Three categories of tires normally get the nod from VW Passat drivers.
The first of which are all-season touring tires. Models like General Altimax RT45, Continental TrueContact Tour, and Michelin Defender 2 woo drivers. They do so with their excellent road manners, brilliant fuel economy, and impeccable year-round performance.
Speed enthusiasts, however, opt for high-performance or ultra-high-performance tires. These include Firestone Firehawk Indy 500, Michelin Pilot Super Sport, and Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position. All three offer everything that these drivers dream of.
Searching for tires that offer the best of both worlds? All-season high-performance tires, like Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus and Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season are your best bets. Both combine everything that’s great about both these categories.
Read on to learn more about all the above tires.
Best All-Season Tires
Premium all-season tires offer VW Passat drivers the best of all worlds. Think of excellent road manners, decent traction on dry and wet roads, and above-average tread life. You can also count on these tires to enhance your sedan’s fuel economy.
#1. General Altimax RT45
If you had asked me last year, I’d have name-checked the Altimax RT43 as one of my favorite all-season picks for the VW Passat. However, now that the RT45 has hit the market, I see no reason why you’d still want to settle for its predecessor.
That is mainly because the RT45 has upgraded wear characteristics than the RT43. This means you can count on it to last much longer. Additionally, it offers improved handling, especially on wet roads. You can thus drive it with more confidence in the rain.
Snow traction is another area where this tire has an edge over its previous version. As noted in our detailed comparison of the Altimax RT43 Vs RT45, the latter boasts shorter braking distances on snow and ice, resulting in a much safer driving experience.
To further sweeten the deal, General backs this tire with a 60,000 to 75,000-mile treadwear warranty (depending on tire size). While not class-leading, this guarantee is great for a tire that performs as reliably on wet and snowy roads as the Altimax RT45.
- Superb wet performance
- Up to 75,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Stays useful in mild wintry conditions
- Slightly noisy than the competition
#2. Continental TrueContact Tour
If you regularly drive on wet and snowy surfaces and can’t afford winter tires, the Altimax RT45s are a more suitable option. However, if you already have dedicated snow tires, the Continental TrueContact Tour could be a better investment.
These tires don’t sacrifice dry grip for wet and snowy traction. Decent handling on dry roads is matched with short (though not class-leading) stopping distances on wet surfaces. That indicates that you’d get a balanced performance year-round.
Want to see proof? Look for DWS (Dry, Wet, Snow) indicators on their tread. These emblems indicate that the TrueContact Tour are optimized for year-round performance. If either of them starts to fade, their performance in that area will take a hit.
There’s another reason you’d want to buy these tires – Continental backs them with a whopping 80,000-mile treadwear warranty. An average American driver (who drives around 15,000 miles per year) can thus expect to get 6 years out of them.
- Superb fuel economy and tread life
- 80,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Enhanced steering response and handling
- Average ice traction
#3. Michelin Defender 2
In the same way I recommended the Altimax RT45 over its previous model, I suggest opting for the Defender 2 over the aging Defender T+H.
Similar to its premium counterparts, the Defender 2 absorbs minor road disturbances with minimal fuss. At the same time, it keeps its composure over large bumps. This means you can enjoy your Passat’s ride even with windows rolled all the way down.
Another area where this tire behaves better than its predecessor is on wet roads, though you won’t find Michelin admitting to this (as doing so would hurt the Defender T+H’s sales). The result? Extra grip on slippery roads for shorter braking distances.
And what about dry roads? While its handling won’t let you mistake it for a UHP tire, for everyday driving, the Defender 2 is one of the best out there. A smoother ride, reliable braking performance, and low noise levels – these are the attributes it offers.
Want to hear more good news? Michelin backs this tire to last 80,000 miles, which is amazing considering its wet traction rivals that of the Altimax RT45, which is backed to last 5,000 miles shorter.
- Offers a plush drivie
- Can handle mild wintry conditions with ease
- ,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Average ice traction
Best All-Season High-Performance Tires
All-season high-performance tires do precisely what their name implies – offering excellent traction and performance in various weather conditions. Also, compared to summer tires, they have a longer tread life, making them more cost-effective.
#4. Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus
Although I have driven and tested many A/S HP tires over the years, only very few have impressed me as much as the ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus.
Mainly because this tire checks every box that is there to check. Think of high levels of cornering grip, remarkably high grip on dry roads, and more steering feedback than you know what you do with. All these features help enthusiasts in more ways than one.
Start with the cornering grip, which enables you to attack bends at speed (if that’s what you prefer) without the risk of over- or under-steering. Then comes the superb grip, which helps in maintaining control during hard acceleration, braking, and cornering.
What is more, this tire’s rolling resistance is quite low, especially compared with its peers. This translates into high fuel economy and better performance. A 50,000-mile treadwear warranty further justifies the hype surrounding this tire, primarily because it competes with that of mid-range all-season tires.
- Superb cornering grip
- Low rolling resistance
- 50,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Doesn’t come cheap
#5. Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season
If winter performance is a major concern, the ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus may be a better choice. However, if you prioritize other aspects or you live in an area where winters don’t bring any snowfall, the Eagle Sport All-Season could be a more suitable pick.
