Looking at some new tires

Messages
524
Location
Lead, South Dakota
So, winter looks like it might FINALLY end up here in the Black Hills, and I need to get my snow tires taken off. I had them put on the same day I bought the car (which had worn out OEM tires on the lot, so I had them thrown away) so I don't have any summer tires for it now. Since my Mazda is the I model, it has 205/60/16 tires. What I'm after is a set of all seasons that will ride and handle well, but which also won't kill me if I get caught out by an early or late snow storm without my snow tires on. I want something sportier than the 3PMSF all seasons, but the tire having decent performance in the snow is absolutely vital for me with the unpredictable weather up here. My Mazda isn't exactly fast, so I don't need some mega performance race tire, but I would like something that doesn't put too much of a damper on the very nice chassis. Tread wear isn't a major concern as I'll be swapping out the tires for winter anyway, and while I will pay for a good quality tire, I'm also a value for money kind of guy so I don't think I'd want to go for something that's super expensive. I was considering the Dunlop Signature HP, which is pretty cheap and seems to perform well in wet and dry, but Tirerack's testing showed that it's pretty bad in snow and ice, which is very worrying for me. A sporty drive isn't worth it if my car is wrapped around a pole in an early September snow. Nothing else in that performance category is available in 205/60/16 from what I can find, so I'd have to move down a notch. At that level it seems like I'd be looking at the Sumitomo HTR A/S P02 or Goodyear Eagle Sport. There's also a Firestone Firehawk and Yokohama Avid Envigor there, but again, Tire Rack testing shows they're pretty awful in snow so I'm not really looking at them. The Eagle seems highly rated and looks like it'd be a little sportier, but the Sumitomo looks like it'd have a better tread design for any snow that might happen. The Sumitomo is also about $20 cheaper a tire, which isn't the biggest deal in the world, but is nice. So, does anyone have any experience with the two tires mentioned? Any I've missed? I think the High Performance All-Season category is about right for what I need.
 
Messages
1,405
Location
Elizabeth. Colorado
You and I look at tires the exact same way..... I don't have an answer since I don't have a car of your abilities, but on my wifes Trax I put General Altimax RT43 just for that exact reason. How will they do in a late spring/early fall snow. I have studded snows for everything in the winter, but sometimes the weather has a better guess on timing than you do!
 
Messages
3,646
Location
Worst Case, Ontario
Originally Posted by littlehulkster
What I'm after is a set of all seasons that will ride and handle well, but which also won't kill me if I get caught out by an early or late snow storm without my snow tires on. I want something sportier than the 3PMSF all seasons, but the tire having decent performance in the snow is absolutely vital for me with the unpredictable weather up here. My Mazda isn't exactly fast, so I don't need some mega performance race tire, but I would like something that doesn't put too much of a damper on the very nice chassis. Tread wear isn't a major concern as I'll be swapping out the tires for winter anyway, and while I will pay for a good quality tire, I'm also a value for money kind of guy so I don't think I'd want to go for something that's super expensive.
What is the point in having a sportier set of all seasons? Why not just run your winters longer? You make it sound like it can just randomly snow a foot in July, I live in Toronto and I have never seen that.
 

littlehulkster

Thread starter
Messages
524
Location
Lead, South Dakota
Originally Posted by c502cid
You and I look at tires the exact same way..... I don't have an answer since I don't have a car of your abilities, but on my wifes Trax I put General Altimax RT43 just for that exact reason. How will they do in a late spring/early fall snow. I have studded snows for everything in the winter, but sometimes the weather has a better guess on timing than you do!
Given as you live in the Rockies proper while I live in the foothills, I'd imagine our climates are pretty similar so no surprise there.
Originally Posted by maxdustington
Originally Posted by littlehulkster
What I'm after is a set of all seasons that will ride and handle well, but which also won't kill me if I get caught out by an early or late snow storm without my snow tires on. I want something sportier than the 3PMSF all seasons, but the tire having decent performance in the snow is absolutely vital for me with the unpredictable weather up here. My Mazda isn't exactly fast, so I don't need some mega performance race tire, but I would like something that doesn't put too much of a damper on the very nice chassis. Tread wear isn't a major concern as I'll be swapping out the tires for winter anyway, and while I will pay for a good quality tire, I'm also a value for money kind of guy so I don't think I'd want to go for something that's super expensive.
What is the point in having a sportier set of all seasons? Why not just run your winters longer? You make it sound like it can just randomly snow a foot in July, I live in Toronto and I have never seen that.
I don't want to put unnecessary wear on my winter tires, and where I live it actually can snow as late as June. Right now, in the middle of April, we just had a 3+ foot storm. Toronto has winter, sure, but the amount and frequency of snowfall there isn't anywhere near where I live.
 
