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I am trying to decide on the perfect all-season tire for my 99 1.8T. I will be adding a chip and probably a rear sway bar and eventually better shocks. I live in Seattle so Rain and standing water is a big factor here and we get snow about 2 times a year (and if a person is smart they just don't drive on those days). I currently have borbet wheels with Yokohama 205/60R15's which are just about worn out. I am thinking about the Potenza 950's in the same size, but have also heard the Turenzas or other tires might be better.

I want a tire that performs well in rain AND dry and still corners really well. (I know for my size tire cornering is not as good as the low profile guys). Low noise and good road feel are important too. Snow...well, it seems most all-season tires are mediocre in the snow, so I carry cable chains.

So....can anyone help point me in the best direction or help with my tire choice???
 

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In the Consumer Reports test back in 11/03, the Turanza LS-H and the Potenza RE950 are both in the top 3 in their list of Performance All-Season radials (numbers 2 and 3 respectively).

The Turanza and Potenza had the same rating in Dry Braking, Ride and Handling, but the Turanza beat the Potenza in snow traction, ice braking and noise. The Potenza, on the other hand, beat the Turanza on wet braking, hydroplaning resistance (by a wide margin), and rolling resistance.

On the other hand, the #1 tire on the list is the Falken Ziex ZE-512. Just glancing at the chart, the Falken emphasizes wet/dry braking and being generally good in all other categories.

The Potenzas seem to emphasize wet/dry handling but you'd be suicidal to drive them in the snow.

The Turanzas... Well, I can't tell why the Turanza's are rated higher than the Potenzas... They seem to be better in the snow, but not as good in the rain.

Edit: forgot to mention, in the CR test, the Turanzas were priced at $100, the Potenzas cost $85 and the Falkens were $60.
 

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I had the 950 previously, they were very good tires, and we get alot of rain here in springtime and early summer. I never had them on in snow, and doubt they would be very effective.
 

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I would look into;

Toyo Proxes 4
Pirelli P-Zero Nero M&S
Falken Ziex ZE-512

I have the Falken Ziex ZE-512's but they are to new for any opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So do the Falkens have a good "feel" to them for cornering stability (ie stiffer sidewall)?
 

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The Bridgestone Potenza RE950 is a very quiet riding tire for the performance level it provides. Really stands out for wet traction and hydroplaning resistance. You will be very happy with this tire.
 

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I love my Turanza LS-Hs (205/60/15s) on my '98 Passat 1.8T manual/GIAC. They are extremely quiet, and perform well on dry, wet, and snowy surfaces (tested in 3-5 inch snowfall this year). I found the lowest price in town then price-matched + 10% less at Sears.
Kevin
 

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I was deciding among ContiExtreme, ContiPremier, Turanza LS-H...and ended up choosing the Falken Ziex. Great price, and SO much better than the OEM Michelins. I likely would have been happy with the Turanzas, but the Falkens have better CR ratings in the categories I really care about (snow, rolling resistance, PRICE). My father-in-law has the ContiExtremes, which he likes very much, especially in snow (the OEM Pirellis on his S-60 suffered the infamous sidewall bubbles...).

The Falkens are generally quiet, especially at highway speeds (there is a slight wa-wa from 20-40mph; need to get suspension checked as tires are balanced), great in the rain, and have GREAT braking. I don't drive overly aggressively, but these tires are fantastic around the ubiquitous negatively cambered rotaries we have here in MA (the OEM Michelins would howl and roll over onto the sidewalls). MPG (a concern with the 4Mo) has, if anything, improved.

(Full disclosure: I chose 205/60/16s (versus 205/55/16) to get the H-rated version with the 60k warranty (versus V-rated, 30k); also, I wanted a slightly larger tire to help with Boston's *terrible* roads, to fill the wheel well better, and to maybe help MPG. Yes, I am aware that this affects the speedo (which is now *more* accurate than it used to be, although the odometer is reading 3.5% low as measured on some recent long trips). So, again, these are comfier and handle better--even though they have a higher aspect ratio--than OEM.)

The Falkens are *very* comfy, but firm up when pushed (I have not been able to make them squeal in turns -- they just push back and *grip*). They seem to sort of "step down" into road irregularities (hard to explain), where the old tires would bump down into the hole. Also, the Falkens don't whack my wheels when I run into a bottomless Boston pothole. Some have complained that these tires are not as "crisp" as other, more performance-oriented models, but again, I'm coming from Squishelins.

All that said, if you get minimal snow, you would likely also be happy with the Potenzas (by the way, is it true that the new Potenza G 009 is a 950 replacement but with better snow capabilities? Uni-T is a proven and useful technology, so maybe that should be on your list, too...).

For comparison shopping or price matching (since TireRack doesn't carry Falkens), I recommend:
Vulcan Tire or High Performance Tire
 

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I considered both the Potenza 950 and the Touranza LS-H for my 99 1.8T. I live in New England, and bought the LS-H because it was better in snow. They've been through one winter, seem OK. Better than my worn out Michelen MXV4+ Energy. If I wanted to add dedicated snow tires, I would have bought the Potenza 950s.
 
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