Canadian Tire has launched a revised version of its most popular all-season Motomaster tire. Spring of 2016, the Motomaster SE3 replaces the outgoing SE2. Try to contain your excitement.
All kidding aside, the tire is arguably the most important part of your car (next to the heated steering wheel), as those four little contact patches are the only things that allow you to steer, brake, accelerate and stay between the ditches. While all-season tires are not the sexiest of items (and might very well fall into the “grudge purchase” category), they are the most popular tire type, and a key product for this bastion of Canadian retailing. It’s not called Canadian Tire for nothing.
But first, let’s get something out of the way. All-season tires are not all season tires. They are three-season tires. Canadian Tire even says so in its 2016 Spring and Tire Guide, which is an excellent tool for understanding tire information. The guide states, “All-season tires can remain on your vehicle spring, summer and fall, but may not be suitable for cold temperatures or snowy weather.”
The Motomaster SE2 has been Canadian Tire’s biggest seller, and the SE3 picks up with a longer wear rating (95,000 km to 135,000 km), smoother ride and a more complex coupled-silica compound. Rubber compounds that make up the modern tire are complex, secretive and sport all kinds of hooky handles designed to confuse and impress. Michael Minialoff, Senior Category Business Manager, Tires and Wheels at Canadian Tire, tells me the “coupled-silica” (extra silica) is a feature found in more expensive tires and this adds to the tire’s wet surface grip and reduces its internal temperature.
The SE3, classed as a premium touring all-season tire, was designed and engineered in conjunction with Cooper Tires and is sold only as a Canadian Tire Motomaster product – it is not a rebadged product. It is manufactured in the US.
Available in 15, 16 and 17-inch diameters with ratings of T, H and V, the Motomaster SE3 starts at $99.99 and is typically priced at $20 to $40 less than a comparable premium tire. Cited in the brochure are Michelin Defender and Premier, Cooper Grand Touring CS5, Goodyear Allegra Touring Fuel Max and Continental TrueContact.
The competition: Continental TrueContact vs Bridgestone Ecopia Tires
The SE3 features an asymmetrical tread pattern, with the outboard tread blocks being chunkier for increased cornering grip. Grooves in the centre of the tire direct water to the inboard side where the treadblocks feature more sipes that are of the three-dimensional variety. By explanation, the sipes (small cuts in the tread that give the tires more grip on wet surfaces) don’t go straight down but instead are wavy, so under load they interlock, giving the tire more stability.