Sailun TerraMax HLT Review
Editor’s Note: Sailun arranged for Mike Schlee to test out the Sailun TerraMax HLT tire by flying him to Homestead Miami Speedway. Mike was not directly compensated for his review.
Sailun is no longer the young upstart company that it once was.
Founded in 2002, the company has established itself in North America as a value tire brand that makes good tires. Over the past decade or so, we at AutoGuide have sampled several different tires from Sailun. Time and time again, we’ve always come away impressed with the quality for the price.
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But the rubber industry is one that never rests. Advancements in technology develop at a rapid pace. As tires continue to improve, can Sailun still offer a price point advantage while also matching the brand’s more expensive competitor’s performance?
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The best way to find out is through a head-to-head comparison. To do this, Sailun Tires brought us to Homestead Miami, Florida to take part in a blind tire test. A high-priced, high-quality tire was installed on an otherwise bone-stock Honda CR-V, but the name and badging on the sidewall of the tire had been scrubbed off.
On an identical stock CR-V, installed is the company’s latest SUV and light truck tire, the Sailun TerraMax HLT. It too had all identifiable naming and branding scrubbed off. Thus, we were unaware as to which vehicle we were driving during the test.
In This Corner, the Sailun TerraMax HLT
Sailun positions the TerraMax HLT as a premium highway all-season tire. That means it’s designed to handle the load and weight of larger vehicles at high speeds on paved surfaces. It’s intended for those who don’t regularly travel off-road but do need something that can withstand the unpredictable road surfaces in the urban jungle.
The TerraMax HLT comes in a variety of sizes for wheels ranging from 15 inches in diameter all the way up to 22 inches. LT tires for dually rear axle configurations are also available. The tires come with a 60-month, 50,000 miles (80,000 km) warranty.
Being a road-based tire, tread life, quietness, and comfort are the key components Sailun has tried to optimize for the TerraMax HLT. The tire’s compound is engineered to stand up to wear and abuse while the tread pattern has been designed to provide a quiet driving experience and optimize performance in both wet and dry conditions.
And being a value tire, the TerraMax HLT is only about 66% of the cost compared to many top-tier well-known tires.
Dry Performance Test
The first tests we conducted were through a dry autocross course. It featured various acceleration, panic braking, slalom, and emergency lane change maneuvers. When it came to traction while accelerating and braking, there was nothing that separated the two tires. Both provided ample bite and did not squeal or lockup under heavy braking.
During moderate to hard cornering, once again there was no discernible difference. Both tires performed predictably and did not feature any sudden drop off in grip. Amid all the testing maneuvers, we found the two tries to be very quiet, with no vibrations finding their way up into the vehicle’s cabin.
Wet Weather Capability
As mentioned previously, we also had the chance to put both tires through their paces in the wet. Another autocross was set up on paved surfaces that varied from dry, to damp, to containing full-fledge standing water.
Acceleration and braking were once again nearly identical between the tires. Both exhibited no slip under acceleration and mild amounts of ABS intervention under hard braking.
Cornering grip did slightly favour the competitor tire during absolute at-the-limit cornering. But during emergency lane changes and slaloms, there was no identifiable difference between the tires.
After all the testing was done, was our final verdict that the Sailun TerraMax HLT is a better overall tire than its competitor? No. And that’s exactly the point.
Sailun’s goal was to prove that this tire can provide similar levels of performance when pitted head-to-head against higher priced competition. Through wet and dry testing, there wasn’t much that separated the Sailun TerraMax HLT from its top tier competitor.
As we’ve concluded in the past, Sailun continues to offer high quality performance in an affordable tire.
Price Point, Dry and Wet Performance, Quietness
Slightly reduced wet weather cornering performance
Performs as well as Pricier Competition at a Lower Price