There’s a growing segment in the tire world: ultra high-performance (UHP) all season tires.
A take-all-comers tire with performance credibility probably sounds like so much marketing gobbledygook to drivers who swap wheel wrappings seasonally. To a certain extent that’s true; there’s no replacing summer tires in, well, summer and the same principals apply in snow.
But there are plenty of folks who live in areas where weather rarely reaches extremes to merit specialized rubber. With precious few pennies to spare, single sets of tires that last year-round seem increasingly attractive.
You might be inclined to believe that tires are created equally, but there’s a lot more than tread patterns and price to distinguish one set from another.
It doesn’t matter if your car powers the front, rear or all four wheels; you aren’t getting anywhere without a firm grip on the asphalt. While it’s difficult to quantify that performance, the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus allowed our test car (a 2004 Acura TSX) to carry between one and 1.1 g through the corners at AutoGuide’s test track. That’s about on par with other all season UHPs at the same course.
The front-driver, with no limited slip differential, doesn’t mask the capability (or lack thereof) of the tire. That said, the Proxes 4 Plus proved impressive with solid grip a result of the tire itself.
AutoGuide’s hired hotshoe Dave Pratte also commented that the tires, “have a nice gradual break-away characteristic that make them easy to drive at the limit.”
Performance Balanced with Everyday Comfort
Still, the tires are noticeably less aggressive than others in their segment. The tread squirmed a little in fast corners, but that’s typical of all-season rubber and certainly not a reason to discredit them.
Softer sidewalls are the most obvious differentiating characteristic of the Proxes 4 Plus. Many tires claiming a UHP label lean more toward performance, and stiff sidewalls play a big part of that. It helps deliver better performance for aggressive driving, but ride comfort typically suffers.
Toyo is offering a more hospitable option rather than following the trend.
The sidewalls feel slightly softer, and while that might compromise some performance, the difference isn’t something you’re likely to notice for regular use, or even sporty driving.
What you’re less likely to notice is actually more important: bumps and holes in the road. The tires are quiet and comfortable to drive with while maintaining performance consistent with other UHP all-season tires.
The company’s material points to a new high-grip silica tread compound that is supposed to improve braking and handling in both wet and dry conditions.
Wide grooves on the outer half of the tire and dense sipes are designed to spit water and snow out of the rubber to improve road grip.
Without the chance to test them on snowy roads or a skid pad, it’s difficult to say exactly how well the tires live up to winter performance claims. Still, it’s also worth noting that Toyo typically builds tires that perform well in wet conditions, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these should follow suit.
1. Backed by a 50,000 mile warranty
2. Drive on them for 45 days or 500 miles (whichever comes first) risk-free.
3. In Canada there’s 30-day trial period with a warranty of five years or 72,000 km for Y rated tires and 80,000 km for V and W rated tires.
4. Pricing starts as low as $80 per tire and can climb over $240.
5. Many sizes available from 16-inch to 20-inch wheels. Widths range from 205 millimeters to 295 and receive a 560 A A UTQG rating.
If you’re looking for a no-compromise performance tire, Toyo’s Proxes 4 Plus probably aren’t your best bet.
Then again, anyone seeking that sort of capability should probably be buying season-specific rubber. Those hoping to maximize convenience through a long-lasting tire should count the Proxes 4 Plus at the top of their list. They deliver a balance between daily livability and road grip that promises long-term value.