To capitalise on north-west Europe’s growing demand for all-season tyres, Firestone has launched the Multiseason. Available for 13 to 16-inch wheels, the new tyre is said to work best between 5 and 20 degrees Celsius, on anything from snow to sun-baked tarmac. This makes the UK a clear target market.
With an indoor ski slope and soaking wet runway at our disposal, evo was able to put Firestone’s claims to the test. Driving up and down the slope in a conventional hatchback, it was almost impossible to differentiate the Multiseason from a proper winter tyre, with good grip under harsh braking and heavy throttle applications (as such, it gains mud and snow and snowflake markings). On the runway, the Multiseason impressed again, braking straight and true with no aquaplaning.
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Firestone says the reason for the tyre’s talent in slippery conditions relates to its tread pattern, with specialised sipes used to bite into frost and snow, and grooves - effective at displacing a claimed 32 litres of water at 62mph - exhibiting a clear winter-bias.
Of course, this focus on inclement weather means performance on warm, dry tarmac is a little compromised. This becomes evident as the Multiseasons squeal in protest long before a conventional summer tyre would break a sweat.
But its performance is still far better than what any full winter tyre could offer, particularly under heavy braking in the dry – Firestone says this is down to the use of 3D zigzag sipes that hunch together under load, helping to stiffen up otherwise flexible tread-blocks.
In any case, driving fast isn’t what the Multiseason is about. Instead, it’s about providing European runabouts with dependable grip year-round. The Multiseason is due to go on sale by the close of summer 2015. Though pricing is yet to be confirmed, we expect the tyre to start from £65 for the 13-inch wheels and increase to around £85 for 16-inch wheels.