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Early in 2004, Goodyear introduced their first tire featuring TripleTred technology, which combines a distinctive directional tread pattern with multiple tread compounds to enhance traction in all weather conditions, dry, wet and snow. As part of the Assurance product family, the Assurance TripleTred brought Goodyear's advanced design and manufacturing technologies to the Passenger All-Season tire category, with sizes to fit passenger cars and most minivans.
Realizing that SUVs comprise a very large portion of the vehicle pool in North America, Goodyear has also applied TripleTred technology into their latest Highway All-Season SUV/Light Truck tire, the Fortera TripleTred. And just like its passenger car companion, the Fortera TripleTred features the same unique directional tread pattern and multiple tread compounds, designed to enhance traction in all weather conditions. But being more than just a larger version of the passenger car tire, the Fortera TripleTred was developed and tuned specifically for the way SUVs and pick up trucks are driven today.
To find out how well the Fortera TripleTred performs, The Tire Rack Team conducted a Real World Road Ride comparing the Fortera TripleTred with two of the popular options for today's SUVs, the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza and Michelin's Cross Terrain SUV. Like the Goodyear tire, the Bridgestone features multiple tread compounds (in most sizes, including our test size) to aid traction, while the Michelin tire is engineered inside and out to help your SUV ride and handle more like a car than a truck.
Our evaluation used three 2005 Toyota Highlander AWD SUVs, with new, full tread depth P225/70R16 tires mounted on the factory 16x7.5" wheels inflated to the cold pressure recommended on the vehicle placard.
What We Learned on the Road
Our 5.6-mile loop of expressway, state highway and county roads provides a great variety of road conditions that include city and highway speeds, smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt. This route allows our team to experience noise comfort, ride quality and everyday handling, just as you would during your drive to school or work.
The three tires in our evaluation feature the latest design and manufacturing technologies, yielding some of the best road manners found in the category. Across the variety of surfaces and travel speeds along our road route, the level of tread noise from all three tires in our test was found to be pleasantly low. The Bridgestone Dueler A/L Alenza displayed a slight advantage over the other two, producing a minimal amount of noise with only a hint of low speed growl. The Cross Terrain SUV produced modest tread noise that was broad and non-distinct, but heard at all speeds. This relatively "white" noise was present, but not objectionable. The aggressive tread pattern of the Fortera TripleTred was found to produce a distinctive pitch audible at lower and medium (below highway) speeds, but seemed to fade into the background once up to highway speeds.
For overall ride comfort, the Fortera TripleTred did a good job isolating the small- and medium-sized bumps, while feeling only modestly firm over the biggest impacts along our route. The Dueler H/L Alenza also did a good job smoothing out the rough sections of our test drive, but some of the smaller ripples in the road were felt in the cabin through the seat and floor. The CrossTerrain SUV provided acceptable ride qualities, and was ranked a close third among this group.
In the handling department, the Fortera TripleTred was praised for its quick steering response, but felt almost nervous reacting to the initial twist of the steering wheel. The CrossTerrain SUV offered predictable response to steering inputs that remained smooth and linear. The Dueler H/L Alenza was a close third, feeling slightly less precise than the other two while still feeling appropriate for a tire in this category.
While all three tires in this evaluation are all-season capable, the Goodyear Fortera TripleTred is one of the first all-season tires to be branded with the snowflake-on-the-mountain symbol, indicating this tire meets severe snow service requirements established by the U.S. Rubber Manufactures Association (RMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC). Our fall test period did not provide cold temperatures or any snow to evaluate the performance of these tires under winter conditions. We hope to conduct follow up testing later this winter.
What We Learned on the Test Track
Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, lane changes and simulated expressway ramps. Run in both dry and wet conditions, the test track allows our team to experience the traction, responsive handling and drivability normally only encountered during abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers or competition events.
Scheduling and the handling dynamics of the vehicles used in our test only allowed us to conduct the dry and wet straight line braking test.
Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza (Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season): The Dueler H/L Alenza with UNI-T and/or UNI-T AQII technology is Bridgestone's Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season light truck tire developed for the drivers of premium crossover and sport utility vehicles, as well as light duty pickup trucks. The Dueler H/L Alenza is designed to provide elegance with an edge, as well as year-round traction, even in light snow. Read More.
Goodyear Fortera TripleTred (Highway All-Season): The Fortera featuring TripleTred Technology is Goodyear's innovative Highway All-Season light truck tire developed to give pickup, van and sport utility vehicle owners peace of mind when driving on any road in virtually any weather. It was designed to combine long wear with remarkable year-round traction in a variety of weather conditions, including snow. Read More.
Michelin Cross Terrain SUV (Highway All-Season): The Michelin Cross Terrain SUV tire is a premium highway all-season light truck tire designed to complement the way most Americans drive their sport utility vehicles. The Cross Terrain SUV tire was developed to combine the looks of a light truck tire with the low noise and ride comfort associated with a luxury car tire. Read More.