June 11, 2013
The Eagle Sport All-Season would be a tier below ultra-high performance all-season tires, still offering a superior driving experience in comparison with a standard all-season tire (sometimes marketed as a “touring” style tire), but in a longer-lasting, smoother-riding format.
Goodyear Eagle All-Season Tires. Click image to enlarge
Goodyear Technology Director, Tim Lovell, describes the Eagle Sport All-Season as “designed for people who are performance-oriented; they know the tires are contributing to the quality of their driving experience.”
There is another market for this tire, however. In addition to consumers who are looking for a longer-lasting, more comfortable riding tire for their upmarket sport sedan or SUV, the Eagle Sport All-Season should also find favour with those driving more mainsteam vehicles who feel they would like an overall sportier driving experience. In other words, rather than consumers “buying down” from an ultra high-performance all-season tire to the typically less expensive, longer-lasting performance all-season tire, there is, according to Goodyear, a market for consumers “buying up” from a standard all-season to a performance all-season tire.
Eagle Brand Manager (Performance Tires) Tina Foote puts it this way: “A key attraction for this tire is its appeal to what some would consider “non-sports cars,” thus offering the performance benefits of a Goodyear Eagle to drivers who want to maintain or upgrade the steering and handling characteristics of their vehicles.”
We drove Audi A4s equipped with Goodyear Sport All-Season tires on a slalom course in wet and dry conditions at the Bob Bondurant School of Performance Driving in Phoenix, Arizona. Although in development the Sport All-Season tires were tested against competitors from General Tire and BF Goodrich among others, we were able to compare them only against Audis wearing Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval tires.
In several passes on the slalom course, the Goodyear tires demonstrated strong and steady lateral control, and excellent stability through the “esses” on the wet portion of the circuit. Emergency stopping was also sharp and controlled. The weakness for the Firestone tires was found in the wet, where the car felt looser at the rear, and marginally in emergency stopping, where distances seemed slightly longer (although no objective data was available).
Bob Bondurant School of Performance Driving. Click image to enlarge
For many Canadians, the choice of Eagle Sport All-Season will still require an additional set of winter tires, although they may extend the driving season fully through spring, summer and fall. For urban west coast residents, the Eagle Sport All-Season could be an excellent choice for year-round motoring. Depending on the price (yet to be announced, but expected to be similar to the Eagle GT it replaces), the Eagle Sport All-Season could be a fine year-round combination of value, sporty performance and agreeable ride.
A high point of the event, by the way, was meeting Mr. Bondurant, an affable octogenarian and champion race driver at the highest levels. Interestingly (and not coincidentally, of course), Mr. Bondurant has been racing on Goodyear tires for over 40 years. His is the official school of performance driving for Chevrolet vehicles, and his facility specializes in driver training at all levels predominantly featuring Corvettes and Camaros.
The 427 Cobra and Le Mans-winning Ford GT-40 displayed in the on-site museum were understandable departures from the GM emphasis, but they, too, wore Goodyear tires (Eagles, in fact, hence the strong performance provenance of the brand).
Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season tires are currently in production and will be available beginning in June, 2013.