The Dunlop SP Sport A2 scored highest in performance tests of H-speed rated, all-season tires conducted by Consumer Reports magazine.
Test results, published in the November issue, ranked the tire first among nine H-rated touring-performance tires.
In the same issue, CR also tested and ranked 17 winter tires comprising six H-rated models and 11 Q-rated models that included S- and T-rated equivalents. Among the H-rated winter tires, the Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip GW-2 ranked No. 1, with the Dunlop SP Winter Sport M2 a close second.
In the all-season test, the Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus received the second highest score followed by Continental ContiTouringContact CH95, Kelly Charger HR, Cooper Lifeliner Touring SLE, Toyo Proxes TPT, Yokohama Avid H4, Goodyear Eagle LS and the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring HR.
CR described the Dunlop SP Sport A2 as ``an excellent, all-around choice, with the best overall braking'' and ``good rolling resistance.''
The Michelin Energy MXV4 also was hailed by the magazine as ``an excellent, all-around choice'' with ``excellent cornering and rolling resistance.'' However, CR took issue with the Michelin tire's price and lack of a treadwear warranty.
The Continental ContiTouringContact CH95, ranked third, was called ``an impressive handling tire'' with ``very good cornering grip and rolling resistance.''
CR described the Kelly Charger HR as ``competent overall, though cornering grip was weakest of the group.'' It was ranked ahead of the Cooper Lifeliner Touring SLE, which the publication called a good dry-weather choice, but demonstrated poor rolling resistance.
The tests were conducted on tires sized P195/65R15-standard for the magazine's Honda Accord EX test car. CR noted that a competitive market is making some H-rated touring-performance, all-season tires nearly as affordable as S- and T-rated, regular all-season tires. Since 1995, sales of H-rated tires have risen more than 40 percent as prices drop and common sizes become more available, according to CR.
The magazine also presented a graph, headlined ``Where you buy can save you a bundle,'' comparing prices of the major brands at various outlets.
It found that independent tire dealers and mail-order retailers, including Arizona's Discount Tire Co. and South Bend, Ind.-based Tire Rack, offered lower prices than large chains and warehouse clubs.
In the winter tire test, the Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip GW-2 was described as ``an excellent, all-around choice'' with ``best dry and wet braking among H-rated tires'' and ``best ice braking'' without anti-lock brakes. The Dunlop SP Winter Sport M2, in turn, also was billed as an ``excellent, all-around choice, with responsive handling.''
The T-rated Kumho I'zen Stud KW-11 ranked No. 1 among Q-rated winter tires, while the Michelin Arctic Alpin came in second. Both tires were called ``excellent'' choices where snow is less severe. The I'zen Stud KW-11 had the best dry and wet braking among the group, according to CR.
Emphasizing safety-related performance on dry, wet and icy roads, CR noted that better dry braking helped the Kumho tire edge out the Michelin Arctic Alpin, which was the top performer in the magazine's 1998 winter tire test.
The latest winter tire tests were conducted using size 195/70R14 for the Q-rated tires fitting a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier test car and in P225/55R16 in the H-rated tires to fit a 2001 BMW 530i test car.