- Decently comfortable
- Noise levels are acceptable
- Stable on the highway
- Aquaplaning resistance is good
- Handling is far from the best
- There is hardly any snow performance
If you’re part of the older generation of drivers, you may remember a time where the tire choices were pretty slim. A handful of manufacturers with only a few tire options, and that’s all you’d get. Lucky for us, the situation with available tires is a different story.
Even though the premium brands began offering cheaper options, it’s not uncommon to see a mid-range manufacturer take that road. Cooper Tire is one of those mid-range brands that started selling more affordable tires, and in this case, they are sold under the brand Starfire. The brand has been around since 1994, which most of us don’t pay too much attention to.
With the large amount of tire options, it’s only natural for them to be sorted based on what they’re good at. Unlike the olden days with several options, today, there are tons of categories. Among them, the most commonly used ones are the touring tires. These are the tires you’d get if you want a safe and comfortable tire that will last a long time. Essentially, a touring tire is one for people that don’t need superior performance for driving it on a track.
In Starfire’s lineup, there is a touring tire that on paper seems to be a good balance between decent performance at a low cost. The Solarus AS is an all-season touring tire, mainly aimed at people who don’t want to spend too much on a new set of tires and people with older cars.
What are the features of the Starfire Solarus AS?
As a cheap option of an already affordable brand, don’t expect the latest and greatest technology like premium manufacturers. Even though Starfire is allowed to use some of Cooper’s technology, the company needs to make some cuts to ensure a low price. What I’m trying to say is, the features aren’t anything specific.
To achieve performance in multiple weather conditions, the Solarus AS is designed with a rubber compound that should be able to deliver that. In most cases, all-season tires don’t have too many problems in the summer as they do in the winter. Considering that there isn’t too much info on the compound, I’m a bit skeptical about this tire being too good in freezing temperatures.
Another area I’m not entirely convinced of is snow traction. Unlike most of its competitors, the tire doesn’t have any specific pattern like wave or zig-zag. In most cases, this is what gives the tire its biting performance to have traction on snow.
The tread design is more or less what you’ll see in most budget-oriented tires. Molded into an asymmetric pattern, the Solarus AS features 4 circumferential grooves and lateral sipes. The idea behind these is to help with aquaplaning resistance by evacuating the water from beneath the tire. This process ensures that water doesn’t come between the blocks and the road.
Stability and responsiveness is an area where the central rib is in charge of. Based on Starfire’s claims, the Solarus AS should be stable even at higher speeds and offer very responsive and sharp handling.
You should also have some stability improvements thanks to the internal construction. The tire has steel belts reinforced with nylon wrapping, something which is typical in touring tires.
Treadwear Rating: 3.5/5
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
The dry performance of the Solarus AS is decent but far from anything that I would call good.
There is enough traction and grip for a safe driving experience, only under everyday driving. When I say normal, I mean no aggressive acceleration or chugging the car into a corner at higher speeds. Pushing the tire even a bit will result in loss of grip.
You may have guessed that the driving dynamics aren’t something spectacular, which shouldn’t be a surprise. The tire will change direction when you turn the steering wheel, but it won’t be as sharp as an enthusiast would want it to be.
Braking distances are far from what the premium tires offer and are barely within the limits of safe.
One aspect that seems to be slightly better is stability. It’s not rock solid at higher speeds, but this one is not that bad when you consider the rest of the performance.
Dry Rating: 3/5
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
Wet performance with the Solarus AS is barely safe, and there aren’t too many positive sides to it.
You will get enough traction and grip for normal driving and not much more. If you are going too fast, the tire will not be safe and may become unpredictable. The aquaplaning resistance isn’t too bad, though. Starfire’s groove design is doing a decent job at evacuating water from under the tire. It’s not as good as the premium or even mid-range models, but it’s not too bad.
Braking distances are nothing to write home about, as the Solarus AS is about average in the cheap tire segment.
Wet Rating: 3/5
How is it over snow?
