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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:52   #64
peter pyce
Veteran Member
Join Date: Nov 2001

Just a quickie on tires….

We have been talking for quite some time how tires are the best (and most of the time – the only!) real performance enhancer when it comes to speed in curves, road holding, grip, etc. So, I ran across an interesting article on the new FIAT Panda. The car was also put under the “Elk Test” and there is something interesting that happened. The basic model had some sort of ordinary tires (all season) and performed quite well actually (for such small car, pretty tall too). Then they tested the upper tier model, which was basically the same car (suspension wise) but had performance tires, which is a trick many car companies do – just put bigger wheel and sticky tires on their “sport package” and that is it. Anyway, due to the stickier tires, not the car has actually issues in the Elk Test as it started to lift BOTH inner wheels (!) It did not roll over, but perhaps because experienced driver were behind the wheel and knew how to take care of that, but guess what could happen if the average Giovanni drives the car? Here is a pix that supports the story (The Panda on two wheels from the test):

Then there was another interesting piece, on a Honda Minivan, where they tested both the basic model and the high tier model together. They both had all season tires, the exact same brand and model, but the basic model had them H rated and the high tier model had them V rated. The basic H model did very well in the lift-throttle and change lane test (the one we were talking earlier in this thread) and went through at speed of 102 km/h. The V rate tire model, thought, barely passed at only 100 km/h and the tester was commenting that due to the soft suspension and specific geometry on such vehicle, the car rolls a lot more (it is a minivan!) and at that point the softer tire wall H rated tires actually help a lot more (work a lot better) than the stiffer side wall V rated tires, therefore the higher tier car could not go as fast as the lower tier counterpart.

P.S: By the way, if a vehicle lifts both inner wheels during the Elk Test, it is considered a failure, even if the car does not roll over.

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