Hard-to-Find Tires for the Toyota Highlander, GMC Acadia, Dodge Journey and MINI Cooper

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Many new SUVs and CUVs are coming equipped with hard-to-find tire sizes. Therefore, when the time comes for replacements, there are often few options to choose from. In almost every case, we work hard to stock these unique Original Equipment sizes (like the 19" and 20" options for the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave). If you're looking for alternative tires, we can often recommend different sizes to provide you more options for your vehicle.

A few examples include:

  • Current generation Toyota Highlanders use a 245/55R19 tire size, but we can guarantee the slightly wider 255/55R19 to work on your Original Equipment wheels.
  • The Dodge Journey uses a unique 225/55R19 tire size, and as an alternative, we can guarantee you can use 235/55R19 tires.  
  • The MINI Cooper Clubman comes with a 205/55R17 run-flat tire that can be tough to get. For a better selection in both run-flat and non-run-flat configurations, the 225/50R17 size is a great option.

When developing alternate tire sizes, we have to maintain the correct load rating as required by the manufacturer and stay within 5% of the original tire's diameter to make sure that none of the vehicle's safety systems are affected. Shop by vehicle and view the tire options available for your application.

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

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 G-MAX AS-03 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.8
 
 

2010 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 15,000
Location: Otsego, MN
Driving Condition: Spirited

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

The General G-Max AS-03 is a High speed, high performance tire. This tire is far superior to the run-flat tires that come stock on the Mini Cooper. The tire is very responsive at high speeds and resist rolling over in the turns. This is a soft rubber tire providing very good traction in snow and on ice. The Mini is to low to go in deep snow, has nothing to do with the rubber. We have had a lot of snow and Ice in Minnesota this year and I drove a brand new Mini Clubman this week and my Mini S gets better traction with the G-Max that the brand new run-flat tires that come on the Clubman. Great grip and performance on the dry road, Tire sheds water nicely in the rain and i have had no hydroplaning issues Very good traction on snow and ice. I recommend checking the tire pressure regularly. I have had to add a couple LBS twice to keep tire pressure constant. This is most likely the result of my driving style than a tire issue.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II

Thursday, February 6, 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.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9
 
 

2014 Mini John Cooper Works
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Centennial, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
January 28, 2014

I have had these tires twice, once on a Subaru and now I put them on a JCW Mini Coupe. The dealer ordered them from Tire Rack for me and put them on before I picked up my new car. It was December in Colorado.

I absolutely love these tires. I have used the Blizzaks and Michelins on other vehicles and this is my favorite. The primary thing I like is that the snow traction is terrific but what makes it exceptional is the dry traction. In this season I have used the tire on every type of snow and ice possible in Colorado. Outside of slush which no tire does well the tire is excellent. I will also tell you that if you drive a stiff suspension sports car you will like the ride with the non runflats. I believe that I could drive this tire competently in virtually all conditions short of track work.

With a front wheel drive and these tires you can drive with confidence. I went out to unplowed lots and put the tires to the limits, even turning off traction controls. I would purposely cut hard, throw up some rooster takls and try to slide and recover. It was easy.

I strongly and confidently recommend these tires to my fellow enthusiasts.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422

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 Ecopia EP422 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 6.09
 
 

2004 Honda Odyssey
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Miles driven on tires: 30,000
Location: Sewell, NJ
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 30,000 Miles on Tires
January 01, 2014

Tread wear life is very short. Rotated tires every 5,000 miles and by 18,000 noticed indicator getting closer to tread. Recycled rubber garbage. Better options to buy. They are on my mini van which isn't driven hard. Need new tires after a year and a half. Avoid!

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

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.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.64
 
 

2003 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: New Albany, OH
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
December 11, 2013

Just purchased before winter because I needed a better set tire for wet/snowy conditions. Dry handling on the back roads was precise and predictable, evens at its limits. With the onslaught of an early winter this year, I got to test their winter capabilities way too soon. Rain traction is excellent, even when pushed to the limits. Ice/snowy conditions are now a pleasure to drive on. They do a great job trudging through 3” of snow and are completely controllable and calculable on ice covered roads.
If you’re not going to invest in a set of dedicated winter tires, these Conti’s seem to be a safe compromise.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

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 WS70 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.1
 
 

2010 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 3,000
Location: Mount Gretna, PA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 3,000 Miles on Tires
February 02, 2014

Fantastic tires so far. No big snows but plenty of 4-6" that were nice tests. Went from wanting to sell the car to really enjoying the snow.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Turanza EL400 RFT

Friday, January 31, 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 Turanza EL400 RFT Reviewer's Overall Rating: 4.86
 
 

2011 Toyota Sienna AWD
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Miles driven on tires: 30,500
Location: Orinda, CA
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 30,500 Miles on Tires
January 27, 2014

