Every now and then, we find ourselves in a situation where we need to get a new set of tires, a process that usually starts with looking at the manufacturers. The idea is that you’re choosing a specific model based on what the manufacturer is offering and the price it costs. For example, I drive an old car, so aiming for the expensive options is pointless.
For the most part, tire manufacturers are divided into 3 categories, premium, mid-range, and cheap. We already discussed if the premium is worth it or why you should avoid the cheap ones, so check those out for a bit of in-depth knowledge. I have something else in mind for today, and it’s a brand comparison.
The tires I’ve chosen are from the premium segment, and the ones in question are Pirelli and Goodyear. I’ll dive a bit into both companies’ history and outline any advantages that one has over the other and mention the popular options from each side. Since each manufacturer offers several options, I’ll only mention the tire family, and you can check out our individual reviews of each one.
What's In This Guide?
In the tire world, Pirelli is a brand that needs no introduction. The company was founded back in 1872 in Milan, Italy, making it among the oldest in the industry.
In the early years, the company was primarily focused on making rubber products such as insulators, equipment for scuba diving, bands, etc. As the car industry grew, so did Pirelli, and the company started making car tires. Throughout the years, the brand managed to climb the ladder by implementing innovative technologies to create better tires, which is what the clients wanted.
Today, thanks to technologies like the Pirelli Noise Canceling System, Pirelli Run Flat, or Pirelli Seal Inside makes, the tires are safer and more comfortable without compromising the performance they can offer.
With the road tires aside, Pirelli is a brand that’s very active in the racing industry. Apart from being the sole provider for Formula one, you can also find it in series like SRO, Trans Am, SVRA, and many more.
Pirelli’s history and achievements have put it near the top, sharing places with several other premium brands.
Pirelli’s tire families
To keep things divided, Pirelli has several tire families that cover the entire range of models the company offers.
The pinnacle of Pirelli’s lineup is the P Zero tires. Designed for the best performance possible, these are the types of tires you’d have fitted to a sporty car, regardless of whether it’s a coupe or a powerful sedan.
Within the lineup, you have several subcategories, including Winter, Corsa, Rosso, and Nero, all of which are designed for multiple types of vehicles. On the conditions side of things, the P Zero family covers summer, all-season, and winter tires.
Moving away from the performance-oriented options, we reach the most common option most people would be after. Cinturato is Pirelli’s answer to touring tires, offering longevity and comfort while delivering a decent amount of performance.
As part of the Cinturato family, you have options like P7, P7 Blue, All-Season, All-Season SF2, All-Season Plus, Winter, Winter 2, and P1 Verde. All of these cover the touring segment for all 3 types of tires, summer, winter, and all-season, but are designed for passenger cars only.
The Scorpion family is very similar to the Cinturato one, with the key difference of the type of cars the tires are designed for. Unlike the previous family, this one is aimed at CUVs, SUVs, and light trucks, while also covering several conditions.
In the Scorpion family, you have the Verde, Verde All-Season, Verde All-Season SF, ATR, Winter, Ice & Snow, Zero All-Season, and Zero Asimmetrico. This wide range of options covers the needs of people looking for anything from touring to performance tires regardless of the weather conditions. The ART model is also an all-terrain one, which is a good option for off-roading.
Despite offering winter tires in the other families, Pirelli also has a dedicated line for winter tires. They are designed for passenger cars only and are categorized as performance and touring, meaning that you get a nice balance between both.
You have only two models in this category, the Winter Sottozero Serie II and the Winter Sottozero 3. Both of them are good in their own way, capable of providing the safety and control a winter tire is designed for while still being usable and comfortable regardless of which car they’re fitted on.
Don’t be confused by the naming. Despite the Sottozero being winter tires, the Ice Zero option is winter tires designed for CUVs, SUVs, and light trucks, which will be driven in the most extreme winter conditions.
Pirelli split this into two models, the regular Ice Zero and the Ice Zero FR. While both are more than capable of tackling any winter conditions, the Ice Zero is a studded tire, while the FR is a studless one. As a result, the regular Ice Zero is the way to go if you drive on ice most of the time.
In most cases, you read that Pirelli has 5 families, when in reality, there are 6, but with a twist. While the ones I’ve mentioned so far are aimed at passenger cars or SUVs, the Carrier lineup is for vans.
You have the option to choose between the Carrier, Carrier Winter, and Carrier All-Season, which cover performance throughout the year. The goal of these is to deliver comfort and longevity while being safe, meaning that performance shouldn’t be an issue.
