Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4

Monday, February 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.3

2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Sedan
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle

Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 2,500
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,500 Miles on Tires
January 06, 2014

Since putting on the tires just after Thanksgiving I have had an opportunity to test them in very challenging winter road conditions. I have thus far experienced snow covered highways, black ice, and a mixture of snow and ice. The tires have remarkable traction yet at the same time offer excellent dry pavement handling and ride quality. These tires are a 9+ on a scale of ten.


Best All-Season Tires of 2013

Thursday, January 2, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

It's been a great year for tires with many new performers coming to market. At the top of the all-season are a handful of newcomers and some repeat winners. Listed below are some of the top all-season performers for 2013.

Grand Touring All-Season

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

  • What We Liked: Civilized road manners and stable dry handling
  • What We'd Improve: A bit more traction and handling in wet conditions
  • Conclusion: This tire ups dry handling a little without compromising ride quality too much

Continental Pure Contact with EcoPlus Technology

  • What We Liked: Civilized road manners and stable dry handling
  • What We'd Improve: A bit more traction and handling in wet conditions
  • Conclusion: This tire ups dry handling a little without compromising ride quality too much

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season

Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia

Passenger All-Season

Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season

  • What We Liked: Very good ultimate traction
  • What We'd Improve: Reduce tread noise and increase snow traction a little
  • Conclusion: A capable tire for drivers who put a priority on traction

High Performance All-Season

Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S

  • What We Liked: Composed road manners
  • What We'd Improve: A small improvement in wet traction
  • Conclusion: A class-leader that holds its own against the new challengers

Ultra High Performance All-Season

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

  • What We Liked: Comfort out on the road
  • What We'd Improve: Handling precision and steering response
  • Conclusion: Delivering a good blend of road manners and handling, with a reputation for very good winter traction

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season

  • What We Liked: Good overall traction and quick steering response
  • What We'd Improve: Ride comfort and handling balance when driving at the limit
  • Conclusion: Perfect for the driver who prefers quick steering response

Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season

Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology

  • What We Liked: Responsive handling and excellent traction, especially in the wet
  • What We'd Improve: Soften the ride quality just a little bit and increase snow traction
  • Conclusion: A very capable tire that trades some fuel efficiency for an advantage in wet grip

Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia

  • What We Liked: Quiet and comfortable road manners and good snow traction
  • What We'd Improve: A moderate increase in wet traction
  • Conclusion: A good choice for drivers who don't want to worry about their tires 

Shop by vehicle to find the all-season tire that's right for you!

Looking for a Quiet Performance Tire?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

A common complaint from many performance tire owners relates to noise. More specifically, the increase in noise over the life of the tires as they wear. The traditional directional tread patterns do have a propensity to get louder as they wear. This can really become an issue if uneven wear is introduced into the equation. Since directional tires can only be rotated front-to-rear, getting even wear can become problematic. In the case of staggered set-ups, even wear can only be achieved in the dreams of tire engineers.  

Example of highly directional tread pattern
Sumitomo HTR Z II
Example of an asymmetric tread pattern
Michelin Pilot Super Sport

The driving force behind the asymmetric pattern being explored seriously was due to Europe having phased in new stricter noise standards over the past few years. If interested, you can find out about this mandate by reading "United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (U.N.E.C.E.)."

The directional tire design, with its V-shaped pattern to pump water out of the way, was presenting challenges in meeting these new standards. A solution was found with the asymmetric design. An asymmetric tread pattern blends the different traction elements with different patterns across the face of the tread. The outboard side consists of larger tread blocks or ribs for dry road cornering capability and increased contact patch, while the inner half tends to feature small independent tread blocks for wet conditions for summer tires and wet and snowy conditions in the case of all-seasons. 

An attractive added benefit to the asymmetric design is the ability for multiple tire rotation patterns instead of the restrictive front-to-back with directional tires. On a staggered car, you can go side-to-side to try and help with uneven wear issues that are very common on those set-ups. In summary, the asymmetric pattern is meeting and exceeding the traction levels of the directional patterns, while also hitting the lower noise targets, and allowing better rotation schemes.

To learn more on how to properly rotate your tires, read "Tire Rotation Instructions."

