Canstar Blue produces an annual review of car tyres, comparing brands including Pirelli, Michelin, Dunlop, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Continental and Kumho, rated on their tyre life, stopping ability, wet and dry weather handling, value for money and overall satisfaction.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order. Canstar Blue research finalised in January 2017, published in February 2017.
See our Ratings Methodology.
When it comes to car tyres, there is often a perception that ‘you get what you pay for’. The implication is that, the more you’re willing or able to spend on new tyres, the better quality you’ll get, and the safer you’ll be on the road. But is it quite that simple? Canstar Blue aims to find out with an annual review of car tyres available in Australia. We surveyed motorists across the country who have recently purchased new tyres, and their feedback is reflected by the star ratings you see above.
So, are the more expensive tyre brands your best bet? Well, our ratings suggest there may be some truth to this theory, with Pirelli rated highest overall by Aussie motorists. The brand best known for high-end sports cars is also a winner on the normal streets of this country, recording five-star reviews for stopping ability, dry and wet weather handling, and overall satisfaction. It also scored four-star ratings in regards to tyre life and value for money – resulting in an overall glowing assessment of Pirelli tyres.
Pirelli replaces Michelin as the highest-rated brand from last year, adding further support to the point about premium tyres. Of course, not everyone can afford, or would be inclined, to pay top dollar for new tyres. Fortunately the ratings also reflect well on many other, cheaper brands, so there is lots to consider whatever your budget and preferences.
With that in mind, here is an overview of each tyre brand in this year’s review:
Premier Italian brand Pirelli is known for its racing pedigree and sponsorship of various motorsports events. Indeed, its tyres seem to be synonymous with performance. This is perhaps why it earned five stars in all performance aspects. Performance evidently does not come cheap, however, with its most expensive car tyres costing up to and over $1,500 each! These prices are generally reserved for the most uncompromising driver on the race track, and are available in diameters of 20 inches and over. The more consumer-friendly tyres can be had from about $100 each, which we suspect would suit many a daily driver. No matter your price range, expect exciting model names like ‘Cinturato’ and ‘Scorpion’.
Despite what its name may suggest, Bridgestone has a rich history dating back to Japan in the early 20th century. Since then it has become one of the leading tyre manufacturers in the world and its tyres can be pretty budget-friendly. Expect Bridgestone’s cheapest tyres to come in at under $80 each, while the most expensive performance-oriented tyres cost over $800 each. So from the race track to the city streets, Bridgestone likely has you covered. Also keep an eye out for various bonus deals that Bridgestone regularly offers, including cash-back, ‘fourth tyre free’, as well as a services program that entitles you to extra discounts.
Owned by American tyre giant Goodyear, Dunlop offers all manner of car tyres for vehicles including small, city-dwelling runarounds, all the way up to big performance behemoths born for the race track. Expect the most budget-friendly tyres to come in at around $80 each, while the most expensive will set you back close to $1,400! This is for the ‘Grandtrek PT3’ which is a serious performance tyre. In fact, Dunlop also makes a variety of tyres for the enthusiast, from track tyres to slick tarmac tyres, to rally and kart tyres! Dunlop was a decent performer across most categories in our ratings.
Goodyear is an all-American tyre manufacturer that was founded in Ohio over 100 years ago. Indeed it was one of the first manufacturers to make a tubeless tyre, and supplied racing tyres to Henry Ford. Goodyear still sponsors many motorsports events, and this is carried over into its tyre range. Goodyear’s Eagle range is performance-oriented and tryes costs up to around $800 each. Its consumer range is a lot kinder on the wallet though, with the cheapest tyres costing a little under $100 each. Goodyear performed quite well across most categories in these ratings and its large range means there’s likely a tyre out there for everyone.
Based out of South Korea and founded in the mid-20th century, Hankook is a popular tyre company with both an ‘everyday driver’ and ‘performance’ focus. It performed well in most categories – namely the performance ones. Hankook has a range of tyres suited to a lot of regular drivers, with tyres starting at around $75 each for cheaper, economy-focused ones at a 13 inch wheel size. Its performance range called ‘Ventus’ is naturally a lot dearer, with the most expensive coming in at around $500 per tyre. For that you can expect scintillating performance in very large wheel sizes – 20 inches and above. However, the fun doesn’t stop there, because Hankook also makes a large range of off-road tyres for the popular 4WD segment, which can be had from about the $200 range.