Snow performance is the worst with the Solarus AS, as the tire seems to be almost unusable in the winter.
Regardless if you accelerate aggressively or smoothly, the tire will struggle with traction. Cornering grip is also not very good, and it doesn’t take much to get in an over or understeer situation.
On top of that, you are looking at one of the longest braking distances in the all-season tire segment.
Despite being rated as M+S, this is a tire that shouldn’t be used on snow.
Snow Rating: 2/5
Is it comfortable and refined?
There is one area where the Solarus AS performs well, and that’s in the comfort and noise department.
Don’t expect comfort levels like some premium models, but it’s not too bad, considering the price. It manages to smooth out most of the road unevenness, resulting in a very comfortable ride for a low price.
As for the noise levels, it’s a similar story. The Solarus AS is a touring tire and sounds like one. It’s decently quiet but far from industry-leading.
Comfort Rating: 3.5/5
Is it good for off-roading?
No, the Solarus AS isn’t a tire that is good for off-roading. For a lot of touring tires, I may say that it has acceptable off-road performance, which isn’t the case with this one.
Touring tires have limited off-road performance, meaning that with the limited road performance of the Solarus AS, don’t expect anything specific off-road.
Is the Starfire Solarus AS ideal for sporty driving?
Considering the performance the Solarus AS has on the road, it’s not ideal for sporty driving.
On the one hand, you have a tire with very limited grip and traction, which isn’t suitable if you’re an enthusiast. On the other hand, you have a tire that lacks quite a lot in the handling department. With poor responsiveness and limited feedback through the steering wheel, sporty driving with the Solarus AS is something you should avoid.
Noise Rating: 3.5/5
Starfire Solarus AS Warranty
The warranty of the Solarus AS isn’t as terrible as I thought that it would be. Starfire sells the tire with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, which isn’t too bad. As a cheap tire, I was expecting less or no warranty.
Starfire Solarus AS Pricing: Is it worth the money?
When you take into consideration the entire package, the Solarus AS is kind of worth it. The price starts from around $60, which is very cheap for a touring tire.
Performance isn’t top-notch, but you get decently comfortable touring tires with a relatively long treadwear warranty.
Noise Rating: 3.5/5
Should I buy the Starfire Solarus AS?
I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t recommend the Solarus AS, but I wouldn’t say to avoid it altogether.
The tire’s performance isn’t the best, and if you want to have some fun, you will notice that the Solarus AS lacks in many areas. If you drive carefully, the tire should be fine, and even though I said that it’s safe, it barely falls into that category. The moment you push the tire more than that, it will disappoint.
You will get some positive things, though. The Solarus AS is comfortable and quiet enough for the price range. On top of that, you get a treadwear warranty, similar to what the mid-range models are offering.
My recommendation is to consider the tire, but don’t lean too much on it. If you own a smaller car with not a lot of power, the Solarus AS could be a decent choice. If you decide to get it, keep in mind that you may need to practice driving more carefully.
Overall Rating: 3/5
What Vehicles Will the Starfire Solarus AS Fit?
Here’s a sample list of cars that the Solarus AS will fit:
- BMX 1, 3 Series
- Ford Fiesta, Ka, Focus
- Honda Jazz, Civic, Accord
- Hyundai i10, i30, Lantra, Accent
- Mitsubishi Colt, Space Star
- Nissan Micra
- Peugeot 207, 307
- Suzuki Swift, Vitara
- Toyota Yaris, Corolla
Tire Sizes for Starfire Solarus AS
- 185/65 R14
- 185/70 R14
- 195/60 R14
- 195/70 R14
- 185/60 R15
- 185/65 R15
- 195/60 R15
- 195/65 R15
- 205/60 R15
- 205/65 R15
- 205/70 R15
- 215/60 R15
- 215/65 R15
- 215/70 R15
- 205/55 R16
- 205/60 R16
- 215/55 R16
- 215/60 R16
- 215/65 R16
- 225/60 R16
- 225/60 R16
- 235/60 R16