**Update** New testing and new tires on the market have been proven better in terms of shear handling and handling predictability, wet traction and ride comfort as well as fuel efficiency. I do not recommend these tires. I recently purchased a brand new 2012 Prius Three and within 50 miles i decided i didn't like the OE tires (Yokohama AVID S33D). With a bit of help from Yokohama and America's Tire Company i received a credit for the S33D and I purchased the brand new AVID Ascend. This tire became available March 2012 so it was difficult to find any information on them. The only information I could find was The Yokohama press release and their Ascend brochure. Because I liked my last tire so much, the Yokohama dB Super E-Spec. I figured I'd give this new tire a shot and see if it is a worthwhile investment for the PriusChat community. Like the dB Super E-Spec tire, the Ascend features a unique blend of orange oil in place of the typical petroleum product. This is supposed to aid in lowering rolling resistance as well as promote predictable grip on the road. Yokohama originally explored the use of orange oil in their ADVAN race car tires. For more info on orange oil and how it relates to Yokohama tires: Yokohama Tire Corporation From TireRack.com Tire Specs (195/65/15 89T) Yokohama AVID Ascend (Grand Touring All-Season) UTQG=800 A B, 51psi, 12/32, 21lbs, 828 $86 My initial impression of the Ascend tire was how tight they felt as compared to the S33D. The GenIII Prius is new to me as is the mushy suspension but these new tires felt like they sported a much more substantial sidewall. It is a fairly quiet and smooth riding tire but not a whole lot different than the S33D but not near as smooth and quiet as my 17" MXM4 tires. I drove for the first day at the Prius manufacture pressure spec (35/33), as I try and do with all new tires, and the ride was very comfortable and quiet. Pretty underwhelming for someone who gets really excited at the prospect of new tires. However, at least I didn't observe anything negative as I usually do when trying a new tire, especially at low air pressure settings. Northern California was hit with quite a bit of rain during this time so I didn't get to do any real testing except typical wet weather observations like light handling, hydroplane resistance etc.. Because they were new tires and the weather was bad I decided to play around with air pressure. I knew I wasn't going to get max mpg or the best handling at 35/33psi so I bumped the pressure up to sidewall max of 51psi. I then took a trip around the corner to the store. these things are like rocks at that pressure! I started hearing creaks and rattles that I had never heard before and feeling every road surface imperfection was not what I was after. When I got home I reduced the pressure to 46/44psi and left it like that for a few days. The ride was better but still a bit bumpy and in all honesty it didn't feel like it was handling any better than at 35/33psi which is odd compared to all of my 185/65/15 tires. With those narrower tires, air pressure over 35/33 made a big difference in overall feel and handling. This week I reduced the pressure to 42/40psi and I cold not tell a difference in handling but the ride is a bit more cushy so I am happy for now. During this time I was not trying to drive for high mpg so I cannot make any comments on mpg or gliding differences. Noise: The Ascend is about equal to the S33D but if i had to choose a winner i would say the Ascend is the quieter of the two. It is the quietest tire i have driven on in some time with exception to the Primacy MXM4. The Ascend is even quieter than my dB Super E-Spec (185/65/15) tires but i am comparing a new tire with 12/32 tread to a tire with less than 5/32. Over smooth surfaces and rough surfaces the tire is pretty quiet although you can definitely tell when road surfaces change! I'm not wowed by this tire in terms of noise but neither am I unhappy with them. They are just ok. *Update* After 10,000 miles or so and swapping back and forth between other tires I would judge these tires to be average in noise. They are louder than the Energy Saver A/S 195/65/15 but not terribly so. I was wrong about my comparison with the Primacy MXM4 215/45/17. The Ascend 195/65/15 is definitely quieter. Keep in mind the size difference here. Handling: I was actually kind of shocked how well these tires hug the road. I would put them somewhere between my 185/65/15 dB Super E-Specs and my 215/45/17 Primacy MXM4s. I realize these tires are wider than the former but they grip much more like the later. The S33D wasn't too bad in the handling department but the Ascend feels much tighter and more responsive despite the deeper tread. Keep in mind these tires are not broken in yet so traction should be less now than after they fully break-in. Freeway attitude is smooth and the tires respond well to steering input. Steering feels pretty vague and almost video game-like in that there is a small lag time between input and reaction. The car felt like that with the S33D as well so I think it has to do with the factory suspension more than anything. Coming from my GenII with a lot of suspension mods the stock GenIII feels like a boat vs. a go cart. *Update* After comparing my car with no suspension modes to another car with PPP lowering springs, PPP rear sway bar and Michelin Energy Saver A/S tires, I am even more impressed with the Ascend tires. They feel more crisp and respond faster to steering input. Driving the same route with both cars, however, I did notice the Ascends tend to tramline more. The Ascends did have