August 22, 2014
It's time for new tires on the family minivan or your standard passenger or compact car, and for most drivers a tire that offers a blend of good traction, comfortable ride and reasonable treadlife is a good fit. This is basic transportation after all, so purchase price is a consideration, too. You'd also prefer to stick with a known brand, rather than choose a tire from a company with a funny sounding name you've never heard of before. If this sounds like you and what you need, then there's good news. A wide range of Passenger or Standard Touring All-Season tires from name brands are designed to deliver exactly the combination you're looking for.
The Goodyear Assurance All-Season tire was developed as an entry-level option to the rest of the Assurance family of specialists (Assurance TripleTred All-Season with a focus on traction, Assurance ComforTred for a smooth ride and Assurance Fuel Max designed to ease costs at the gas pump). To find out how the Goodyear Assurance All-Season performs, the Tire Rack team conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive comparing it with three other tires, the Firestone FR710, General AltiMAX RT43 and Yokohama AVID Ascend. Our evaluation used 2014 BMW F30 328i sedans fitted with new, full tread depth 215/60R16 tires mounted on 16x7.5 wheels.
Our 6.0-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.
Our team was a little split on which tire delivered the best ride quality. The Yokohama AVID Ascend was very comfortable, almost isolating in how it separated road imperfections from the driver. However, its soft ride did bring a little secondary motion after encountering larger impacts. In comparison, the General AltiMAX RT43 had better big bump control, delivering a single, taut thump when it hit larger impacts. Both tires did a good job enveloping smaller ripples and impacts along the route. The Goodyear Assurance All-Season and Firestone FR710 both delivered ride quality appropriate for the Passenger All-Season category, but when compared with the other tires in this test they let some additional ride harshness find its way into the vehicle.
Overall noise levels were moderate with all four tires. Here, the Yokohama and General tires again led the group, producing the least amount of tread and impact noise. The Goodyear and Firestone tires produced a bit more tread whine and impact boom.
During everyday light handling the AltiMAX RT43 felt noticeably more direct and responsive, giving a connected and reassuring feel through the steering wheel. The Assurance All-Season led the rest of the group with good steering response, followed by the AVID Ascend and FR710 tires close behind.
Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, a five-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.
In dry conditions, all four tires stopped in nearly identical distances during our panic stop test. Lap times around the handling course were very similar, too, with three tires essentially tying for quickest lap time, and the fourth just a few tenths of a second behind. Subjectively the General and Goodyear tires stood out somewhat with more direct steering response and better stability in rapid transitions.
In the wet, we found a significant difference in feel and overall traction levels. Here the AltiMAX RT43 showed a significant advantage over the others, with much better cornering grip, stability and stopping traction. The FR710 followed, but couldn't come close to matching the AltiMAX RT43. The AVID Ascend displayed noticeably less grip and significant understeer that made cornering hard and transitioning quickly somewhat difficult. Trailing the others was the Assurance All-Season, which struggled to accelerate, corner or brake at any sort of significant effort level. The only option was to reduce your speed and use slow, deliberate inputs to avoid initiating any slide.
Winter weather is often unpredictable; and snow-covered roads change with every passing vehicle as they churn snow into slush or pack it down to polished ice. A constantly changing test surface makes side-by-side comparisons difficult, so we use a dedicated winter testing facility in Northern Sweden with acres of groomed snow that provides the consistency we need to get reliable acceleration and braking comparisons. This facility also has a prepared snow-handling course where we evaluate the stability and control of each tire during abrupt maneuvers. To simulate the icy conditions found at intersections or the black ice experienced out on the highway, we use ice at a local hockey rink and measure acceleration and braking traction.
The General AltiMAX RT43 performed well in our winter tests, leading the group for overall snow traction. The Goodyear Assurance All-Season was a close second overall for winter performance. The Yokohama AVID Ascend proved adequate in winter performance, but didn't perform at the same level as the General and Goodyear tires. Trailing the others was the Firestone FR710, which struggled to start, stop and turn in comparison to the other three tires in our test.
Our Real World Road Ride features a relatively flat 6.0-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 each tire approximately 400 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|
|General AltiMAX RT43||30.2||496.7||-2.27%|
|Goodyear Assurance All-Season||30.9||485.4||--|
|Yokohama AVID Ascend||30.4||493.4||-1.62%|
|*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 its primary priority, we did find a difference in observed vehicle fuel economy across the group. Based on our results the 1.1 mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of 18 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $3.50/gallon, it would amount to an annual difference of $63 for drivers driving 15,000 miles per 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.
The General AltiMAX RT43 is the all-around winner of this group, trading only a slight penalty in outright ride comfort for much better handling and class-leading traction in the wet and winter conditions. The Yokohama AVID Ascend takes a different tact, focusing on a smooth and quiet ride, but falls somewhat short on wet snow traction. The Goodyear Assurance All-Season performs adequately in dry and winter conditions, but lacks the wet grip to come close to the other tires in the test. Rounding out the group is the Firestone FR710, which proved adequate on the road and in dry/wet conditions, but falls well short of the others in the snow.
Firestone FR710 (Passenger All-Season): Passenger All-Season tires are for drivers who want a combination of a smooth ride, good wear and S- or T-speed rated durability along with all-season traction, including in light snow. Passenger All-Season tires branded with the M+S symbol are often used as Original Equipment (O.E.) on standard coupes, sedans and family vans, as well as some entry-level pickup, crossover and sport utility vehicles. Read more.
General AltiMAX RT43 (Standard Touring All-Season): AltiMAX RT43 (Road Touring) tires featuring T-speed ratings are General's Standard Touring All-Season tire members of their AltiMAX family of flagship tires. Designed to deliver impressive consumer value through even treadwear and extended treadlife, the AltiMAX RT43 combines a quiet, comfortable ride with year-round, all-season traction, even in light snow. Read more.
Goodyear Assurance All-Season (Passenger All-Season): The Assurance All-Season is Goodyear's entry-level Passenger All-Season member of their Assurance family of tires. Developed for drivers of family sedans and minivans looking for practical tires that provide confident all-season traction, the Assurance All-Season delivers Goodyear value by combining attractive pricing, long wear and year-round traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions, even in light snow. Read more.
Yokohama AVID Ascend (Standard Touring All-Season): The AVID Ascend featuring T-speed rated sizes is Yokohama's first mass-produced Standard Touring All-Season tire line in the United States using Yokohama's Orange Oil technology and branded with their BluEarth eco-friendly identification. Developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans, minivans and crossover vehicles, the AVID Ascend is designed to blend long treadwear, low rolling resistance and all-season traction, even in light snow. Read more.
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