Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yokohama AVID Touring TRZ Tire - Quiet, Smooth, Long-Lasting, But Not Perfect

My mother's 2006 Honda Accord came with mediocre OEM Bridgestone Turanza EL41 tires in 195/65-R15 size. Check out my review of the EL41 to see how mediocre they were. Without waiting until they were worn out, I decided to replace them with something better. Which is not difficult, considering there are so many good choices out there.

Having had a very good experience with the Yokohama YK520 in my 2004 Infiniti G35, and having read good reviews for the TRZ, I decided to give a similarly-patterned tread a try and got the Yokohama Avid TRZ tires from the Tire Rack. The size is "plus zero" - 215/60R15.

So, for under $400 shipped and installed, the Avid TRZ seemed like a good deal. Especially with its 80,000-mile warranty and the premise of good ride, low noise and decent handling.


The Yokohama TRZ tires I got so far have 22,000 miles. The wear looks minimal, almost non-existent. At the rate they are wearing, I am pretty sure I can get at least 60K and probably more than 80,000 miles.

The Yokohama Avid Touring TRZ is a touring asymmetrical non-directional tire, which can be rotated to any position. The outer, meddle and inner parts serve different purposes for dry, wet and light snow duty (the tire is an all-season one). Therefore the name (TRZ) stands for Tree Ride Zones.

The silica-enhanced all-season tread compound remains more pliable in cold temperatures to enhance cold weather traction. I like in Sothern California and couldn't care less.

The outside zone has large blocks and continuous ribs for better dry road cornering. The center zone has circumferential grooves for effective water evacuation for wet traction. The inner zone serves for better winter traction and features lateral grooves.

Internally, twin steel belts reinforced by spirally-wrapped nylon and polyester cord plies, along with other cool features provide comfortable ride, noise insulation and predictable handling. Or so they claim.

I have to say that the Yokohama TRZ tires did not disappoint me. I had high expectations after having used the Yokohama YK520 tire with very similar tread design, and internal construction. The Accord's ride became much smoother and quieter with the TRZ, comparing with the Turanza EL41.

The traction in dry and wet weather is very good and much better than the EL41. The tire is speed-rated T and can go to 118 mph, which as fast as I can legally (and somewhat illegally) drive. Yes, the Accord can go faster than that, but obviously it is a big no-no in the US.

I took this tire to about 105 and the car was very stable with no vibration or excessive tire noise. Tires are speed rated to ensure the construction is robust enough to withstand the force that tries to rip it apart the faster the tire spins. So the T rating is good enough for me.

The Yokohama TRZ definitely provides better traction than the EL41 tire. There is less squeal and less sliding in turns, ditto the braking. The tires are not very suitable for spirited driving for at least three reasons. Just as the YK520, they are not very responsive: it seems that the initial split second you turn/accelerate/brake nothing happens. Is it the fault of the progressive sidewall that gives you cushy/quiet ride? Maybe.

Also, these are the tires designed mostly for longevity and cushy ride, which ensures that you cannot extract maximum traction out of them. And then, there is the T speed rating.

Although after 22,000 miles they are more noisy and less cushy than when new, they still seem to provide good ride and noise characteristics, especially comparing with the aforementioned OEM tire.

But the good traction overall, combined with low price, smooth, noise-free ride and the projected longevity make it a great everyday tire.

Pros: Long-lasting, low price, low noise and cushy ride, non-directional design for flexible tire rotation
Cons: Not the most responsive, T speed rating


The Yokohama Avid TRZ is a quiet, smooth and very long-lasting tire with above-average traction in dry and wet weather (no snow here so I cannot comment on this aspect). It is an excellent choice for an everyday tire. Provided you want exactly that: smooth, quiet tire with good traction that will last long. A great replacement for any OEM all-season non-sport tire. But if you like spirited driving, you might want to look for a more responsive one.

It is not for you if you want responsiveness and/or the best traction possible.

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