Tire Alternatives and Options for Your 2009 and Newer Honda Fit Sport

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Time for new tires on your beloved Honda Fit Sport? The Original Equipment size of 185/55R16 offered two options, the Bridgestone Turanza EL470 and Dunlop SP Sport 7000 A/S. Regrettably, but not all that unusual for Original Equipment, they do not fare that well in our customer survey results. Looking for some other options? Then consider changing the tire size to 205/50R16. This size is only .1" taller and about 3/4" wider than the original tire. It will mount onto the factory wheel and fit without rubbing or other fitment issues.

In this alternate size you will find many options from all-season tires to summer performance tires. To learn about the different performance categories tires fall in and find the one that's right for you, read "What Tire Performance Category Do I Need?

General Altimax HP
General AltiMAX
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact
Fuzion Touring

General AltiMAX HP  

A long-time favorite, this Grand Touring All-Season tire features a directional pattern for better wet grip and comes with a 55,000-mile treadlife warranty. It was developed to be a smarter tire for smarter drivers by addressing many of the treadwear quality and year-round traction challenges faced by drivers of today's sedans and coupes. This tires is a great bang for your buck!

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

The ExtremeContact DWS is for the Honda Fit Sport owner who's more of a spirited driver. This Ultra High Performance All-Season tires is currently ranked first in its category and delivers very good winter traction.

ExtremeContact DWS tires feature Tuned Performance Indicators -- visible letters molded into the second rib from the outboard shoulder to alert drivers of the tire's performance levels. A visible "DWS" indicates the tire has sufficient tread depth for dry conditions, as well as wet roads and light snow. After the "S" has worn away, the remaining "DW" indicates the tire only has sufficient tread depth for dry and most wet road conditions. And after the "W" and "S" have worn away, the remaining "D" shows the tire only has appropriate tread depth for dry conditions.

Fuzion Touring  

For the value minded customer, this is a quality product from Bridgestone. This affordably priced tire is designed to blend good treadwear, a quiet ride and all-season traction on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow.

To view more options available for your Honda Fit Sport, shop by size.

Looking for a Gift for Your Car Enthusiast? Try Our Gift Guide!

Friday, December 6, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Some people are just hard to shop for,  which can make the Holiday gift giving a challenge. Luckily, the Tire Rack Gift Guide can recommend the right gift for any budget!

You can look for gift ideas based on price. For example, you can get stocking stuffers for under $25, an Adjustable Torque Wrench for under $50 or shop by vehicle and find the car enthusiast in your life's dream set of tires and wheels.

Are you having trouble deciding on what to purchase? A Gift Certificate is truly the ultimate gift. We offer them in any amount, deliverable by mail, as a paper certificate, or as an email, which can be sent directly to the recipient!

  • Available in $25.00 to $5,000.00 amounts
  • You may include a personal message
  • Standard shipping is free (when sent via postal mail)

We have gift ideas that are a sure fit. For the garage. For the car. For the enthusiast. Place your orders by December 19, 2013 to ensure they are arrive in time for Christmas!

What Type of Wheel Should You Buy for Winter?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

When purchasing a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package, choosing a wheel can be a challenge for some. We offer aluminum alloy wheels for almost every vehicle and steel wheels for select vehicles. Are you having trouble deciding on what wheel to pick? Take a look at the tips below to help you decide which type of wheel suits your winter driving needs.

Aluminum Alloy Wheels

  • Stronger than a steel wheel and weighs less
  • More styles available to help enhance the look of your vehicle
  • Allows for more brake clearance
  • Manufactured to precise standards to meet exact fitment and performance needs
  • Require more maintenance to protect finish against elements such as salt and sand

Steel Wheels

  • Black or silver finish depending on the application
  • Wheel covers available to help enhance the style
  • Less expensive option compared to alloy
  • Meets basic needs of someone looking for a winter package without maintenance of alloy wheels

Our steel and aluminum wheel options will accept factory tire pressure monitors which will come pre-installed. All necessary hardware is included at no cost, as well as complimentary Hunter Road Force mounting and balancing. Tackle winter's elements this year by creating your own Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package!

Comparing the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70, LM-32 and LM-60

Thursday, November 7, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

When shopping for winter / snow tires, it's important to know whether you need a Studless Ice & Snow tire like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 or a Performance Winter / Snow tire like the Blizzak LM-32 or Blizzak LM-60. Tires in each performance category are designed to function differently in the winter and it's best to know the difference between the two before you decide which tire to purchase.

 Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
 Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32
 Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60

Studless Ice & Snow tires, like the Blizzak WS70, are designed for the driver who wants to maximize snow and ice traction without the inconvenience of using studs. These tires were developed to meet challenging winter driving conditions around the world by delivering studded-like snow and ice traction without employing studs. They also feature pliable tread compounds molded into purposeful tread designs that trade some handling in dry and wet conditions to deliver excellent winter traction.

The Performance Winter / Snow category features the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 and LM-60. Tires in this category are designed for drivers who want enhanced dry road handling from their winter / snow tires and are willing to trade some snow and ice traction to get it. Performance snow tires were originally developed for winter driving on European highways where high-speed driving on clear roads must be combined with traction on snow-covered roads. The LM-32 is offered in both a standard and run-flat (RFT) version.

The Bridgestone Blizzak line of winter / snow tires is a name synonymous with the best snow and ice traction. To learn more about the Blizzak tires, read "Bridgestone Blizzak FAQs."

Do Studdable Winter / Snow Tires Come Studded?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

"When I purchase a set of Studdable Winter / Snow tires, will they arrive studded or unstudded?" All studdable winter tires we sell can be sent with or without studs installed. It's important to note that only new tires that have never been driven on can be studded. Tires already driven on cannot be studded nor re-studded.

Studdable Winter / Snow tires without studs are still effective winter tires and many drivers choose not to stud them. If you desire a higher level of traction due to challenging conditions, studs can be added to any tires in this performance category for a $15 charge. 

When placing your order online, simply check the box to add studs when prompted in the checkout.  Because studdable tires are manufactured with different tread depths, studs are manufactured in different lengths that must be matched to the depth of the holes molded in the tire. We will select the correct gauge of stud for your specific tire and ship them out with the studs pressed in.

A Studdable Winter / Snow tire's tread is often lubricated to facilitate stud installation, therefore a special tool is inserted into the molded hole, spreading the tread rubber, and inserting the stud towards the bottom of the hole and retracting. With the stud inserted, the tread rubber compresses around the stud's flat head and cylindrical housing to hold it in place. Because it takes some time for the lubricant to evaporate and the tread rubber to securely compress around the stud, new studded tires require a break-in period.

Some states prohibit studded winter tires completely or restrict them to seasonal use. Check with local law enforcement officials to confirm restrictions in your area.

To learn more about using studded tires in the colder months, read "Studded Tires for Winter Driving."

Winter Test Results for All-Season Tires

Thursday, October 3, 2013 by Ben Rooney

During the summer, we test a wide variety of tires in wet and dry conditions. While we can't test every tire in every category, we focus on the newest and most popular tires in order to deliver the most relevant results. Testing in winter conditions is a bit more challenging. Winter here in South Bend, Indiana is unpredictable, and it's rare that we have consistent temperatures and snow surface on our test track in order to obtain repeatable results.

To perform a portion of our winter tests, we go to a local hockey rink to test the latest winter tires on the ice. This facility provides a consistent surface and allows us to fairly compare the tires under controlled conditions. However, ice is only one component of winter traction. In order to offer more insight into which tires are best in the winter, we have taken a number of tires to a testing area in northern Sweden. To learn more about our experiences in Sweden, watch "Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Introduction."

Winter results are also added to existing tire tests for all-season tires, such as this test of some of the top Grand Touring All-Season tires. When it comes to winter driving, you can't beat the traction provided by a dedicated winter / snow tire. If you live in an area where all-season tires can get you by, our test results will help you find the right tire. Regardless of where you reside, shop by vehicle to view all options available for your car.

Best All-Season Tires for Winter

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by Steve Huffman

Believe it or not, winter's just around the corner. With the change in weather comes the change of tires. If you're a driver who faces the challenges of winter driving, you're going to want the best tire for your vehicle. A dedicated winter / snow tire will be your best route for handling the elements, but if you opt for using an all-season tire year-round, consider the following options.

When it comes to high performance, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS consistently ranks among the top all-season tires, particularly as it relates to winter traction. A visible "DWS" indicates the tire has sufficient tread depth for dry conditions, as well as wet roads and light snow. After the "S" has worn away, the remaining "DW" indicates the tire only has sufficient tread depth for dry and most wet road conditions. And after the "W" and "S" have both worn away, the remaining "D" indicates the tire has appropriate tread depth for dry conditions only. Along with good winter traction, this performance tire will hug the road and give your sports car the confidence you're looking for.

