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Top 2015 Summer Tires

Although winter is officially over (at least that’s what it says in the calendar), many of you may still want to hold on to your winter tires for a few more weeks. I know that’s what I’ll be doing… 

In the meantime, it’s summer shoe shopping time! If they’re not already on, perhaps take a look at your summer tires to make sure they are in decent shape. Although the weather and road conditions will be clement (had better be!), rubbers in good condition are a must. It will rain this spring and summer so if your plan is to not aquaplane yourself into a ditch, a proper amount of remaining tread depth is a good thing to have. 

Buying a new set of tires continues to be a complex undertaking given that countless new “inexpensive” brands persist and flood the market with new makes and models, all seemingly affordable and flawless. Needs, expectations, budget, and (most importantly) safety are important factors that must be met. The following list of top recommendations, per price point, has been devised to help you along with selecting your best options.

Compact cars remain very popular in Canada; as such we’ve selected the following P205/55R16 size as the benchmark. 

As well, we’ve included P225/45R17 tires on the list, as it has become a common standard and optional performance tire size. The below recommendations apply only to those marked as “performance” and the price ranges increase by $40 to $60 a tire. 

Here are the picks:

Best tire in the $100-$150 range (P205/55R16)

  • Pirelli P4 A/S Plus (touring): Comfort biased, good handling, low-rolling resistance
  • Continental PureContact (performance): A high mileage, DWS rating*, low-rolling resistance tire with a “V” rating
  • Toyo Extensa A/S (touring): High mileage tread, good handling

Best tire in the $150-$200 range (P205/55R16)

  • Toyo Proxes 4+ (performance): A fairly high mileage performance tire with a “V” rating
  • Toyo Versado Noir (touring): Eco low-rolling resistance technology, average mileage, and quiet tire
  • Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 (performance): Good low-temp and wet grip, excellent dry, strong lateral grip
  • Michelin Premiere (touring): High-mileage tread, good wet traction, EverGrip Technology**
  • Pirelli P7 A/S Plus (performance): Comfort biased, good handling, low-rolling resistance with a “V” rating
  • Yokohama Avid Ascend (touring): Eco low-rolling resistance technology, high mileage and quiet tire
  • Bridgestone Turanza Serenity + (touring): Quiet, comfort biased, good handling
  • Bridgestone Driveguard (touring): Comfort biased, good handling, quiet runflat replacement 

Best tire: $225 + (P225/45R17)

  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport (summer performance): Fairly high mileage ultra-high performance, good wet traction    
  • Michelin Pilot A/S 3 (all-season performance): Good low temp and wet grip, excellent dry, strong lateral grip
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS (all-season performance): Quiet, comfort biased, superior handling
  • Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 (summer performance): Ultra-high performance, decent wet traction    
  • Toyo Proxes T1 Sport (high performance): Good handling, generous footprint, and quiet 

* DWS stands for Dry, Wet & Snow and indicates the tire has sufficient tread depth for dry conditions, as well as wet roads and light snow. After the "S" has worn away, the remaining "DW" indicates the tire only has sufficient tread depth for dry and most wet road conditions. And after the "W" and "S" have both worn away, the remaining "D" indicates the tire has appropriate tread depth for dry conditions only. (From Tire Rack)

** EverGrip Technology is the "emerging grooves" -- more than 150 rain grooves located along the tire's shoulder. These extra grooves, which lay hidden beneath the outer layer of compound, emerge as the tire wears to provide a boost in wet traction later in the tire's life.