People’s driving habits, type of car, and weather conditions usually determine the type of tire they’d have fitted. Many people, myself included, go for the two sets option, as it gives better performance in the more extreme situations.
Things are pretty simple. Summer tires are better in the summer, while winter tires can easily outperform most all-season options, so it’s understandable why you’d want better performance in a certain part of the year.
Tires don’t last as long as the car, so you must go through the same procedure of choosing and purchasing a new set every few years. I touched base on this in my tire buying guide and mentioned that you could get the same model you’re replacing. It’s not a bad option if you’re satisfied, but newer models tend to be better, so most people could use the upgrade.
When it comes to choosing summer tires, it’s important to note that there are multiple categories. To ensure that I cover all of them, I’ll break them down into several categories and will present multiple options from each.
#1. Continental SportContact 7
The German manufacturer released the SportContact 7 a while ago, setting a new benchmark about what a performance tire should deliver. As good as things seem with Continental’s performance tire, it’s not perfect in every regard.
In dry performance, the SportContact 7 feels like it’s in a class of its own. It delivers superb levels of grip and traction for daily driving, and it’s a solid performer if you want to take it on a track. The handling is excellent, and even though it isn’t the most responsive of the bunch, it won’t disappoint. You’ll get plenty of feedback, so you’ll have plenty of confidence to push it to the limit.
The SportContact 7 continues to impress in wet conditions, but it has a few slight drawbacks. It’s excellent in terms of grip and traction on damp surfaces, so you won’t be sliding around if you start to push it. With that said, the aquaplaning resistance isn’t the best in the class. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from terrible, but some of its rivals are a tad better.
You probably wouldn’t get a performance tire for the refinement, but I have to touch base on how the SportContact 7 does. In this regard, I’d say it’s decent but far from the best. The noise levels are acceptably low, but the ride is a bit on the firmer side.
- Superb dry performance
- Very high levels of grip and traction on damp roads
- Handles excellently
- Aquaplaning resistance falls a bit behind its competitors
- Ride quality is a bit firm
#2. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
As a direct competitor of the previous tire, we have the Pilot Sport 4S. Even though it’s not the best, it delivers in some areas where the Continental tire struggles.
Michelin made the Pilot Sport 4S to be an excellent performer, which is evident from the way it drives on dry roads. There is loads of grip in the corners, and acceleration will almost never be an issue. Its biggest drawback is the handling. The tire is set up to lean more towards daily driving, so it sacrifices a bit in the responsiveness and feedback department.
An area where it doesn’t lack is the wet performance, which is equally impressive. Again, the grip and traction levels are a bit behind the SportContact 7, but despite that, the Michelin model is an excellent performer. The area where it has the edge is in aquaplaning resistance, meaning that the Pilot Sport 4S remains more stable at higher speeds.
Since the Pilot Sport 4S is set up more toward daily driving, you get a well-refined tire. When I say well refined, I mean for this class, something that all of its competitors struggle with. Michelin combined excellent performance with relatively low noise and high comfort levels.
- Excellent performance in dry and wet conditions
- Superb aquaplaning resistance
- Well refined for a performance tire
- Responsiveness and feedback aren’t as good as some of its competitors
- Braking distances are slightly longer than the leader in this class
#3. Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3
I know it’s not exactly in the same class as the other two, but the Ventus S1 Evo3 is a summer performance tire. The reason why I’m recommending it is that it delivers decent performance and is an affordable option.
The Ventus S1 Evo3 is a capable tire, offering plenty of grip and traction for daily driving and having a bit of fun. It’s not an ideal tire for the track, as it can overheat, which will slightly degrade the performance. Also, near the limit, you’ll notice a bit more understeer. In the handling department, it’s decent, but nothing to write home about. The responsiveness and feedback are average. On the flip side, it’s easy to control on the limit, and you are looking at very short braking distances.
In wet conditions, the Ventus S1 Evo3 continues to deliver performance as you’d expect from a mid-range tire. The grip and traction levels are pretty good, and the tire’s braking distances are excellent. Like in dry conditions, it’s easy to control, so you won’t be wrestling with the steering wheel. In these conditions, the aquaplaning resistance is a bit of a weak point, as the tire won’t perform like its premium counterparts.
In the refinement department, the Ventus S1 Evo3 reminds me a bit of the Pilot Sport 4S. It’s far from the loudest performance tire, which’s a good thing. On the comfort side of things, it’s not as comfortable, but you won’t be struggling with a harsh ride.
- Braking distances are short
- Very controllable
- Not the best aquaplaning resistance
- It doesn’t handle like its premium competitors
#4. Continental PremiumContact 6
Grand touring tires are primarily designed to combine excellent performance with refinement. In this regard, I believe the PremiumContact 6 achieved that in most cases.
