Review and photos by James Bergeron

Las Vegas, Nevada – If I was a gambling man, Las Vegas would certainly be my destination of choice, but I am not, making Las Vegas a simple checkmark on my map of travel destinations. But for Bridgestone, Las Vegas was more than a checkmark – it is where they gambled that they could demonstrate to a handful of journalists that their new all-season tires, the Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS and the Dueler H/P Sport AS, were leaders in their respective categories.

After the standard marketing presentations and explanations of the markets and consumer demands, we took a bus to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to test how these new Bridgestone tires compare directly to the competition.

Of course one always has to be skeptical of these types of events: here is a tire manufacturer, trying to woo us journalists into writing about their amazing new tire – which they will “prove” to be better than the “competition.” So my Spidey-senses were a-tingling – perhaps the “competition” tire isn’t really the competition tire, perhaps it’s a much less expensive tire… Well, turns out Bridgestone did not try to pull the wool over our eyes at all.

Tire Review: Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS and the Dueler H/P Sport AS All Season tires tire reviews auto product reviews
Tire Review: Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS and the Dueler H/P Sport. Click image to enlarge

Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS (SUV Tire)

First up for us was to test the new Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS tire. Put simply, this is Bridgestone’s new SUV or crossover all-season tire. It has been designed to provide excellent handling on both dry and wet surfaces and deliver a quiet and comfortable ride. Bridgestone brought out two tires to compare with directly, mounted to identical vehicles driving in identical conditions back-to-back. These two tires were the Yokohama Parada Spec X and the Michelin Latitude Tour HP.

According to Bridgestone the Parada Spec X was chosen because it was the highest-rated (by consumers) tire on consumer websites and the Michelin was chosen because it was an OEM fitment tire on the Porsche Cayenne SUVs we were using to test with.

To squash any doubts, I did some research of my own and came up with the following. I chose a random tire size from a reputable online dealer to compare prices. The size: 225/65/17; the Yokohama Parada Spec X listed for US$136 tire, the Michelin Latitude Tour HP listed for US$142, while the Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS listed for US$145 per tire. So yes, the Yokohama is the least expensive in this comparison and the Bridgestone the most expensive – but the differences are negligible.

Tire Review: Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS and the Dueler H/P Sport AS All Season tires tire reviews auto product reviews
Tire Review: Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS and the Dueler H/P Sport. Click image to enlarge

What about the rating? Well Bridgestone was accurate: the Yokohama is rated at 8.3/10 by consumers while the slightly more expensive Michelin tire is rated at 7.6/10. The Bridgestone is too new and does not have a rating yet – so on to the testing!

First up was the Yokohama Parada Spec X mounted on Lexus RX350s. We headed out onto a freshly watered track and approached the first corner at 60 km/h, no braking and no accelerating – just turn into the corner to simulate what the average driver may face in an emergency situation or simply while “racing” to soccer practice. As I entered the corner for the first time I was a little nervous but trusted my co-pilot and instructor for the session. As we entered the corner the RX350 began to understeer and slide towards the edge of the track, my instructor then suggested I try accelerating to use the all-wheel drive to pull myself out of the corner.

You don’t have to ask me twice, so I stomped on the go-pedal and the rear end of the Lexus, seemly out of nowhere, snapped sideways and we were into a four-wheel skid. After some sawing at the steering wheel and some smart computers braking various wheels we recovered and continued on our way. I was surprised, especially in the Lexus, to have the vehicle snap oversteer on me. Obviously we entered the corner too quickly (or so I thought) – this is a Lexus SUV after all, not a sports car.

Tire Review: Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS and the Dueler H/P Sport AS All Season tires tire reviews auto product reviews
Tire Review: Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS and the Dueler H/P Sport. Click image to enlarge

Next up was the same Lexus vehicle now equipped with the new Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS tire. The same sequence ensued, accelerate towards the corner, turn in at precisely 60 km/h and… wait… no understeer? The vehicle just turned! Accelerate slightly and continue on the lap, come around again, heck let’s go faster! Turn in, very little drama as the vehicle slid slightly and I accelerated using the all-wheel drive system to pull me out of the slide. It didn’t take long to be convinced the Bridgestone was superior to the Yokohama in the wet.

We repeated the process in Porsche Cayenne SUVs equipped with Michelin Latitude Tour HP tires and of course the new Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS to compare. The differences here were less dramatic but still obvious as I was able to enter the same corner about 10 km/h faster with the Bridgestones compared to the Michelins and, if I may add, about 20 km/h faster in the Porsche than the Lexus equipped with the same tires.

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