Are you looking for more of a touring tire, something that will ride exceptionally well? Then take a look at Pirelli's Cinturato P7 All Season Plus. Designed to to be driven in America's diverse weather conditions, the tire features lower weight, less rolling resistance and reduced noise while enhancing wet braking and year-round traction, even in light snow.

Finally, if you're in need of a tire for your SUV or light truck, one of the top choices with winter in mind is the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology. This tire is designed to enhance driving pleasure, save fuel and maintain grip when braking on wet surfaces while providing long wear and all-season traction.

Mouseover Text Here
Continental ExtremeContact
Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus
Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season
Continental CrossContact LX20 with Ecoplus Technology
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology

Shop by vehicle to find the tire that's best for how and where you drive this winter.

What are the Best Tire Brands?

Thursday, September 19, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

With millions of vehicles sold in the United States last year ranging from FIAT 500s to Ford F-150s, drivers have a myriad of choices. Shouldn't they also be able to have their tires their way, too? In a perfect tire world, every tire manufacturer would engineer the optimal tire for every car and driver. However, the market is very large and competitive, and instead of a few brands dominating all segments, there are all-stars that excel in their niches.

Even though Michelin was the first tire company to commercialize the radial tire back in 1948, all major tire manufacturers have the same core technology, such as radial ply construction, steel belts, etc. They often use the same or similar materials with some noteworthy exceptions, for example polyamide. As you research tires, judge a tire by how well it's been engineered for your specific needs.

Taking a look at the hypothetical case of Maria from Burnsville, Minnesota, she drives 16,000 miles per year in her 2009 Honda Civic EX Sedan which came with the 205/55R16 Original Equipment size. Her daily commute consists of two miles of suburban roads before hopping on the interstate for 25 miles of highway driving to reach work. She normally drives about five miles above the posted speed limit and has never received a speeding ticket.

What does Maria need in her tires?

  1. Snow grip - It's Minnesota! Running dedicate winter / snow tires during the winter is the best choice for her during the colder months.
  2. Wet grip - Spring showers will cause her to need adequate wet grip to brake, corner and accelerate properly in the rain.
  3. Treadwear - Since Maria drives quite a bit, she's needs a tire that combines good treadwear and has enough grip to stop quickly.
  4. Low tread noise and a good ride -  She's in her car over one hour each day, she needs a tire with low tread noise and the ability to ride well over bumps. Tire noise is heavily dependent on vehicle design and ride compliance will inherently be challenged in short wheelbase cars.
  5. Relative efficiency - One reason she got the Civic was because of its fuel efficiency. It would be helpful to have a tire that's engineered for efficiency even though tire choice is only a partial factor of fuel economy with speed, air pressure and other things coming into play.  

What tire is best for Maria? Based on our summer and winter testing, I would recommend the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422. To find the tire that's best for you car, shop by vehicle.

Which Tire Can Make Your SUV Handle Like a Car?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by Doc Horvath

While most SUV owners appreciate the added space and "go anywhere" capability of their vehicles, the high speed handling of most SUVs can often leave enthusiastic drivers wanting more. Bridgestone, Continental, Pirelli and others have developed Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tires in popular SUV sizes which fit this bill.

The new Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS was put in a head-to-head test with the Continental CrossContact LX Sport and Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season. Tests were performed using our Performance Test Track Drives and Real World Road Rides to see which tire made our Porsche Cayenne test SUVs handle most like their sports car relatives.

On our 4.1-mile loop of expressways, state highways and county roads, we're able to get a sense for how each tire will perform in real world conditions, like those most of our customers experience on their daily commute. The variety of pavement types, conditions and legal speeds puts each tire through its paces and helps determine overall ride comfort, road noise and handling characteristics. Continental's CrossContact LX Sport made easy work of small- and medium-sized impacts, while minimizing the effects of larger pavement breaks and other issues. Pirelli's Scorpion Verde All Season was close behind, with the Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS allowing just a little more road feel to sneak through the suspension. Road noise was minimal from all three models, and the Bridgestone was able to set the standard with the best handling characteristics. The Continental and Pirelli followed behind, but weren't able to replicate the crisp steering response of the Dueler H/P Sport AS.

Our 1/3-mile test track allows us to replicate extreme maneuvers in both wet and dry conditions that are normally experienced during an abrupt emergency avoidance move. The quick handling characteristics of the Bridgestone carried over to the track, providing very predictable and stable handling in both dry and most notably, wet track conditions. The CrossContact Sport LX wasn't too far behind, but the Pirelli struggled to maintain grip during acceleration and braking, making it a challenge to control near the limit.

