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Tire Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on September 15, 2016

Editor's note:
The top news in tires this year is Bridgestone's newly updated line of DriveGuard run-flat tires. This expansion means that run-flats are now available for virtually all types of cars -- whether they came as original equipment or not. That's a big deal for the safety-conscious consumer. But even if you just need a standard tire, we analyzed the testing and sifted through the reviews to find the best in class for any car.

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All-Season Plus Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - V, H Size range - 16" to 20" Tread warranty - 70,000 miles

Best all-season tires

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All-Season Plus tires hit the top of the charts in expert testing, and get high praise from owners, too. The Pirelli P7 is reported as stable on corners, with responsive steering, predictable handling, and terrific performance in all but the harshest winter conditions. Most say the long, 70,000 mile treadlife warranty and excellent treadwear make these Pirelli's a great value compared to pricier tires. See our full review »

Kumho Ecsta PA31 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - V Size range - 15" to 18" Tread warranty - 6 yrs./50,000 miles

Best discount tires

The budget-priced Kumho Ecsta PA31 doesn't skimp much on performance, "providing a nice blend of road manners, along with good handling," say TireRack.com's experts. Reviewers say it excels on dry pavement -- with responsive steering and handling in all conditions -- but it really shines in the wet, where it outperforms on cornering and braking. Kumho's six-year, 50,000-mile tread coverage is one of the longest passenger tire warranties. See our full review »

Bridgestone DriveGuard Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Speed rating - V Size range - 16" to 19" Tread warranty - 6 yrs./50,000 miles

All-season run-flat tires

The newly expanded line of Bridgestone DriveGuard run-flat tires features seven new sizes to fit family-oriented vehicles that haven't had the run-flat option previously. You can drive on them up to 50 miles after a complete loss of air pressure, plenty of time to get to a safe, secure stopping area. They're also reported as comfortable and quiet, with good handling in a variety of conditions.

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - W Size range - 16" to 19" Tread warranty - None

Best summer tires

If you want to maximize the performance and handling of your car in nice weather, look no further than the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11. It's designed for the ultimate in grip on the street, with good enough handling for occasional use at track events. With excellent performance and comfort, it is picked by tire experts and owners as one of the best extreme-performance summer tires. See our full review »

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - Y Size range - 17" to 22" Tread warranty - 6 yrs./30,000 miles

Best performance tires

The Michelin Pilot Super Sport is a top performer on the track and on the highway, and is a favorite with high-performance sports car owners. Tire experts say it reliably posts the fastest track times, demonstrating excellent steering response and ultimate traction. The Pilot Super Sport is Y-rated (retaining its performance at speeds up to 186 mph) and includes a six-year, 30,000-mile warranty. See our full review »

The right set of tires is vital for safety and handling

Out of all the components of your car, your tires are one of the most important -- safety, comfort and handling all depend on the quality and condition of your tires. So many details factor into tires, in fact, that professional tests are typically extensive and very precise. Measuring braking distance in different weather conditions, evaluating handling in corners, and testing traction during acceleration are just some of the tests experts conduct in a tire review. Durability is a crucial factor too; a tire's ability to wear evenly and maximize your fuel economy will help save you money in the long run. Also important -- and not to be overlooked -- is the ride comfort the tire provides.

Not all tires fit all cars. If you go to a dealer, they will narrow your choices down the type of tire that is most appropriate for your car; from there, the decision rests on your driving style and budget. Most online sites that sell tires have some sort of tire-to-car fit check system, where you can put in your car's make, model and year and it will tell you if the tire will fit or not. However, some of these systems are more accurate than others: we recommend that you always double-check with the manufacturer to see if a given tire will fit your specific car. This report covers tires for passenger cars. We cover SUV and light truck tires in a separate report.

Types of Tires

All-season Tires

Experts say it's more accurate to call these three-season tires. Though the best can keep you on the road for the occasional snowstorm, and most have pretty good traction on the ice, if you live in a region with heavy snowfall consider switching to a winter tire for optimum traction for the cold months. Our separate report on snow tires includes a buying guide and a selection of the best tires for snow and ice.

Run-flat Tires

Also known as zero-pressure tires, run-flat tires allow you to continue to drive up to 50 miles after the air is out of your tire, thus reducing the need for a spare tire. Run-flats are becoming more common as original equipment (OE) on performance sports vehicles and luxury cars; however, Bridgestone has recently come out with a line of run-flats, the <product nid="1679074">Bridgestone DriveGuard</product>, that are aimed at traditional family cars like minivans and crossovers, that may not offer run-flat tires as an OE option. We evaluate those in our discussion of <a href="/tires/best-all-season-tires"><u>all-season tires</u></a>.

Summer Tires

Because summer tires don't need to bulk up on extra traction for icy roads, they focus on maximizing grip for higher speeds and increased maneuverability. The best summer tires will deliver good traction on both wet and dry pavement, as well as offering excellent street handing, even in corners. They should also muffle distracting road noise.

High Performance Tires

High performance tires break down into several subcategories -- ultra-high performance, extreme performance and maximum performance -- depending on their speed rating. To tap the full potential of your sports car or performance sedan or coupe, experts say a high-performance tire is essential.

The best tires in the above categories can cost $150 each or more -- sometimes much more. There are tires out there that have excellent performance and a price tag of $60 each or less, but tires at that lower price point typically don't compare across the board to the more expensive tires. A shorter tread life is often one of the trade-offs for spending less money.

The price you pay for your tires will also depend on the size. In general, but not always, the smaller the tire, the cheaper it will be. For the purposes of this report, we used the lowest tire price we could find for that particular tire model, so use these prices only as a guide. Also, prices are for one tire only, so be sure to multiply by the number of tires you need (generally, you should buy at least two at a time so both front tires or both back tires have equal wear), plus any installation and disposal fees, if any are required in your state, to get your final cost.

Finding The Best Tires
Our Sources
"Tell-All Ratings & Reviews"
"Tire Test Results"

To find the best passenger-car tires, ConsumerSearch editors examined dozens of road tests performed by auto professionals and tire experts. We selected tires that excel at braking quickly, are responsive on the road, and maintain their grip on wet roads. From there, we narrowed the field down by considering factors such as rolling resistance (which can effect a car's fuel consumption) and durability. We included hundreds of owner reviews at retail websites for additional feedback on durability, ride comfort and tread noise.

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