Tires: Ratings of Sources
ConsumerReports.org tests dozens of passenger tires in four categories: Performance All Season, All Season, Ultra High Performance All Season and Ultra High Performance Summer Tires. (They also test truck and winter tires). Each tire completes a series of identical evaluations, receiving individual scores for braking, handling, traction, ride comfort, noise, rolling resistance and tread life. Testing includes wet and dry conditions. Each tire receives an overall rating as well.
TireRack.com, a retail website, publishes an extensive, ongoing customer survey. With hundreds of thousands of consumer reviews, the site breaks down the best models of tires, including 13 categories of passenger tires. However, reviews are restricted to the 20 or so brands available at the site, including Goodyear, BFGoodrich, Pirelli, Michelin and Firestone.
The editors of TireRack.com continuously evaluate tires as they are introduced to the market and compare different groups of tires within the same categories (such as max performance summer) using a real-world course and a test track. More than two dozen of their most recent reviews and comparisons were considered in preparing this report; older tests are also accessible on their website, and are often still helpful.
Editors include nine tire models in this test, all of which fall into the max- or extreme-performance category and are capable of 168 mph or faster. Using former racer Spencer Geswein and a Tire Rack test track, each tire is evaluated for comfort, traction on wet and dry pavement, and overall handling. Although this is an older test, the results are still relevant.
All seven tires tested in this comparison are street legal, summer-performance grade, have speed ratings above 149 mph and meet criteria as a 200-treadwear tire. They use the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 as the control tire, a Tire Rack test facility and a 1970 Satellite hot rod. Dunlop Direzza ZII is the clear winner; the Hankook Ventus R-S3 Z222, BFGoodrich g-Force Rival, Falken Azenis RT615K and Michelin Pilot Super Sport also post excellent lap times.
Motor Trend's road test editor, Scott Mortara, teams up with Tire Rack Vice President Matt Edmunds and former race car driver Randy Pobst for this tire comparison. Using three test vehicles, they compare the change in performance after moving from the OEM to an extreme-performance and a maximum-performance tire. While the max-performance tires have more grip, Pobst comments that not all cars were capable of handling the extra performance.
You can find hundreds of tires on Amazon.com, including those sold directly or through third-party sellers. Some tires get dozens or even hundreds of reviews, but most get only a handful, and you have to factor in installation (and possibly shipping) into the price. There is also a vehicle selection process to find out if a tire will fit your specific car, but our testing showed that it can be inaccurate.
Using several 2008 Ford Mustang GTs, automotive journalist Jonathan Lamas tests three sets of ultra-high-performance tires: Continental ExtremeContact DW and DWS, Goodyear Eagle F1 and BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS. He completes five types of tests at a California speedway: dry handling, wet test, oval course, road course and road test. Though he doesn't name an overall winner, he ranks the best performers for each test.
Although there are not as many owner reviews at this online automotive dealer as at other sites, there is enough to form a consensus about most popular tires. Sizes and prices of each tire are much easier to search for here, too.