Michelin and Continental Models Top Consumer Reports Ratings of All-Season and Winter Tires

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Test of 78 models finds several good choices

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In total, Consumer Reports tested 78 models of All Season and Winter Tires: 20 T-speed-rated (118 mph) all-season tires, 20 H-speed-rated (130 mph) and 22 V-speed-rated (149 mph) performance all-season tires, and 16 winter tire models.

When it comes to Consumer Reports latest tests of all-season and winter replacement tires, Michelin and Continental lead the way. However, tests revealed that worthy tires were not difficult to find and many provided good overall performance.

In total, Consumer Reports tested 78 models of All Season and Winter Tires: 20 T-speed-rated (118 mph) all-season tires, 20 H-speed-rated (130 mph) and 22 V-speed-rated (149 mph) performance all-season tires, and 16 winter tire models.

The Michelin Defender led all T-speed-rated all-season tires that Consumer Reports tested. It has excellent tread life and scores highly in Consumer Reports’ three-season driving tests (dry braking, wet braking, handling, and hydroplaning). It was followed closely by the Continental ProContact EcoPlus. These tires are well suited for many older cars, minivans, and small SUVs.

A number of newer vehicles come with H- and V-speed-rated all-season tires which Consumer Reports categorizes as performance all-season tires. In the performance all-season H speed-rated category, the Michelin Primacy MXV4 was Consumer Reports’ top-rated model with the Continental PureContact close behind. The Michelin performed well in most weather tests; offers a comfortable, quiet ride; and has low rolling resistance. The Continental was impressive in Consumer Reports’ wet-braking test and has a good balance of all weather performance and tread life.

Another Continental PureContact model led the performance all-season V speed-rated group, followed closely by the Pirelli P7 Cinturato All Season. The Continental is an all-around good performer. The Pirelli gets top marks for handling, but its tread-life score was just fair.

Many of the 62 all-season tires scored well in the three-season driving categories, and several models performed well in snow traction and ice braking.

Almost all of the winter tires proved excellent at snow traction, and most were good to excellent at ice braking. Winter tires are desirable in places with moderate to severe snow and ice conditions. Michelin’s X-Ice Xi3 and Xi2 tied for the lead in Consumer Reports’ test of 16 winter tire models. The Xi3’s excellent rolling resistance set it apart, but the similar Xi2 performed better in handling.

Consumer Reports tests each tire for the following: wet, dry and ice braking, handling, hydroplaning, snow traction, ride comfort, noise, rolling resistance, and tread life to determine an overall score. All tires tested were size (P)215/60R16 to fit Consumer Reports’ Chevrolet Cruze test car. Consumer Reports expects that other sizes of the same tires would provide similar performance.

The full report, ratings and results on Consumer Reports’ latest all-season and winter tire tests are available on http://www.ConsumerReports.org on September 13 and in the November issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands September 27. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR’s ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

© 2012 Consumer Reports. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.

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