For a complete recap of our test, read "Testing Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Tires: Can Some of the Newest Help Yours Drive More Like a Car?"

Commonly Asked Winter / Snow Tire Questions

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

This time of year I get calls from potential first time winter / snow tire owners curious if a dedicated winter / snow tire fits their needs. It only took my first set of snow tires eleven years ago to convince me how different they truly are compared to an all-season tire. Since then, I've installed winter / snow tires on every one of my vehicles during the winter. Below you can find answers to some of the more popular questions regarding snow tires.

Will I benefit from a dedicated winter / snow tire where I live?

The primary concern of our customers is that they don't want to get stuck in the snow during the winter months. Cities that see minimal snow fall and are located at the outside edges of snowbelts, are typically fine using all-season tires. However, those who live deeper into a snowbelt region, tires play by a different set of rules.

We all know that tires are a compromise. One tire can't be the fastest on the track, most controllable in the snow and longest wearing. By design, all-season tires are a compromise intended to provide acceptable traits under a wide variety of conditions. However, that compromised goal prevents them from being a master of any one of them. Only dedicated winter / snow tires are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and on ice. These tires deliver much better snow and ice performance than an all-season tire due to their tread designs and tread compounds being engineered to master winter conditions.

Should I install four or two winter / snow tires?

Today's winter tires provide more ice and snow traction than ever before. The technology used to develop the tread designs and tread compounds has evolved beyond what you may have used previously. Every one of our tire manufacturers recommend a full set of four dedicated winter tires be used on rear-wheel, front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. This is because if you use two dissimilar types of tires on your vehicle, you'll have a vehicle that has a split personality. One end of the vehicle will react differently verses the other in dry, wet, slushy and snowy conditions. This is emphasized most in emergency situations when you need the most control. The vehicle may understeer in one condition and oversteer in another. It's preferable to keep your vehicles handling as consistently as possible by matching all four tires. Our customers who have matched their tires tell us they're glad they made the extra investment in four winter tires so they can retain the most control of their vehicle through winter's challenges.

Isn't driving cautiously enough?

That question verifies that you recognize the risk you feel when not using winter tires. Why not take some of the tension out of your winter driving and provide yourself with a greater margin of control to avoid the unexpected. Not only can you pose a risk to yourself, but all of the other vehicles around you.

I have AWD, is that enough?

Having an all-wheel drive vehicle definitely has its advantages during the winter season. However, its advantage can be multiplied by using dedicated snow tires. All of the reasons that encouraged you to select an all-wheel drive car are the same reasons that snow tires will make your winter driving safer and more enjoyable. It's also important to note that advancements in ABS and traction control do not provide more traction. They only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires.

I heard dedicated winter / snow tires are expensive. Is this true?

Winter tires may be one of the most economical purchases you can make. We have excellent prices on tires, alloy wheels, steel wheels and complete Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages. Using winter tires will extend the life of your summer or all-season tires. The summer and all-season tires won't wear out sitting in the garage or basement while the winter tires and wheels are on the vehicle. Using winter wheels will protect Original Equipment or aftermarket alloy wheels from the harsh realities of winter: salt, slush and grime.

Create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today to help you have the easiest winter driving experience you can have!

What are the Different Types of Winter / Snow Tires?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

When it comes to choosing your next set of winter / snow tires for a passenger vehicle, you'll choose an option from one of three performance categories.

  • Studdable Winter / Snow - Tires in this category are designed to accept an optional metal stud to enhance ice traction. Drivers can run these tires without the studs and they tend to be a very good snow solution, however become a bit more challenged on icy surfaces. When the studs are added, ice traction is improved at the expense of noise level. Because studded tires damage road surfaces, many states restrict them to wintertime use or prohibit them entirely. Check with your local authorities to confirm legality.
  • Studless Ice & Snow - This category is created for the tire that really delivers in the harshest of winter conditions. Designed as a friendlier alternative to studded solutions, we like to say they make driving in snow feel like driving in the rain. These tires meet challenging winter driving conditions by delivering studded-like snow and ice traction without employing studs.
  • Performance Winter / Snow - These tires will trade some deep snow and ice traction to gain better clear, open-road capabilities. Originally designed for winter driving on European highways where high-speed driving on clear roads must be combined with traction on snow-covered roads, this category is an ideal solution for areas with cold temperatures and less snow.
General Altimax Arctic - studdable winter
General AltiMAX Arctic - Studdable Winter / Snow
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 - Studless Ice and Snow
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 - Studless Ice & Snow
Bridgestone Blizzak LM32 - Performance Winter
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 - Performance Winter / Snow

Shop by vehicle to find the winter / snow tire options available for your application.

BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 Tested at Miller Motorsports Park

Thursday, August 15, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

Every so often my job allows me to travel the country and experience the products I recommend and sell to consumers. This past week, I was fortunate enough to spend three days at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City, Utah to experience the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 on the school's prepped Mustang GTs. 

With a 340 treadwear rating, the tire isn't considered a dedicated track tire, nor does it achieve the designation of an Extreme Performance Summer tire. This tire does, however, provide consistent and predictable grip levels and allows a driver to experience a dedicated summer tire that still provides acceptable levels of treadwear and wet performance.

Using both the tight and technical east course and the long sweeping west course at Miller Motorsports Park, the tire performed admirably as an Ultra High Performance Summer tire and remained its composure under 110 mph braking zones, fast sweepers and challenging downhill S-curves. While this tire isn't as fast on course as its big brother the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival, it deserves its best-in-class rating in our consumer surveys and is suitable for drivers looking for responsiveness, predictability and most of all, fun.

While there are faster tires available in other higher performance categories, I can say with much confidence that this tire under my watch was driven harder than is possible to do on the street. For several hours I pushed this tire and it inspired good confidence.

Available in a multitude of sizes for muscle cars, sports cars,and coupes, this tire deserves your attention. View all sizes and choose the one that's right for your vehicle.

Continental's PureContact with EcoPlus Technology Looks to Contend with Michelin's Primacy MXV4

Thursday, July 18, 2013 by Doc Horvath

For the last few years, Michelin's Primacy MXV4 had dominated the Grand Touring All-Season category, as well as our independent tests. The tire is known for offering a quiet and comfortable ride with some sporty handling. With over 16 million miles reported by our customers, the Primacy MXV4 has been far and away a best seller and the target that all other tire manufacturers are shooting for. A host of new models have been introduced to challenge the MXV4 and we took the new Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS, Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology and Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus to the street and track for evaluation. 

On our 6.6-mile loop of expressways, state highways and county roads, we're able to get a sense for how each tire will perform in real world conditions, like those most of our customers experience on their daily commute. The variety of pavement types, conditions and legal speeds puts each tire through its paces and helps determine overall ride comfort, road noise and handling at highways speeds. While the Michelin continued to impress our testers, the PureContact with EcoPlus Technology got the nod with slightly better and more responsive handling characteristics, while the Pirelli was just a little behind. The Potenza RE97AS was in a near tie with the Primacy MXV4 for best tread noise.

On our 1/3-mile test track course, we can replicate extreme maneuvers (in both wet and dry conditions) normally experienced during an abrupt emergency avoidance move. While in dry conditions, all four tires proved to be very capable performers. The PureContact with EcoPlus Technology proved to be noticeably more responsive to steering input than the others, but the Primacy MXV4 was close behind.

The competition was tight, and while the Continental almost spoiled Michelin's party, the MXV4 was able to get the overall nod by a very small margin.

For a complete recap of our testing, read "Testing Grand Touring All-Season Tires with a Sporty Edge."

Test Results: Which New Extreme Performance Summer Tire is the Best?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 by Ben Rooney

This year, enthusiasts are treated to an impressive new crop of Extreme Performance Summer tires. One of the most publicized new releases has been the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival. The Dunlop Direzza ZII, replacing the well-liked Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec, is another hot new entry into the category.

Slightly less publicized, but no less worthy of attention are the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A and Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R. Yokohama and Bridgestone have been two of the class leaders and are answering the new challengers with upgraded models for this summer.

All of us here were eager to take these new tires out for a comparison. Driving them on the street was a useful test of what it would be like to use them on an everyday car. Taking them on and off the entry and exit ramps gave us a chance to get a hint of what their performance capabilities would be. All four tires gave excellent steering response and handling on the road, though each exhibited its own personality.

On the track, we had the chance to push these tires to their limits in both wet and dry conditions. Each one found slightly different areas to shine, whether it be wet or dry traction, ultimate lateral grip, responsive steering or confidence-inspiring stability.

Each tire could find a niche depending on the type of performance that's desired. To see a detailed report of how these tires stacked up, read "Testing Extreme Performance Summer Tires: The Boys of Summer Are Here" and watch the test video below.

