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- Mud Flaps
- Engine Tuning
August 1, 2007
Intended for use on sedans, coupes, minivans and crossover vehicles, Standard Touring All-Season tires are designed to combine good ride comfort, low noise levels, long wear and year-round traction, including in light snow. Standard Touring All-Season tires are typically available in the S- and T-speed rated sizes and place more emphasis on ride comfort and long treadwear compared to their higher speed rated Grand Touring All-Season tire cousins.
While the introduction of new tire designs isn't that uncommon, the fact that four tire manufacturers introduced Standard Touring All-Season tire lines at about the same time is unusual. Therefore the question we needed to answer was, "Did any of the manufacturers successfully build a better mousetrap or are these new tire lines simply four of a kind?" In order to find out how well these tires fit the Standard Touring All-Season tire category and determine any differences in their capabilities, Tire Rack team conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive of the Dunlop Signature, General Altimax RT, Kumho Solus KR21 and Pirelli P4 Four Seasons tires.
Our evaluation used a 2006 BMW 325i E90 sedan, with new, full tread depth 205/55R16 tires mounted on 16x7.5" wheels.
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.
All four tires delivered ride comfort that was appropriate for the Standard Touring All-Season tire category and helped absorb the expansion joint impacts and pothole repairs along our ride loop. The Dunlop Signature earned our team's respect for its ride quality, followed closely by the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons, Kumho Solus KR21 and General Altimax RT.
Computer-tuned tread designs help reduce tread noise from today's Standard Touring All-Season tires and all four tires delivered appropriate noise qualities. The Dunlop Signature again offered a small advantage, followed by the Kumho Solus KR21, Pirelli P4 Four Seasons and General Altimax RT.
Because Standard Touring All-Season tires are not asked to corner at their limits during normal service, they are typically designed to combine predictable handling with year-round traction. Again all four tires also delivered real-world handling qualities appropriate for their category, however this time it was the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons that offered a small advantage over the group thanks to its quicker response to the driver's steering input, followed by the Kumho Solus KR21, General Altimax RT and Dunlop Signature.
What We Learned on the Test Track
While the test track is where many of the performance tires confirm their capabilities, it isn't the natural habitat for Standard Touring All-Season tires. Our 1/3-mile per lap 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, responsiveness, handling and drivability normally only encountered during abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers.
In the dry, the General Altimax RT proved quickest overall, providing predictable handling and consistent grip. The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons and Kumho Solus KR21 lapped our course less than 2/10ths of a second slower than the General tires, however the Pirelli tires offered better balanced handling while the Kumho tires slid easier when braking and were easier to spin when pushed to their limits during acceleration. The Dunlop Signature tires that were most comfortable on the road felt the least responsive of the group and lapped 4/10ths of a second behind the General.
In the wet, the General Altimax RT also proved quickest overall by providing confident traction and predictable handling. The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons' handling was predictable, but it could not match the General tire's grip. The Pirellis were 1.2 seconds off the pace. The Kumho Solus KR21 couldn't match the Pirelli's traction or predictability and it was again ranked third, 1.6 seconds behind the General. The Dunlop Signature tire's low level of wet grip allowed our team members to reach its cornering and braking limits noticeably earlier than the other three tires in this test and the Signature turned laps a significant 3-seconds slower than the leader.
Dunlop Signature (Standard Touring All-Season):
General Altimax RT (Standard Touring All-Season):
Kumho Solus KR21 (Standard Touring All-Season):
Pirelli P4 Four Seasons (Standard Touring All-Season):