YONKERS, N.Y.—Michelin, Pirelli and Continental are considered the top-three rated tire brands in the U.S., according to the latest testing results from Consumer Reports (CR).
CR said it calculated a brand's score by averaging the overall scores of the tested models (the scale ranges from 0 to 100) in its tire test program, which provides detailed ratings on 150 tire models from more than 25 brands.
CR rated tires in several categories, including all-season and performance all-season car tires, ultra-high-performance (UHP) all-season and summer tires, all-season and all-terrain light truck tires, winter/snow tires for cars and light trucks, and performance winter/snow tires.
The publication noted that it excluded tire brands for which it had tested fewer than three tires.
"The final scores here reveal just how competitive the market is, with scant difference between the leaders," the magazine's editors wrote.
"Working through the data is a reminder that although brand perception can be a useful aid, it is more important for you to understand how the tires rank in a given category and to consider how a tire model performs.
"Our tests measure performance in braking, comfort, handling, hydroplaning, noise, snow traction, and other important areas," the editors wrote. "Plus we can also predict the tread life in miles based on our extensive treadwear test program. Combined, this information can help you find the best tires for your car."
Michelin, Pirelli, Continental, Nokian and Goodyear rounded out the top five brands on CR's list, but it noted that the publication also recommends the tire models of several other brands, including BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Cooper, Falken, General, Hankook, Toyo and Yokohama.
"To earn a Consumer Reports recommendation, a tire must have impressed our engineers in testing and be an exemplary overall performer in its class. By no means are these the only brands whose tires are recommended. Illustrating just how competitive the market is…," CR said.
Michelin tires are at or near the top of CR ratings in every category they are represented in and in all are recommended models, the firm said.
The top-rated Michelin brand tire by category are:
All-season performance: Premier A/S;
UHP summer: Pilot Super Sport;
UHP all-season: Pilot Sport A/S 3+;
Light truck all-season: LTX M/S 2;
Light truck all-terrain: LTX A/T 2;
Winter/snow: X-Ice XI3;
Performance winter/snow: Pilot Alpin PA4; and
Light truck winter/snow: Latitude X-Ice XI2.
The Pirelli UHP and performance tires earned high marks for their balance of grip and handling, CR said. The top Pirelli models by category include:
All-season: P4 Four Seasons Plus;
Performance all-season: Cinturato P7 All Season Plus;
UHP summer: P Zero;
UHP all-season: P Zero All Season Plus; and
Light truck all-season: Scorpion Verde All Season Plus.
Most Continental tires scored high in their respective categories, CR said, noting their stopping grip on dry and wet roads is impressive across the board, along with a good mix of handling and comfort.
"Tread life falls a bit short of best in class, but this is often offset by attractive pricing. We are eagerly waiting to test Continental's new UHP summer tire, the ExtremeContactSport, and a new truck all-terrain tire, the TerrainContact A/T," CR said.
The recommended Conti brand tires in each category are:
Performance all-season: PureContact;
UHP all-season: ExtremeContact DWS06;
Light truck all-season: CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus;
Winter/snow: WinterContact SI; and
Light truck winter/snow: Extreme WinterContact.
CR noted that one of Nokian's highest-scoring tires is the zLine UHP summer tire, even though Nokian is known for its winter tire lines.
"For drivers who want one tire that can do it all, there are the WR G3 and WR G3 SUV all-weather tires that offer a good combination of snow traction and grip over clear roads," CR said.
CR recommended Nokian tires for three categories:
UHP summer: Nokian zLine;
Winter/snow: Hakkapeliitta R2, WR G3; and
Light truck winter/snow: Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV.
Goodyear tires are generally rated toward the top in most popular categories, CR said, in particular for their all-weather performance for all-season and all-terrain models.
"The UHP tires provide tenacious grip and responsive handling. Adding to their value, Goodyear tires wear well based on CR's treadwear test," the firm said.
CR's recommended Goodyear tires include:
UHP summer: Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3;
Light truck all-season: Assurance CS TripleTred All-Season; and
Light truck all-terrain: Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.
See CR, page 23