Living in Canada means being prepared for any weather, on any day, often with little or no forewarning. This is especially true with the vehicles we drive and the tires we outfit them with. While many vehicle owners opt to have multiple sets of tires to accommodate the requirements of driving in our dramatically different seasons, others rely on tires that are designed to maintain traction in a variety of driving conditions.
While tires branded as “all-season” may be a viable option for drivers who do not venture outside of the city limits and are willing to stay at home on days with heavy accumulations of snow, many drivers seeking the simplicity and logistical ease of a single set of tires now rely on more robust “all-weather” tires.
Representing a hybrid of winter and all-season tire tread styles and patterns – and relying on newer compounds that retain flexibility in colder temperatures yet remain responsive in warmer weather – all-weather tires offer superior cold and winter weather performance, compared to all-season tires. They also include the ‘three-peak mountain and snowflake’ symbol, indicating they are acceptable for use on Canadian highways, where winter tires are mandated.
While superior control, traction and stopping ability in winter conditions are obvious benefits of all-weather tires, there are many drivers (including myself) who opt to switch to the performance of summer or all-season tires, in the warmer months.
The arrival of Toyo’s Celsius Sport into the company’s all-weather lineup, represents a year-round solution for drivers of performance cars and SUVs. So, when the call went out to the Inside Track team looking for a volunteer to test this latest all-weather tire from Toyo, my hand went up. Two weeks later, my Audi A3 Quattro rolled out of the local Integra Tire shop on a new set of Celsius Sport tires.
Immediately noticeable was how quiet the ride was with the Celsius Sport. Where most winter and all-weather tires I have run in the past are accompanied with an increase in road noise, the Celsius Sport tires were in fact quieter than the all-season tires that had just been removed. I considered that this may just be my imagination during the honeymoon phase of this new tire relationship, but then my wife made the same unprompted observation, confirming the quiet nature of these tires.
In the first two weeks of driving with the Celsius Sport tires, Calgary experienced everything from warm, summer-like days, to freezing rain and snow fall, providing the perfect backdrop to experience the capabilities of all-weather tires in an urban setting.
Where other tires often show their limitations when starting out from an icy patch, turning in a slick intersection or during rush hour in stop-and-go traffic amid a white-out snowstorm, the Celsius Sport handled each of these situations, and more, with confidence inspiring traction.
A planned trip to British Columbia for some early season motorcycle track practice provided the perfect opportunity to test the performance aspects of the Celsius Sport tires.
Highway 3, along the southern edge of British Columbia, offers some of the most amazing, and often challenging, roadways in Canada. With the air temperature moving above 20 degrees Celsius, I decided to push the car to see how the tires responded. I was not disappointed, in any way.
Toyo indicates that the use of a stiff sidewall and high-tensile steel belts are intended to ensure maximum contact pressure during acceleration, cornering, and braking, all of which turned out to be true as I continued to increase the level of aggression that I attacked each corner with. The tires, which are built with a high-grip silica compound, held the road in all situations and provided excellent feel and feedback.
Where the drive to BC offered insight into the performance capabilities of the Celsius Sport tires on dry, warm pavement, the trip back to Calgary – this time along the TransCanada highway – was full-on winter driving as an unexpected spring snowstorm blanketed the roads up to and over Rogers Pass.
At an elevation of 1,330 metres, this mountain pass is one of the highest in Canada. And between October 1 and March 31, cars must be equipped with tires bearing the ‘three-peak mountain and snowflake’ symbol, or the ‘M+S’ (mud and snow) rating. Fortunately, the Celsius Sport includes both.
Ratings are good, but actual performance is better, and thankfully, the Celsius Sport tires handled these conditions as well as any set of tires I have experienced.
Holding solid on each of the wet, snow-covered, and icy sections, these all-weather tires made it easy to focus on the task at hand and carried the car up and over the pass with confidence.
The Toyo Celsius Sport tires are available in 43 different sizes, accommodating wheel sizes between 17-inches and 22-inches, with a range of speed ratings (V, Y and W).
With impressive warranties of 95,000 kilometres for V (240 km/h maximum speed) and W (270 km/h maximum speed) rated tires, and 65,000 kilometres for Y-rated (300 km/h maximum speed) tires, Celsius Sport offer similar tire life as comparable high-performance, all-season tires, while offering the benefit of all-weather design and capabilities, making the Celsius Sport an excellent option for consumers in search of an all-weather tire without having to sacrifice performance.
- Story and Photos by Patrick Lambie