YONKERS, N.Y.In its most recent tire test, Consumer Reports (CR) for the first time included Chinese tire brandsthe Geostar GS716, Pegasus Advanta SUV and Sunny SN3606and reported that they simply don't measure up to most of the well-known brands.
According to CR, the three Chinese brands finished at the bottom of a group of 20 all-weather and all-season tires for light-duty pickups and SUVs that it tested. A fourth brand, from Aeolus, also was tested but not reported when CR couldn't find a ready supply of tires for consumers.
This supply issue seems to be a problem when buying 'off brand' tires, because you don't know whether the tires will be around for any length of time should you need a replacement, the consumer advocacy group said.
CR reported that the Geostar GS716, a $114 tire in size 265/70R17, was the most well-rounded of the three, coming in at 18th in the test. It offers excellent dry braking, very good handling and an average tread life, according to the magazine, but wet-stopping performance was average and winter performancespecifically snow traction and stopping on icewas only fair.
The cheaper Sunny SN3606 ($89) and Pegasus Advanta SUV ($95) models came in 19th and 20th, respectively. Both tires stopped reasonably well on pavement and offer impressive hydroplaning resistance, CR said, but they offer poor snow traction, fair stopping ability on ice, stiff and noisy ride characteristics and shorter than average tread life.
CR later removed the ratings for the Pegasus Advanta because American Pacific Industries Inc. (API), the owner of the Pegasus brand name, informed CR that the tires it tested were not distributed by an authorized Pegasus vendor. API also has been phasing out the Pegasus name in favor of the Advanta brand name.
Factor in the cost of buying two additional sets of tires, plus mounting and balancing, and you could save hundreds of dollars, not to mention get a better all-weather performing tire, if you choose the Michelin, the magazine said.
CR said these findings do not reflect tires manufactured in China by companies based in other countries.
Tires are a global commodity, and many of the major brand names that Consumer Reports tests are manufactured in China, CR said.
But those tires are designed and manufactured to quality standards dictated by the original manufacturers. Chinese tire brands don't have that oversight, nor the marketing foresight to design products well-suited to the specific requirements of the U.S. consumer.