Touring Tires vs. Performance Tires: Which One Is Good for You?

woman shopping for tires with help from tires plus teammateNeed to replace your tires? There’s an overwhelming amount of info out there, but only you know exactly what you want!

Learn the difference between touring tires and performance tires, and find out how to pick the best type of tire for you and your car.

What are touring tires?

  • Great for sedans, minivans, SUVs, and passenger vehicles
  • Offer balanced handling along with a quiet, comfortable ride
  • Mostly designed for all-season use
  • Provide great traction in wet and dry conditions

Touring tires are ideal for sedans, minivans, SUVs, and other passenger vehicles. In general, they’re a reliable option if you drive a lot—whether that’s on your work-to-errand-to-school-pickup route (phew!) or if you’re getting ready for a cross-country road trip with the kids.

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Touring tires are known for having a relatively wide tread, which allows them to make more surface contact with the road. Thanks to their design, they offer balanced handling along with a quiet, comfortable ride, and even treadwear. Most touring tires sold in North America are all-season tires, meaning they’re designed to deliver great traction in wet and dry conditions—and sometimes in light snow!

If you’re looking for a smooth ride, Bridgestone’s Turanza line of touring tires—especially the Turanza QT—is worth checking out. You won’t believe how peaceful your next road trip can be when your tires absorb road noise like Turanza touring tires do. (Though we’ve yet to invent tires that absorb backseat drivers’ road noises!)

What are performance tires?

  • Great for sports cars, coupes, exotic cars, and racing-style cars
  • Offer tight cornering abilities and reduced stopping distances
  • Mostly designed for use in summer’s wet and dry conditions
  • Provide enhanced performance, but in exchange for compromises in gas mileage, road noise, and tire lifespan

Increasingly popular performance tires are designed to provide owners of sports cars, sports coupes, exotic cars, and racing-style cars with improved handling response and traction. Most performance tires are designed for use in summer’s wet and dry conditions, but if you want performance features and all-season capabilities, Firestone Firehawk GT offers the best of both worlds.

Performance tires feature unique tread patterns, construction, and rubber compounds to enhance the all-around driving experience. These tires can improve your car’s racetrack-inspired features such as cornering abilities and reduced stopping distances. However, you may find that you’ll make small compromises in gas mileage, road noise, and tire lifespan in exchange for enhanced performance.

Touring Tires vs. Performance Tires

How do you decide whether you should equip your car with touring tires or performance tires? Start by checking your vehicle manufacturer guidelines, then focus on your driving wants and needs. You’re in the driver’s seat! Let’s look at some of the deciding factors.

  • Are you seeking sporty responsiveness? If you went the extra mile for a sporty trim level, a performance tire might be right for you. If you’re more interested in quietly and comfortably getting from Point A to Point B or heading out on long, leisurely drives, then a touring tire could be what you need.
  • Do you value all-season versatility? Both touring and performance tires can function well in wet and dry conditions, but touring tires are generally superior for all-season driving. If you’ve got your heart set on performance tires, you may have to look into all-season performance tires or consider changing tires with the seasons.
  • How important is gas mileage? If you want to maximize savings at the pump, you might want to go with a touring tire. With performance tires, you make small sacrifices in gas mileage to really rev up your time behind the wheel.
  • Do you want a super-cushy ride? Touring tires are your best bet in the comfortable-ride category, due to their treads’ increased surface contact with the road. Performance tires offer slightly less comfort in exchange for the performance element.
  • How much does tire lifespan matter? Again, the touring tire might be the best option here, as its tread typically lasts longer. However, even though the lifespan of a performance tire might be shorter, you’ll gain tighter control.
  • Do you demand the best handling and responsiveness? Performance tires perform better in this regard (such as braking and quickly turning corners), although touring tires still offer plenty of traction.

As you can see, neither touring tires nor performance tires fall into the one-tire-fits-all category. When you’re picking new tires, the rubber really meets the road once you determine what type of performance you want from your car and your tires—and from yourself as a driver.

Whether you know the exact type and model of tire you need or not, Tires Plus can help! Our experienced technicians can make recommendations for your situation so that you can make the final decision. Visit your local Tires Plus for some of the best tire prices around, plus free lifetime rotation when you buy tires at Tires Plus.

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