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Messages
11,733
Location
USA
You may wish to consider the grand touring category. They will be better in snow than a hi-performance all-season smile The Michelin CrossClimate+ is probably the best tire for the conditions you describe. It is a 3-peak all-season, but Michelin calls it a "summer tire homologated for winter conditions" so the dry and wet performance may still be acceptable to you. I have experience with the Dunlop SP Sport Signature, which is the predecessor to the Signature HP. I enjoyed the tire very much, but when they switched over to the Signature HP, they stopped making it in my size mad So, I got the Falken Ziex ZE950, which is similar to the Sumitomo P02. It actually has a W speed rating, which is unusual for my size 205/65-15. Snow performance was acceptable, but I'm not in the Black Hills.
 

littlehulkster

Thread starter
Messages
524
Location
Lead, South Dakota
Originally Posted by slacktide_bitog
You may wish to consider the grand touring category. They will be better in snow than a hi-performance all-season smile The Michelin CrossClimate+ is probably the best tire for the conditions you describe. It is a 3-peak all-season, but Michelin calls it a "summer tire homologated for winter conditions" so the dry and wet performance may still be acceptable to you. I have experience with the Dunlop SP Sport Signature, which is the predecessor to the Signature HP. I enjoyed the tire very much, but when they switched over to the Signature HP, they stopped making it in my size mad So, I got the Falken Ziex ZE950, which is similar to the Sumitomo P02. It actually has a W speed rating, which is unusual for my size 205/65-15. Snow performance was acceptable, but I'm not in the Black Hills.
I did consider some of the grand touring tires, but I worry the handling might be too dead on them. Cooper CS5 Ultras seem pretty well reviewed and not too expensive, and I believe the local tire shop stocks Coopers.
 
Messages
1,676
Location
Prospect, KY
I had the Dunlops on my Grand Marquis and they were just ok at everything. I prefer my Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring tires now but might opt for the Grand touring for better snow performance in your case. Michelin Defenders are normally a great all around tire you just pay more for them. General RT43 are also decent all around tire but a nit soft for me and they seemed to wear faster than expected.
 
Messages
1,405
Location
Elizabeth. Colorado
I don't want to put unnecessary wear on my winter tires, and where I live it actually can snow as late as June. Right now, in the middle of April, we just had a 3+ foot storm. Toronto has winter, sure, but the amount and frequency of snowfall there isn't anywhere near where I live. I had just put the General tires/wheels on the Trax when the storm hit, but I still has studded snows on the Blazer so she drove that. I am ready to change the Blazer over too, but it's snowing right now as we speak.....
 
Messages
117
Location
MN
If you want an all season that can handle snow, the default choice of most on here tends to be the General Atimax RT43. I've also found the Michelin Premier A/S to be competent snow performers on my Accord, which is the only car in the fleet that doesn't get snow tires.
 
Messages
586
Location
Omaha, NE USA
Another vote for the General Altimax RT43 here. That's what we have on the Rav-4 and another family member has them on a CR-V. They do very well in the snow.
 
Messages
3,667
Location
St. Charles County, Missouri
I'm having great luck with General Exclaim HPX. Wally World only, and better than their Kelly-Goodyear stuff. I'm a South Dakota native and remember making the trip from Mitchell to Woonsocket after a dance, during a whiteout. My friend who had Polio was driving my mother's '57 Chevy-- I'm sure that thing had great tires! Cars would slide off the road ahead of us. He kept stopping and trying to clear the road with his hand looking for the center line. Been almost sixty years and I still wake up at night sweating from that one. The Hills give you some trickier weather, but you get out there on the prairies and it's nothing but wind between you and the North Pole. North Dakota and Manitoba may be worse, but what they get you get when the wind is blowing.
 
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NO2

Messages
950
Location
Michigan
You just are not going to get anything with superb handling in a 205/60-16. You can definitely find very good handling. I'm pretty happy with the Continental PureContact LS, a newer tire with decent snow handling and long life($128) The Michelin Crossclimate+ handles very well and has near snow tire traction, but is pricey ($158 ea at Tirerack) The Goodyear Assurance Weather Ready is another option. $140 ea, but there is currently a $100 rebate on 4. The Premier A/S is not quite as good as the tires above on snow, and costs more than the PureContact LS with shorter treadlife, but is an otherwise excellent tire.
 

littlehulkster

Thread starter
Messages
524
Location
Lead, South Dakota
Originally Posted by 02SE
Good suggestions already. So I'll just add that Spearfish Canyon is a nice ride, when it's not during the Rally.
Nightmare in the winter, though. I almost got a job out there until I thought about trying to navigate those ice covered roads at night.
 
Messages
18,173
Location
NH
I like my RT43's so I'll vote for that. Although I wonder if in your climate you might just be stuck. Maybe you need three sets. Winter, spring, summer/fall. Winter tires for winter, new set of all seasons for spring, all seasons that are half worn but not kaput for summer. Seems ridiculous but if you have the space to store two extra sets of tires then I think it winds up being the same cost. If not, then just buy a new set of RT43's (or similar) whenever tread is below the half mark when they need to go on in the spring.
 
Messages
581
Location
illinois, usa
How about the General G-MAX AS-05 all_ Season Radial. There is a current rebate at the website until end of April. My other vote is for RT43's which I have on the CRV.
 
Messages
4,252
Location
Central Maryland
"Good in snow" and "performance" is a tough combination. Your choices are either going to be Grand Touring with with a higher speed rating, All Weather Tires, or performance winter tires. My last set of Continental PureContact tires were great in rain and had very good winter ratings, and are still available in a V speed rating in your size. Continental says "A skillful balance of luxury and all-season performance with improved treadwear, increased fuel efficiency, a comfortable ride and best-in-class wet braking. " The newer introduction PureContact LS with V rating might be even better. Continental describes them as "Luxury sport performance tire that delivers a quiet, comfortable ride blended with long wear, best-in-class wet braking, and all-season performance. " There are other good choices. I try to limit recommendations to tires I've owned, or have direct experience with (on vehicles I've driven more than a little).
 
Messages
251
Location
Illinois valley
RT43's. I ran them year round in BUFFALO on an AWD Saturn Vue. Thems that lived in the hills changed to more serious rubber with/without studs for winter.
 
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