Our most recent test of value-priced Ultra High Performance All-Season tires pitted the well established Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS and General G-MAX AS-03 against the new Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season and Hankook Ventus S1 noble2. Both Goodyear and Hankook had strong performers in the category, but have recently updated and improved their products to get a jump on the competition.
In order to evaluate each tire's high performance capability and every day manners, we subjected all four to both our Performance Test Track Drives and Real World Road Rides. 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, conditions and legal speeds puts each tire through its paces and helps determine overall ride comfort, road noise and handling characteristics. General's G-MAX AS-03 proved to have the most responsive feel on the highway with the Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 a very close second. Goodyear's Eagle Sport All-Season and the Firestone tire were not that much behind the others, but neither were quite as crisp compared to the General. Beyond handling, the Hankook led the way for the best comfort and least amount of road noise in the group.
On our 1/3-mile test track, we can replicate extreme maneuvers in both wet and dry conditions normally experienced during an abrupt emergency avoidance move. When driven to the limit of our test cars' capability (and our driver's ability), the Hankook continued to lead the field in dry conditions, with the General and Hankook very similar in wet conditions. In a departure from our expectations, the Goodyear and most notably the Firestone struggled to find grip and provide great handling on our well soaked track.
With all the scores tallied, the Ventus S1 noble2 edged out the veteran General G-MAX AS-03 for the win. For a full recap of our test, read "Testing Value-Priced Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires."