U-shaped headlights, as the name incurs, take on a distinctive U-shaped design, giving the ride a  futuristic look. This headlight style is characterised by a continuous, curved light signature that forms the shape of the letter “U”.

An example of this design can be found in certain models of Audi, such as the Audi e-tron. These headlights not only add to the car’s visual appeal but also serve as a recognisable signature for Audi’s electric vehicle lineup.


new L-shaped car headlights designs on luxury models
L-shaped headlights are often found on high-performance models

L-shaped headlights feature an angular design that resembles the letter “L”.This sports car headlight design is often associated with luxury and high-performance car models. An example is the BMW 7 Series, where L-shaped headlights are a distinctive element of the car’s front-end design. These headlights have remained a notable feature throughout BMW Motorsports history. 

Clamshell or Hidden headlights 

Clamshell headlights and hidden headlights share the common feature of being concealed when not in use. But, they exhibit distinct design mechanisms.

Car Headlight Design types like clamshell
This type of headlight became a notable feature on Buick Riveria

Clamshell headlights, often featured as hinged panels, open and close to reveal the headlights. Popularised on classic cars from the 1960s and 1970s like the Buick Riviera and Ford Thunderbird, they are favoured for their ability to confer a sleek look to the vehicle.

On the other hand, hidden headlights serve as a broader category encompassing various designs where headlights are concealed when not needed. This includes clamshell headlights and other types that may be hidden behind retractable covers or car grilles. 

Hidden headlights, popular in the 1960s and 1970s, remain a design choice in modern cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and the Toyota Prius. This design element is used to give the vehicle a more aggressive and sporty appearance.


What are the common types of car headlight designs?

Common types include round, rectangular, U-shaped or L-shaped headlights. Some cars also feature designs like the clamshell or hidden headlights.

Which car brands are known for unique headlight designs?

Certain car brands like Audi, BMW and Porsche are renowned for incorporating unique headlight designs in their models.

Do headlight designs impact a vehicle’s aerodynamics?

Yes, headlight designs, especially streamlined or hidden options, contribute to a vehicle’s aerodynamics, potentially improving fuel efficiency and reducing wind resistance.

This concludes our list of different car headlight designs. From streamlined designs to rugged boxy layouts, car headlights have evolved significantly. Since driving at night requires adjustment of lights, the modern designs incorporate auto-levelling headlights to improve visibility. Moreover, if you are looking for a new ride with a distinct front fascia, here are used cars for sale in the UAE that offer a myriad of choices. 

For more on different car parts, their types and designs, keep reading dubizzle’s cars blog.