Goodyear recently unveiled its new EfficientGrip Performance SUV tyre in Thailand while the tyres will be available in India this November. These medium compound tyres focus on lower road noise, comfort as well as grip on-road. To this very effect, Goodyear engineers have increased the number of pitches which essentially means that they have reduced the tread pattern and closed the grooves. The hexagonal bead inner section is said to reduce vibration and enhance the contact patch with the ground. Goodyear also claims that these tyres, which are available in the size 16-20 inches, perform quite well in the wet. We got to test all these claims at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.
The Performance SUV tyre is built with components imported from Germany at Goodyear's Thailand facility
Goodyear had arranged for a competitor's tyre - Continental for this. The car used here was the Mercedes-Benz GLA and for the first run, Goodyear tyres were used. Goodyear claimed that their tyres were quieter by around 15 per cent from that of the closest competitor - Continental. A pass-by noise test was done which included the use of a decibel meter while the SUVs were driven at 80kmph by a professional driver. While the Continental tyres recorded a pass-by noise of 76.3db, the EfficientGrip Performance SUV registered a marginally lower 74.1dB.
Goodyear's claim of improved wet braking performance was demonstrated again by the same GLA SUV. Braking markers were kept at strategic points and the 80-0kmph braking was showcased both in dry as well as wet conditions. The Continental took 25.5 metres to come to a complete halt, whereas the Goodyear tyres stopped a metre before the former's mark in wet conditions. Goodyear says that the new polymers as well as the compound used for making the tyre offer increased grip and hence shorter braking distances, especially in the wet.
The slalom tests were conducted as to give an idea of how the tyres handle sudden direction changes. While there was no competitor tyre-equipped car available, the Goodyear-fitted BMW X1 was eager to change directions as well as inspired a certain amount of confidence. The low-rolling resistance of these Performance SUV tyres is claimed to give around four per cent more fuel efficiency than the competition.
The GLC takes a cone-ridden 60kmph corner with ease with the new Goodyear tyres
The instructor tells us the exact points where we will be braking or accelerating
Here we were given two Mercedes GLA SUVs - one fitted with Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance tyres and the other with Continental rubber. This includes sections of wet and dry, on which we were asked to drive the SUVs. The instructor had specifically asked us not to touch the brakes while taking the tight wet corner. Truth be told, I was a bit hesitant; however, the Goodyear-ed GLA took the corner with a kind of confidence that was a bit lacking in the competitor tyre. You can feel the grip the Goodyear tyre afforded around bends. All said and done, the real test for Goodyear will be to get manufacturer backing for their SUV tyres in India. Currently the EfficientGrip SUV tyres are considered a replacement for OE-fitment tyres and cover SUVs like the Ford Endeavour, Toyota Fortuner, Honda CR-V, Isuzu MU-X and Hyundai Tucson. The last vehicle in this list catches my attention as my long-termer Tucson wears Nexen units which have decent grip. However, some more efficiency and grip wouldn't hurt, right?