Since the start of 2014, the Bridgestone owned second-tier brand Firestone has been going through a refresh of its entire product range, and the latest tyre to be released is the Firestone RoadHawk.
Intended for the daily duties of driving on all types of vehicles, the new RoadHawk is manufactured in 76 sizes covering 15-19 inches. The key goal during the development of the tyre was not only best in class dry and wet performance when new, but also when worn, ensuring the consumer gets a much higher total performance throughout the tyre ownership.
The Firestone RoadHawk is has some impressive stats when new. Tested by the independent test organisation TUV SUD on 205/55 R16 against the class leading Uniroyal RainSport 3, Fulda EcoControl HP, Kleber Dynaxer HP3 and Nexen N Blue Plus, the new RoadHawk shows dry braking performance of up to 3 meters better than those on test, and 7% better wet braking than the average of the four competitors, resulting in an A label for wet braking and C for rolling resistance. Impressive.
More impressively, the performance advantage increases as the tyre wears. To prove this, Firestone invited Tyre Reviews out to Barcelona to test the RoadHawk against the most popular key competitor, the Uniroyal Rainsport 3.
The dry braking was the only test where both sets of tyres were new, but the TUV findings were confirmed. The RoadHawk stopped on average 2 meters shorter than the Rainsport 3 from 100kph, a huge advantage in a category as closely contested as dry braking.
The next two tests tested the Firestone and Uniroyal tyres with 20,000km wear. Wear testing is extremely difficult to do, machine scrubbing or lathing don't give you a real-world representative tyre condition, so Firestone had all the tyres worn using real world convoy driving, to ensure all the tyres we used had experienced exactly the same conditions. The result, after the 20,000km the Firestone had around 3mm remaining tread depth, and the Uniroyal approximately 2mm.
The first wet test was a wet circle skidpad using shallow water depth. This highlighted not only the higher grip of the RoadHawk, but also the extra steering feel and information provided by the tyre. You were able to go both faster, and the extra feel from the Firestone allowed you to know when the front of the car would start understeering. This is particularly impressive as the Uniroyal RainSport 3 is well known for its brilliant wet ability.
The last wet test was a curved aquaplaning test to demonstrate hitting a puddle at 90kph. With aquaplaning being all about tread depth, it was no surprise the RoadHawk again had the advantage over the RainSport 3, highlighting how a tyre which wears better is a huge advantage in the wet.
Priced approximately the same price as the Uniroyal RainSport 3, the new Firestone RoadHawk could just be the new best midrange touring tyre. We look forward to seeing it in tests in the near future so confirm what we’ve seen in our own testing.