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I would say these are the worst tire ever, or at least the worst I have experienced on a vehicle. These come stock on the new Skyactiv 3 and I believe also on the base model and sport trim (any of which have 16" rims).

Other than horsing around taking corners at intersections with a little speed or the occasional hard turn on some of the back roads, I haven't had a chance to put my car through its paces until yesterday. I already have noticed a bit of under-steer entering traffic circles and the road noise coming from the tires has gotten noticeably louder in the 3300 miles I have put on the car. After putting a new set of Michelin Primacy MXM4s on my wife's Civic, I really have started to realize how much I want to get rid of the Bridgestones.

So, yesterday I took the car out by the lake where there is a nice winding road with lots of s-curves and switchbacks. Because this is still a public road and I had my wife in the car, I kept speeds down to a reasonable level. The main goal was to get a better feel for the chassis dynamics of the car and that is why I was so disappointed with the tires because I could tell that was seriously hobbling the car.

Most of the corners where the decreasing radius type which allows you a gradual turn-in and then you can ramp up the lateral g-force as you enter the apex and throttle out of the corner. I was shocked at how easily the tires started signs of letting go. That is one positive I can say is that they do let you know by emitting audible feedback of the impending loss of grip. So, it is predictable in the way they grip (or lack thereof).

At speeds above 30 mph, the car's tendency to under-steer pretty much disappears unless you really are pushing it and try to drive into a corner too fast. Letting off the throttle will get the car to rotate nicely to counteract this. I am very impressed with how balanced the car is when you make mid-corner corrections and the rear end stays planted. I am hoping better tires will sharpen the car's turn-in responsiveness and keep it from pushing to the outside of a corner with all 4 wheels when you are carrying a bit of speed.

While I understand that Mazda wanted to keep from using "low rolling resistance" tires and went with a regular tire with lower rolling resistance than other tires, they could have done better with their OEM tire choice. Insideline said pretty much the same thing about these tires limiting the car's potential in their track testing of their 2012 3i GT Hatch long term test car:

IL Track Tested: 2012 Mazda 3
 

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The SkyActive trim is still biased more towards economy than performance. Better tires will definitely help, but if you wanted more responsive handling, you should consider getting light weight 17 or even 18 inch rims with summer tires (you could lose some MPGs in the process though).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The SkyActive trim is still biased more towards economy than performance. Better tires will definitely help, but if you wanted more responsive handling, you should consider getting light weight 17 or even 18 inch rims with summer tires (you could lose some MPGs in the process though).
I agree, this car is biased a bit more towards economy than performance. Still, new tires will go a long way in this car. I know larger rims would look cool, but the ride quality goes down and the price of tires goes way up. I just think this car could have been so much better with a good set of tires, particularly when Mazda markets itself as a sportier alternative to other cars out there. I still think the car as it is with these tires has a more lively feeling chassis than anything else out there, but they could have knocked it out of the park.

I see that Michelin is doing their $70 rebate again, so I may be making a trip down to the tire store within the next week.
 

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The stock tires on SkyActiv trims are really painful to drive on: They're loud, bumpy, and terrible when wet. Especially in the rain, I can "feel" the understeer even with conservative cornering.
 

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Yup, those are the tires that were stock on my iTouring - still have them on. I thought they were horrible since day 1. I have 45k on my car, but I estimate I have about 30-35k on the Turanzas (I change them out for snows in the winter) and they're already down to 4/32 of tread...barely 1 season left in 'em. I would change them out when they're done, but honestly I dunno how much longer I'm keeping the car. Shame that after setting up the ride/handling the way they did that they went with BS tires. Even the 2.5 guys complain about how bad the stock Yokohamas are :sad 1:

BTW I noticed on my grandfather's new '12 TL that it has Turanza EL400s :shocked:
 

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If our cars cost $40,000 they could put nicer tires on them, but they aren't, so they don't.
 

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I have 45k on my car, but I estimate I have about 30-35k on the Turanzas (I change them out for snows in the winter) and they're already down to 4/32 of tread...barely 1 season left in 'em.
I'm actually relieved that they don't last long. I can't wait to wear these tires out and get rid of them.
 