Original equipment tires. Started getting noisy after 5000 miles. Mostly long distance highway driving, with camping gear. NO, off-road driving. Even with rotating every 4000 miles, air pressure checked monthly and alignment twice a year, they started wearing on both inner and outside front tire edges faster than center tread and rotating just made all look the same. Three nail caused flats and the dealer would only USE some high-tech plug to repair them (Toyota instructions) Replaced original tires at 30500 miles with same brand RFT but dealer suggested I try the Turanza 400-02 RFT instead. Result are EVEN WORSE tire wear, with mini chunks in the tread at happening from 8000 to current at 15000 miles. (45,000 total) on mini-van. Received the Toyota recall regarding load rating door frame decal. Because we have an OE rear Cargo Container and AWD, they offered NEW more heavy duty tires that will meet the max load rating requirements. Dealer told me there are not any 235/55R-18 RFT Heavy Duty tires available. He offered to remove the Cargo Container so the load rating decal would confirm. NO WAY, or go to a smaller RFT with a better load rating. NO WAY . Do not want to resort to non RFT (no spare) due to our out of the way camping. He then suggested I get a can of that green goo and a small air compressor. That will screw up the TPM's and sometimes leave a hard green goo on the insides of the rim. Has anyone found solution to these crappy tires that are still Run Flat and the same size or a size that will still fit without any tire interference?

 

Need Tires for a Classic MINI?

Thursday, January 30, 2014 by Ben Rooney

With the trend for larger wheel diameters, it can be hard to find tires for some of the classic vehicles that used small-diameter wheels. The legendary MINI is a victim of this trend, with virtually no tires available in its usual 10" wheel diameter.

However, there is still at least one excellent option for enthusiast owners: the Yokohama A008. This sticky, handling-oriented tire will enhance the sporting character of your classic MINI. Currently available in the 165/70R10 size with an H-speed rating, this tire is perfect for any sporty driving, including some track and autocross use.

The A008 has been very well liked by the enthusiasts who have installed a set on their vehicle. See what drivers are saying about their experience with the tire.

"These tires are brilliant. The car was transformed, and handles significantly better on the tires these replaced, or my recollection of any MINI tires I had run in the past. Overall, I don't believe there is a better choice for a Classic MINI (unless snows are required)!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 1978 MINI Classic

"Very good tire. It performs well on this little car!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 1978 MINI

"Great tire with lots of good stickiness. Grip is very good. The soft compound makes for good ease into long sweeping curves. 100 predictable!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2002 MINI Cooper Standard

If you have an old MINI sitting in the garage on aged, dried out tires, breathe some new life into it with a fresh set of sticky tires and rediscover how much fun it can be.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General AltiMAX RT43

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 AltiMAX RT43 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8
 
 

2011 Toyota Sienna AWD
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Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: Forks Township, PA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
January 10, 2014

I bought these for my wife's mini-van and I'm very happy. The overall traction is great but the snow traction is fantastic! In the northeast this year we have had SNOW, and I can say without a doubt that these are the best all season tires I've driven in the snow! Last year I had the stock tires on this van and I could not make it up my driveway even with the AWD! Now I just GO, stop, and turn without any drama! I'm a HPDE driving instructor and I will be recommending these to all my students who are looking for a great all season tire. I will say that the sidewall is very soft and the tires need a lot of air. Also because the sidewall is so soft the steering response does suffer a bit but the trade offs are worth it.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Grabber HTS

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 Grabber HTS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.55
 
 

2005 Toyota Tundra Double Cab Limited 4wd
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Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location: Omaha, NE
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
April 05, 2011

I have now driven the Grabbers through all the eliments. Compared with the OEM tires these are in a different league. There is no weak characteristic. I measured treadwear at 7500 miles and it was about 1/32. At that rate they should go well beyond 80k miles. With low initial cost I can't see any reason to spend the extra money for Michelin or Goodyear. The Grabbers are likley better than the available Goodyears and as good, possibly better, then Michelin. In the past I have always chosen the big brand name tires, I was very reluctant to look at General. Just did not figure it could play with the big boys. Now I am getting ready to buy the wife tires for her mini-van and General is high on my list. Price aside these are hard to beat, take price into consideration and they may be unbeatable.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeWinterContact

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.

Continental ExtremeWinterContact Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.4
 
 

2007 Mini Cooper
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Boulder, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
January 13, 2014

Just drove blizzard conditions in Colorado over Loveland Pass and then Eisenhower Tunnel. Our MINI made it both ways without a slip when many other FWD cars and 4WD's were spinning and sliding and multiple chained Semi's got stuck .

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus

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.

Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.4
 
 

2012 Mini Countryman
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Miles driven on tires: 250
Location: Salem, OR
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 250 Miles on Tires
January 13, 2014

These replaced the original Continental run-flats after 24000 miles at which point the wear bars were showing. These tires completely changed the character of the car. It now rides much more smoothly, quieter and the speedometer is more accurate. These tires were original equipment on my last two cars (Passats w/4Motion) and I loved them on those, too. Excellent tires!!!

 

Proper Storage Techniques for Your Tires and Wheels

Friday, January 24, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

It's not uncommon these days to have two seasonal sets of wheels and tires. Some drivers even have a third and fourth set for track use. Most sets are used seasonally which means the unused sets need to be stored properly. Below are some tips for storing your off-season tires, as well as storage solutions. 

  • Keep the tires out of direct sunlight whenever possible. The sun's ultraviolet rays and radiant heat are detrimental to rubber.
  • Before storing, use a tire brush to clean each tire with soap and water to remove brake dust, dirt and grime. If the tires are still mounted on wheels, use a wheel brush to clean the wheels with an approved cleaner. Dry with a towel and let any remaining moisture thoroughly evaporate. Do not apply any tire dressing or shine as those chemicals pull oils out of the tire prematurely and age them.
  • Place each clean and dry tire in its own large, opaque, airtight plastic bag (such as lawn and garden bags) for storing. Avoid allowing any moisture to remain and remove as much air as practical (some drivers even use a vacuum cleaner to draw out as much as possible). Close the bag tightly and tape it shut. This places the tire in its own personal mini-atmosphere to help reduce oil evaporation.
  • If you choose not to store white letter/white stripe tires in plastic bags, it's important they be stored or stacked white-to-white and black-to-black to prevent staining the white rubber.
  • Place the tires in a cool, dry location. It is better to store tires in a dry basement or climate-controlled workshop than in a standard garage, storage shed, hot attic or outdoors.
  • Keep the tires away from sources of ozone. Electric motors that use contact brushes generate ozone. Keep your tires away from the furnace, sump pump, etc.

If you're in need of a tire storage solution, check out our Tire Garage, Tire Storage Rack and Seasonal Tire Totes.

Is Narrower Always Better When it Comes to Winter / Snow Tires?

Friday, November 8, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Recently, I received a call from a longtime Tire Rack customer who was looking for a new set of winter / snow tires for his hybrid SUV. He was surprised to see our Preferred Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package didn't feature a narrower tire size. Many drivers benefit from a narrow tires ability to cut through deeper snow, but every driver needs to weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of a narrower size. Below you will find what you need to consider when you assess whether or not to go narrow.

Across the snowbelt, there's a wide variance in the intensity and frequency of deep snow blizzards. If you're not residing in the darkest blue areas in the map above, you have to weigh how much grip you’ll lose with a narrower tire on dry roads. All snow tires, especially those in the Studless Ice & Snow category, will sacrifice dry grip and the narrower footprint will exacerbate this loss.

The weight of your car also will play a role in your selection. Does it have all-wheel drive to power through snow? Narrower snow tires are particularly helpful on lightweight cars like the MINI Cooper because you end up with more weight per square inch of contact patch; and more weight equals more grip. Your narrower snow tires will let you cut through deep snow. With a heavier car like the Toyota FJ Cruiser, you can run a moderate size and still be fine. 

For additional help in choosing the right winter tire, read "Size Selection of Winter / Snow Tires."

Which Winter Performance Category Is Right for You?

Thursday, October 10, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Are you in the blue? Then it's time to find the winter / snow tire that works best for your vehicle. In order to purchase the correct snow tire, you should decide which performance category works best for your driving style and the winter weather you experience. There are three winter performance categories: Studless Ice & Snow, Studdable Winter / Snow and Performance Winter / Snow.

Studless Ice & Snow

Tires from this category give you optimum ice and packed snow grip, but are less responsive on dry roads. The tires trade a little handling for excellent ice and snow traction. On dry roads, your vehicle will not respond as crisply or quickly to steering inputs. Studless Ice & Snow tires are available in higher profile sizes and include the following:

If you go with a Studless Ice & Snow tire, you should consider going with a narrower tire as it cuts through deeper snow better. This is especially true for a lighter car like the MINI Cooper.

Studdable Winter / Snow

Studdable Winter / Snow tires can be run studded or unstudded. When studded, they'll give good ice and packed snow grip, but will be less responsive on dry roads. When unstudded, they'll perform well in moderate and deep snow. It's important to note that the use of studded tires may be prohibited or restricted in your area, be sure to check with local authorities to confirm legality. If you're looking for the traditional security of winter tire studs for enhanced traction on ice, consider the following Studdable Winter / Snow options:

The AltiMAX Arctic is slightly better on ice and packed snow and quieter than the the Winterforce. Winterforce tires will provide more effectiveness in deeper snow.

