- Marvelous handling
- Very high grip and traction levels
- Stable when driving on water at higher speeds
- No treadwear warranty
- You can get better performance with the premium contenders
Unlike most of us browsing the touring section of tire services, there are those looking for performance-oriented options. These are the lucky owners of hot hatches, performance sedans, or sporty coupes.
Regardless of which type you have, the options are widely available, both from the premium and the mid-range segment, and today I’ll be mentioned the latter.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Indy 500? Race, performance, grip traction – something that Firestone claims can be achieved with its Firehawk Indy 500. With that said, can it compete with its mid-range rivals?
What are the features of the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500?
The Firehawk Indy 500 comes as an upgrade over the Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500, and based on Firestone’s claims, we should see some improvements.
Based on the manufacturer’s claims, the Firehawk Indy 500 should deliver improved traction on wet roads. This is thanks to the Long Link Carbon enhanced with silica which is a crucial element when we talk about wet performance. Firestone also claims that this model has 20% shorter braking distances when compared to the previous one.
Firestone also worked on the tread pattern to enable the tire to remain stable in deeper water patches. Down the middle is the Pulse Groove channel, which works with two additional circumferential grooves and sipes that should deliver excellent aquaplaning resistance.
There are some features addressed in the handling department as well. The Firehawk Indy 500 features wider and stiffer shoulder blocks aimed at delivering more dynamic handling.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
Considering that the Firehawk Indy 500 is a mid-range option, I have to say that I was quite surprised at how well it performed.
The levels of traction are phenomenal, among the highest in the class. It almost feels like it’s glued to the road and will have no problem eliminating slip even when you get more aggressive. I have to say that the performance reduces if it’s cold, so a short drive would wake up the tire.
Lateral grip is another area where the Firehawk Indy 500 delivers superior performance. You can throw it into a corner and not worry about understeer or oversteer, it will grip without breaking a sweat. Sure, you can do a powerslide, but you’ll need to be committed for the tire to let go. The bonus of all of this is that you have a tire with very short braking distances.
The Firehawk Indy 500 is just as you’d expect a summer UHP tire to be in the handling department. The responsiveness is excellent, and the tire not only feels instant, but it also feels very planted. When driving at the limit, feedback is crucial to ensure that you know what the tires are doing and react to it.
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
Falken claims to have made some improvements over the previous model, and it shows. The Firehawk Indy 500 manages to deliver marvelous performance in wet conditions.
The silica in the rubber compounds does an excellent job and enables the tire to deliver plenty of traction. Sure, it’s not as good as in dry or as what the premium competitors are offering, but it’s still pretty good.
Grip in the corners is also excellent considering that the Firehawk Indy 500 is a mid-range option. Combine that with the short braking distances, and you have a safe and fun tire for rainy conditions.
Firestone’s pulse groove technology also enables the tire to provide excellent aquaplaning resistance. Again, it may not be as good as the premium options like the Potenza S005, but it’s good for its segment.
How is it over snow?
The Firehawk Indy 500 is a summer UHP tire, so driving it in colder temperatures isn’t something that I’d recommend under any circumstances.
If you live in an area with mild winters, you may look at some UHP all-season options, while for the harsher conditions, you should be looking at proper winter tires.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Well, it’s a UHP tire, so don’t expect it to do wonders. With that said, I wouldn’t classify it as the worst performer as well.
The Firehawk Indy 500 won’t offer the most comfortable ride, but it can do a decent-ish job at absorbing some of the bumps. Vibrations will be felt in the cabin, which is in part due to the fact that it’s a stiffer tire and won’t mute out the shocks.
In terms of the noise levels, I’d put it somewhere in the middle of the pack. The Firehawk Indy 500 isn’t obnoxiously loud by UHP standards, meaning that it won’t be too big of an issue if you drive it on the highway. With that said, it’s no touring tire, so don’t expect it to be particularly quiet.
Is it good for off-roading?
No, the Firehawk Indy 500 is not a tire you should take off-roading.
In these reviews, I mention that some all-season touring tires may be fine on a dirt road, but in the case of this one, I’d strongly advise you against it.
Is the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 ideal for sporty driving?
Yes, and this is the area of the Firehawk Indy 500 that deserves the most praise.
Considering that it’s a UHP tire, it’s designed with performance in mind, meaning that it’s an excellent option for sporty driving.
The grip and traction are superb, meaning that you can push the tire quite a lot before it starts to break away. Within its category, I’d put it just a tad above the Falken Azenis FK510, which is another excellent tire.
As for the handling, the Firehawk Indy 500 doesn’t’ disappoint here as well. It will offer a very stable feel and will change direction instantly once you turn the steering wheel. Speaking of, it will provide you with plenty of feedback for when you’re driving on the limit.
In my opinion, even though the Firehawk Indy 500 isn’t the best UHP tire on the market, it’s an excellent option for some fun on a twisty road or even on a track.
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Warranty
At first glance, the Firehawk Indy 500 seems pretty evenly matched with its rivals. Like most of the tires in this category, you get no warranty, and that’s it. One thing to note is that the only tire in this category that does come with a warranty is the Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2, which isn’t the most popular option from the French brand.
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Pricing: Is it worth the money?
Mid-range brands are working on providing almost premium-like performance at a fraction of the price, and Firestone managed to achieve that. You’ll get all of the performance I mentioned from a tire that starts at around $130, making it a slightly cheaper option than the Hankook Ventus S1 evo3.
Should I buy the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500?
Looking at everything that the Firehawk Indy 500 has to offer, it’s a very good mid-range option for most people.
In dry conditions, the tire delivers a surprisingly good performance, which is what you’d need from a summer UHP tire. The levels of grip and traction are phenomenal, making it very capable if you’re after a tire that you can push hard. Combine that with the dynamic handling and plenty of feedback, and it’s a tire that will have no problem putting a smile on your face.
The Firehawk Indy 500 is a tire that also won’t disappoint you in the wet. You’ll get plenty of traction when accelerating, while the lateral grip will work in your favor to eliminate under or oversteer. Throw in the excellent aquaplaning resistance into the mix, and you get an excellent tire for rainy conditions.
Firestone didn’t intend to make the Firehawk Indy 500 a touring tire, so don’t expect it to be the most refined tire out there. You are looking at average results in the comfort and noise levels, meaning that it’s fine for daily driving as long as you’re aware of what type of tire it is.
Performance tires rarely come with a warranty, so don’t expect one here, especially in the mid-range section.
I believe the best part of the Firehawk Indy 500 is the price. Sure, you can find some other more affordable UHP tires, but not with this performance.
Is the Firehawk Indy 500 perfect? No. Is it as good as the premium options? No. So why am I recommending it? Because the tire manages to deliver excellent performance for a lower price, meaning that you’re getting an excellent bang for the buck product.
What Vehicles Will the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Fit?
- Audi RS3
- BMW M2, M3
- Chevrolet Camaro, Catfish
- Dodge Charger, Challenger
- Ford Focus RS, Fiesta ST
- Honda Civic Type R
- Lexus IS
- Mitsubishi Lancer
- Nissan GT-R
- Subaru Impreza, BRZ
- Toyota GR Yaris, GT86
- Volkswagen Golf R
Tire Sizes for Firestone Firehawk Indy 500
List of Firestone Reviews