Pros: Quieter than the TripleTred but still sure-footed; might give you a little improvement in mileage.
Cons: shorter tread life than other Assurance tires; nothing to write home about in snow
Does the Assurance Fuel Max, Goodyear's "green" tires improve your mileage? The jury's out...
About the same time the odometer on our 2002 Honda CR-V went over 100K, the Ms started campaigning for new tires to replace its current "shoes," Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds. We'd bought those about 50K miles earlier to replace the OEM tires (Bridgestone Dueler H/T's). I was a little miffed that the TripleTreds had fallen short of their supposed 80K tread life, but the state of Texas didn't much care: they wanted new tires even more than the Ms (hmmm... tires are made from petroleum - think that has anything to do with it?) Same as last time, my criteria for tires were:
• superior wet-weather traction (it rains often around here)
• long tread life (our hot weather is hard on tires [batteries, too])
• low road noise (a CR-V has never been considered a quiet vehicle)
The winner was another entry in the Goodyear Assurance line, this time the Assurance Fuel Max. The reviews have been good and the price was right, so it was off to a local Sears (you heard me right) to get baby reshod. That was October.
When Goodyear introduced the Fuel Max in 2009, gas prices were just cooming down from the stratospheric heights of late 2008 - oops, could've been better timing! The tire is a conventional tread design that, but it has a specially formulated rubber compound to reduce rolling resistance (they claim a 27% decrease in rolling resistance). Too look at them, you wouldn't know: the tread design differs little, if any, from the ordinary Assurance ComforTred. Neither has the minuscule "ice" zone band that's at the center of our previous TripleTreds, but no one with a brain drives in Houston when there's ice or snow, so...
Goodyear describes the Fuel Max as "a fuel-efficient tire that provides confident wet and dry traction." The tread design incorporates an outer zone of chunky shoulder blocks to provide secure dry traction; and a central zone of deep, angled grooves that channel water from beneath the tire, increasing traction on wet surfaces and reducing the chance of hydroplaning. The tire has a surefooted feel in both wet and dry conditions - of course, I'm comparing it to the baldies that were on there before them, so what do I know?
The tires have been installed for about 6000 miles. Over the months they've been on the vehicle, they've demonstrated the agility and security I'd expect from a tire in the Assurance line. To summarize:
Braking: The Assurance Fuel Max maintains excellent grip on the pavement, regardless of whether it is wet or dry. About the only time they lose traction during wet braking is when crossing the broad painted stripe at an intersection.
Handling: Also very good to excellent; no loss of traction and a firm footing in both wet and dry conditions. Whether the CR-V is out on the interstate or a narrow farm-to-market highway, I'm confident tires perform whatever they're asked. I've dodged iPodded-out pedestrians and out-of-nowhere emergency vehicles without a peep out of the tires. I haven't had an opportunity to try them on snow and ice, and doubt I will any time in the next few years. They're rated acceptable for "light snow," however, so I expect that they're little better than most passenger tires when it gets slick out.
Noise: I thought the TripleTreds were an improvement over the OEM Bridgestones, but these are a lot better: The first few times I drove with the new tires installed, I thought there was something wrong with the engine because engine noise was so pronounced - turns out I could hear it because the Fuel Max is substantially quieter than the TripleTred. Go figure: a low rolling resistance tire is supposed to be noisy, but something about these is much, much quieter.
Fuel Efficiency: Goodyear claims up to 4% fuel savings with a full set of Fuel Max tires installed. I can't verify that, at least in part because the claimed 4% is highway mileage, and we've used this mostly for commuting. We aren't typically very good at keeping track of mileage, but the last few tanks have been running in the 21-21.5 MPG range, which seems to be an improvement of about 0.5 MPG (maybe 2-3% improvement, though it's hard to compare straight up).
Reading the Tire (stock 205/70R15)
• Treadwear rating: 620
• Traction: A
• Temperature: B
• Speed Rating: T
• Maximum Load: 1499# at 51 psi
• Color: Black - whitewalls aren't available
The Assurance Fuel Max has a 65,000-mile limited warranty (pro-rated, of course), as opposed to the 80K warranty of the TripleTred and ComforTread models. Goodyear offers, at additional charge, a roadside assistance package service called the "Driver Assurance Program."
The bottom line: The Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max are surefooted in wet or dry weather. The tires have a 65K-mile warranty and are quieter on the road than the TripleTreds they replaced. They met all three of my criteria, and they were on sale. As for whether you can improve fuel economy, the jury is still out.