Kumho is another South Korean brand, producing a range of tyres for most types of vehicles and scenarios. Kumho performed solidly across all categories in this review, earning four stars in every area. Kumho perhaps stands out most for its budget-oriented consumer tyres that can be found for less than $80 at their cheapest. Kumho is no slacker in the performance category though, as its top-range tyres can cost over $400 each for uncompromising performance. Solid mid-range performance tyres can be had for less than $200 each and expect interesting model names like ‘Ecsta’, ‘Road Venture’ and ‘Le Sport’.
Maxxis was an interesting performer in this year’s tyre review. Born out of Taiwan, the brand performed solidly in most categories, but was the only brand to achieve five stars on value for money. Maxxis makes a large range of car tyres, from the extremely budget-oriented costing less than $70 each, to serious off-road tyres with huge amounts of tread for more than $400. Its off-road tyres are perhaps the most interesting, with model names like ‘Big Horn’, ‘Bravo’ and ‘Victra’. If your school pickup vehicle of choice resembles more of a Landcruiser than a Prius, Maxxis may be the brand for you.
French tyre manufacturer Michelin is one of the largest in the world and it has a range of other interests outside of tyres – ever heard of the Michelin Star restaurant ratings? But back to tyres and the Michelin Tyre Company is one of the oldest, yet most innovative, out there. The brand scored five stars for tyre durability and performed solidly across all other categories. It has a range of eco-focused tyres, as well as some exciting performance models. The performance range is called ‘Pilot Sport’, which costs up to $700 per tyre. Everyday drivers are not left out though, as Michelin’s ‘Energy’ range commonly cost less than $100 per tyre. These tyres are recognised for their impressive fuel saving and for being eco-conscious. For Australian drivers, saying ‘Oui, oui!’ to Michelin is a safe bet to keep your car connected to the road.
Toyo is a Japanese brand and was a solid performer all round in this year’s review, but scored five stars for tyre durability, which is a promising sign if you’re looking to get more out of your tyre on a budget. Toyo makes a range of budget-oriented tyres that can be had from about $70 per tyre. Toyo also has a large range of SUV tyres, with the most costly coming in at over $1,000 each! Also in the upper echelon of prices are various performance car tyres under the ‘Proxes’ model name. These cost up to around $700 each! However, most tyres are consumer-oriented and cost around $100 each, which represents a great option when looking for a cheap tyre for everyday needs.
Yokohama was a fairly solid performer overall in our ratings. Yokohama is part of the Yokohama Rubber Company, founded about 100 years ago in conjunction with US manufacturer Goodrich. Nowadays, the company is based in Tokyo and offers all manner of tyres, from everyday tyres to 4WD tyres, to performance tyres. Prices range from around the $100 mark all the way up to nearly $600 for the ‘Advan’ sport range. Indeed, Yokohama actually has a rich racing pedigree and sponsors various motorsports events around the world. For consumers in Australia, keep an eye out for various deals, cash-back offers and discounts when buying Yokohama tyres.
Bob Jane is the only Aussie-owned tyre company in this review, based in Melbourne. Perhaps unsurprisingly named after Bob Jane the motorsports legend, Bob Jane primarily deals with the budget-friendly tyres. It is also one of the only companies to not sell re-tread tyres, which is a testament to its business ethics. Bob Jane offers two kinds of consumer tyres – the All-Rounder and the Xenon. The All-Rounder is the budget-oriented tyre, and can be had from around $79. The Xenon is a more performance-oriented model, but still comes in relatively cheap at about $115. If you like Australian brands and cheap tyres, Bob Jane could be the one for you.
Continental rounds out this year’s car tyres review. The Germany tyre manufacturer has a large range of tyres, from the budget-oriented ‘ContiComfort’ series starting at around $90 per tyre, all the way up to around $700 in the ‘ContiSport’ range. Even though Continental scored three stars in each category, it’s still a viable option as its range is so large. Expect tyres for all ranges of applications and vehicles, including the ‘Comfort’ range that apparently aims to reduce road noise and provides better ride comfort. Continental is a no-nonsense German tyre powerhouse, with a range of tyres to suit most budgets.
A new set of tyres can be costly, but the fact is that every motorist needs to take responsibility for every part of their vehicle – and tyres are right up there amongst the most important parts. This means ensuring your tyres are in a safe and legal condition. The minimum tread depth of car tyres in Australia is 1.6mm across the entire face of the tyre. Anything less and it is not fit for purpose. Unfortunately though, our survey of motorists found that many are overlooking their tyres:
For your safety, and that of other road-users, it’s vital you get to know your tyres and regularly check them for any defects. Give serious thought to the tyres you buy and try not to treat them like a grudge purchase, but rather an investment in your safety on the roads. Which brand you decide to buy, we hope you found this review helpful.
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased new car tyres in the last two years – in this case, 1,311 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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