Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Altimax Arctic

Friday, February 7, 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.

General Altimax Arctic Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.82
 
 

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer
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Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location:  
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
January 08, 2014

Purchased a set for my GT since the stock dunlops are a piece of crap during winter.
All I can say is WOW. We have been hit with a lot of snow since last month and all I can say is that I have TOTAL CONFIDENCE in these tires and made my driving a heck of a lot easier.

Dry Traction is good. Noise level is waay quiet compared to the stock dunlops which when traveling at high speeds sound like you are being chased by an ambulance.
Wet Traction is very good.
Freezing rain/ice traction is superb. My tires are not studded (which would help traction during these conditions) but it performed waay better than I expected.

Light snow traction is outstanding.
Deep snow traction is outstanding as well. I was very lazy on shoveling my driveway so it left a very deep chunk of snow which I had no problem getting in and out of. My other car has the continental dws which got stuck entering our driveway :)

Overall, I am very happy with these tires. Save your money and buy these instead of the blizzaks!

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Sport Signature (H- or V-Speed Rated)

Friday, February 7, 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.

Dunlop SP Sport Signature (H- or V-Speed Rated) Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.9
 
 

2005 Honda Accord Sedan EX V6
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Miles driven on tires: 15,000
Location: West Islip, NY
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 15,000 Miles on Tires
December 31, 2013

These tires respond 100% better than stock tires. Turning is insanely sensitive and grip is always there. Tires don't really have much tread noise however due to the tires being so stiff (helps with the responsiveness) you do hear and feel bumps and road imperfections more than with another tire but this is just helping to "feel the road." Again due to stiff sidewalls the ride comfort suffers but I love the way they perform and consider it just a tradeoff that is well worth it. If you want a tire that handles well and is responsive with a good price and don't mind a little road noise then get these. As for the tread, I have had them for a year so far and about 15000 miles and the tires still look new.

Just a side note, the tires sidewalls are noticeably thicker than other tires and do cover more of the rim edge than a normal tire which is cool because if you happen to hit a curb(happened 1 time) you might get scared you damaged the rim but the tire protected it.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Winter Maxx

Friday, February 7, 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.


Dunlop Winter MaxxReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.55

2003 Audi RS6
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Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location: East Fallowfield, PA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
January 02, 2014

I have had the opportunity to drive with these tires in in every type of weather condition from dry, ice packed snow, 5 inch deep snow, and everything in between. Most of my driving has been highway driving and these tires performed well. These tires are absolutely winter tires and you must keep that at the forefront of your mind. I drive a high performance car and I had a chance to race another car with these tires. The tires let me know that they are not made for racing because they were unstable at speeds over 115 mph. Hard to stop. The tires became very unstable. However, when I use them for what they are design to do I felt very confident and safe on the road in any type of weather. I was reluctant in buying these tires because there were no stats on these tires but the sales tech at Tire Rack gave them a good recommendation and my budget convinced me to give them a try. Not a bad tire. Actually they are very good.

Which Type of Winter / Snow Tire Is Right for Me?

Thursday, February 6, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Like anything else that relates to your car, tires are available in a variety of models that can be fine tuned to best match what you need. Selecting the best tire starts with narrowing your search to one of our Performance Categories, which Tire Rack has developed by using our own test results, customer survey results and manufacturer recommendations. These Performance Categories help focus your search by comparing tires with similar characteristics, allowing you to choose the best tire for how and where you drive. For dedicated winter / snow tires, there are three categories to choose from.

Studless Ice and Snow

In this category, tires use aggressive tread patterns and the latest high-tech rubber compounds to provide ice and snow traction similar to traditional studded snow tires. Customers that focus on this category are looking to get the best snow and ice traction possible, with the understanding that when the roads are clear, your high speed handling will be a little less responsive than a traditional all-season tire. A few options to consider in the category, include the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70, Michelin X-Ice Xi3, Dunlop Winter Maxx and Continental ExtremeWinterContact.