For today’s duel, in the blue corner is a US brand that most of us know. Goodyear is slightly younger than Pirelli and was founded in 1898 in Akron, Ohio, and is one of the many local brands we all love.
The company was named by the inventor of vulcanized rubber Charles Goodyear, and in the early days, it was working on making tires for bicycles. Ford took notice of the quality of its products and asked if the company could make tires for its cars.
Once Goodyear proved itself that it could make excellent tires, other brands started to come, leading the company down the road of success. This was cemented when the brand began making radial tires while the rest of the pack was still working with the outdated bias-ply ones. Being on top for so long enabled the brand to remain independent for a long time, leading us to today, where it owns several other prominent names in the tire industry.
There are plenty of other technologies that Goodyear implemented into its tires over the years. ActiveCornerGrip, ActiveBraking, and EfficientGrip are designed to help the tires deliver superb performance. On the other hand, technologies like WearControl, SoundComfort, and SmartWear are there to help the tires remain well refined and last a long time.
Then there’s the racing pedigree, and a brand that’s on top in Formula 1 with the most wins is one that doesn’t know how to make a bard tire.
Goodyear’s tire families
Unlike Pirelli, Goodyear has slightly more tire families, but despite that, some of the cover similar applications and car types.
When it comes to touring tires, the Assurance lineup from Goodyear is the one to go for. They are primarily designed for comfort, fuel efficiency, and longevity, but with all the technology put in them, there aren’t too many compromises in the performance department.
The Assurance family comes in a plethora of options in the form of ComfortDrive, MaxLife, CS Fuel Max, Fuel Max, Finesse, and WeatherReady. The key thing to note here is that all of them are all-season tires and are designed to be fitted on passenger cars.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the Eagle lineup, which is Goodyear’s answer for people looking for the best performance. These tires are designed to deliver the best traction and grip and combine that with dynamic handling characteristics.
Goodyear has loads of options in this lineup that cover an extensive range of applications. The Eagle lineup consists of Exhilarate, F1, Touring, Sport, RS, LS, NCT, and GT. Each one of these has a separate sub-model which is designed for different conditions and vehicle types. As a result, you can find tires for passenger cars and SUVs in the form of a summer and all-season package. Also, keep in mind that even though there are Touring models, they are still a bit more performance inclined.
Like most tire manufacturers, Goodyear has performance models specifically for winter driving. The Ultra Grip tires are a studless option for people that drive performance cars and want the best possible grip and traction in colder conditions.
Apart from the regular Ultra Grip models, you also have GW-2 and GW-3, Ultra Grip 8 Performance, Ice WRT and Winter. For the most part, you are looking at tires designed for the best performance on snow and winter while at the same time covering smaller and larger vehicles.
We already mentioned one tire lineup for winter driving, so why does Goodyear have two? Well, the WinterCommand tires have a different target group in mind.
Between the regular WinterCommand and the Ultra models, you are looking at a difference in vehicle applications. These can range from hatchbacks to light trucks. On top of that, some models can be fitted with studs, meaning that the tires will handle the most extreme winter conditions.
This is a family of tires that needs no introduction. The Wrangler tires are Goodyear’s option for people that drive SUVs light trucks and may even fit some CUVs.
Since there are over 20 models in the Wrangler lineup, I won’t be mentioning all of them. What I will mention is how wide of a variety they cover. They come in the form of all-season tires only but can be used as highway ones, all-terrain, and mud-terrain.
As you may have guessed from the name, the EffiecintGrip models are the ones designed to provide better grip. Despite the touring badge, there is some decent performance you can get out of these tires.
There aren’t too many options, and you have the regular one and the Performance model, both of which are run on flat. The EfficientGrip is a summer tire and is designed for passenger cars, and with a broader range of sizes, meaning you can get it to fit most models.
In many ways, the Excellence family of tires is very similar to the previous one. In both cases, you are looking at touring tires designed to offer some performance without a huge compromise on comfort and longevity.
Like with the previous family, the Excellence doesn’t have too many models but offers a good choice of tire sizes. As a result, it can be fitted on plenty of passenger cars, regardless of whether we’re talking about smaller or larger ones.
Moving away from the passenger cars, we come to the Fierce family. These tires are designed for light trucks and SUVs in mind and for people that are looking for a good blend.
When I say blend, I mean a tire that can be used on and off-road. The Fierce is a model designed to be comfortable on the road and deliver decent traction in non-paved conditions.
