Plus TIRE + WHEEL Spe­cial

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IF YOU DON’T know what you’re look­ing for, choos­ing a new set of tires can be daunt­ing. There are enough cat­e­gories, ve­hi­cle rat­ings, and op­tions to bam­boo­zle even the most DIY-savvy con­sumers, and it doesn’t get much eas­ier if you talk to your lo­cal tire shop. How­ever, much like cars, there are seg­ment stand­outs that of­fer best-in-class cost, longevity, and grip. To kick-start the process, we part­nered with the rub­ber ex­perts at Tire Rack to de­velop a Best Of list for a wide breadth of needs, from daily run­ners to knobby all-ter­rains.

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MICHE­LIN PI­LOT SPORT 4S

De­rived from Miche­lin’s Pi­lot Su­per Sport line, the Pi­lot Sport 4S pro­vides warm-weather grip in dry or wet con­di­tions. Vari­able Con­tact Patch 3.0 evenly dis­trib­utes pres­sure across the con­tact patch, and the sil­ica-in­fused cen­ter com­pound re­duces brak­ing dis­tance in the wet.

Tire Rack says: The Pi­lot Sport 4S re­ally im­pressed our test team. It man­aged to im­prove on the per­for­mance of its classlead­ing pre­de­ces­sor in the wet and the dry while also mak­ing gains in noise and ride qual­ity for daily com­fort.

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PIRELLI P ZERO PZ4

Us­ing tech­niques de­vel­oped through com­pe­ti­tion in For­mula 1, the Pirelli P Zero PZ4 is de­signed to de­liver ex­cel­lent dry han­dling, wet grip, and re­fine­ment suit­able for driv­ers of high-end ve­hi­cles.

Tire Rack says: Pirelli worked with some of the most pres­ti­gious au­tomak­ers in the world dur­ing the devel­op­ment of the PZ4, and it shows in the fin­ished prod­uct. Re­fined on the road, the P Zero PZ4 also has the per­for­mance cre­den­tials to keep up with the best in the class.

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FIRE­STONE FIREHAWK INDY 500

With a high-grip, sum­mer-weather-fo­cused com­pound and large out­board shoul­der, the Firehawk Indy 500 is de­signed to de­liver high-speed cor­ner­ing and lat­eral trac­tion. The main cir­cum­fer­en­tial groove uses Pulse Groove Tech­nol­ogy to en­hance wa­ter evac­u­a­tion, and the ad­vanced com­pound delivers high lev­els of wet trac­tion.

Tire Rack says: The Firehawk Indy 500 has found a sweet spot in the mar­ket. It has ag­gres­sive good looks, re­spon­sive han­dling, and con­fi­dent trac­tion in dry and wet con­di­tions, all at a value-ori­ented price.

PAS

MICHE­LIN PI­LOT SPORT A/S 3+

Com­bin­ing pre­dictable han­dling and high-speed dura­bil­ity with year-round ca­pa­bil­ity, the Miche­lin Pi­lot Sport A/S 3+ uses sun­flower oil and Ex­treme Sil­ica tech­nol­ogy in the tread rub­ber to in­crease trac­tion at low tem­per­a­tures and in wet con­di­tions.

Tire Rack says: The Pi­lot Sport A/S 3+ has been the king of the hill in our Ul­tra High Per­for­mance All-Sea­son cat­e­gory in dry han­dling and brak­ing since it was re­leased. Bet­ter still, it leads the cat­e­gory in our ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing tests in the snow, as well.

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BRIDGE­STONE POTENZA RE980AS

The all-sea­son com­pound of the Bridge­stone Potenza RE980AS is molded into a noise-op­ti­mized pat­tern, bal­anc­ing per­for­mance with quiet com­fort. The sipes in­ter­lock for im­proved dry-weather han­dling, and com­bined with the in­de­pen­dent tread blocks, they cre­ate the bit­ing edges needed for trac­tion in wet or snowy con­di­tions.

Tire Rack says: Bridge­stone kept us wait­ing for a long time be­fore re­leas­ing the Potenza RE980AS, and it was worth the wait. Best-in-cat­e­gory wet trac­tion is the head­line, and it can hold its own in the dry, too.

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VREDESTEIN QUATRAC 5

The high-sil­ica tread com­pound and asym­met­ric pat­tern of the Vredestein Quatrac 5 are en­gi­neered with a fo­cus on per­for­mance in vari­able con­di­tions. The lat­eral notches, in­de­pen­dent tread blocks, and high-den­sity zigzag sipes help de­liver the snow trac­tion needed to earn the Three-Peak Moun­tain Snowflake sym­bol.