Performance Winter / Snow

Options from the Performance Winter / Snow category feature tires with tread patterns and rubber compounds that are tuned to improve dry and wet traction, along with high speed handling. Drivers that aren't expecting to see heavy or persistent accumulations of snow and want a tire that will handle and perform more like the performance tires the vehicle most likely came with when new will benefit from a Performance Winter / Snow tire. If this sounds like your style of driving, then take a look at the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32, Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 and Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D.

Studdable Winter / Snow

Studdable Winter / Snow tires are designed to allow the installation of optional metal studs to enhance ice and snow traction. Customers that focus on this category are looking for a low cost winter tire option and are willing to allow for more road noise and less comfort than Original Equipment tires. Studded tires are often subject to state laws that dictate when (or if) they can be used, so always check local laws before selecting a tire from this category. Tires in this category include the Firestone WinterForce UV, General AltiMAX Arctic and Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter.

Take a look at our Winter Tire Decision Guide to help you choose the best tire for handling winter conditions. 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Grandtrek ST30

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.

Dunlop Grandtrek ST30 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.58
 
 

2013 Toyota Rav4 XLE
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Miles driven on tires: 7,100
Location: Albany, NY
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 7,100 Miles on Tires
December 18, 2013

These tires came as OE on my 2013 Rav4. I was a little nervous going into winter after reading some of the reviews on this tire. I live in upstate NY and we get plenty of snow. We just had 2 large snow storms this past week. I have to say i am impressed with this tire. Granted the Rav has AWD but i had no issues in light and deep snow and icy conditions. My traction control never came on and the car never even slipped. I just got rid of a subaru impreza that had Michelin Primacys and the traction control always came on in snow. So at least with AWD these tires perform very well in the snow.
Wet traction in rain i also have had no issues, no hydroplaning.
The only complaint i have with the tire is noise. They are a little noisy for a tire with only 7k miles. Ride comfort could be better. So far with 7k miles treadwear is not excessive

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D

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.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.91
 
 

2013 Audi TT 2.0T Quattro Coupe
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Park City, UT
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
December 31, 2013

I live in a mountain resort community. Winter tires are a necessity and are mounted on all my vehicles over half the year. I have used Dunlop Wintersports for about 13 years and their performance meets and often exceeds my expectations. Their only limitation is the ground clearance of my Audi.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D

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.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9
 
 

2013 Audi S8
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Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Newport, RI
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
December 17, 2013

My original tires were the source of considerable dissatisfaction. Even though they were summer tires, the noise level on rougher roads was unacceptable. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I purchased these winter tires and discovered that they were actually quieter than the summer tires! They probably lose in dry road performance, but in southern New England there are not a lot of dry roads in the winter.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D

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.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.12
 
 

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI
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Miles driven on tires: 500
Location:  
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
December 14, 2013

The tire performs as good in dry/snow as the twice expensive Michelin.. rain/wet conditions have not yet been available but according to tests that is where it drops in that comparison.
Clearly better than most snow tires that are around especially when considering price.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Altimax Arctic

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.

General Altimax Arctic Reviewer's Overall Rating: 3.9
 
 

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI
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Miles driven on tires: 7,000
Location: Roselle, IL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 7,000 Miles on Tires
December 10, 2013

The General Altimax Arctic is by far the most disappointing tire purchase of my life. Loud doesn't even begin to describe the --- awful howling sound these things make at highway speeds. I would be willing to forgive the noise if their grip in the snow made up for it. It doesn't. I've run Dunlop WinterSport M3, Dunlop Graspic DS-3, Michelin Arctic Alpin, and Nokian Hakkapeliitta R winter tires. These Generals are comparable to the Michelin Arctic Alpin in their snow driving performance (another worthless winter tire), but at least the Michelins were quiet.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Winter Maxx

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.

Dunlop Winter Maxx Reviewer's Overall Rating: 5.11
 
 

1995 Mazda Miata
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Miles driven on tires: 500
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
December 11, 2013

Compared to the other Dunlop, Bridgestone, Hankook and current Continental ExtremeWinterContacts I've used on various RWD sports cars, these are without a doubt the worst winter tire I've purchased in the last 15 years.

