Tire Upgrade Review- Toyo Extensa A/S 205/60R15

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by skyswordsman, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. skyswordsman

    skyswordsman New Member

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    Greetings fellow prius owners, I have been a long time reader of prius chat, and wanted to share my experiences with everyone on one of the best upgrades you can make for your car; the tires.

    Background: I drive a 2007 second generation, solid black, non-touring prius. There are no mods done to the car itself that affect driving, so this opinion is one comparative to stock settings. I live in the midwest, so I have driven in the harshest of Illinois winters along with the most searing hot of Missouri summers. I drive both aggressively and fuel efficiently as traffic/mood/bad drivers around me dicates. I also drive my gearheaded housemates 2002 BMW 530i, so I have first person experience in regards to "superior handling, etc etc"

    The stock Integrities had 28k miles on them before I made the wise investment of getting better tires. After upgrading to the new tires, I clearly understood how terrible those tires were. After about 20k miles, they were nearly all worn down, there was signs of cracking, high speed stability (65mph+) was all but non-existent, and they slipped constantly on wet and eventually even dry pavement. The reason that sent me over the edge was the slipping. It became a safety issue at that point, and with the harsh winter/road conditions that was to come, there was no way in hell I was gonna keep those tires. And the sweet weather deities LOVE to shower the midwest in heavy rain, especially this year, so wet weather performance was a big point of contention.

    After doing much research, and reading NYPRIUS's very well thought out posts on both the 195 and 205 size tires, I decided to go with the 205/60R15 Toyo Extensas. These are on the stock rims, and run at 42psi front, 40psi rear.

    Immediate Thoughts:
    I drive fairly aggressively when I want to, so the cornering and general stability at high speeds were easily noticeable. Plus, I could finally go in a straight line without having to microadjust the steering wheel every second. I can easily stroll through the city on major highways at 80mph without fearing that a gentle breeze will slam me into the siderail. Grip is outstanding comparative to stock, and wet weather performance is equally amazing. I can literally feel the tires pushing the water away and sticking to the pavement during heavy rains. Initially I took about a 5mpg hit, going from around 50 (if I drove conservatively) to 45mog

    8,000miles later:
    Same amazing performance. After the break in period, my MPG has gone back up to 50+. Road noise is still low. I absolutely love these tires. I find it almost a crime that Toyota has allowed the 185 tire size to be on the second gen prius'. Fuel efficiency is a priority, however the cost to safety was too much for my tastes.

    Conclusions:
    I highly recommend these tires to anyone who has the stock integrities. Yes there are probably better tires, but if nothing else, get new tires, either in the 195 or 205 sizes. They are well worth the couple hundred dollars you'll spend, and will provide you with the peace of mind when driving in harsh weather/road conditions.

    Here is a photo album with some pictures of the tires and a recent drive around Saint Louis on the highways and roads. Photo Album - Imgur

    Potential Questions:

    Why not 205 vs 195?
    A: One of the biggest issues with driving where I live was the issue of going straight. This seems like a small quibble, but when nearly every other car is a chrysler 300 or bigger, they tend to push you around just from the air they displace. I make frequent trips up to Chicago from STL, so trucks are also abound. This was not an alignment issue, nor a road curvature issue. I wanted a larger size so that there was more surface contact, and therefore more grip to resist air flow/increased stability.
     
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  2. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I'm curious what the car would be getting with a 185 or 195 LRR tire. The extra width of your new tire will lower MPG as will the non-LRR rating on the tire. From a performance and handling standpoint you made the right choice. A wider tire will stop better and generally corner better. :)
     
  3. Daves09prius

    Daves09prius Active Member

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    Thanks for the post! I'm looking for new tires myself. With your review and pictures I'm for sure getting 205/60R15
     
  4. Feri

    Feri Active Member

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  5. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Agreed although you usually have to go pretty extreme to get to that point. Hydroplaning is also a potential issue.

    I 'mstill skeptical about the mpg staying the same. Physics state there should be a decrease in efficiency but maybe the old tires were less efficient despite being smaller.
     
  6. Daves09prius

    Daves09prius Active Member

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    Not giving you a hard time, just asking:
    Which is more likely to hydroplane, a 185/65R15 with no tread or a brand new 205/60R15?

    I'll take my chances with the 205/60R15 because I'll try anything that possibly could be better than the stock OEM tires. I don't care about ride comfort, I care about road performance. I'd get 17" rims and tires, however I'm unable to afford the cost, so I have to settle for a tire upgrade. I'm hoping that the 205/60's are the answer.
     
  7. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I don't think that is a fair comparison and would never be a realistic decision onl would have to consider. A properly inflated 185/65/15 would be less likely to hydroplane than a properly inflated wider tire if all other factors were equal like tread design, tire compound etc..

    D ifferenttire designs can change this general rule of thumb depending on whether the tire in question is a directional tire vs. a unidirectional tire. I plans on putting my 17s back on once the rains begin due to it's directional design, deeper tread depth and greater wet weather performance compared to my summer only tire despite the 15s being narrower. The most important factor is tread depth, design and proper inflation.
     