Tire Rack says: Our testers were thrilled with the com­plete pack­age de­liv­ered by the Quatrac 5, and driv­ers agree, as it tops our con­sumer rat­ings.

PW MICHE­LIN PI­LOT ALPIN PA4

The Pi­lot Alpin PA4 is de­signed for en­thu­si­asts who might en­counter snow-cov­ered roads in their ul­tra-high-per­for­mance cars. The wrap­around shoul­der en­hances han­dling and lat­eral grip, and the He­lio Com­pound+ tread rub­ber re­mains flex­i­ble in low tem­per­a­tures for bet­ter trac­tion in cold con­di­tions.

Tire Rack says: From cold, clear road han­dling to wet trac­tion and brak­ing to im­pres­sive and pre­dictable ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the snow, the Pi­lot Alpin PA4 is the com­plete pack­age.

PW PIRELLI SCOR­PION WIN­TER & PIRELLI WIN­TER SOT­TOZERO 3

De­signed as sea­sonal tires suit­able for cold weather, freez­ing road con­di­tions, and ice and snow, the Pirelli Scor­pion Win­ter and Win­ter Sot­tozero 3 fea­ture a tread de­sign com­posed of ar­row-shaped cen­ter blocks and rounded shoul­ders to dis­si­pate wa­ter and slush.

Tire Rack says: The Win­ter Sot­tozero 3 is a stand­out per­former and a fa­vorite of driv­ers look­ing to keep their sports cars (and with the Scor­pion, cross­over SUVs) on the road year-round.

PW

BRIDGE­STONE BLIZZAK LM001

The Bridge­stone Blizzak LM001 uses a di­rec­tional tread pat­tern with wide shoul­der blocks for lat­eral grip on clear, dry, or wet roads. The sweep­ing grooves help ex­pel slush and wa­ter, and the high-den­sity zigzag sipes cre­ate bit­ing edges for en­hanced trac­tion in slip­pery con­di­tions.

Tire Rack says: The Blizzak LM001 lives up to its sto­ried name­sake. Con­sumers praise it for crisp steer­ing and re­spon­sive han­dling in the dry or wet, com­bined with con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing trac­tion when the road gets snowy.

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MICHE­LIN DE­FENDER T+H

The De­fender T+H is de­signed to pro­vide con­fi­dent trac­tion, long life, and high lev­els of com­fort for driv­ers of fam­ily sedans, coupes, and small crossovers. The asym­met­ric pat­tern al­lows for smooth and quiet op­er­a­tion, and its high-sil­ica tread com­pound aids grip in wet or snowy con­di­tions.

Tire Rack says: Miche­lin took an evo­lu­tion­ary ap­proach with the De­fender T+H, with a fo­cus on im­prov­ing upon its pre­de­ces­sor. The re­sult is a sat­is­fy­ing tour­ing tire with en­hanced real-world longevity.

AS GOODYEAR AS­SUR­ANCE WEATHER READY

The Weather Ready soy-based tread com­pound is molded into an asym­met­ric pat­tern de­signed to pro­vide the trac­tion needed for any weather con­di­tion. Sweep­ing tread grooves evac­u­ate wa­ter from the con­tact patch, and the zigzag sipes cre­ate bit­ing edges that pro­vide the snow trac­tion needed to earn the Three

Peak Moun­tain Snowflake sym­bol.

Tire Rack says: With the As­sur­ance Weather Ready, Goodyear is the first main­stream man­u­fac­turer to of­fer a full line of Grand Tour­ing All-Sea­son tires rated for se­vere snow ser­vice.

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BRIDGE­STONE BLIZZAK WS80

The WS80 is for driv­ers who want max­i­mum con­trol in win­ter’s worst con­di­tions. Zigzag sipes in­crease the num­ber of bit­ing edges, and the hy­drophilic coat­ing ab­sorbs a mi­cron-thin layer of wa­ter that im­proves trac­tion on icy sur­faces.

Tire Rack says: The Blizzak WS80 con­tin­ues the sto­ried tra­di­tion of its name­sake and is still the goto for driv­ers whose pri­mary con­cern is hav­ing the best trac­tion when win­ter weather is at its worst.

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CON­TI­NEN­TAL TER­RAIN CON­TACT A/T

Ter­rain Con­tact A/T tires fea­ture a mild all-ter­rain tread pat­tern with large, in­de­pen­dent tread blocks for off-road trac­tion, closed shoul­ders to ex­tend tread life and re­sist un­even wear, and grooves for grip in snowy con­di­tions.

