Most drivers know the division between summer, all-season, and winter tires. However, that’s not the only classification of tires. Manufacturers also want to divide tires into “performance categories.”
These categories signify what types of vehicles the tire is most appropriate for, because not every car needs the same kind of tires. That said, touring tires are by far the most popular type for most drivers.
These tires are designed to cover a large variety of vehicle types, but also the needs of the regular driver in North America. Let’s dig into more detail and see why touring tires are so popular.
Main Attributes of Touring Tires
As their name suggests, touring tires are made for covering long distances. And, they excel at that. For that reason, touring tires are installed on most new vehicles today.
Moreover, touring tires are available in the most popular tire sizes, ranging from 15-inch wheel diameter and up to 20-inch wheel diameter on some models.
And, while there is a difference between brands and makes, all touring tires share a similar quality – to offer a delicate balance between performance, comfort, durability, and price.
Compared to other tire types, touring (and grand-touring) tires sit between regular all-season tires and high-performance tires.
Advantages of Touring Tires
For most drivers out there, touring tires provide everything needed for safe, comfortable, and reliable traveling experience.
That said, the most-known quality of touring tires is the durability. These tires have outstandingly long treadlife, and the manufacturers cover it with extremely extended treadwear warranties.
Some premium touring tires come with up to a 90,000-mile treadwear warranty, which means that you can use the tires for five years between replacements.
Furthermore, touring tires are also extremely comfortable. These tires have sturdy, but not overly stiff sidewalls, which results in plush ride quality on most surfaces.
Moreover, tire engineers utilize tread patterns designed to minimize noise. As a result of that, touring tires will provide the passengers with the quietest driving experience around.
But what about handling, stability, and braking? Well, for most drivers, touring and grand-touring tires provide a safe driving experience in urban scenarios, on the highway, and a twisty road.
There is a difference between tire models, sure, but all share good levels of traction on dry and wet surfaces, reliable cornering grip, and secure braking.
Depending on the tread compound used, some premium touring tires also provide good traction and braking on snowy surfaces.
So, to sum things up, touring tires have everything needed for a safe and comfortable driving experience. They are an excellent choice for long road trips, and for people that cover a lot of miles annually.
That said, touring tires also have some disadvantages – let’s see which are they down below.
Disadvantages of Touring Tires
As you probably noticed in the “advantages” section, I never mentioned performance driving. That’s because touring tires aren’t designed for powerful performance cars, fast driving through the corners, and very high speeds. Simply put, if you are an enthusiast driver, these tires won’t cut the mustard.
First of all, touring tires lack responsiveness and don’t provide an excellent steering feel. Manufacturers consciously make these tires softer for better ride quality, which makes the whole driving experience a bit bland. At least for enthusiast drivers, that is.
Moreover, touring and grand-touring tires don’t have a very high cornering grip. Push them too hard in the corners, and they will quickly lose grip. Also, traction for acceleration on more powerful vehicles might not be sufficient. Also, driving on the track is a no go.
Now, this doesn’t mean that touring tires aren’t safe. Premium touring tires have become extremely good at putting the power down. However, for the best handling and responsiveness, I recommend going for high-performance or ultra-high-performance tires.
Touring vs. Grand-Touring Tires – What’s the Difference?
You probably noticed that in several places, I mentioned grand-touring tires. So, what’s the difference between touring and grand-touring tires, and is there one? Well, of course, there is, but it’s not very big.
These tires share the same qualities. They are very comfortable, provide safe traction and grip, and last for a very long time. However, touring tires gear more toward a comfortable ride, while grand-touring tires spice things up with better traction and grip.
For those reasons, grand-touring tires are usually offered in larger sizes with lower sidewalls and wider tread. Also, grand-touring tires come in higher speed ratings, which automatically makes them better for more powerful cars.
Weather Compounds Used in Touring Tires
At the start of this article, I mentioned that tires are mainly divided into summer, all-season, and winter tires. Well, the same is valid for touring tires – they are available with each weather compound.
The choice of weather rubber compounds is critical. For example, a summer touring tire will have a stickier and harder tread compound, which improves responsiveness and cornering grip, even in wet conditions. Nonetheless, summer touring tires are also less durable.
Winter touring tires, on the other hand, have softer rubber. That’s important for freezing conditions, where the rubber must stay pliable to provide reliable traction on snow, slush, and ice. Due to the softer tread compound, winter touring tires are also less durable.
By far, the most popular tread rubber for touring tires in North America is the all-season compound. These tires have a sufficiently good grip and traction in warm conditions, but also good performance in cold conditions.
Some all-season tires work in light snow as well. However, they aren’t the best choice for severe wintry conditions, where winter tires are still the kings. On a more positive note, all-season touring tires have the longest treadlife on the market.
What Types of Vehicles are Touring Tires Appropriate for?
Touring and grand-touring tires come in a large variety of sizes and speed ratings. Generally, touring tires are best-suited for compact cars (Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic), minivans (Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey), and mid-size sedans (Toyota Camry and Honda Accord) with four-cylinder engines.
Crossover/SUV touring tires are best-suited for drivers of compact crossovers and SUVs (Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V), mid-size SUVs (Acura MDX and Ford Edge), and large SUVs (Chevy Tahoe and Ford Explorer).
Meanwhile, grand-touring tires are the best choice for more powerful versions of mid-size sedans and minivans with V6 engines, but also premium sports sedans, such as Lexus IS, Cadillac ATS, Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes C-Class.
I hope that this extensive article on touring tires helped you learn something you and made your next tire purchase easier.
However, keep in mind that only touring tires from well-renowned manufacturers offer reliable performance. Very cheap touring tires are not only unsafe, but they also don’t last nearly as long and might be more expensive in the long run.
With that said, if you have other questions regarding touring and grand-touring tires, please do not hesitate to comment down below – I’ll be more than happy to help!