Is the four-season tire… just that?
The calmly spoken words “don’t mistake these for a dedicated winter tire replacement” rang through our little heads like the infamous line “GET OFF MY LAWN” in “Gran Torino” by Clint Eastwood. A little pee may have leaked out that humbling day when we scooped a set of Celsius CUV rubber from Toyo. As the cold chill still tingled down our spines we were dumb enough to ask “why not?”
The Celsius line is coined as a “fourseason” tire… not to be mistaken as an “All Season” tire, as Toyo stresses. With yesteryears standards for tire traction not being updated in some time, and rubber compound and tread technology making strides like Andre De Grasse, having your average tire meet limp wristed “All Season” baseline testing is a simple feat. The problem is that an “All Season” designation only has a “two season” use timeframe; “summer” and “Dampish”. Not rainy or cold, and certainly not snowy or icy. An All Season tire is what you run when you don’t have your winter tires on for the other six months of the year.
The “four Season” tag translates to this in Canuck; this is your year-round tire that you leave mounted with pride unless your travels involve hitting the mountain passes at the peak of the winter season. They will chew though winter ice and snow, blaze through the heat of the summer with nary a whimper, split through standing water like it’s great granddad was Moses and still last a mind numbing 100,000km.
We initially had our doubts as we shod a 2008 Grand Cherokee CRD with a set of the Celsius in the CUV variant. The tread pattern looks very much like the dedicated winter tire that we are used to seeing melt away during the hotter months of the year, with a venerable sea of siping mixed with larger voids to extract water and slush. The attributes normally lead to muted handling and noisy highway jaunts. We’d just have to keep our fingers crossed and see what transpires in the coming months.
The CUV class of the Celsius are intended for higher load capacities required with portly SUV’s and pickup trucks on the roads today. Despite having “4WDrive” on the cover (you are likely
used to reading about the massive mud tires and our off-road exploits) the majority of the kilometres we travel in a year are spent on a factory replacement type tire, a genre the Celsius is a perfectly suited for. More sizes are becoming available all the time, but we don’t really expect to see a 40” or LT class in the future, and that’s just fine with us as this tire covers 99% of the driving we do. If you need the weight handling capabilities or sizes, check out the Toyo CT we tried last year and loved.
In our humble and completely biased opinion… there should only be three wheel diameters available; 15”, 17” and 20”. Put your pitchfork down and just send some hate mail our way after you’re finished reading. We’re not here to offend anyone but… 16”, really? How about the useless and overtly expensive 19”? On this premise we scooped a set of Jeep JK Rubicon 17” wheels to match our new 245/65R17’s but because of the 3.0L diesel and tow package in our Grand Cherokee, we needed a set of 5mm spacers from www.wheelspacers.ca to keep from making our brake callipers a high speed file. Mounting and balancing was super simple and required very little weight to even it all out. From that point on, smooth sailing and goofy grins are all that appeared when we thought about the Celsius over the past eight months and 20,000 kms.
Editor Mack “advises” us to critique the noise level emitted from a tire when testing… we’d rate these at slightly noisier then the near bald tires they replaced, but nothing close to the levels we normally experience. As to be expected, the paint shaker under the hood still made the majority of the sounds emitted from the rig.
As stated before, we were a little concerned with the pliable and siped tread blocks, but this proved to be a moot point as the rubber compound used in the Celsius is less prone to pliability changes due to temperature. We also learned that the sipes are what Toyo calls “variable multi-waves”; they do not extend in a straight path to the core of the tire but instead lock together at the base while still allowing the multiple biting edges required for snow and ice traction. This all translates into a stable and controlled ride on the highway without feeling the tread block “walk” under hard cornering or acceleration.
Features were carefully developed with the premise that the Celsius design would not involve “trade-offs” for traction and durability but utilize different portions of the tire for their intended purpose. An asymmetrical tread design was chosen for the Celsius with more siping towards the inside edges for enhanced winter traction, while the outside section contains less for a sturdier footprint during the remainder of the year and in hard cornering. Developments like this make every aspect of the tire a choice with a specific goal and not a helter skelter “better add a little something over here” addition without a cause.
The grind we put the Celsius CUV through was mundane and uneventful; just what you want in a daily driver tire. Between the daily grind to pay the bills, towing the boat to the lake, hauling a fishing pole with no cares into the woods, and the odd highway adventure, we didn’t have to “learn” to like the Celsius, we loved them from the get go, and have learned to trust them. Deep mud, jagged rocks and hard-core trails are not the intended target and sure enough, they packed with mud and shredded on granite but the forest service road jaunts were a smooth controlled journey. Highway runs were exceptional and bested the dedicated summers we had on the Jeep for comfort, the best part being that we didn’t have to worry about the possibility of hitting snow in our ventures.
Toyo did their homework in the Celsius, making our job of trying to select a set of tires to “Swiss army” their way into our lives an easy decision. Great handling, long life, smooth ride, snow and ice traversing dominance, and all with a factory backed 80,000 or 100,000 km warranty. No longer do we chew our nails to the bone wondering if we should swap in our seasonal tires before our pricey snow tires melt in the sun, or our summers skid us into a ditch in a mountain pass. Enough of that noise. We keep a set of dedicated winters stashed in case Santa needs a hand getting over the Coquihalla Highway, until then, it’s Celsius season.