Experts agree: If you want to improve your car’s handling, the best bang-for-your-buck comes from good set of tires.
Most cars come with all-season tires, which provide a compromise between handling, ride quality and winter traction. Ditch those shoes for a good set of summer rubber, and you’ll be amazed at how your car comes alive in the corners. Here are some of the best-rated performance tires on the market according to real world testing by consumers — and what you can expect to pay for them.
BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2
In the data available, the BFG G-Force Sport Comp 2 is the highest rated tire in its class, and also took first place in a comparison test against three other competitors (two of which are on this list). The G-Force Sport Comp 3 delivered the best traction on both wet and dry roads, though the road noise it produced was higher than the other tires. We found the smallest sizes as cheap as $89 a tire, with a 245/40ZR18 size tire going for as little as $137. (Your results may differ).
Search for more BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2 tires here.
Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500
Firestone is the sole supplier of tires for IndyCar racing, hence the name of this particular tire. This is the second-highest-rated tire on the list, although Tire Rack testing found that it didn’t have quite as much grip (particularly in the wet) as the tires it was up against. However, it delivered a smoother ride and less road noise—a worthwhile trade-off if you use your car for long road trips. Small sizes can be as inexpensive as $74, and for our 245/40R18 sample size we found these tires going for less than $150.
Search for more Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 tires here.
Dunlop Direzza DZ102
The Direzza DZ102 is another favorite and comes in at third place. In their own testing, Tire Rack found that the DZ102 offered sharp, responsive turn-in and a comfortable ride, though it didn’t deliver as much at-the-limit grip as the BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2 (see above) and the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport (see below). We found 16-inch DZ102s for $72; in 245/80R18 size, you can pay as little as $140.
Search for more Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires here.
Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport
Though not as popular with customers, Tire Rack’s test team rated the RE760 Sport second only to the BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2. They praised it for its at-the-limit handling, and were pleasantly surprised by its good ride quality, something unexpected in a tire that performs so well.While the other tires listed here can be had in 15” sizes, the RE760 only goes as small as 16; even so it is price-competitive at $100 a tire. Our sample 245/45/R18 tire can be found for $158.
Search for more Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport tires here.
Kumho Ecsta SPT
Kumho (“koo-moe”) is an up-and-coming South Korean tire manufacturer that makes good-quality high-performance tires that are aggressively priced. The Ecsta SPT is rated well, and while their test team found that doesn’t quite deliver the precise handling of some of its better-known competitors, its grip in the wet is impressive. Kumho doesn’t make the Ecsta SPT in smaller sizes; we found it in size 245/50R18 at a bargain price of $95.
Search for more Kuhmo Ecsta SPT tires here.
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