In the Frontera lineup, Goodyear managed to design a set of tires aimed at SUV and light truck owners that are looking for performance throughout the year.
Considering that these are all-season tires, they can offer some performance in light snow, but the best part is that there are two types. The SL models are the more sporty option, while the HL ones are sold as touring tires.
The last set of tires I’ll be talking about is Integrity. They are touring tires like most of the other ones I mentioned, but they come at a more affordable price.
There is only one model, and it’s an all-season one, meaning that you’ll have all-year performance, except for harsh winters. It’s a decent option for passenger cars and people that aren’t after the best performance or have a tighter budget.
Differences between Pirelli and Goodyear
You may be thinking: both are premium brands, so they must be very similar? Yes and no. Despite the premium tag, there are some differences that you need to be aware of, and I’ll categorize each.
Let’s start with the performance for the passenger tires, an area where both brands seem to be tied. Despite that, the options that Pirelli offers are slightly better, especially when we talk about the performance options. In the touring segment, things are a bit closer, but Pirelli still has the advantage of providing multiple advantages into one tire.
Things more or less remain the same in the SUV and light truck models with the tires you’d be driving on the road. Regardless of if you’re after a sportier or more comfortable tire, I think that Pirelli will be able to offer just a tad better performance across the board.
A slight disclaimer in both situations: Goodyear doesn’t make bar tires, but in this case, I’m nitpicking a bit just so that one brand can claim victory, even by a margin.
When it comes to picking a brand for tires that can go off-roading, then Goodyear takes the throne, and the difference is quite more noticeable. From this aspect, Goodyear has a lot more options, all of which are better at providing off-road performance, while the on-road one isn’t too different. With that said, another advantage the US brand has is durability, something you’ll want in an off-road situation. There are two Wrangler models that are reinforced with Kevlar, meaning that durability won’t be an issue.
My recommendation is to check out our reviews of the specific models we have and see how well they do in the conditions that you drive most of the time.
Brands aim to cover as much of the market as possible, but some have slightly different approaches and target groups. Let’s look at the families first. Pirelli has 6, while Goodyear has almost twice as much, so it’s a win for Goodyear, right? Not exactly.
Even though Goodyear seems to have more options on paper, some of them cover the same target groups. There are several options that cover touring tires, but they come with a different set of features and at a different price. This is an advantage over Pirelli, but there is a slight downside.
In this category, I have to mention the options when it comes to off-road capable tires. This is hands down where Goodyear shines, thanks to the multiple options it offers for this category. On the other hand, Pirelli is a bit limited, and apart from the Scorpion as all-terrain tires, you don’t have a lot to choose from.
While you have more options with Goodyear, in some cases, you may need to choose. Let’s say you are after a fuel-efficient tire, which is also the longest lasting. Well, you won’t have both, as they may come in two different models. With Pirelli, on the other hand, this is eliminated, as the manufacturer aimed to have both features in the same model.
This isn’t a huge deal-breaker, and I still believe that Goodyear offers a broader range of models but don’t cross Pirelli off the list completely.
Regardless of how you look at things, the price can play a role when it comes to choosing which tires you’ll go for. Considering that both brands are viewed as the most affordable ones, some people may want to pay attention to the price. Unfortunately, a definitive answer isn’t available, and I’ll explain why.
Generally speaking, Goodyear is a hair cheaper than Pirelli in some cases when you compare two models from the same category and with identical size, speed, and load rating. With that said, there are a few cases where Pirelli may be a bit ahead, especially if you run into a discount.
Things seem to move a tad more into Pirelli’s favor in the warranty section. While both brands offer a good warranty on their products, at least the ones that do have a treadwear warranty, things are even, or Pirelli is slightly ahead.
I have to point out that the difference isn’t massive in the cases where Goodyear falls behind Pirelli.
Advantages of Pirelli
- Slightly better road performance in some situations
- Some tires have a bit longer treadwear warranty
- One model can have multiple advantages over a Goodyear one
Advantages of Goodyear
- Some models are slightly more affordable
- There are more models and families to choose from
- Much better options for off-roading tires
Which brand to choose?
This is an answer that only you can answer. Both brands make excellent tires, and both can deliver on the performance they promise. Despite the subtle differences, there are cases where Pirelli will be a better option for one case, while in the other, Goodyear will be on top.
Follow my comparison and use that as a guide to determine which course would best fit your needs, and you should be able to make a good decision.