French tiremaker Michelin recently took us to a destination in Khao Yai in Thailand, two hours away from Bangkok, where it\'s peaceful and relaxing. It\'s the same energy the tire company wants to evoke with its new tire specifically designed for Southeast Asia and Oceania: the Primacy 3 ST.
Michelin is normally regarded as one of the more expensive tire brands, and rightfully so. For over a century, it has innovated various tire technologies and has an annual R&D budget of 622 million euros. The company is easily linked to various forms of motorsport, where tires are exploited for further research/development and technology transfer to road tires. In this sense, it\'s easy for car enthusiasts to understand and appreciate the brand. Which is good since consumers are becoming more and more discerning with tires, looking for such characteristics as comfort, silence and grip.
A day\'s tire tests are usually difficult to conclude, as there\'s hardly anything between the top brands. But we have to say the experience and the numbers don\'t lie. During a dry lane-change exercise, the Primacy 3 ST felt tighter with more grip than Bridgestone\'s GR90. For the wet and braking-distance exercises, the Primacy 3 ST likewise offered a tighter line and less understeer, and a stopping distance averaging 2.5m shorter. With a VBox in each car, it\'s easy to see the results. Still, the experience is something we ponder on--the tires here are the closest rivals in the region.
We had an eye-opener when a GoPro camera was stuck on the rear of a Toyota Camry fitted with Bridgestone GR90. While tailing it with a Camry fitted with Primacy 3 ST, the car in front looked more defensive with wider lines, as opposed to the car we\'re riding in, which, again, was able to take the lines tighter. We did the exercise riding both cars to keep things fair and square.
For noise comparison, it\'s admittedly harder to be conclusive because such an exercise is something you have to experience through a longer period of time, although the Primacy 3 ST returned slightly less echo compared to the Yokohama Advan DB.
Is it convincing? You can say that. But just like any other consumer product, there will always be brand preferences. And all we can say is this: Always choose a reputable brand and never scrimp on those black, round things.
Photo by Jason dela Cruz