GOODYEAR TYRE TEST
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. ⌧
THE GRIPPY GOODYEARS LATCH ON TO BLACK TOP LIKE HUNGRY LEECHES
Left: The vehicle with the Goodyear tyres stopped in 24.5m when braking from 80kmph on a wet surface