Standard fit tyres
Tyres are without doubt the most important safety component on a car, they can also change the driving experience substantially.
One of the most frequently asked questions on the forum is about tyres. Different tyres behave differently in each situation, it is nowhere near as simple as one tyre being better than another, so choosing the correct tyre is very important.
The standard 185/55HR13 tyre size on the GTi and some other models is not used on any other car and not stocked by all tyre suppliers.
For those set on tuning their car for more performance it becomes even more important, theres no point spending money on fitting dampers etc. when the car is running on Camacs - OK the handling and road holding may be improved, but still be not as good as a car without dampers running on better tyres! In the standard 185/55HR13 size, there are four choices currently.
- Camac Auriga - A directional tyre, with a very hard wearing compound. Unfortunately the hard compound means poor grip levels in the dry and the tread pattern is not well developed so even poorer in damp conditions. Don't even bother turning the ignition on in the wet if you have these fitted To make matters worse this tyre doesn't signal getting close to its limit of adhesion, it just goes suddenly! So theres no chance of catching it. This tyre is not helped at all by its price, usually the most expensive of the 4 tyres listed.
Overall: The absolute worst tyre you can fit to a Metro ever.
- Pirelli P600 - The first of the two factory fitted tyres. As an original equipment tyre you'd expect these to be reasonable in every way. Still quite hard wearing, they are non directional, so unlike a directional tyre can be swapped around any wheel. Dry grip is actually OK on a standard GTi once the tyre is warmed up, being quite hard compound this can take a bit of work. In the damp they seem OK, but not brilliant. I've not driven with newish Pirellis in the wet but 1/2 worn I found them to be poor through standing water and like the Camacs were quite sudden when they did breakaway. Price can be quite high still, shop around if you want these.
Overall: Good in the dry when warmed up properly, slightly below average otherwise.
- Dunlop SP Sport D8 - The second factory standard tyre is similar to the Pirelli in most respects. Again fairly hard wearing and non directional. Slightly better in the wet with lateral traction (cornering) but is poor when accelerating or braking in the damp or wet. Still fairly sudden when it loses grip.
Overall: As the Pirelli above but slightly more lateral grip in the wet.
- Toyo Roadpro R610 - This is the newest design on tyre in this size and also the softest, although still not really a soft tyre so should last 18-24 months use. Dry grip is slightly better than the two above but it takes a lot less effort to get these tyres up to temperature. The directional tread pattern gives the best damp and wet grip of any of the tyres here even down almost to the wear markers. I found this tyre to be much better and controllable at the limit, making the car much more stable at the back and giving sharper turn in at the front.
In comparison the others make you feel like you are balancing the car on a knife edge in the wet, even at normal road speeds. These are a lot more secure. Price wise these are usually competitive compared to the others.
Overall: The star of the 4 tyres here. By far the safest in the wet and the most controllable. A worthwhile investment for those looking for more grip on 13" wheels.
Information submitted by Barry