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?"

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