This tire delivers razor-sharp handling and grip on dry roads, thanks to an asymmetric tread pattern which also helps it perform more reliably in the rain.
Speaking of rain, there are numerous full-depth sipes to facilitate water expulsion and reduce the risk of aquaplaning. These sipes do another job – boost this tire’s grip.
You may also find it good to note that it also comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is surprising considering it’s priced much lower than the DWS 06 Plus.
All in all, the Eagle Sport All-Season is a good choice over the DWS 06 Plus if you prioritize sporty handling, affordability, and good wet performance. However, not so if you want a quieter ride (the DWS 06 Plus has better road manners) and winter driving capability.
- Offers sporty handling
- Decent wet weather performance
- Comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Poor ice traction
Best Summer Tires
Summer tires offer superior grip and responsiveness, better dry traction than their A/S HP counterparts, and enhanced braking performance. However, their tread life is below, as evidenced by the absence of a treadwear warranty for any tire listed below.
#6. Firestone Firehawk Indy 500
Multiple features make the Firehawk Indy 500 a must-have for speed-loving Passat drivers.
The first of which is that it offers superb levels of traction on dry roads. Per my colleague who tested this tire, it feels like being glued to the road, keeping slip at bay even when things get more heated.
Lateral grip is another area where this tire performs at its best. You can throw it into a corner, and it will grip without breaking a sweat. Responsiveness is excellent, too, meaning you can execute quick lane changes while retaining complete control over your vehicle.
All of the above is what you expect from summer tires. What you don’t expect is decent traction is for the tire to stay stable in deeper water patches. Yet that is precisely what the Indy 500 offers, meaning you won’t have to keep it parked when it’s raining outside.
Another quality you don’t expect UHP tires to possess is keeping things quiet inside the cabin. Yet that is precisely what this tire does, making it quiet by UHP standards.
- Very high grip and traction levels
- Stable when driving on water
- Offers marvelous handling
- No treadwear warranty
#7. Michelin Pilot Super Sport
The Michelin Pilot Super Sport deserves your attention (and money) if you want to install one of the market’s most iconic summer tires on your Passat. However, while its fame might have gotten your attention, the tire’s performance would retain it.
Why am I so confident? Because I have driven these tires myself as well as spoken to drivers who have installed these on their Passat. My personal experience as well as theirs leave no doubt in my mind that the PSS are one of the grippiest on the market.
Another thing I like about these tires is that they are very compliant and predictable when pushed to the limits in performance driving. You’d be surprised to learn how long you’d have to push them to get them to squeal or feel “greasy” on the track.
Yet another thing that may surprise you is that the PSSs ride quietly and comfortably. However, daily drivers may still want to look elsewhere. These tires are notorious for their short tread life (you’d have to be extremely lucky to get more than 30k miles out of them).
- Compliant when pushed to the limits
- One of the most grippiest tires on the market
- Superb dry handling and braking distances
- Short tread life
#8. Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position
Several qualities distinguish the S-04 Pole Position from its peers.
Start with the fact that it is much heavier than the competition. Which, when paired alongside its extra-wide contact patch, serves as a blessing in disguise. As it results in better road contact, making it one of the best tires for gripping the road.
Traction in wet conditions is equally great, thanks to the grooves running through its tread. Also, by tapering its tread blocks, Bridgestone has enhanced this tire’s high-speed stability. You would thus not have to worry about your safety when driving at the limit.
Bridgestone has also added a sound-absorbing foam inside this tire’s tread. Named aptly as the ‘silencer’, it hushes up road noise before it can enter the cabin. Bear in mind, though, that this tire may get slightly loud as years pass by and its tread wears down.
To further up the ante, the S-04 Pole Position is priced much lower than the competition. You’d thus do well to go for it if you want good performance on a budget.
- Offers excellent performance
- Relatively affordable for a UHP tire
- Can’t have any complaints about ride comfort
- High wear rate
Best Winter Tires
Do you live in an area with harsh winters? If so, all-season or even all-weather tires (even the ones with “great” snow ratings) might get you stuck in otherwise easy-to-get-out-of spots. You’d thus need dedicated snow tires to safely go from point A to point B.
#9. Michelin X-Ice Snow
Whether your area receives inches of snow or the winters only bring cold temperatures, the X-Ice Snow tires are your ideal solution. Want to know why? Because these tires come in studded as well as studless versions.
Opt for the studless version if you regularly drive on icy surfaces. That is because studs provide additional traction on slippery surfaces, boosting grip and lowering the likelihood of slippage.
However, if it doesn’t snow a lot where you live, the studless version of these tires is a better bet. Another possible reason for using them is if your local laws bar the use of studded tires on public roads.
The studless X-Ice Snow tires also fare better in the handling department. Think of livelier steering response, perkier acceleration, and better feedback. Plus, as it is with the Bridgestone’s Blizzaks, you can run them on dry roads without risking your car’s stability.
- Comes in studded and studless versions
- Short braking distances on snow and ice
- Backed by a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Average dry handling