Goodyear Wintercommand vs Wintercommand Ultra

The Goodyear Wintercommand and the Wintercommand Ultra, each revered for their exceptional winter performance, are set to compete. So is the newer tire better here? Well, let’s delve into the details and find out!

Goodyear Wintercommand
Goodyear Wintercommand

Key Takeaway

  • Ice Performance: The WinterCommand Ultra is better here, due to its more biting tread features, though I do like the fact that its predecessor had studable lugs.
  • Snow Performance: The Goodyear WinterCommand outperforms its Ultra counterpart on fluffy snow due to an aggressive array of tread voids, yielding superior snow-to-snow contact.
  • Wet Traction: The Ultra variant surpasses the regular WinterCommand due to a more aggressive siping design with greater flexibility, reducing braking distance and improving handling times.
  • Hydroplaning Resistance: The Ultra variant performs better in hydroplaning situations, allowing for higher float speeds, especially during cornering, due to its superior water dispersal abilities.
  • Dry Traction: The WinterCommand slightly pulls ahead in directional grip due to its sleeker design with longitudinally aligned ribs. Though in lateral traction, the WinterCommand Ultra shines due to its more stable shoulder lugs and lighter weight, resulting in better steering response and faster lap times.
  • Ride Quality: The Goodyear Ultra excels in terms of reducing road noise with its closed tread design and performs better in vibration absorption due to superior settling abilities.
  • Tread Life: The Ultra’s lighter weight results in less pressure on the lugs and lesser rolling resistance, therefore increasing its tread life.

Dry Traction

The evaluation of dry traction considers two fundamental characteristics: directional grip and lateral traction. Let’s analyze them individually.

Directional Grip

Directional grip pertains to a tire’s ability to maintain traction during straight-line movement, focusing primarily on the tire’s central portion.

And in this category, the Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra (review) slightly pulls ahead, attributable to its slightly sleeker design which features longitudinally aligned ribs.

These ribs essentially enhance the tire’s streamline properties, contributing to the straight rolling direction and improving braking efficiency.

However, the Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra falls a bit short in this aspect, primarily due to its directional tread design.

Despite these differences, the actual performance gap is minimal, with a negligible difference of just 0.2 feet, effectively resulting in a draw in this round.

Lateral Traction

The lateral traction of a tire, or its sideways grip, is largely determined by the tire’s contact patch and the composition of the rubber. And in this arena, the WinterCommand Ultra emerges as the frontrunner.

The tire stands out with its more stable shoulder lugs and lighter weight.

These factors jointly inhibit excessive bending of the tire’s tread lugs, facilitating more balanced over and understeer.

This results in a quicker steering response, placing the WinterCommand Ultra ahead, literally.

I mean on lap times calculated, the tire showcased almost 2 seconds faster lap times, on average.

Ride Quality

When it comes to tire comfort, there are two crucial factors to consider: road noise and vibration absorption. And we have some mixed results here.

The Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra stands out in terms of road noise, thanks to its closed tread design.

By restricting the movement of air particles, this design reduces the noise generated when they collide with the tire tread.

On the other hand, the WinterCommand excels in vibration absorption, demonstrating superior settling abilities.

Wet Traction

The pivotal role that siping plays in wet grip is clearly illustrated when comparing two different tires. Both possess an adequate amount of siping, yet the Ultra variant here, significantly surpasses its counterpart.

The tire consistently demonstrated a reduction in braking distance by 4 feet and improved handling lap times by two seconds.

So, what factors contribute here?

Well, the tire offers a more aggressive siping design with greater flexibility. And these attributes allow the tire to effectively manage water on its surface.

To understand how this works, let’s look at the mechanics of sipes. They function by contracting to create a vacuum within the slits, thereby drawing in and removing water particles. This action clears the path, allowing for optimal grip of the rubber.

Unfortunately, the Goodyear Wintercommand tire falls short in these areas. Its sipes lack both the requisite aggressiveness and the flexibility to outperform its peer.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydro or aquaplaning, is a situation where a water layer gets formed between the tread and the road surface, causing the vehicle to skid or “plane” on water.

And here again the Ultra variant excels, allowing for greater float speeds, especially when the tire is cornering.

Speed is everything here, and float speed is the maximum speed a tire can achieve on a standing water.

Though both tires offer similar speeds on straight Aqua tests, on curved, the Wintercommand Ultra took a lead by 3 mph.

With a directional tread design, the tire simply offers better dispersing of water out of the its grooves.

Ice Performance

Under packed up snow conditions, the Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra emerges as a champion against its peer, showcasing superior braking capabilities.

The tire’s ingeniously engineered tread features, such as multiple angled cuts and in-groove notches, coupled with bifold angled siping, provide extraordinary gripping prowess over icy landscapes, outperforming its predecessor.

In contrast, the Goodyear WinterCommand, with larger tread voids and fewer indentations, struggles to keep up.

Though this tire has the plus point of having studable lugs, its chunkier biters aren’t sophisticated enough to produce as much of a braking or handling efficacy as the Ultra variant.

Tread Life

The tread life of a tire is influenced by rolling resistance. And in this aspect, the Ultra variant shines due to its lighter weight, which reduces pressure on the lugs as they interact with the road.

In contrast, the slightly heavier weight and wider grooves of the simple WinterCommand variant tire, subject each lug to higher pressure and increased heat generation, leading to greater rolling resistance and accelerated rubber wear.

Snow Performance

Both tires deliver impressive performance in various snowy conditions.

However, the Goodyear WinterCommand has a slight advantage, particularly on fluffy snow surfaces. Its aggressive array of biting edges, distributed over its tread, enables enhanced snow-to-snow contact.

This design effectively traps fluffy snow within the interlocking grooves and snow vices, resulting in stronger ground contact with the captured snow.

On the flip side, the Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra, with its more crowded lug design, falls slightly short of delivering similar outcomes.

To End

So lets sum down everything here.

Upon analyzing key parameters, it can be seen how both tires give out very different results in various performance sections.

The WinterCommand Ultra showcased distinct strengths in terms of reduced road noise, extended tread life, superior wet traction, and impressive hydroplaning resistance.

On the other hand, the basic WinterCommand tire excelled in vibration absorption and better performance on fluffy snow surfaces.

Despite minor setbacks, both variants demonstrated effective handling and grip in diverse conditions, illustrating Goodyear’s commitment to quality and performance.