A comparison of three different types of tyres.
Most of us think the engine is the most important part of our cars but, without tyres, our cars are not going to go anywhere. Back in the old days, changing tyres used to be simply getting the right size and fit, and away we go. There wasn’t much of a choice.
Times have changed, and we are now deluged with different types and brands of tyres for our ride. To keep it simple, let’s compare the three common types of tyres that we can choose from.
Most of us desire a relatively quiet and acceptable ride for our everyday commute — and the touring tyre fits the bill. These tyres are designed to offer a smooth and comfortable ride, and they perform reasonably well in both wet (ideal in the rainy season) and dry conditions, offering respectable handling and good grip.
Another good aspect of touring tyres is the longer tread life. Owing to the large size of the tread, touring tyres allow for a more significant tyre-to-surface contact, meaning less noise and a smoother driving experience. These tyres do not offer precise handling and grip, so they will underwhelm those looking for a sharp and sporty drive.
However, this is a good go-to tyre that would satisfy most regular drivers of sedans and family vehicles. Some good examples include Bridgestone’s Turanza and Dunlop’s SP Touring tyres. These are affordable all-round tyres that consistently score good ratings with favourable reviews from consumers.
These are actually a subset of touring tyres but are designed with more focus on lower rolling resistance. This translates to greater fuel savings and also better longevity in tread life.
With climate change and the world becoming more conscious of being eco-friendly, tyre manufacturers are including these greener tyres that save on fuel and reduce emissions in the process. Some drivers complain of road noise, especially on uneven surfaces, but that varies among different makes, so it pays to do your homework.
Michelin’s Energy Saver A/S tyres are ideal for small and mid-sized coupes and sedans. The Kumho Solus KH17 won numerous accolades in Europe, and is widely used in top-selling hatchbacks, such as the Volkswagen’s Golf.
These tyres are for those looking for a little more oomph and pizzazz in their drive. They have excellent grip and add to the car’s acceleration, cornering and braking characteristics. Made from no-compromise rubber, these tyres work well in dry and wet conditions. An added advantage is that they are capable of resisting heat build-up between the tyre and the road surface. However, they suffer from poorer longevity and mileage compared to touring tyres.
With this level of performance, don’t count on the tyres being comfortable or quiet. These are loud and — because of the stiff sidewalls — make for a bumpy ride. Usually reserved for powerful, performance-based cars, they have a high price point that limits its market. These last two points do nothing to dampen their attractiveness to racer boys, who are often drawn to their low profile and cool looks.
Great options for this type of tyres include makes in Michelin’s Pilot Sport range, which consistently rank high among local and overseas critics, and are used in BMW and Porsche cars. Another good contender is Goodyear’s Eagle F1 SuperSport tyres, which scored well on comfort, too.
This is not a definitive guide, but serves as a good jump-off point for you to further explore the types of tyres you may find suitable for your car.