Tire Rack Inc. evaluated four standard touring and passenger all season tires, including the Firestone Champion Fuel Fighter, in its latest tests of top tire models.
To see how the latest Firestone design stacks up to its competition in the category, the Tire Rack team compared it with three popular existing tires, the General AltiMax RT43, Goodyear Assurance All-Season and Kumho Solus TA11.
Using 2014 BMW F30 328i sedans fitted with new, full tread-depth tires, Tire Rack’s testers made their evaluations based on the tires’ performance on both Tire Rack’s own test track and a six-mile loop of expressway, state highway and country roads.
On the test track
In dry conditions, all four tires delivered similar results with less than half a second separating the fasted and slowest laps of the group and less than three feet difference between the shortest and longest stopping distances, according to Tire Rack.
In wet conditions, the AltiMax RT43 was the top performer with lap times nearly a second ahead of the next-fasted Firestone and over three seconds ahead of the Goodyear. The General was the best in this group at accelerating or braking, while Goodyear left something to be desired with considerably longer braking zones and a slippery handle.
On the road
The Firestone Champion Fuel Fighter placed a strong emphasis on comfort in the areas of ride and sound quality. The Goodyear Assurance All-Season received mostly positive reviews despite a rough ride over bumps, with the Assurance All-Season and Kumho Solus TA11 losing marks for steering, while still delivering a strong and low-noise ride.
The testers’ comments
Firestone Champion Fuel Fighter (T-Speed Rated) (Standard Touring All-Season 215/60R16 95T)
- What We Liked: A well-isolated, quiet and comfortable on-road performance with respectable wet traction.
- What We'd Improve: Vague steering feel with minimal feedback.
- Conclusion: A nice, long-distance cruiser for soaking up the miles.
General AltiMax RT43 (T-Speed Rated) (Standard Touring All-Season 215/60R16 95T)
- What We Liked: Composed on the road and continues to impress with its wet traction.
- What We'd Improve: Eliminate the faint rumble from the tread.
- Conclusion: A well-rounded package with a lot to give.
Goodyear Assurance All-Season (Passenger All-Season 215/60R16 95T)
- What We Liked: Linear steering response and a quiet ride.
- What We'd Improve: Slightly firmer over impacts than the others in the group and needs a big bump up in wet traction.
- Conclusion: Presents itself well on the road and the dry track, but falls short of being a contender due to its wet performance.
Kumho Solus TA11 (Standard Touring All-Season 215/60R16 95T)
- What We Liked: Eager and responsive handling on the street or track.
- What We'd Improve: Light steering offers little resistance, somewhat rough over low-speed impacts and could use a little more wet grip.
- Conclusion: Feels like 95% of the way to a finished product.
View Tire Rack's testing team video:
The testers' conclusions
In the end, Tire Rack found that Firestone’s new Champion Fuel Fighter delivered a quiet and comfortable ride on the road, along with respectable wet traction. In terms of steering, however, the Firestone left testers wanting more.
The General AltiMax RT43 provided impressive grip in the wet with a slight harshness and tread growl. Goodyear’s Assurance All-Season was quiet with excellent dry handling, but was underwhelming in the wet.
Finally, the Kumho Solus TA11’s performance was acceptable with no one aspect standing out as exceptionally good or bad.
Complete results from this test can be found at www.tirerack.com/Champion.