Every year, "Consumer Reports" runs the results of one (or more) of its tire tests in the November issue, which, of course, hits the newsstands in October.
"CR's" engineers -- just for fun, we'll call them Gene, Jennifer and Ryan -- first decide on what tire categories they want to address and then test them. There is no bias: They buy the tires at full price, and, as many of you know, the magazine accepts no advertising.
This year, the Michelin brand almost swept the four categories covered. It would not be out of line to say the brand dominated.
Even in the one category it didn't win, "V-rated performance all-season," it finished third with the Michelin Primacy MXV4. And fourth with the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S.
Those brands did not finish ahead of the Continental PureContact, which went on sale to dealers two months ago, and the Pirelli P7 Cinturato All Season, which will be launched later this month. However, the Primacy MXV4 did receive "recommended" status from "CR" engineers, as did the PureContact.
Here is a list of the top-ranked tires in each category with their point totals; those that were recommended products by "Consumer Reports" are marked (R). I also have included an "interesting fact" (my term) following each category.
1. Michelin Defender, 70 (R).
2. Continental ProContact EcoPlus, 68 (R).
3. Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season, 66 (R).
4. Pirelli P4 Four Seasons, 64 (R).
5. Michelin Energy Saver A/S, 64.
Interesting fact: The tire ranked sixth, the Yokohama Avid Ascend, tied for fourth in terms of scoring, and was also a "recommended" product.
H-rated Performance All-Season
1. Michelin Primacy MXV4, 70 (R).
2. Continental PureContact, 68 (R).
3. Nexen CP672, 66.
4. Pirelli P7 Cinturato All Season, 64.
5. Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S, 64.
Interesting fact: Five of the 20 tires tested received "poor" marks for snow traction.
V-rated Performance All-Season
1. Continental PureContact, 70 (R).
2. Pirelli P7 Cinturato All Season, 68.
3. Michelin Primacy MXV4, 66 (R).
4. Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S, 64.
5. Nokian eNTYRE, 64.
Interesting fact: Three of the 22 tires tested received "excellent" marks for tread life: the Michelin Primacy MXV4, the Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season and the Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring.
1. Michelin X-Ice Xi3, 62 (R).
2. Michelin X-Ice Xi2, 62 (R).
3. Hankook Winter I*cept Evo, 60 (R).
4. Pirelli Winter 210 Sottozero Serie II, 58 (R).
5. Uniroyal Tiger Paw Ice & Snow II, 58 (R).
Interesting fact: The sixth-place tire, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 (58 points) also was a "recommended" product.
All the tires -- 78 in all -- were tested for three-season driving (dry braking, wet braking, handling and hydroplaning); winter driving (snow traction and ice braking); comfort (ride and noise); and "other" (rolling resistance). All-season tires also were judged by their tread life.
To read about what happens when "CR" engineers and independent tire dealers are put in the same room (and why I gave the engineers the names I did), check out "The 'Consumer Reports' Report."