  8. skyswordsman

    skyswordsman New Member

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    If the weather here in the midwest was very consistent to that of say California, or if it were more flat, then I would have definitely chosen an LRR tire. That is unfortunately not the case, so even if there is an eventual mpg hit (within reason, 10mpg or so), the tradeoff in grip is worth it. In the grand scheme of things, that difference in mpg varies just by drivers behavior, so one can do all the theory behind mpg gains and such, but in an individualized real world application, there is a range rather than a set number. Some days ill get 40mpg booking it to work, other days ill get 50+ cruising around town.
     
  9. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I agree with you. I just wonder how much grip you assume you are gaining vs. a LRR tire. I would like to see some thorough testing performed because my tires grip pretty darn well and they are LRR although not considered ultra high performance. They were designed for the Mercedes and BMW crowd. lol

    Maybe I can find some tests on tirerack.com. :)
     
  10. Daves09prius

    Daves09prius Active Member

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    UPDATE:
    I ordered my 205/60R15 General AltiMax HP tires from www.tireteam.com

    http://www.tireteam.com/Tires/General/Altimax+HP/2056015/15480550000.html

    They were $64 each and shipping was only $37 and were delivered UPS ground. Ordered on friday, and delivered on the following monday!
    I took the tires to my local Wal-Mart in Waynesboro, PA and had ALL FOUR mounted, balanced, and installed on the car for only $27.56 Yes, that's all four!(I think they forgot to charge me something, cause I was expecting to pay much more.) I watched and they used a torque wrench to tighten down the lug nuts. I was so worried that they would hammer them on with the impact wrench and snap some studs (like so many garages do). I was really impressed with their service and would recommend the Waynesboro Wal-mart tire center to anyone that may live here locally.

    After having the tires installed I went to the gas station and added more air, they set the tires to 32psi I took them up to 40 psi on all 4 tires.

    Thank you skyswordsman for recommending the 205/60R15 size tires! If anyone is looking for good tires on a budget check out what tireteam.com has to offer.
     
  11. djasonw

    djasonw Active Member

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    Great writeup OP! I am running 195/60/15 and I may just go ahead and try 205's on my next purchase. I just got the Hankook H27 which I'm pretty pleased with. They do NOT come in 205/60/15 but I am going to try a different brand next time I need tires. I've read some decent reviews of the General Altimax HP, so I may go with those.
     
  12. mikebike

    mikebike New Member

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    I dont think LRR matters much with a good tire like toyo, the compounds in toyos are harder therefor netting more mpg anyhow, i had 195 60 15 toyo spectrums on a saturn sl2 1999 and could get 42 mpg at 70 mph, i just got 205 60 15 toyo extensa a/s and the handling feels pretty good after 10 miles, Town fair tire matched tiresdirect.net cheap price on these 478$ installed
     
  13. mikebike

    mikebike New Member

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    I had measure 45-47 mpg at 60 mph at one point.
     
  14. mikebike

    mikebike New Member

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    also I agree 195 60 15s do not feel safe to normal people, maybe crazy old ladys i had spacers on mine to feel safe that why I went up a size, plus its 15 more revs per miles so I will run at lower rpms on the higway netting me more mpg
     
  15. mikebike

    mikebike New Member

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    also had a classic saturn warm air intake and lightened by 100lbs stripped carpet, aerodynamic upgrades(based on modeling I found), and 36psi front 40 back
     
  16. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Are you sure it works that way? More revs/mile increases RPM at a given speed. The Prius and its eCVT acts a little different than a normal transmission with regards to RPM and tire-based gearing. A shorter tire also artificially increases the number of miles registered on the odometer. :)

    *Edit* just realized I was in the GenII forum. :)
     
  17. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    In the UK the Prius (gen2) comes as standard with 16 inch rims tyre size 195/55/16.

    I cannot imagine how bad the US Prius must be with 185/60/15 tyres, not being impressed with the UK 195's.

    I have gone to 205/55/16 and have not lost any mpg in fact I have gained about 3 to 4 mpg with much better handling and stability than the OEM Bridgestones.

    My advice to anyone with a gen2 Prius is to go to the wider size tyres.
     
  18. 69shovlhed

    69shovlhed Surly tree hugger

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    been running 205's on the '04 since sometime in '07. never noticed any loss of mpg, and the slightly taller tire corrected the speedo a bit. fortunately, when my bro had the car, he put the same size on it that i had, he never checked to see what the correct size was. the 205's just look right on the stock wheels. 185 looks too skinny. when my wife wears out the 185s on her car, she'll get 205s.
     
  19. SteveLee

    SteveLee Active Member

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    Having two Gen2 cars with different width tires you have a good comparison. What kind of difference if any do you find in handling, stability, ride, cornering, wandering, wind buffeting, etc between the widths of tires? What brand and air pressure?
     
  20. 69shovlhed

    69shovlhed Surly tree hugger

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    well, since i've added better sway bars front and rear to the '04, its not really a fair comparison. however, other than the excessive body roll on the '05, it handles fine by me. the '05 has michelins from the previous owner, and they work good. i have yokohamas on the '04, and they are also good. i would say that any quality tire can be expected to perform well, assuming the alignment is correct and the tires are properly inflated. i don't consider the goodyear integrity to be a quality tire, btw. i had those on the '04 originally, and i flat spotted one of em by cornering too hard. they had plenty of tread left on em, but i couldn't take the flapflapflapflapflap on the highway. also, i would stay away from dunlop, or any chinese, korean or indonesian tires.
    i run 40psi.
     
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