Thursday, August 10, 2017

6 Ways the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance SUV Impressed Us


Answering the call for quieter, more comfortable SUV tires, Goodyear is set to introduce the successor to its award-winning EfficientGrip SUV tire: EfficientGrip Performance SUV. Set to launch in the Philippine market by September, Goodyear Philippines sent us to the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to experience this new tire first-hand. Here are 6 ways this new tire impressed us.


#1. It’s Quiet

You may not know it, but typical SUV tires, even those fitted as OE (Original Equipment) compromise some on-road quietness for added grip when tackling muddy trails. For the vast majority of us, who look at SUVs not as off-road adventure vehicles but as comfy daily drivers, Goodyear has engineered the EfficientGrip Performance SUV.

A look at its tread pattern alone says a lot about the EfficientGrip Performance SUV. Looking more like something that can be fitted in a luxury sedan than a Toyota Fortuner or Mitsubishi Montero Sport, the EfficientGrip Performance SUV is designed with quietness in mind. With tire noise a by-product of air pressure difference flowing between the tire’s grooves and pitches, Goodyear has reduced the block size and closed the grooves to provide a quieter ride.

A scenic drive around Buriram was more than enough to confirm this as the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance SUV was noticeably quieter at highway speed compared to a competitor OE tire. And if that wasn’t enough, armed with a decibel meter, Goodyear measured the EfficientGrip Performance SUV tire to be some 3 percent quieter than the competition.


#2. It’s Comfortable

Tires are normally looked at as four black round pieces of rubber that contact the road, but there’s a lot of science voodoo involved in engineering them. Thanks to dedicated NVH engineers (yes, Goodyear does employ people like that), they’ve designed the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance SUV to offer excellent on-road comfort. They’ve done so by re-engineering the tire at an almost microscopic level.

All in all, Goodyear has worked to reduce the “lag” between the road and the tire’s response (often the cause of discomfort). They’ve done so by employing a unique hexagonal bead that enhances contact with the rim reducing vibration. Next, they’ve used a thicker compound at the tread itself thereby improving road dampening. And finally, similar to what Nike has done with Nike Air technology, EfficientGrip Performance SUV comes with a special “shock absorbing layer.” This first-in-the-world technology provides a layer of cushioning that reduces the tire movement, which in turn, reduces vibration even further.

All this work was, in fact, validated by the independent testing firm TÜV Rheinland which gave the EfficientGrip Performance SUV tire a Comfort Subjective Rating of 8.1—the highest in its segment.


#3. It’s Grippy

Normally, agile handling and SUV don’t go together, but Goodyear understands that customers are increasingly getting demanding of their vehicles. With SUVs now providing levels of comfort and handling closer to passenger cars than trucks, tires have to evolve as well. Though EfficientGrip Performance SUV won’t make your Ford Everest handle like a Focus RS, it does have a special compound that promotes a more precise steering response. And even if you do end up miscalculating a turn or two, it comes with a Rim Flange Protector that helps protect the rim and tire against curb rashes.


#4. It’s Confident Even in the Wet

Perhaps the single most impressive aspect of the EfficientGrip Performance SUV is its wet weather handling. Thanks to a tire pattern that’s been optimized to channel water away (wider shoulder blocks and wider centerline sipes), the resulting contact area between the tire and the road has been greatly improved.

The first test done at the track immediately showed the superiority of the EfficientGrip Performance SUV over the competition. Accelerating to 80 km/h, the crossover was made to brake to a complete stop. Using GPS-based measuring equipment, the EfficientGrip Performance SUV was measured to have stopped one meter shorter (it stopped two meters shorter the previous day) compared to a rival tire. Putting that into real world context, that’s stopping about half a car length shorter or the difference between walking away from a fender bender or ending up in a total wreck.

If that result didn’t seem impressive enough, we were then made to corner the Chang International Circuit’s final right hander at 60 km/h without lifting the accelerator. With all the driving aids engaged, we pushed a crossover fitted with the EfficientGrip Performance SUV first. No stability control lights. No tire squeals. No drama. It simply went through the corner as if it rode through a piece of dry track. Next up was the competitor tire. Here, no amount of steering correction or computerized driving aid was enough to kill the tremendous understeer. It simply didn’t want to turn. The car acted as if it had a mind of its own and it was wanting to go straight no matter what we did. Again, if this was a corner in the real world, the car would have hit the retaining barrier or crossed onto the opposing lane and into traffic.


#5. It’s Award-Winning

Its predecessor, the EfficientGrip SUV was already one of the most-awarded tires, garnering at least 13 awards from various publications around Asia-Pacific, its most recent recognition being in 2016. The new Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance SUV looks to carry that tradition. Despite being launched just last year in China, it’s managed to scoop up 4 awards already including best in quietness, braking safety, and comfort.


#6. It’s Made for Your SUV

Complementing the Wrangler TripleMax, the EfficientGrip Performance SUV is positioned as Goodyear’s luxury, on-road SUV tire. Yet, looking at the available sizes say they’re offering a wide array of fitment that can fit most SUVs and crossovers with rim sizes from 17 to 20 inches. Speed ratings come in either V or H. Goodyear Philippines will provide more information on available sizes and fitments specific to our market during its official launch.

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