When it comes to overall tire types, grand-touring tires are considered a “jack of all trades.” These tires are reserved for vehicles driven year-round, in nearly all-weather conditions, and are tasked with exhibiting certain attributes. Those expectations, of course, are to deliver across multiple fronts while featuring comfort, high-mileage and even responsive handling. Where grand-touring tires differ from other tires is in their capabilities.
Often confused with all-season tires, grand-touring tires take many of the benefits found in all-season tires, like wet- and dry-handling characteristics, and then blend those features with the capability of providing a comfortable, more capable driving experience. For example, most grand-touring tires offer a higher speed rating than all-season tires. That makes them more appealing to vehicle owners who are in the market for a tire that offers a little more performance for their dollar.
As a tire dealer, it’s important to recognize the right situation to suggest a grand-touring tire for your customer, as they will offer more features when compared to an all-season. Teaching your customer these benefits helps because, at the end of the day, it’s not just about all-weather handling – grand-touring tires offer much more than that.
Grand-touring tires place an emphasis on a “do it all” style of tire, as they’re specifically designed for all driving purposes. They deliver a satisfying balance of good, year-round traction, comfortable ride and reasonable tread life, and are capable of providing year-round traction (even in light snow). These tires are designed to blend a performance tire’s appearance with a passenger tire’s smooth, quiet ride.
Grand-touring all-season tires are often used as Original Equipment and place more emphasis on handling and high-speed capabilities than standard touring tires.
Most tires nowadays provide reliable all-season traction, but not every tire is rated for higher speeds or features sporty handling characteristics, and that’s where grand-touring tires come in. As mentioned earlier, when compared to standard all-season tires, grand-touring tires typically offer a higher speed rating and more responsive handling capabilities. They can achieve this, while providing a quieter, smoother and more comfortable ride because they are designed with longevity in mind.
Finding the Right Fit
Grand-touring tires are designed to accommodate a wide variety of vehicles, from crossover SUVs (CUVs) to performance sedans and everything in between. As a dealer, you need to know where grand-touring tires are trending in the overall market. When evaluating the current climate of vehicles on the road today, many new vehicles in the U.S. are CUVs. According to Statista, crossovers accounted for nearly 41% of the light vehicle market in the U.S. from April 2019 to April 2020.
Over the last decade, CUVs have exploded in popularity, across all age groups, and for good reason. CUVs offer a handful of features when compared to other vehicle types like sedans and coupes. Much like grand-touring tires, CUVs are designed to do it all. They can haul cargo and carry more passengers, all while getting exceptional fuel economy. For those reasons, CUVs are beginning to dominate the roadways.
Tire dealers should pay special attention to this trend and evolve with it. Offering a customer who owns a CUV a grand-touring tire is an excellent way to ensure your customer gets all the benefits of a well-rounded tire, while retaining the capabilities of what makes a CUV all about utility.
While CUVs remain popular, grand-touring tires are made for other vehicles, as well. For example, grand-touring tires make an excellent tire pairing for coupes, sedans, luxury vehicles, traditional SUVs and even compact cars.
Grand-touring tires were once designed specifically for comfort and high mileage. However, current grand-touring tires are designed for fitment on vehicles which make use of wide, low-profile tires from the factory. Many of today’s new vehicles feature a “sport mode” which enhances the vehicle’s driving experience. To compliment new vehicles with sportier features, grand-touring tires need to feature enhanced performance-oriented capabilities to keep up with the fun factor.
As the industry continues to evolve, so too have grand-touring tires, and tire manufacturers are exploring the next generation of possibilities. These days, grand-touring tires are designed to provide a more responsive driving experience, a more comfortable ride and better fuel economy, while also retaining favorable wet- and dry-handling characteristics. However, tire manufacturers are now looking toward integrating even more attributes, including improved handling on ice and snow. While today’s grand-touring tires do have the ability to tackle occasional winter weather, they are still not designed to handle frequent or severe winter-weather conditions.
Tire manufacturers are also looking into the next generation of quieter grand-touring tires thanks to advancements in tire noise canceling technology. New-and-improved testing methods allow tire manufacturers to develop quieter and longer-lasting grand-touring tires, since many of these new testing procedures are simulated in controlled environments.
At the end of the day, grand-touring tires are really a catch-all term for customers who are looking for a well-balanced tire for their vehicle, no matter the use. However, customers should be aware that a grand-touring tire selection is a step up from a traditional passenger tire choice. This well-rounded tire choice will provide your customer with a tire that can handle many different road conditions and will provide more comfort, performance and reliability when compared to a traditional passenger tire option. Grand-touring tires are a premium tire choice whenever a customer is in need of long-lasting and safe tires for their vehicle, while still retaining low noise, good uniformity and sporty handling.
As a tire dealer, it’s very important to communicate all tire options to your customer before suggesting a grand-touring tire. At the end of the conversation, you’ll know your customer has made an educated decision when they authorize a grand-touring tire for their vehicle.