Consumer preference of tyres and wheels have been on an upsizing trend for many years. Both car and tyre manufacturers have naturally responded to that trend by skewing their products in that direction as well. Most cars these days are sculpted to accommodate big wheels under their arches and as a result, many of them appear under-tyred when you opt for a sensibly-sized wheel and tyre combo.
Whilst big rims make most cars look good, I prefer to adopt a conservative attitude when sizing the rims and tyres for my car. I always advocate sticking to the stock tyre sizes when possible and upsizing only when necessary, and when I say necessary, I’m referring to instances where the prescribed tyre sizes are no longer widely available. For example, sizes such as 195/70 R14 for the Mercedes W115 or 225/65 R15 for the BMW E34 are not exactly common these days, and in such instances, upsizing to a more commonly available size can save you a lot of time and headache.
There are consequences that come with bigger rims, and they mostly revolve around cost, along with performance and ride comfort. Your tyre replacement costs escalate along with your fuel consumption bills; your straight line performance becomes less responsive; and worse is that your ride can become jittery if you oversize your tyres too much. It is extremely important to take note that for every inch added to your rim diameter, the corresponding tyre price increases exponentially – I see way too many instances of cars fitted with big rims but shod with cheap dodgy tyres because of this.
The benefits of sticking to the factory recommended sizes are therefore clear, but for those of us running rims measuring less than 16 inches, there aren’t too many options with regards to performance tyres. My Proton Waja Campro pictured here came standard with 195/55 R15 tyres, and it is a size that offers only a handful of performance-biased options, one of them being Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Directional 5, which sits one rung lower in the hierarchy than the Asymmetric 2 which we tested several months back in YS’s Mercedes C 200 Kompressor.
I was offered a set of the D5 to review back in August 2012, and at the time, my existing Continental CC5 set had already served me for about two years clocking 32,000km in the process. The comfort-oriented CC5 was a surprisingly competent tyre that was low on noise and offered decent grip in most conditions. While I won’t consider myself as an aggressive driver, I am also not averse to high speeds, with 180kph being the fastest I recall having done on the tyres. I do enjoy cornering hard at times although attempting sideway stunts are out of the question on public roads.
Having clocked about 5,000km of mileage with the tyres, I now present you my first interim review of their performance. Ironically for what’s supposed to be a performance tyre, first thing about the D5 that caught my attention was how its noise and overall comfort levels are in no way deficient to the previous CC5 tyres. A slight increase in tyre roar is noted, but hardly at disturbing levels. There is also no noticeable increase in fuel consumption, indicating similar levels of rolling resistance. As we publish this report, the tyres had barely completed 5,000km on the road, so assessment of wear would be premature at this stage – wait for my 10,000km report on that one.
Aesthetically, Goodyear carved a very aggressive look for the D5; its directional pattern gives it a sportier and more distinctive appearance than even the higher-end Asymmetric 2. The aggressive V-shaped central ribs give the impression that this tyre is made for the wet and grooves along the shoulder also appear exceptionally wide and deep – great news for shoulder wear. My CC5s and also the Bridgestone Turanza ER30s that came before them both had fully worn out shoulders by the time they were replaced. I’ll be particularly interested to see how the D5’s shoulders still hold up by the time I’m done with them.
Since their installation, the D5s have only been subject to average street use. There were the occasional high speed runs (up to 180kph) and fast cornering (80kph on cloverleaf flyovers), but their performance have yet to be evaluated on sterner examinations such as a slalom course or a skid pad. I have tried doing a few handbrake turns in empty parking lots, but the car has proved remarkably difficult to unsettle. Within the sane limits that I have explored these tyres thus far, understeer has been a non-issue. As a road tyre, the D5 has performed competently with good amounts of grip and surprisingly low noise levels.
A virtue of particular importance for any tyre in our tropical climate is wet performance, and if your car can’t hold a cornering line when the sky pours, you effectively become a moving road hazard. The D5’s deep V-shaped grooves play their part to expedite evacuation of water and minimize the likelihood of aquaplaning. It will not help you cheat the laws of physics, but with prudent driving, the D5 gives you the means to confidently navigate your way out of potentially treacherous conditions, although I do recall the Dunlop Formula D01 cutting through water puddles a little bit more confidently than the D5s.
Initial impressions of the Goodyear D5 have thus far been positive, and it is one of the better performance tyres available to those of us opting to stick to modestly-sized rubber. We will follow up on this review with a more comprehensive report after 10,000km of usage which is when we will also be in a position to better evaluate its durability to wear and tear.
Test Car: Proton Waja Campro 1.6E M/T
Year of Registration: April 2007, one owner
Current Mileage: 112,500km
Engine: 1,597cc, 4-cylinder, NA, 110hp, 148Nm
Transmission: 5 M/T, FWD
Suspension: Independent all-round, MacPherson front, Multi-Link rear
Brakes: All-round discs, front ventilated, ABS, EBD
Safety Electronics: None
Kerb Weight: 1,195kg
Vehicle Enhancements: Auto Foam Comfort Package.
Tyre & Wheel size: 195/55 R15, 15″ x 6.5JJ
Recommended Inflation Pressure: 210kPa front, 190kPa rear.
Previous tyres: Continental CC5
Ratings: Tread Wear – 360, Traction – A, Temperature – A
Usage: Sept 2010, 74,923km to Aug 2012, 107,550km (2 years, 32,627km)
Maintenance: Alignment and balancing checks with tyre rotation at 5,000km intervals.
Current test tyres: Goodyear Eagle F1 Directional 5
Ratings: Tread Wear – 300, Traction – AA, Temperature – A
Usage: Aug 2012, 107,550km – present (4 months, approx 5,000km)
Maintenance: Aligned and balanced once during installation.
Disclosure: Test tyres were provided by Goodyear Malaysia to be used on the writer’s personal car at no charge. Costs of installation, alignment, and balancing were borne personally by writer.