Product Reviews
Take Action

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

Top high-performance tires

Michelin is among the best for all-season, summer, and winter tires

Published: September 2013
Our tire testers put 50 ultra-high-performance and winter treads through their paces.

Find Ratings


As automakers try to boost the handling and fun-to-drive quotient of their cars, they’re coming out with more models equipped with performance tires designed to optimize cornering, grip, and handling. And in the upper tier of this market—in both capability and price—are ultra-high-performance (UHP) tires.

UHP rubber, which is usually found on sports and high-performance luxury cars, is now showing up on less-expensive models, such as the Mini Cooper S and the Volkswagen GTI. Even mainstream models like the Buick LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Malibu offer UHP tire packages.

Those tires have a wide tread to maximize grip and short, stiffer sidewalls that minimize flexing while cornering. Both attributes help them deliver more responsive handling. The trade-offs, however, are typically a stiffer ride and a shorter tread life. Mainstream tire types might have a tread-wear warranty of 75,000 to 100,000 miles, for example, but a warranty for a UHP model, if there is one, goes up to only 60,000 miles.

The models we tested have speed ratings of W, Y, and Z, which means that they’re capable of sustaining speeds of more than 149 mph. That might seem like overkill on public roads, but speed ratings are a good guide for a tire’s overall performance. We found that tires with higher speed ratings also have better overall grip at normal highway speeds.

We tested two types of UHP tires: summer and all-season. Summer tires are designed to deliver maximum grip in temperate conditions. But they give up grip when the mercury dips to near freezing, and they provide very little grip on snowy or icy roads. UHP all-season models are for year-round use, although they don’t perform as well as dedicated winter tires on snowy and icy roads. We also found that they typically last longer than summer models, which often have no tread-wear warranty.

Editor's Note:

This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Sign In or Subscribe to see full article and/or Ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Cars News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more