We put to the test this spring and summer the new Toyo Proxes Sport A/S Tire. Today, part two.
A few weeks have gone by since these new Toyo Proxes Sport A / S tires were installed on my old Subaru sedan. The good news is that my 2007 Subaru Legacy GT Spec.B has been a lot more reliable lately. Indeed, notwithstanding the replacement of pretty much half of the original exhaust system – with two less restrictive Dynomax mufflers and a better sound coming from the boxer engine –, my old Subaru has not flinched since the installation of the new tires on the original rims. It was about time!
I have to say that I still appreciate this sedan for its mix of sportiness and comfort, even if, next to new vehicles available in 2021, the Spec.B lags far behind in many ways. Its chassis definitely doesn't have the stiffness of modern vehicles, and the steering isn't as precise as that of the latest WRX STI, but hey, I don't actually mind the technological lag my Legacy suffers from compared with today's vehicles. It's a refreshing change from my routine as an automotive journalist, in which the vast majority of vehicles I put to the test the latest gadgets and tech.
A comfortable tire
I might as well put down to age to explain my ever-growing attraction for comfortable cars, although there are back issues that also have a say when I’m looking for a daily driver, albeit one with a sporty touch. Gone are the days when my main criterium in a car was that it was great on the track.
Be that as it may, I don't actually believe that a high-performance tire would have changed much in terms of absorbing the many and imposing potholes found sprayed all around the Greater Montreal Area, because it’s mainly the suspension that has to deal with those. By the way, I’m still amazed at how well this suspension works with those 18-inch rims. Bilstein definitely did a good job!
One of the desirable qualities of an all-season tire is to be quiet, and the quietness of the ride is one of the parameters of automotive comfort. So far, this set of tires has proven to be one of the quietest I’ve tested in years.
In normal driving, the Proxes Sport A / S tires performed exceptionally well on a multitude of different surfaces, including on a bumpy road, freshly repaved highway, concrete path and even a more slippery gravel path. Unsurprisingly, the tire showed the greatest friction with the road on a concrete surface; in the case is the tires were somewhat louder.
On the other hand, on newer roads the Subaru once again became the quiet sedan I was looking for when I purchased it last spring. In fact, on really fresh asphalt, my Spec.B was mostly heard through her new exhaust system; thank you Dynomax for this new growl.
An efficient four seasons tire… but how’s the performance?
During my test drive, I liked to push my car a little in the corners, but that’s where I found that there is a limit to these all-season tires. Indeed, when engaging a bend at speed, the tires can squeal (a bit). But they came through nonetheless. The sedan's able all-wheel drive system certainly helped with the car's handling in those situations, but without these performance all-season tires, I certainly could have found myself in a bad position.
One thing is clear in my mind, the same exercise with my worn set from last year would have much more problematic. Toyo promised increased performance thanks to the tire’s new blend of special rubber with newly developed silica, and it seems the results live up to the promises.
Another detail that made me smile during this tire test is the stability that this set of Toyos provides at higher speeds. Whether I was in a tight corner or on some uneven pavement, the tires never compelled me to grip the wheel tighter. Sometimes high-performance tires don't handle pavement crevices all that well, but these tires did.
Even in heavy rain, the tires responded well. It’s true that there are better tires to cope with the kind of reduced grip rain brings, but in general, these sporty-ish four-season tires more-than-satisfactory performance, especially when you consider the product’s mission : to be a “better-than-average” tire within the four-season tire category.
The Toyo Proxes Sport A/S is an all-season tire designed to last over time (65,000 km in this case with a Y rating, 80,000 km in the case of sets with a V or W rating), and not necessarily a closed-circuit grip specialist. Still, I believe these tires can handle that environment well, within limits.