Tyre performance criteria
Unfortunately, modern technology has yet to produce the perfect tyre, delivering flawless performance in all conditions on all roads. So before you choose your tyre, you need to decide which tyre performance parameters are most important for you. From a technical point of view, certain criteria can work against each other. For example, a tyre designed to increase energy efficiency and save fuel will have lower wet grip performance, and vice-versa.
How to choose the right tyre?
So what kind of performance criteria should I be looking for in my tyres? Well that all depends on your vehicle and driving preferences:
Standard passenger car
If you have a standard passenger car (city, compact, saloon...), give priority to tyres offering a good performance balance in terms of safety (aquaplaning, braking), savings (rolling resistance, longevity) and ride comfort (absorption of road imperfections, noise).
For standard passenger cars, premium brand tyres ensure a good overall performance balance, with little or no compromise. In other words, these tyres don’t need to sacrifice certain criteria (e.g. aquaplaning resistance) to achieve others (e.g. tyre life).
If you have a sports car or you like to drive fast be aware that sports tyres are specially designed to deliver maximum grip, generally at the expense of other performance criteria. For example, compared with standard passenger tyres, sports tyres tends to offer less ride comfort and will not last as long. Also, the more the tyres’ design is geared towards dry tarmac (i.e. semi-slicks such as the Toyo R888, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2, etc.) the less effective they will be on wet surfaces.
Several models of passenger car can be equipped with standard tyres or sports tyres. Your choice will depend on your preferred driving style: versatile or sporty.
What about 4x4s? It’s important to know that 4x4 tyres engineered to meet the demands of off-road driving (on mud, sand, rocks, etc.) will have limited on-road performance, especially in wet conditions, and will generate more road noise.
When buying tyres for your 4x4, make your choice based on your use: on-road (100% tarmac), mixed (mostly on-road and sometimes off-road), or off-road (mainly off-road and occasionally on-road).
How to choose the right tyre characteristics for my car?