They're completely adequate in snow and I don't have any complaints. I might go so far as to call them pretty darn good.

The problem is that on cold (<40F), wet pavement they have no grip and are completely unpredictable. If you've driven a pure high-performance summer tire on cold wet pavement, these feel even less secure. Worse, once the car starts to slide, it really doesn't want to stop. In three weeks I've had more "OH SPIT!" moments than in my past 5 years of driving combined.

My Miata on these things makes my more-than-twice-as-powerful M3 on Continental ExtremeWinterContact tires feel like a Subaru. On wet pavement, it's gone from a car that can be tossed and caught ad infinitum to a total widow-maker that starts to squirm around even under normal driving.

In short: good in the snow, remarkably horrible in the wet. Better than an all-season, I'm sure, but there are MUCH better tires for the money.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1

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.

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.18
 
 

2013 Mazda CX-9
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Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location:  
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
January 31, 2014

I bought these for my wife as I wanted her to be absolutely safe driving my kids around in the winter/snow and WOW do these tires ever live up to that expectation. I've had a few different sets of snow tires in my lifetime and these are by far THE BEST I've ever had. As men often do, I have tried several times to break traction in some pretty hairy wintery/snowy conditions and you have to seriously work hard to do that.

I'm actually jealous because I have Dunlop Winter Sport 3Ds on my vehicle and that don't even come close to performing as well as these Blizzaks do in the snow and ice. I can't emphasize enough how well these tires do with both acceleration and deceleration/braking. These tires defy physics in my opinion. I can't say enough good things about them. Would DEFINITELY buy these again. In fact, these will probably be the only winter tires I will buy going forward.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Winter Maxx

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.

Dunlop Winter Maxx Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.83
 
 

2002 Mazda Protege LX 2.0
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: South Salem, NY
Driving Condition: Easy Going

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
December 06, 2013

We wanted a winter tire that would handle well on dry roads, and last longer than the Blizzacks we had used previously. So far, these tires are handling dry roads very well, with a smooth, quiet ride. They perform better than the Goodrich Traction TAs we use in the summer. Will report back as the weather gets worse, but Tire Rack's ice rink test gives us confidence we will have safe driving this winter on this new Dunlop tire.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D

Monday, January 27, 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.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.5
 
 

2013 Volkswagen Golf R
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Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Bel Air, MD
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
December 15, 2013

Having had considerable experience with Dunlop's D3 winter radial on two previous cars, I was curious to see how the D4 would perform on my 2013 VW Golf R. In a word, the new D4 is outstanding.

I had my tires installed in early November, before serious winter weather set in here in Maryland. I noticed immediately that while they were a little less precise in their steering feel than my Michelin Pilot summer tires, they delivered excellent wet and dry traction in cold weather, with no loss of ride comfort and no increased noise level over the Michelins.

However, the acid test for these tires would have to be snowy conditions; after all, that's why I bought them. On Sunday, December 8, I drove from Long Island to my home in Maryland in a serious snowstorm. What would have been a 3 hour trip in good weather became a 7 hour challenge, mostly due to accidents on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Through it all my Golf kept going, with the Dunlops delivering superb traction and excellent steering feel on both fresh and plowed snow. When I got near my home, I went to an empty parking lot, and stopped in about 6" of fresh, moderately wet snow. I engaged first gear, let out the clutch, and punched the throttle...and without drama or excitement, the Golf simply gathered speed and moved straight ahead. I did this several times, with the traction control on and off, and the tire performed equally well. (Yes, with the TC off, I could sense a difference, and a little wheelspin, but it was insignificant.)

Numerically rating a tire like this is tricky: In the non-snow categories, I compared these Dunlops to my summer Michelins. In the winter/snow category, I compared them to my previous Dunlop D3s. In both catergories, they are outstanding, and I will definitely buy them again! :-)

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Kumho Ecsta 4X

Monday, January 27, 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.

