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Sept. 5, 2003
2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sport Utility Vehicles
The diverse performance of today's sophisticated sport activity vehicles, traditional SUVs and civilized pickup trucks demands more specialization from their tires. Long wearing tires capable of summer and winter traction for traditional pickups and SUVs need different tread patterns and internal construction than the wider, lower profile performance tires aimed at satisfying drivers of European and Asian sport activity vehicles.
Recognizing this need, Pirelli has chosen to tailor the design characteristics of the Scorpion STR Highway All-Season tire line to better match the requirements of the vehicle they are fitted to. The Scorpion STR is molded with the European tread pattern, features an H-speed rating, and is produced in wider, lower profile sizes aimed at performance sport activity vehicles and hybrid 4x4 station wagons. The Scorpion STR A features the "North American" tread pattern, carries a T-speed rating in most sizes, and is produced in the taller, narrower sizes commonly found on many traditional SUVs and light trucks.
To evaluate the differences between the Pirelli Scorpion STR and Scorpion STR A, Tire Rack team conducted a Real World Road Ride comparing both to a third vehicle equipped with Bridgestone Dueler H/L D683 tires. We used three 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokees with new, full tread depth P245/70R16 tires mounted on 16x8" wheels.
Bridgestone Dueler H/L D683
Whether in town or on the Interstate, Dueler H/L D683 tires are designed to bring the qualities of passenger car comfort and a quiet ride to sport utility vehicles and pickups.
The Dueler H/L D683 was one of the first Bridgestone tires to feature UNI-T AQ technology, which in addition to several technologies aimed at optimizing performance characteristics, adds dual layer tread compounds to further resist the normal tread rubber hardening that can result from the heat of friction encountered during thousands of miles of use. As the tire wears, a second underlying high-grip rubber is exposed in the tread area, helping offset the effects on wet surface braking and handling, keeping wet performance up as the tread wears down. Our evaluation compared new, full tread depth tires, and we were not able to assess the tire's performance later in its life.
Out on the road, the Dueler H/L D683 was praised for its comfortable ride, although it was not as quiet as either version of the Pirelli Scorpion STR. The trade off for best-in-test ride comfort was in road handling, where the Dueler H/L didn't feel quite as responsive as the Scorpion STR or Scorpion STR A.
Pirelli Scorpion STR and Scorpion STR A
The Scorpion STR and Scorpion STR A tires are Pirelli's Premium Highway All-Season tires that were designed to deliver the Stability, Traction and Ratings (STR) appropriate for today's light trucks by adapting their performance to the needs of sport utility vehicles, light duty pickup trucks and 4x4 vehicles. The Scorpion STR tires are designed to combine a quiet and comfortable ride along with ease of handling and year round traction, even in light snow.
The Scorpion STR's tread compound is molded into one of two similar, but slightly different symmetric tread designs. The tires featuring Pirelli's "North American" tread pattern are identified as Scorpion STR A tires, while those featuring their "European" tread pattern are simply identified as Scorpion STR tires.
The Scorpion STR A tire's "North American tread pattern" features continuous shoulder ribs and narrower grooves between all of the independent tread blocks. This pattern also features more sipes, or fine slits, in the shoulders and intermediate rows of tread blocks, to aid in light snow and slush traction. This type of tread design would normally tend to result in a quieter, and more even-wearing tire.
The Scorpion STR tire's European tread pattern features lateral grooves through the shoulder ribs and larger grooves between all of the independent tread blocks. This type of tread design would normally tend to result in a tire with better hydroplaning resistance. Designed for European driving, where stretches of unlimited-speed Autobahn highway still exist, all but one size of the Scorpion STR carries an H-speed rating. While you may never drive above the posted legal speed limit, a tire with a higher speed rating normally translates into more responsive handling even at normal, everyday road speeds.
On the inside, both Scorpion STR tires feature twin, high-tensile steel belts reinforced with polyamide to provide strength and durability on top of a two-ply polyester cord body that helps cushion the ride.
The Pirelli Scorpion STR with European tread pattern generated the least amount of tread noise among the three tires in this evaluation providing a fairly quiet ride. With its large shoulder blocks and H-speed rating, we expected the Scorpion STR would offer the best road handling of the three tires tested. But to our surprise, it fell between the other two tires in this test.
Out on the road, our team found the Pirelli Scorpion STR A with the "North American" tread pattern offered the best overall handling of the three tires in this test, feeling very responsive and crisp turning into the corners, aided by the relatively tight tread pattern with its five nearly continuous rows of tread blocks. This version did produce more tread noise than the Scorpion STR, however. Ride comfort was rated as modestly firmer than the Scorpion STR, but still appropriate for a tire in the Highway All-Season tire category.
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