Dry is where the PremiumContact 6 manages to impress. Even though it’s not strictly a performance tire, you are still looking at high levels of grip and traction, which are far more than what you’d need in everyday situations. The handling also deserves some high praises, as it’s among the more responsive summer touring tires. While it wouldn’t be my first choice for having fun, it won’t disappoint.
Unlike the performance in dry conditions, the PremiumContact 6 isn’t as impressive in wet conditions. Yes, the grip and traction levels are more than enough for daily driving, and with the short braking distances, you’re looking at a safe tire. With that said, you won’t be able to push it as hard as some of its competitors. Also, the aquaplaning resistance is good but not good enough to be on top of its class.
A tire won’t be able to do two things well, and that’s the case with the PremiumContact 6. The refinement levels aren’t the best, so don’t expect it to wow you. The noise levels are acceptable but still a tad higher than its competitors. I can say the same about the comfort levels, thanks to which you have some softness in the ride, but it’s not the softest.
- Excellent dry performance
- Braking distances on wet are very short
- It handles pretty good for a grand touring tire
- Wet performance isn’t the best in class
- Comfort and noise levels aren’t as good as the best in class
#5. Michelin Primacy 4
Like in the previous category, two of the best models are from Continental and Michelin. Here we have the Primacy 4, a tire that’s two years younger than its German counterpart.
The Primacy 4 isn’t leaning so much towards performance, so it won’t be the most impressive performer. It’s an excellent daily driver that will provide you with high levels of grip and traction along with short braking distances. With that said, it’s not a tire that will be the most dynamic one, meaning that the handling is more or less as you’d expect from a touring tire.
In wet conditions, the Primacy 4 is a tire that can offer everything you’ll need and more. Even though the grip and traction levels aren’t the highest in its class, they are more than enough for most people. With that said, the tire delivers some impressive results in terms of aquaplaning resistance and braking distances.
Refinement is an area where the Primacy 4 doesn’t do so well, but it’s not too terrible. The noise levels are decent for a tire from the grand touring category. As for the comfort, it’s not overly harsh, but you will feel some of the bumps in the road, mainly the larger ones.
- Short braking distances in wet
- Excellent aquaplaning resistance
- Decent refinement levels
- Doesn’t handle getting pushed to the limit
- Noise levels could have been a bit lower
#6. Bridgestone Turanza T005
The last of the 3 grand touring options I’ll cover is the Turanza T005. In terms of age, it’s similar to the Michelin, so you won’t get a massive boost in performance.
The performance in dry conditions is excellent for a grand touring tire. You’re getting plenty of grip and traction, so the Turanza T005 won’t struggle in normal conditions or even if you push it a bit.
The braking distances are a bit shorter than the Michelin model but fall a bit behind the Continental one. In terms of handling, it’s not the worst, but also not as good as the PremiumContact 6. The responsiveness is decent, but you won’t be getting a lot of feedback through the steering wheel.
In wet conditions, the Turanza T005 continues to deliver excellent performance. Damp road won’t be any problem, as there is plenty of traction for acceleration and grip for cornering. In terms of braking distances and aquaplaning resistance, in both cases, it’s a bit behind the Primacy 4 but is still a strong performer.
Unfortunately, the Turanza T005 doesn’t excel in terms of refinement. The tire does acceptably well in terms of comfort as it irons out the smaller imperfections but may feel a bit bumpy over harsher ones. In terms of noise, it’s a bit louder than I’d want it to be.
- Short braking distances
- Plenty of grip and traction in dry and wet conditions
- Decent responsiveness
- Noise levels aren’t the best in class
- Can feel a bit numb
#7. Pirelli Scorpion Verde
In the Italian corner of the crossover and SUV market, we have the Scorpion Verde. As a performance option, Pirelli seems to have made a decent model.
In normal driving conditions, the Scorpion Verde will offer more than enough performance. You’ll have loads of grip and traction, meaning that you’ll never notice the tire struggling. At the limit, it’s good, but not the best in its class. With that said, I have to praise the handling, which is very dynamic. The responsiveness is excellent, and you’ll get plenty of feedback through the steering wheel.
The Scorpion Verde will continue delivering very good results in wet conditions. Like in dry, there’s plenty of grip and traction to avoid slipping, so the tire will feel planted and confidence-inspiring even at the limit. A slight issue I have is the aquaplaning resistance. Yes, the tire is stable at higher speeds, but some of its rivals can handle a bit more without getting twitchy.
