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Michelin dominates UHP tire test

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Michelin dominates UHP tire test

"Consumer Reports" couldn't wait two more years to test ultra-high performance tires. With strong additions to the segment and the stars in alignment, the magazine updated its 2010 findings.

Five new UHP tires were tested for the first time. Listed by subsegments, they are:

Summer -- Firestone Wide Oval Indy 500, Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

All-season -- Cooper Zeon RS-3A, Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ A/S, Yokohama Avid ENVigor.

"CR" doesn’t often do tire updates between its three-year cycle of testing truck, family car, and performance car tires. "With our test car, the Chevrolet Cobalt SS, and an abundance of previously tested models still available, it was easy to add in these new models," said the company.

And the winning brands this time around? Michelin and Cooper.

The Michelin Pilot Super Sport set a new standard for UHP summer tires, according to "CR," easily out-pacing the top-rated summer tires in 2010: Goodyear Eagle F1 GT Asymmetric, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx and Michelin Pilot Sport PS2.

(See "'Consumer Reports' ranks Goodyear No. 1 (maybe).")

The new Michelin Pilot Super Sport completed the "CR" avoidance maneuver test with the fastest speed of any UHP tire tested. "With few compromises, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport also had impressive tread life based on (our) extended vehicle tread wear evaluation."

In the all-season UHP category, the newly introduced Cooper Zeon RS3-A is now tied at the top of the ratings along side the Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season and Sumitomo HTR A/S P01. In 2007, the Zeon Sport A/S ranked 13th out of 15 models "CR" tested.

"The new tire is a stand-out and continues the trend of Cooper tires climbing in "Consumer Reports" ratings. The Zeon RS3-A offers all-weather performance and also impressive tread life for a UHP tire."

Last fall, "CR" tested 53 models of summer and all-season UHP tires suitable for sporty coupes, sedans, and all-out sports cars. "Needless to say, this update shows it is still a highly contested group,” said Gene Petersen, program leader at the magazine's automotive test center.

Testers measured braking and lateral grip on dry and wet surfaces; dry handling during "CR"'s emergency avoidance maneuver; wet handling on a 2.5-acre autocross course; and hydroplaning resistance, which measures how well a tire maintains contact with the road in standing water. All-season models also were evaluated for snow and ice traction.

Tread wear, which compares the wear of model following a 12,000-mile on-road evaluation, and rolling resistance were evaluated at outside laboratories.

To ensure consistency, testers bought each tire model in the same size and mounted them on the same test cars. For the Chevy Cobalt SS, size P225/40R18 was chosen. ("CR" engineers expect other sizes of the same tire models to provide similar performance.)

"CR" is published by Consumers Union, the world’s largest independent, not-for-profit, product-testing organization. For more information, visit www.consumerreports.org.

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