YONKERS, N.Y.-Consumer Reports has rated the Dunlop Radial Rover its No. 1 choice among 10 sport-utility and pickup tires in comparative tests reported in the magazine's January 1996 issue. The Radial Rover, with the second lowest average price and highest UTQG treadwear grading (440) among the tires tested, also was designated a ``best buy'' by the magazine.
The publication said the Radial Rover slightly outperformed the rest in its braking tests and was among the best in dry and wet cornering while delivering a safe, responsive and comfortable ride.
``For most light truck owners, we see little reason to consider any tire model except the Dunlop,'' Consumer Reports said.
The remaining nine P235/75R15 tires as ranked were the Michelin LTX M/S and LTX A/T, Cooper Discoverer, Kelly Safari SJR, Bridgestone Dueler APT, General Grabber AP, Goodyear Wrangler Aquatred, Firestone ATX II and Goodyear Wrangler Radial.
But the magazine said there wasn't all that much difference between the scores of the highest- and lowest-ranked tires.
The publication gave the No. 1-ranked Radial Rover an ``excellent'' rating, whereas the next seven tires were rated ``very good'' and the two lowest were rated ``good.''
The Michelin LTX M/S was described as a ``good wet-weather performer with (antilock brakes) and very comfortable-softer and quieter than the others.'' The Michelin LTX A/T, meanwhile, was described as ``among the quietest tires on smooth pavement.''
The No. 3-ranked Cooper Discoverer, the publication said, demonstrated the ``strongest grip in dry cornering.''
But the magazine said it was ``surprised the Goodyear Wrangler Aquatred ($120) didn't excel in (its) wet-pavement tests and that the Goodyear Wrangler Radial ($100)-a very big seller-was the worst of the group.''
Responding to those comments, a Goodyear spokesman said the firm's own product testing using ``technically sophisticated, highly controlled methods under widely variable conditions that generate proven statistical repeatability'' lead to conclusions different from those of Consumer Reports.
``However, Goodyear does agree with the magazine's contention that the tires evaluated are `impressive' and that `there wasn't all that much difference, overall,' '' he said.
To measure stopping ability, the brakes of the magazine's Jeep Grand Cherokee were applied at 60 mph on dry pavement and 40 mph on wet. The average stopping distance on dry pavement was 139 feet. On wet pavement, the average stopping distance was 72 feet with ABS and 93 feet without.
The Wrangler Aquatreds, meanwhile, stopped the vehicle in 142 feet on dry pavement. On the wet, they required 74 feet to stop with ABS turned on and 91 feet without ABS. The Wrangler Radials required 141 feet to stop on dry pavement, 76 feet on the wet with the ABS on and 97 feet without ABS.