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The car I had before my Skyactiv was a 2011 Honda CR-Z which did come with some horrible Dunlop low rolling resistance OEM tires, and compared to those, the Turanzas aren't half bad. They had decent traction and were reasonably quiet on the freeway. However after about 3000 miles I did replace them with some 17" wheels with Hancook Ventus V12 in a 205/50 and they are a big improvement over the Turanzas. They have fantastic traction off the line and grip in the corners, soak up the bumps well, and are quieter on the freeway. BTW, Discount Tire actually gave me $200 to trade in my low mileage Turanzas so you could actually upgrade pretty inexpensively if you did that. I hated the looks of the 16" wheels on the Skyactiv with a passion so I decided to get rid of those as well.
 

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So you traded the Honda for a Mazda, eh?
Yeah. I liked the Honda but quickly realized sometimes I need more cargo space than it offered and I like the freedom of knowing I can take more than 1 passenger if I need to so I traded it in for the MZ3 Hatch.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Bridgestones are gone and their crappiness confirmed. Had a set of Michelin Primacy MXM4 installed and immediately noticed how quiet they are. The Turanzas would start making a course grindy growl at parking lot speeds and were terrible on grooved pavement or chip seal roads. Now it is much more hushed. Turn in and lateral grip is much better. I will report more when I drive some more on twisty roads.
 

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Discount Tire actually gave me $200 to trade in my low mileage Turanzas
Are there any other places that accept tire trade-ins? I'd be more than happy to do that asap.
 

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I work for Discount Tire Co. as an assistant manager. We're more than happy to give you trade in credit for the OEM Turanzas to put on new tires that'll ride better. :) I am a personal fan and owner of Michelin tires.

If you want fuel efficiency while still having a nice ride, get the Michelin Energy Saver A/S in the 205/60/16 size. It's a 91V speed rating, so it has better specs, just a little taller. It's designed to be the most fuel efficient tire made by Michelin and it'll have the great Michelin ride quality. In the factory size and speed rating, the Michelin MXM4 is my personal recommendation.

I have the Michelin Primacy MXM4 in the 225/45/18 tire size on my car, and I was averaging 29.2 mpg going from Orlando to Jacksonville for the trip (and I have the 2.5 engine with the manual tranny, rated for 28mpg highway). They make great products, and anything with the Michelin GreenX stamp will be better on gas.
 

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The car I had before my Skyactiv was a 2011 Honda CR-Z which did come with some horrible Dunlop low rolling resistance OEM tires, and compared to those, the Turanzas aren't half bad. They had decent traction and were reasonably quiet on the freeway. However after about 3000 miles I did replace them with some 17" wheels with Hancook Ventus V12 in a 205/50 and they are a big improvement over the Turanzas. They have fantastic traction off the line and grip in the corners, soak up the bumps well, and are quieter on the freeway. BTW, Discount Tire actually gave me $200 to trade in my low mileage Turanzas so you could actually upgrade pretty inexpensively if you did that. I hated the looks of the 16" wheels on the Skyactiv with a passion so I decided to get rid of those as well.
Gearhead, have you noticed a loss in gas mileage? I'm assuming going up in wheel size and grippier tires (but same width) will lower efficiency, but the question is how much?
 

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I should also mention that the Turanzas are definitely not the worst tire ever. That honor should go to Bridgestone's RE92: terrible in the wet, no grip in the dry, not cheap, and they really don't last very long (~20,000miles and tire pressures checked every other week)...talk about a tire with no redeeming value.
 

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Gearhead, have you noticed a loss in gas mileage? I'm assuming going up in wheel size and grippier tires (but same width) will lower efficiency, but the question is how much?
Actually my new 17" wheels weigh the same or less than the stock 16s. I weighed one of the stock ones before I sold them and it was 19.7 lbs and my new ones were advertised at 19 lbs I believe. The weather and my driving conditions have made my mpg vary too much to be able to know if the tires affected it but I didn't notice any change after I got the new tires. My MPG has always been between about 31 and 34 ever since I bought the car last December.
 

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I agree with Kenshi. When I first bought my car in 09 I had those tires during the 09-10 blizzard and some pretty harsh conditions and then another year or so! They did great in everything for a cheap tire they great! I could drive faster then people with snow tires. Anyway all personal opinion but the only complaint I had was that they wore out fast.
 
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