When choosing tires for a minivan, there are many factors to consider such as the weather conditions where the minivan will be driven, the amount of driving done, and the size of tire needed. There are three basic types of tires ideal for minivans and other passenger cars, all-season, three-season, and high performance.
All season tires are the most common tires for minivans and passenger cars. Despite their name, all-season tires perform poorly in tests involving ice and snow, and so would not be recommended for cars that are driven in extreme winter conditions. Drivers who experience extreme winter conditions should use all-season tires during the summer, spring, and fall, and use specialized winter tires for the winter months.
However, many all-season tires are the best value for wear, performance and ride quality. Consumer Search recommends Goodyear's Assurance Triple Tread tire as being the best all-season tire, "showing no significant weaknesses in any test." Other recommendations include the Hankook Optimo H727 for its overall performance and the Michelin HydroEdge for its longevity. All-season tires are the most economical option, ideal for everyday use with average amounts of driving. They also do very well on wet roads, and so are ideal for drivers who experience mild to moderate winter conditions.
High-performance tires have gained popularity for their handling and heat-resistance qualities. High-performance tires have better grip, cornering abilities and braking abilities. Many high-performance tires don't have the longevity and value that all-season tires do, but are beneficial for drivers who have long highway trips in warm weather because of their heat resistance, and for drivers in severe winter conditions because of their superior grip.
Consumer Search recommends the Michelin Primacy MXV4 tire as the best performing high-performance tire. It is the most expensive of the high-performance tires available for minivans, but has the longest tread life and best grip in wet weather conditions. For dry grip, Consumer Search recommends the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S for its braking abilities. According to Consumer Search, the best high-performance tire for severe winter conditions is the Continental ExtremeContact DWS because of its superior performance in icy and snowy conditions. High-performance tires are ideal for minivan drivers who travel on highways for long periods of time or who drive in extreme winter conditions. They are also an ideal winter counterpart to standard all-season tires.
Summer tires are very high performance tires that are ideal for warm weather driving conditions. They do not have any ability to deal with snow or ice at all. Many drivers choose summer tires for their gripping abilities in both wet and dry conditions. Summer tires are mostly made for sports cars, but can be used on passenger cars and minivans in the right conditions.
Consumer Search recommends the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 for its overall performance. The Dunlop Direzza SportZ1 Star Spec is recommended by Consumer Search as a cheaper alternative to the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tire. Summer tires are ideal for drivers in warm weather conditions who want more driving control and better performance.