As far as refinement goes, Pirelli has made a pretty well-balanced tire. The comfort is decent, and even though there is some stiffness to the tire, it won’t offer the harshest ride. It smooths out bumps without feeling bouncy. Noise is another area where the Scorpion Verde is excellent. It’s pretty quiet, regardless if you’re driving over rougher surfaces or at highway speeds.
- Excellent performance in dry conditions
- Dynamic handling
- Noise levels are on the lower end
- There are more affordable options out there
- Can get a bit twitchy near the limit on wet roads
#8. Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV
Of course, I’ll have another Pilot Sport tire. Michelin makes excellently performing tires, and the Pilot Sport 4 SUV is no exception. As with most tires, this one is near the top of its class, which is why I included it in this list.
The Pilot Sport 4 SUV dominates in dry conditions, putting the tire at the top of its class. It’s a very sticky tire, capable of delivering some of the highest levels of grip and traction in this category.
With this, you’re also getting the shortest braking distances in its class, outperforming the competitors from Goodyear and Pirelli. Like the Scorpion Verde, this is a tire that has very dynamic handling characteristics. It responds almost instantly to inputs but doesn’t have the most pronounced feedback of the bunch.
When it comes to wet performance, the Pilot Sport 4 SUV doesn’t disappoint and is positioned at the top. On damp roads, the grip and traction levels are excellent, just as the braking distances, which are among the shortest in its class. The aquaplaning resistance is excellent, regardless if we’re talking in a straight line or the corners.
Even though it’s part of the Pilot Sport lineup, there’s some decent refinement from this tire. It manages to deliver acceptable levels of comfort without feeling overly harsh. The noise levels, on the other hand, aren’t the lowest, and at slower speeds, it’s not too bad. You’ll notice it getting a bit louder over rougher surfaces or at higher speeds.
- Among the best aquaplaning resistance
- High levels of grip and traction
- Comfort levels are decent
- Noise increases at highway speeds
- There isn’t a lot of feedback through the steering wheel
#9. Falken Azenis FK510 SUV
Moving away from the premium segment, we come to a more affordable option. The Azenis FK510 SUV is a mid-range option capable of balancing performance and affordability.
On dry roads, the Azenis FK510 SUV is a tire that won’t disappoint with the performance it can deliver. The tire will offer more than enough for daily driving, and the grip and traction levels can be enough for having a bit of fun on a twisty road. Handling is another area where it delivers pretty good results. It’s not on the same level as the Michelin model, but with decent responsiveness levels and feedback, it won’t disappoint.
In wet conditions, the Azenis FK510 SUV is a tire that will deliver a bit of mixed results. On damp surfaces, it’s good, and you’ll have high levels of grip and traction and short braking distances. There’s also very high stability in the corners, which is a high praise for a mid-range tire. The aquaplaning resistance in a straight line is an area where the tire doesn’t do so well. At the limit, it becomes a bit unsteady, something that the premium competitors won’t struggle with.
As a mid-range tire, the Azenis FK510 SUV does some things well in terms of refinement but underperforms in some. The noise levels are pretty good and remain almost as quiet as the premium competitors. Comfort is an area where it doesn’t do so well. It’s not the harshest ride in the world, but even in the mid-range segment, it can be considered average.
- Very good performance in dry conditions
- Dynamic handling
- High levels of grip and traction in wet conditions
- Straight-line aquaplaning is average
- Not the most comfortable tire
#10. Hankook Ventus Evo3 SUV
The last entry on this list is another mid-range tire that’s a direct competitor of the Falken tire. Hankook’s Ventus Evo3 SUV is a performance option for your SUV or crossover.
Dry performance is pretty good, considering that it’s a mid-range tire. The grip and traction levels are pretty high and more than enough for daily driving. You can push it a bit, but don’t expect it to excel like its premium competitors. One thing I have to praise about the Ventus Evo3 SUV is the handling. You’re getting a very responsive tire that will communicate with you decently, so you’ll know what’s happening.
As a mid-range tire, the Ventus Evo3 SUV manages to impress with the performance it delivers in wet conditions. On damp roads, the tire delivers pretty high levels of grip and traction. The braking distances are also rather short for a mid-range model. An area where the tire struggles is the aquaplaning resistance. The lateral one is pretty good, but the straight one is average.
In the refinement department, the Ventus Evo3 SUV is a tire that delivers mixed results. The noise levels are pretty good, and even though it’s a performance tire, it’s not very loud. On the other hand, the comfort levels are average. It doesn’t struggle with the smaller imperfections decently well, but it will feel a bit harsh when you drive on broken roads.
- The tire handles pretty well
- Braking distances in dry are short
- Noise levels are pretty low
- Comfort levels are average
- The aquaplaning resistance isn’t the best