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Yokohama Avid Ascend – In-Depth Review

Yokohama Avid Ascend Tire Review
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Yokohama’s Avid Ascend all-season tires hit the market in March 2012. Yokohama is a well-known Japanese company which is renowned for cutting-edge innovation and green policies. The Avid Ascend is Yokohama’s first mass-produced Standard Touring All-Season tire in the U.S. to feature both their Orange Oil technology and BluEarth eco-friendly identification. It was developed for sedans, coupes, minivans, and
crossover vehicles. But what makes the Avid Ascend different from other tires already out there? How does it measure up?

About the Yokohama Avid Ascend Tire

Yokohama is devoted to innovation and developing the greenest products on the market. They have developed their own patented materials. These include the Orange Oil compound and their AIRTEX Advanced Liner. They’ve been operating in Japan for about a century, and arrived in the U.S. in 1969. Their BluEarth branding reflects their dedication to environmentally-responsible products.

The Avid Ascend was designed for long tread wear, low rolling resistance, and all-season traction. The tire features an asymmetrical tread design with three ride zones that focus on dry grip, water evacuation, and winter traction. Tread block bridges connect large outboard shoulder blocks to maintain tire contact with the road. This purpose is enhanced by the Interlocking Tapered Centered Rib, a continuous center rib with a tapered outboard edge, which helps with straight-line tracking. The tread block bridges also help to reduce tread noise, making for a quieter ride.

Several features increase traction in wet and winter conditions. Cross grooves and four circumferential grooves evacuate water from under the tread. 3D Adaptive Sipes increase tread block rigidity, which provides longer wear. Their edges increase wet and winter traction. There are also higher-density 3D Adaptive Sipes in the inboard tread blocks. These provide additional biting edges to increase traction in light snow.

Internally, twin steel belts are reinforced by spirally-wrapped nylon on top of polyester body plies.

Yokohama’s Orange Oil technology utilizes oil from renewable orange peels to improve the molecular bond between natural and synthetic rubber. This is intended to prolong the life of the tread and improve fuel efficiency and traction. The compound also reduces rolling resistance and maximizes stability and grip, even in wet conditions.

The tires perform very well in most conditions, but when driven aggressively around corners, they may give a little. They’re not designed for racing, but the benefits outweigh this drawback. They perform extremely well in most conditions, but not all. Few tires if any are perfect for every situation.


Tire Rack Review

In August 2012, the folks at TireRack.com reviewed the Yokohama Avid Ascend Tire. The tires were tested on a 2012 BMW F30 328i Sedan, against the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus, Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology, and Michelin Primacy MXV4. At the time, the Yokohama, Bridgestone, and Continental tires were new on the market, and the Michelin Primacy MXV4 was the team’s go-to tire which had often performed well. The purpose of this review was to test these three new tires against their proven standard.

The first part of the test took place on a 6.6-mile loop of expressway, state highway, and county roads. The conditions encountered on this loop included smooth and coarse concrete, and new and patched asphalt. This route simulates an average driver’s everyday route to school or work.

Each tire performed admirably during this part of the test, though the Continentals allowed the driver to feel some of the larger impacts. The Yokohamas seemed a little firmer than the others over all surfaces. The team found that tread noise was minimal for all four tires, regardless of speed or surface. However, they found that the Yokohamas produced minor “thud” sounds when encountering larger impacts. Stable handling was experienced by all four tires.

The second part of the test took place on a 1/3-mile per lap test track featuring 90-degree street corners, a five-cone slalom, and simulated expressway ramps. The track also simulated both dry and wet conditions, and tested traction, responsiveness, and handling.

During dry conditions, all four tires performed well. The Michelins and Bridgestones performed the best, followed by the Continentals. The Yokohamas closely followed the Continentals; they were just as responsive, but with a little less overall grip.

During wet conditions, the Yokohamas once again rounded out the group. They showed noticeably less overall traction than the others, and the Tire Rack team remarked that they felt “slippery and somewhat skittish.”

The final part of the test involved snow and ice testing. For snowy conditions, the tires were driven at a dedicated winter test facility in Northern Sweden. Ice testing was done at a hockey rink. Both locations were used to test each tire’s ability to accelerate and brake.

The Continentals did the best, both in the snow and on the ice, followed by the Yokohamas. The Michelins struggled when accelerating in snow, and the Bridgestones did not show great snow traction. Though the Yokohamas did not perform well on the test track in wet conditions, they “did quite well in the snow.”

Overall, the Tire Rack team found that the Yokohama Avid Ascend tires performed very well in the snow, but couldn’t match the others’ wet traction or ability to handle larger impacts on the road.


The Verdict

Yokohama’s Avid Ascend Tire features technology aimed at prolonging tread life and increasing traction. It does underperform when driven aggressively, especially in wet conditions, and the driver may feel larger impacts (such as large potholes or construction work), but it makes up for it in exceptional winter handling. Any driver who takes caution on wet roads and drives in winter conditions regularly (such as during Midwest or Northern winters) would be satisfied with this tire.

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