July 13, 2011
As more and more passenger cars come from the factory equipped with High Performance All-Season tires, tire manufacturers continue to develop new or expand existing product lines to include an offering in this category.
Firestone has recently introduced the Firehawk Wide Oval AS, and we haven't had the opportunity to test the V-speed rated Goodyear Eagle GT in this category. So to get a better understanding of how these tires perform, the Tire Rack team conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive comparing them with the Dunlop SP Sport Signature and Yokohama AVID ENVigor. Our evaluation used 2011 BMW E92 328i coupes fitted with new, full tread depth 225/50R16 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.
All four tires delivered a reasonably quiet ride over the variety of asphalt and concrete surfaces on our route. Among the group the Yokohama AVID ENVigor held a moderate advantage, and generated the least amount of tread noise. The Dunlop SP Sport Signature was the best of the rest with only a modest hum heard on the asphalt roadways. The aggressive-looking tread patterns of the Goodyear Eagle GT and Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS both produced more tread noise, each with a moderate but distinctive tone as they rolled along.
The Yokohama AVID ENVigor also led the group in ride comfort, doing a nice job of limiting the severity of impacts that make their way to the driver. The Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS also did a good job rounding over the sharp edges of impacts, but allowed the bounce to continue for a few small oscillations before settling back down. The ride quality of the Dunlop SP Sport Signature felt somewhat firmer, while the Goodyear Eagle GT was just a little stiffer than the others as it tried to absorb expansion joints and patched potholes.
High Performance All-Season tires are expected to deliver an appropriate level of responsiveness and handling in addition to the reasonable road manners we encountered. Our team liked the balanced handling and steering feel of the Yokohama AVID ENVigor. The Dunlop SP Sport Signature was also well-liked for its crisp steering response and nimble handling. The Goodyear Eagle GT also handled well, but didn't respond with the same authority as the Yokohama and Dunlop tires. Rounding out the group was the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS which displayed appropriate levels of handling, but felt somewhat sluggish in comparison to the others.
Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, 5-cone slalom 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.
On our test track the AVID ENVigor and SP Sport Signature lapped the course in nearly identical times, with the Yokohama relying on ultimate grip and the Dunlop using its responsive and nimble handling. The Eagle GT was close to the leaders in lap time, but couldn't match their grip or subjective feel. Trailing the group was the Firehawk Wide Oval AS which displayed lower overall grip and felt noticeably less predictable in transitions than the other three.
In wet conditions it was more of the same, with the SP Sport Signature and AVID ENVigor leading the way and with less than a tenth of a second separating their lap times. Both felt sure-footed during the abrupt maneuvers on our course, with a small advantage in responsiveness and ultimate traction for the Dunlop. The Eagle GT again trailed the lead pair, slipping more easily during cornering and acceleration. The Firehawk Wide Oval AS struggled in the wet with sluggish handling and modest traction.
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 sustaining the vehicle's speed using cruise control whenever possible. They did not use hypermiling techniques to influence vehicle fuel economy.
The observed vehicle fuel economy recorded while driving on each tire is shown here:
@ 15,000 Miles
|% vs. Most Efficient|
|Dunlop SP Sport Signature (H- or V-Speed Rated)||26.9||557.6||-2.23%|
|Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS (H- or V-Speed Rated)||26.7||561.8||-3.00%|
|Goodyear Eagle GT (V-Speed Rated)||26.9||557.6||-2.23%|
|Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H- or V-Speed Rated)||27.5||545.5||---|
|* 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 difference in observed vehicle fuel economy. Based on our results the 0.8 mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of about 16.3 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $4.00/gallon, it would amount to about $65 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.
Winter weather is often unpredictable, and road conditions can change so fast that it's hard to know what waits for you around the next corner. For consistency, our snow testing is done at a dedicated winter test facility in Northern Sweden, and ice testing is done at a local hockey rink to simulate the glare ice often found at intersections and in other high-traffic areas. We measure each tire's ability to accelerate and brake in both conditions, as well as gather subjective ratings of how each tire feels from the driver's seat while driving through several inches of groomed snow on a handling course.
The relatively aggressive tread pattern of the Eagle GT paid a dividend in the snow where this tire did a good job clawing its way around the handling course. The SP Sport Signature followed with good steering authority and overall traction. Right on its heels was the Firehawk Wide Oval AS which also delivered predictable handling and good traction levels. Trailing these three was the AVID ENVigor which provided a considerably lower level of acceleration, braking and cornering traction.
The High Performance All-Season tires in this test each display their unique personalities. The Yokohama AVID ENVigor shows its refinement on the road along with good overall traction. The Dunlop SP Sport Signature has very good traction and proved to be the most responsive of the group. The Eagle GT delivers reasonable traction, but lacks the refined road manners of the Yokohama and Dunlop tires. The Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS is reasonably comfortable on the road, but falls short on responsiveness and ultimate wet and dry traction.
Dunlop SP Sport Signature (H- or V-Speed Rated) (High Performance All-Season): The Dunlop SP Sport Signature tire line includes H- and V-speed rated High Performance All-Season radials developed to deliver year-round performance for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and performance sedans. The SP Sport Signature is designed to blend treadwear, handling and traction on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow.
Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS (H- or V-Speed Rated) (High Performance All-Season): Firehawk Wide Oval AS tires featuring H- and V-speed ratings represent Firestone's High Performance All-Season tires developed for drivers looking to combine high performance handling with all-season traction for popular sports cars, sporty coupes and high performance sedans. The Firehawk Wide Oval AS is designed to provide year-round driving capability by offering predictable handling, traction and control on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow. Read more.
Goodyear Eagle GT (V-Speed Rated) (High Performance All-Season): Goodyear's Eagle GT tire line includes V-speed rated High Performance All-Season radials developed for the drivers of sports cars, coupes and sedans looking for style, handling and all-season capabilities. The Eagle GT features an eye-catching tread pattern designed to combine all-season versatility in dry and wet conditions with traction in light snow.
Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H- or V-Speed Rated) (High Performance All-Season): The Yokohama AVID ENVigor tire line includes H- and V-speed rated High Performance All-Season radials developed to meet the year-round driving needs of sports car, coupe, sedan and crossover drivers. AVID ENVigor tires are designed to combine performance, comfort and treadlife along with year-round traction, even on light snow-covered roads. Read more.
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