I write a lot about high-end, high-performance tires, and that's a lot of fun. Who wouldn't like to test out Bridgestone's new Potenza by autocrossing it on a BMW 328i, or discuss racing technology with Yokohama engineers? But on the other hand, not everybody needs or wants high-performance tires for their daily driver. Most people just want decent tires at a good price. With that in mind it's a pleasure to review a set of tires that are designed and built to be aggressively average and spectacularly inexpensive – the Fuzion Touring.
Built as a house brand by Bridgestone, Fuzion is a no-frills, no-pretentiousness Grand Touring tire made to get you from point A to point B in a complete lack of style. In fact, the Fuzion pretty much embodies the message that style is overrated. I happen to sell a lot of these tires, and what I hear back from my customers is that the Fuzions are often exactly what they need – a good tire at a great price.
- Good build quality.
- Unbeatable price.
- Smooth and comfortable ride.
- Moderate to low treadwear.
The Fuzion uses technology that is now pretty much the vanilla standard for the industry. Twin nylon-wrapped steel belts lurk inside a silica-enhanced tread compound. Silica-enhanced rubber compounds are the new gold standard in the rubber compounding industry, as the silica makes the rubber wear slower, allowing tires to be made with softer, grippier rubber without the massive wear issues that used to plague soft rubber compounds. The tread features notched ribs and tread siping to provide the biting edges for wet and snow grip. Four circumferential grooves evacuate water quickly. Between the grooves are multiple stiffened ribs to enhance stability and smooth out the ride quality.
The Fuzions are definitely not going to be a big hit on the autocross track, but then they were never designed for that. On the street, however, they are pretty much the epitome of “tire.” Dry and wet grip are both quite good. They have a stable and confident feel in the rain, and it is difficult to hydroplane in standing water. Snow grip is well below average – these are by no means the kind of all-season that will perform in the snow.
The Fuzions feel firm – perhaps even slightly harsh - but smooth on the highway. Steering response is not at all zippy, but they do go where you point them. In fact, it's relatively easy to forget that the tires are doing much of anything at all; they very easily vanish into a kind of mental background noise. If we were talking about, say, a Potenza RE-11, this would be a bad thing. For the Fuzion's target market, it's possibly the best thing. These are the tires you get when you don't want to have to think about your tires.
The Bottom Line:
On the one hand, these tires fill a very important niche. At usually less than $100 per tire, few tires are less expensive, and fewer still have the level of quality that the Fuzions can boast of at that price. An inexpensive tire is rarely worth it if you have to worry about whether the sidewalls will hold or whether you'll get a belt separation at 10,000 miles. When it comes to basic tires for the daily commute, there are not many better choices.
On the other hand, the Fuzions do not tend to get high mileage out of the tread. 40,000 miles is rather low for a treadwear warranty nowadays, and with a more expensive tire like Michelin's Defender you're almost certain to get twice if not three times the mileage from the tires. That makes for an interesting math problem – which is ultimately more expensive; one set of Defenders or two sets of Fuzions?
5 years/40,000 miles (H and V rated)
5 years/50,000 miles (T rated)
UTQG Rating: 400 A A
25 sizes from 185/60/14 to 225/60/18