Prius mods part 2 – tyres


When I bought My Red Prius (I really should think of a name) I should have paid more attention to the tyres. As the car had just come off lease, someone realised that they couldn’t hand back the car with bald tyres. So they replaced 3, leaving the barely legal OEM tyre on the back like a dog with a limp.
As if that wasn’t bad enough form, they chose was a brand I had never heard of before; Ovation ecovision VI-682 to be precise. I put some 10,000km on the tyres and I can say that Choice.com.au was generous when they awarded 45/100 for wet cornering. They may be OK in a straight line but even the Prius can overwhelm the tyres on a damp road. And any credentials they may suggest for low rolling resistance (LRR) are sketchy at best. Since the OEM Bridgestone B250 is not a LRR tyre, perhaps I’m just being a bit fussy. To replace the leaky Bridgestone, I realised that buying 1 tyre was not on the cards.
As luck would have it, Bridgestone had just released the ecopia PZ-X in Australia to join the EP100 and EP150. The PZ-X is a premium touring tyre, but delivers even better fuel consumption then the cheaper ecopias. I’ve been reading about them in Japanese Prius magazines and on http://www.bridgestone.co.jp/sc/ecopia/ (I say “read”, I mean “look at the pretty pictures while running the page through babelfish”) but Australia only had the EP100, admittedly with Planet Ark endorsement no less.
Not wanting to throw away a fairly new set of tyres, I just bought 2 for the front axle to provide some grip in the wet.
Almost regret not getting 4. The ride is so much more comfortable, quiet and dare I say fuel efficient? And the ecopia PZ-X will take 60 psi against the 44psi max for the Ovations. I’ll be putting 42psi in the front again and reporting on fuel consumption shortly.
Here’s more information, including a video from Ed Ordynski that demonstrates what a LRR tyre can do.

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