higher air pressure 42/40 vs 36/34 but the Ascends don't seem to change much until you get over 46psi. Traction: It's rather hard to judge traction in a car that cannot spin the tires but in terms of lateral grip through corners the car is solid with nary a squeal when pressed hard into a corner. I drove pretty hard into a long curved on ramp an I kept expecting to hear tire squeal or feel the car sliding but it never happened. I continued to accelerate through the curve but nothing happened. I was at what I felt should have been the limits of this tire in this size but I entered the highway feeling like I could have pushed it even harder. I have a feeling that with a few suspension mods I would be more than happy with the cornering ability of this tire without having to go to 17s or 18s. Sure the handling would be even better with the larger wheels but I don't think most people would need to go much faster though a similar curve. *Update* Now that we have had a bit of real rain I am pretty impressed with these tires regarding wet traction. They continue to hug the curves despite wet roads. Hydroplaning resistance is good as expected with 11/32+ tread depth. I have yet to try panic stopping in the wet though. I'm always carrying stuff in the hatch and don't want everything to come flying forward during such a test. I have never tried to push them hard in wet conditions. *Update 2* TireRack.com recently tested these tires and found the wet traction to be quite bad compared to other tires in the class. For rainy areas I would NOT recommend this tire at all. There was a 28' stopping distance difference between it and the ProContact with EcoPlus! Mileage: I cannot comment definitively on fuel mileage just yet as the tires are still breaking in. They currently have less than 1000miles on them and I personally feel they need a little more than that before I can make a proper assessment. I have only had one good opportunity to test MPG on the new car and tires due to the bad weather. I drove using no hypermiling tricks other than 5mph below the speed limit of 65mph. Even though my commute features 99% highway driving and an 1,150ft. elevation change I ended the 107mile drive at 56.2mpg. Not too bad for 54deg F temps, a new car (2000miles or so) and new tires. I would not claim these tires will rank in the top 4 most fuel efficient but for a tire with 12/32 tread depth and an 85,000 mile warranty it could easily outcompete the Energy Saver A/S (9/32 tread and 65,000mile warranty) in terms of shear economics if it lasts as long as Yokohama says it will. *Update 1* Fuel economy seems to be on par with the OEM tires. I cannot really tell much of a difference. This week we are supposed to have rain-free weather with temps in the 70s which is similar to what we experienced the first week I had to OEM tires. I'm still struggling to get 50+mpg calculated but I think this has more to do with my commute and the weather we have been having than the tires. The OEM tires were difficult to achieve 50+mpg calculated as well. *Update 2* Now that summer is here my mpg has skyrocketed to high 50s. My best tank thus far was 59mpg. I am able to pull 60+mpg trips but it is difficult to maintain full tanks higher than 58mpg (indicated). If I had a nice flat commute I'm sure I could pull 60mpg tanks with these tires. While I still feel the Energy Saver A/S is about 3mpg better, these tires are still pretty good and keep you within OE tire mpg range with the added benefit of lower price, better handling and much longer tread wear. Appearance: It's a pretty average looking tire. It's not ugly nor does it look sexy and stylish like some of the Nitto or other race-inspired tires. look at the pics and you be the judge. Price: The price of the Ascend is comparable to other premium LRR offerings like the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max and Michelin Energy Saver A/S (if you get the $70 rebate). It's not expensive but it is not as cheap as the Continental ProContact with EcoPlus which is a segment leader. Because neither Yokohama nor Continental offer regular rebates they may be a bit more expensive than offerings from Bridgestone who often offers a $70 rebate. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider these other tires. It may mean you just have to plan ahead and wait until someone like Discount Tire Direct is running a special. They also offer free shipping which TireRack does not! Because this is a very long lived tire and the mpg is on par with the OE tires, your total cost per mile is quite low. It appears the only tire with a lower cost per mile is the Energy Saver A/S or possibly the Kumho Eco tire with its cheap price and 100,000 mile warranty as well as the Michelin Defender due to its 90,000 mile warranty. Summary: I may not be wowed by these tires like I was with the Primacy MXM4 but I am definitely happy with the purchase. Unlike the MXM4 I am thrilled with the mpg and I expect it to only get better whereas the MXM4 never got better. For someone looking for a tire that offers the utmost in sustainability, as far as tires go, then look into the AVID Ascend. If you want a mid-priced tire that offers good gas mileage, great dry traction, a huge variety of sizes and a very long tread wear warranty then this is your tire. If you want a tire with wet traction then avoid them!!! **Summary Update** I traded these tires in after approx. 11k miles for a set of Energy Saver A/S tires. New testing and new tires on the market have been proven better in terms of shear handling and handling predictability. I do not recommend these tires.