September 3, 2010
Standard Touring All-Season tires typically feature S- or T-speed ratings, and are designed to blend the good noise and ride comfort of a Passenger All-Season tire with some of the enhanced handling found in Grand Touring All-Season tires. Add to that reasonably long tread life and the ability to cope with winter's slush and light snow and Standard Touring All-Season tires make a popular upgrade over the basic Passenger All-Season tires found as Original Equipment on many passenger cars.
Two new Standard Touring All-Season tires have recently hit the road - the BFGoodrich Premier Touring and the Firestone Precision Touring. We wanted to find out how well these two tires blend comfort and handling, so we conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive. We compared them with two popular options from the category - the General AltiMAX RT and Yokohama AVID TOURING-S. Our evaluation used 2011 BMW E92 328i coupes fitted with new, full tread depth 205/55R16 tires mounted on 16x7.5" wheels.
Our 6.6-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.
Out on the road our team found the Yokohama AVID TOURING-S did the best job at minimizing the amount and severity of impacts that made their way to the driver. The General AltiMAX RT followed close behind, feeling only slightly firmer but still very well controlled. The BFGoodrich Premier Touring and Firestone Precision Touring rounded out the group, both displaying similar ride qualities that were good, but not quite as refined as the Yokohama or General tires.
When it came to noise levels, the AVID TOURING-S treated our drivers to a surprisingly quiet ride as it rolled down the road. The AltiMAX RT followed closely behind, generating just a hint of additional volume. The noise level of the Precision Touring was found to be very similar to the AltiMAX RT, while the Premier Touring generated a little more tread noise than the other three tires in the test.
Driving isn't just about a smooth and quiet ride. Stable handling is important, too, and all four of the test tires delivered appropriate levels for the category. The AltiMAX RT felt the most responsive of the group, adding a nicely weighted on-center feel when driving straight ahead. The Premier Touring and Precision Touring tires both felt stable during cornering, while the AVID TOURING-S felt a little bit disconnected and less precise than the other three.
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, responsiveness, handling and drivability normally only encountered during abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers or competition events.
In dry conditions all four of the Standard Touring All-Season tires in our test delivered predictable handling on the track, with similar levels of overall traction. The handling balance of the Yokohama AVID TOURING-S helped this tire achieve a small advantage in ultimate lap time, while the Firestone Precision Touring was able to stop in the shortest distance from 50 mph and the BFGoodrich Premier Touring generated the highest lateral g-forces during steady-state cornering.
Differences in handling and traction were more noticeable in the wet. Here, the AltiMAX RT was the easiest to control when driving at the limit. Very close behind was the Precision Touring, which felt stable during abrupt maneuvers. The Premier Touring and AVID TOURING-S both struggled to find traction, feeling slippery and skiddish when driven at the limit.
Our Real World Road Ride features a relatively flat 6.6-mile loop of 65 mph expressway, 55 mph state highway and 40 mph county roads along with two stop signs and one traffic light every lap. Our team drove approximately 500 miles over the course of several days. Since we wanted to compare fuel consumption results that typical drivers would experience, our drivers were instructed to maintain the flow of traffic by running at the posted speed limits and sustain the vehicle's speed using cruise control whenever possible. They did not use hypermiling techniques to influence vehicle fuel economy.
@ 15,000 Miles
|% vs. Most Efficient|
|BFGoodrich Premier Touring||26.5||566.0||-1.89%|
|Firestone Precision Touring||26.8||559.7||-0.75%|
|General AltiMAX RT||27.0||555.6||--|
|Yokohama AVID TOURING-S||26.8||559.7||-0.75%|
|*Our evaluation used Linear Logic ScanGauge II automotive computers to record fuel consumption, and Race Technology DL1 data loggers to record true distance travelled.|
While none of the tires in this test were designed with low rolling resistance as a high priority, we did find a small difference in observed vehicle fuel economy. Based on our results the 0.5 mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of just over 10 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $2.75/gallon, it would amount to almost $29 for drivers traveling 15,000 miles a year.
It's important to note our test's fuel consumption measurements follow consistent procedures designed to minimize variables that could influence the results, however they do not represent an exhaustive long-range fuel consumption study. While our procedures require the test vehicles in each convoy to run under the same prevailing conditions, the week-to-week differences in ambient temperatures, barometric pressures and wind speeds that we experience over a season of testing can influence vehicle fuel consumption and prevent the absolute mpg values of this test from being compared directly against those of others.
Larger differences in consumption between tires may indicate a difference that might be experienced on the road, while smaller differences should be considered equivalent. As they say, your mileage may vary.
BFGoodrich Premier Touring (Standard Touring All-Season): The Premier Touring is BFGoodrich's Standard Touring All-Season tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans and minivans. The attractively priced Premier Touring is designed to combine long wear and impressive ride with all-weather traction, even in light snow.
Firestone Precision Touring (Standard Touring All-Season): The Precision Touring is Firestone's Standard Touring All-Season tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans, family minivans and crossover vehicles looking for year-round capability and comfort. The affordably priced Precision Touring is designed to blend long treadwear, a quiet ride and all-season traction on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow. Read more.
General AltiMAX RT (Standard Touring All-Season): The AltiMAX RT (Road Touring) is General Tire's Standard Touring All-Season tire member of their AltiMAX family of flagship tires. The AltiMAX RT was developed to address the many challenges faced by today's coupe, sedan, van, crossover and SUV drivers. The AltiMAX RT is designed to combine reliability, comfort and tread life, as well as provide year-round traction, even in light snow. Read more.
Yokohama AVID TOURING-S (Standard Touring All-Season): The AVID TOURING-S is Yokohama's Standard Touring All-Season tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans and minivans. It was designed to combine ride quality, smooth handling, durability and traction in any season, including in light snow. Read more.
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