Tire Rack says: The Ter­rain Con­tact A/T was de­signed to ex­cel in the way most on-/off-road all-ter­rain cus­tomers ac­tu­ally use their tires. That means good wet and snow trac­tion, a quiet and com­fort­able high­way ride, and mod­er­ate off-road ca­pa­bil­ity.

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MICHE­LIN X-ICE XI3

Com­bin­ing con­fi­dent grip in deep snow and on ice with pre­dictable cold-weather han­dling in both dry and wet con­di­tions, the X-Ice Xi3 has a com­pound that is firm at higher tem­per­a­tures for wet and dry sta­bil­ity and flex­i­ble at lower tem­per­a­tures for snow and ice trac­tion.

Tire Rack says: With deep snow and ice per­for­mance, plus ride, noise, han­dling, and wet trac­tion akin to an all-sea­son tire, the X-Ice Xi3 delivers all the pos­i­tives of a top-tier win­ter tire with very lit­tle trade-off.

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BFGOODRICH ALL-TER­RAIN T/A KO2

The ag­gres­sive, high-void all-ter­rain pat­tern of the All-Ter­rain T/A KO2 com­bines off-road dura­bil­ity and trac­tion with on-road han­dling and noise com­fort. Up­per shoul­der side­wall ar­mor helps re­sist punc­tures when off the beaten path, and the ser­rated shoul­der de­sign pro­vides the claw­ing ac­tion re­quired for rough en­vi­ron­ments.

Tire Rack says: No all-ter­rain tire con­ver­sa­tion is com­plete with­out the All-Ter­rain T/A KO2.

This peren­nial fa­vorite gets rave re­views from con­sumers for its off-road prow­ess, longevity, wet per­for­mance, and even ride and noise com­fort.

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HANKOOK VEN­TUS R-S4

Fea­tur­ing broad, rigid shoul­ders flank­ing a con­tin­u­ous cen­ter rib, the Ven­tus R-S4 is de­signed to de­liver mo­tor­sport lev­els of grip in a tire that can be driven daily in warm weather, in­clud­ing track use.

Tire Rack says: Ven­tus R-S4 has carved out a niche of its own. Al­though not quite as fast over a sin­gle lap as the top ex­treme-per­for­mance sum­mer tires, the R-S4 has proven con­sis­tent and heat-tol­er­ant, and it delivers sig­nif­i­cantly longer wear than those op­tions.

TD

YOKO­HAMA AD­VAN A052

With in­ter­nal con­struc­tion fo­cused on pre­cise han­dling and Yoko­hama’s mo­tor­sport com­pound to pro­vide ex­treme grip lev­els, the AD­VAN A052 of­fers Yoko­hama’s high­est level of DOT-ap­proved per­for­mance for the most de­mand­ing track-day en­thu­si­asts.

Tire Rack says: Build­ing on the suc­cess of the pop­u­lar AD­VAN A048, the AD­VAN A052 steps it up a notch. Gone is the old di­rec­tional pat­tern, re­placed by a mod­ern asym­met­ric sculp­ture de­signed to de­liver mo­tor­sport-level per­for­mance on a dry road.

TD MICHE­LIN PI­LOT SPORT CUP 2

De­signed us­ing tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped in com­pe­ti­tion at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the PSC2 pro­vides fast and con­sis­tent per­for­mance for track-fo­cused driv­ers. The hard­ness of the tread rub­ber in the enor­mous out­board shoul­der is fine-tuned for max­i­mum grip, and the in­board el­e­ments are en­gi­neered for pre­ci­sion steer­ing.

Tire Rack says: The PSC2 is used as orig­i­nal equip­ment on the Fer­rari 458 Spe­ciale, Ford GT, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R, and Porsche 911 GT2 RS, GT3 RS, and 918 Spy­der, among oth­ers. ’Nuff said.

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TOYO PROXES TQ

De­vel­oped for en­thu­si­asts look­ing for top qual­i­fier dragstrip per­for­mance from a streetable tire, the Proxes TQ is ver­sa­tile enough to drive to and from the track yet fo­cused enough to pro­vide the trac­tion that rac­ers de­mand.

Tire Rack says: If you’re look­ing for a drag rac­ing tire you can drive to and from the track, the Proxes TQ is a sure thing. Our con­sumers are happy with the per­for­mance, and the at­trac­tive price makes it that much bet­ter.

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