Putting the Ef­fi­cien­tGrip Per­for­mance SUV tyres through their paces


DID YOU KNOW THAT THE di­men­sions of an av­er­age credit or debit card could have a tremen­dous im­pact on your daily drive? And no, we’re not talk­ing about that car loan you’re still pay­ing off. Lost? So were we un­til we reached the Buri­ram In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit as guests of Goodyear. The oc­ca­sion was the global launch of the com­pany’s new range of SUV tyres, chris­tened Ef­fi­cient Grip Per­for­mance. Nat­u­rally, we were given a blow by blow ac­count, and demo af­ter en­light­en­ing demo high­light­ing why this new rub­ber from Goodyear is bet­ter for your SUV than any other tyre you could buy to­day. But our big­gest take­away from a full day’s mon­key­ing around at the won­der­ful Buri­ram In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit in a re­mote cor­ner of Thai­land was just how crit­i­cal the credit-card-sized con­tact patch between the tyres and the road is ev­ery time you fire the en­gine and head out.

Goodyear’s Ef­fi­cient Grip Per­for­mance SUV tyres are meant to re­place the ear­lier range of Ef­fi­cient Grip tyres, aug­ment­ing two crit­i­cally im­por­tant as­pects of tyre per­for­mance. The first one of course is out­right grip while the sec­ond is about re­duc­tion in noise. You see, once you cross 30kmph al­most 70 per cent of the noise in a ve­hi­cle comes from the tyres rolling over the road. A quick demo run by one of Goodyear’s ex­pert tyre testers showed us that the new Goodyear tyres were 2.2dB qui­eter at a steady speed of 80kmph, com­pared to a sim­i­lar tyre from a com­pet­ing man­u­fac­turer. Al­though 2.2dB may not sound like a lot, but when you are stand­ing next to the ve­hi­cles as they are put

through the test, the dif­fer­ence in noise levels is pal­pa­ble. The noise test was fol­lowed by a brak­ing test from 80kmph over a wet sur­face. The Goodyear out­shone the com­peti­tor’s tyre once again, but nat­u­rally. This time the car with the Goodyear equipped tyre stopped a full me­tre be­fore the car equipped with the com­peti­tor tyre! In an emer­gency brak­ing sit­u­a­tion that me­tre could spell the dif­fer­ence between life and se­ri­ous in­jury, or even death.

Post th­ese demo ses­sions, we were given free rein to put the tyres through the paces in a se­ries of care­fully planned ex­er­cises, which in­cluded dry and wet slalom runs, elk tests, ma­noeu­vring through a nar­row wet curve of tar­mac and even a short drive through sleepy Buri­ram to ex­pe­ri­ence the tyres’ road go­ing per­for­mance. On the track go­ing through the slaloms and the elks, the cars we were driv­ing felt tighter and more con­fi­dence in­spir­ing. On more than one oc­ca­sion I was told to back off a bit. The grippy Goodyear tyres latch on to black top like hun­gry leeches and as a re­sult boost con­fi­dence quite a bit. As for the noise levels, I reck­oned it would be un­fair to judge that on a pur­pose built race track. So I waited un­til our drive through Buri­ram to reach a verdict on this as­pect. Out on pub­lic roads I felt that the reg­u­lar noise of a tyre rolling over tar­mac was cer­tainly less on the Goodyear tyres. How­ever if you go over a bump or a rum­bler strip, the tyres emit a strangely hol­low “bung” sound and not the usual thud of a tyre hit­ting a road ir­reg­u­lar­ity. I later learnt from the tech­ni­cal team that this is due to the outer layer of rub­ber bungs on the sur­face of the tyre that not only in­crease the sur­face area in con­tact with the tar­mac – re­sult­ing in the im­proved grip – but also al­ter the tyre’s noise emit­ting char­ac­ter­is­tics. The bungs are part of a whole new tread pat­tern on the Goodyear Ef­fi­cien­tGrip Per­for­mance tyres.

Goodyear has al­ready launched the Ef­fi­cien­tGrip Per­for­mance tyres in In­dia where they are priced at a slight premium over the old Goodyear Ef­fi­cien­tGrip tyres that they re­place. While the Buri­ram cir­cuit or Thai­land’s pub­lic roads weren’t re­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tive of In­dian road con­di­tions, I would still wa­ger that the premium will be well worth it when weighed against the im­proved grip and the re­duced noise. ⌧


Left: The ve­hi­cle with the Goodyear tyres stopped in 24.5m when brak­ing from 80kmph on a wet sur­face

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