What Are the Best Replacement Tires and Size for the Honda Fit Sport?

Thursday, June 20, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Time for new tires on your beloved Honda Fit Sport? The Original Equipment tires in the 185/55R16 size were available with two options, the Bridgestone Turanza EL470 and Dunlop SP Sport 7000 A/S. These tires, however, didn't fare all that well in our customer survey results. With that in mind, consider the following offerings in the 205/50R16 size. This size is only .1" taller and about 3/4" wider than the original size. It'll mount on to the factory wheel and fit without rubbing or any fitment issue.

In this alternate size you will have options ranging from Passenger All-Season to summer performance tires. To gain an understanding of the differences between tires, read "What Tire Performance Category Do I Need?"

General AltiMAX HP

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Fuzion Touring

The General AltiMAX HP features a directional tread pattern for better wet grip and comes with a 55,000-mile treadlife warranty. Developed to be a smarter tire for smarter drivers, the AltiMAX HP addresses many treadwear quality and year-round traction challenges faced by the drivers of today's sports sedans and coupes. Always attractively priced, the tire is a great bang for your buck.

Continental's ExtremeContact DWS is designed to satisfy year-round driving needs by blending dry and wet road performance with light snow and slush traction. Customers love the tire as it has been ranked number one in the Ultra High Performance All-Season category for quite some time. The tire receives high marks in hydroplaning resistance, wet traction and dry performance, however the thing that sets this tire apart from the rest is its ratings in snow and on ice.

Affordably priced, the Fuzion Touring blends good treadwear, a quiet ride and all-season traction on dry and wet roads. Ranked just outside the top ten in the Grand Touring All-Season category, the tire receives excellent marks in most categories.

View all 205/50R16 sized tires and choose the one that's best for how and where you drive your Honda Fit Sport.

Michelin Once Again Dominates the One Lap of America in 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Tire Rack is proud to have continued our title sponsorship of this year's One Lap of America event. One Lap consists of 17 timed events over 8 days. In total, competitors traveled over 3,400 in just over a week. It is a true test of endurance and performance

For the third year in a row, the overall winner's vehicle was equipped with the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. The Super Sport has been on the winning vehicle since it was introduced to the market in the spring of 2011. As the 30th running of this extreme challenge for driving enthusiasts, this year's competition featured many of America's fastest street-legal cars. View results for the 2013 event here.

If you're in the market for the best of the best in wet and dry traction performance, check out the Pilot Super Sport. It has proven its worth not only in the One Lap competition, but also in our testing and feedback from customers. The tire is the top-ranked option in the Max Performance Summer category. After reading a few of our customers' comments, you'll understand why:

"Quite honestly the BEST tire I have ever had on my cars." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX.

"These tires have oooogles of mega grip, even wet. I am going to need a new seat with harness just to stay in the seat." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Also, when you buy a set of four Michelin Pilot Super Sports before June 18, 2013, you can receive a $70 MasterCard Reward Card.

Our Customer Surveys and Reviews Help You Decide Which Tire is Best

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Doing your research before selecting the right tire can be a challenge at times. Here at Tire Rack, we make it simple by providing you helpful information when you're shopping for tires.

We provide expert, unbiased tire performance comparisons with our tire test results. Our Performance Test Track Drives and Real World Road Rides offer us the chance to experience the ride, noise and handling qualities of a tire across a variety of conditions that our customers will experience on a daily basis. Our team follows consistent procedures designed to minimize variables that could influence results. And because many of our customers live in the snowbelt region, we also test the wintertime traction of all-season and winter tires on the ice and in the snow.

In addition to our tire tests, we maintain independent consumer surveys to help drivers help each other by sharing their long term tire experiences. At the time of this post, we have information on 445 different tire models, as well as 2,783,445,686 miles reported on over 150,000 surveys. You can view tires based on their performance category and see how customers rank their tires in categories, such as hydroplaning resistance, cornering stability, dry traction, ride comfort and more.

Reviews are posted to give you insight into each responder's experience with the tire for better or worse. Just like movie reviews, different people have different opinions and reference points, so it's always important to read as many reviews as possible to gain a better perspective. You can look at reviews by vehicle or by tire brand. This is helpful because you can see what owners of your same vehicle are saying about tires!

With the help of our tire test results, tire survey results and tire reviews, you have the information you need to find the tire that's right for your vehicle and the way you drive it.