Kumho Ecsta 4X Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.38
 
 

2006 Mazda MAZDA5 Sport
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Miles driven on tires: 485
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 485 Miles on Tires
January 14, 2014

This set replaced the Dunlop Sport Signatures which lasted about 5 1/2 years or about 40,000 miles with proper tire inflation and regular rotation. Hopefully, these will perform just as good. I've never used of the brand before but because of the price, specs and included road hazard warranty, it's hard to not give it a try. Snow performance and tread life remains to be observed.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General G-MAX AS-03

Monday, January 27, 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.

General G-MAX AS-03 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9
 
 

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer
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Miles driven on tires: 38,000
Location: Buffalo, NY
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 38,000 Miles on Tires
January 15, 2014

Dear concerned all-season high-performance tire buyers,
As many of you know it is not cheap to buy tires in rare sizes that can handle all weather conditions, much less give you extended tread wear life. I recently purchased my second set of these tires to trudge through my 4-season situation in Buffalo, NY. Now don't get me wrong I love my town but its weather changes everyday, it can range from slush to deep snow to a flood zone to beautifully sunny in less than 2 days. With all of that said I purchased 4 g-max tires to replace my OEM Dunlop sport tires around late 2011(which the Dunlops wore insanely fast, and couldn't handle wet roads much less snow). At the time I considered spending some extra cash and getting a set of continental extreme DWS tires, because at that time the g-max was a brand new tire with little to no reviews. I had an eclipse before the lancer with General Altimax tires on it and was very pleased, so I went the G-Max route. I couldn't have been happier with this tire for the price and its ability to handle dry, wet, and snow with still getting 38,000+ miles out of them, and only had to change them when I hit a large crater in the road we call potholes here and blew out a side wall. The wet condition handling is AMAZING. Never once have I hydro-planed even through large puddles at highway speeds. Snow handling is well above average for a high-performance tire, and dry cornering is also very good but what shines for this tire is it multi-function ability and its value. Needless to say I bought another set as I mentioned and just put them on today it feels like I'm driving a new car again, such a great feeling. And as a frequent Tire Rack customer and review reader I felt it was my time to finally give a little info back. Happy driving!

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Winter Maxx

Monday, January 27, 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.

Dunlop Winter Maxx Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.22
 
 

2012 Buick Regal GS
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Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location: La Porte, IN
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
January 13, 2014

I have to say, I never thought I would like a snow tire as much as I liked my Blizzak's, but these tires have been amazing. Here in northern Indiana, we have seen every type of winter condition--slush to ice. The tires never failed to perform. They have a bit of a sing to them on wet pavement but are otherwise a very quiet tire. So far, I am extremely happy and would recommend this tire!

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D

Monday, January 27, 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.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7
 
 

1998 Volvo V70 AWD
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Miles driven on tires: 30,000
Location: Middlebury, VT
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 30,000 Miles on Tires
June 09, 2010

I bought a set of these on sale at $78ea, I have to say the Dunlops proved to be ecellent tres overall, with their weakest ponts being treadwear and wet traction, both of whch were still quite good for a soft compound performance-oriented winter tire. At the time of purchace I lived on a diet back road on a mountain and worked at a ski resort, which required some highway driving to reach as well. The dunlops perforned admirably in foul weather, offering confident grip on both light snow and icy roads, and with the ability to churn through 8+ inch deep snow successfully, the AWD didn't hurt them in this capacity, but it was, none theless an excellent performance. Dry road performance was more than adequite, offering low-noise, decent grip and a compliant ride. Driving mountain roads every day I did notice that turn-in, especially on my heavy volvo could have been better, and the sidewalls did feel a little squishy in aggressive conering, but the performance was good enough for me to leave them on for the summer, which is what killed them. Don't run these tires as an all season. I ran them well past reasonable treadwear, and they resisted hydroplaning quite well, but at the end it wasnt the tire's fault they were just worn beyond their useful life. If you driive winter highways and secondary roads the So Wintersport 3D is agreat choice, offering excellent foul weather performance and a real step-up in dry-road performance versus other extreme duty rated snow tires I've owned. Take them off in the summer and they should give you plenty of excellent winter performance. -i replaced them with a used pair of Wintersport IV's, which were a genuinely aggressive dry road tire, and still managed excellent snow performance, perhaps not quite as good as the 3Ds, but they were even gummier, and already partly worn when I got them, which made for exceptionaly short tread lfe, less than 15,000 miles.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Winter Maxx

Monday, January 27, 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.

Dunlop Winter Maxx Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.1
 
 

2013 Toyota Prius c
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
January 25, 2014

I planned on purchasing a set of Blizzak tires this fall but they sold out everywhere buy the time I was ready to purchase. I bought the Winter Maxx tires hoping that they would be adequate. I live in Minnesota and we have had a tough winter with snow and ice. To my surprise, these tires are performing great in snow and on ice. I see no fall off from the Blizzaks I have always used in the past. I'm not sure I would use them in an area where there is light snow with mostly try roads. But if you do a lot of city or rural driving on icy, snowy roads, I highly recommend these tires.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Sport Signature (W- or Y-Speed Rated)

Monday, January 27, 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.

Dunlop SP Sport Signature (W- or Y-Speed Rated) Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.57
 
 

2011 Jeep Patriot
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: West Caldwell, NJ
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
November 09, 2013

After wearing out the stock Firestone Affinity Touring 215/60-17 tires in 28,000 miles
I switched to Dunlop Sport Signature in the 235/55-17 size. This is roughly the same
diameter as stock and a bit over 3/4 inch wider, but there's plenty of fender clearance,
doesn't protrude past the outer fender, and fits the stock 17 x 6.5 inch wheels
perfectly. The first thing I noticed is the Dunlops are a bit stiffer than the Firestones, this is to be expected since they are in the Ultra High Performance All
Season category vs. Standard Touring. This doesn't translate to a rough ride as much as
a slightly "busier" ride because the roughness of the road surface is transmitted to the body. Bigger disturbances like lane markers don't get transmitted at all ( you hear
them but don't feel them through the steering wheel ) so it must be sidewall stiffness transmitting high frequency road roughness. That said, they are just as comfortable,
corner better ( better feel ), and are more stable in the rain due to the larger
channels. I've used Sport Signatures on my Sebring JX Convertible and PT Cruiser with
similar excellent results, so trying them on my Jeep was a natural choice even though
they weren't available in the exact size. I'll update the review after the snows come,
but it should be fine given my earlier experience with my PT Cruiser and the fact that
the Firestones are so abysmal in the snow.

 

What's the Best Handling Performance Snow Tire?

Thursday, January 16, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Many car enthusiasts like to use their performance vehicles all year long, but for those that live in colder climates, there's a challenge: the Original Equipment summer tires can't provide grip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In Europe, the standard is to have a set of performance tires for the summer and a second set of performance tires for the winter.  

One of our recent tests compared the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60, Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D, Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 and Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 to see which one would provide the best balance of performance and winter grip.

To best evaluate the tires' traction levels on ice, we headed back to a hockey rink to measure 60' acceleration times and stopping distances from 12 mph. The Bridgestone and Michelin nearly tied for the quickest times and shortest stopping distances. However, all four were able to beat the figures of any all-season tire.

Before winter arrived in the Midwest, we loaded up the tires and went to a winter test facility in Sweden. While there, we measured each tire's ability to accelerate and brake in light snow, as well as gather subjective ratings of how each tire feels while driving through several inches of groomed snow on a handling course. The Michelin and Pirelli both proved to be responsive and stable when called upon at highway speeds, with the Dunlop and Bridgestone just a little behind. Similar tests were performed on our track when ambient temperatures were in the upper 30°F range to replicate conditions found during the winter season, with both the Michelin and Pirelli tires leading the way.

When all the results were examined, the numbers proved that the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 delivers the best balance of performance in this group, driving well on the road plus providing good ice and wet traction. Pirelli's Winter Sottozero 3 and Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D both have good ice and wet traction and nearly matched the Pilot Alpin PA4's handling on the road. The Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 takes a more focused approach by also providing good ice traction, but it just doesn't have the wet road grip or clear road handling stability of the other three tires.

For a complete recap of our test, read "Testing Performance Winter / Snow Tires: Which have the Right Balance of Performance?"