Performance Winter / Snow

These tires will exhibit the above dry road deficiencies to a much lesser degree. If your vehicle came with summer performance tires, the Performance Winter / Snow tires will be more comparable in steering response, acceleration, grip, braking and cornering grip. They will give up some ice and packed snow grip. Tires in this category will wear slightly better compared to Studless Ice & Snow tires, especially during the early and late winter days when temperatures are a little warmer. All winter / snow tires will have more tread noise and this will vary from tire to tire. Performance Winter / Snow tires do tend to be quieter than the other performance categories.

Available in lower profile sizes, the following Performance Winter / Snow tires are great options:

Is a Studless Ice & Snow, Studdable Winter / Snow or a Performance Winter / Snow tire right for your vehicle? It depends on your car, where you live, how you drive on dry roads and how you want to balance the above compromises. For example, my brother lives in Marion, Indiana, which is about an hour northeast of Indianapolis. He got the Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 Studless Ice & Snow tire in 235/40R18 on Sport Edition A7 wheels for his 2008 BMW M3. He chose this tire because central Indiana is more apt to get ice storms and there's the potential for heavier snow that wouldn't be quickly cleared from the country roads between his offices. He's willing to drive slower on dry roads.

Compare my brother's driving situation with another driver from Louisville with the same car but a heavier foot, he would be better served with the Performance Winter / Snow Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tires in 235/40R18 front and 255/40R18 rear. Louisville's milder weather allows him to emphasize dry road performance, but still have emergency snow capability.

Let it snow.

 

Make Sure Your Spare is Ready for Winter

Thursday, October 3, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

We all know the importance of making sure the tires on our car have the proper inflation pressure. But what about your vehicle's fifth tire? Spare tires are often forgotten about or overlooked when it comes to maintenance. With your everyday tires being tested by summer's heat and your winter / snow tires battling harsh road conditions in the colder months, it's important to make sure you maintain the spare.

During one of our driving school events, we checked the air pressure of each participant's spare tire. Below are some of the findings from our experiment:

  • Mini-spare specifying 60 psi inflated to 43 psi (28% underinflated)
  • Mini-spare specifying 60 psi inflated to 27 psi (55% underinflated)
  • Mini-spare specifying 60 psi inflated to 24 psi (60% underinflated)
  • Mini-spare specifying 60 psi inflated to 18 psi (70% underinflated)
  • Mini-spare specifying 60 psi inflated to 4 psi (93% underinflated)
  • Full-size spare specifying 33 psi inflated to 9 psi (73% underinflated)

Since tires require inflation pressure to provide load capacity, if any of these tires had been placed into service, they would have been underinflated and overloaded. Even if driven on underinflated for a short period of time, the heat generated would have permanently damaged the tire or failed while in use.
 
With holiday travel just around the corner, below are some tips to keep your spare tire ready when you need it.

  • Learn how to install the spare on your vehicle before you have to. Confirm where the jack is in the vehicle and practice changing a tire.
  • Check your vehicle’s owner's manual and the temporary spare's sidewall for instructions on proper use.
  • Check the spare tire's air pressure with a pressure gauge monthly while checking all other tires on your vehicle.
  • Always confirm the inflation pressure before use and ensure that your spare has the manufacturer recommended inflation.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2

Thursday, May 30, 2013 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.

BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.12
 
 

2006 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 1,500
Location: Brandon, FL
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,500 Miles on Tires
April 23, 2013

Replaced the OEM runflats with these and am plenty happy. The runflats were stiffer (obviously) but a softer sidewall isn't bad here. Driving in rain or dry yeilds confidence b/c the tires are good about letting you know where the limit is. In this little FWD tire burner, the runflats would struggle in the dry at 4.5k to redline; these will keep gripping to 6k. I will update when I get more miles on these.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Sumitomo HTR Z II

Monday, May 13, 2013 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.

Sumitomo HTR Z II Reviewer's Overall Rating: 6.88
 
 

2007 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: League City, TX
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
March 15, 2013

I bought these as a budget-level replacement for a set of Yokohama S-drives. They look aggressive, but have much less dry traction than the s-drives. If you just want a tire for looks and want to save some money they are ok, but I would not consider them a high performance tire. They do seem to work well in the rain.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Thursday, April 25, 2013 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 Super Sport Reviewer's Overall Rating: 10
 
 

2009 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Torrance, CA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
April 17, 2013

Absolutely awesome!

The Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire transformed my car:

1) Increased ride comfort
2) Reduced road noise
3) Increased responsiveness

I highly recommend these tires! :)




 

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Direzza ZII

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 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 Direzza ZII Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9
 
 

2009 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Powder Springs, GA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
April 10, 2013

Amazingly good wet traction for a tire of this type. Quick turn-in. Only one autocross so far on a cold day. Despite the temperature, the tires had impressive grip, but didn't provide a lot of feedback as to when they were going to let loose. I expect even better performance when the weather warms up. Noisey at low speed, but tolerable.