CEAT SecuraDrive tyres reviewed!
Tyres are the most important, and the most overlooked part of any car. Think about it for a second — all that power, all that technology and the years of research and development get filtered through just one layer onto the road — your tyres. You could have a Ferrari 488 Pista or a Kia Sonet, all cars operate at the limit of their tyre’s grip. Nothing more. With bad tyres, those 700 rampaging horses aren’t going anywhere and your carbon ceramic disc brakes would only be tickling the ABS module. And that’s why, via the simple task of slapping on better rubber, you can substantially improve the dynamic ability of your daily car without losing out on comfort or fuel efficiency. That’s the reason OEMs can spend years developing the perfect compound for their car to roll out of the showroom with, but are those OE tyres always the best option? Sure, high-performance cars like the Pista have a single-point agenda and the OE tyres usually do their best to chase that. But, on the more affordable side of the spectrum cars serve multiple purposes. And wants can depend upon the customer — fuel economy, comfort, performance, wet-weather grip. It could be a number of different priorities and a ‘one for all’ solution doesn’t really do it justice. So, can aftermarket tyres help improve the driving experience of your car?
We’ve got a set of CEAT SecuraDrive tyres for our long-term test Kia Sonet to help us figure out whether they actually make a difference. But before we talk about that, let’s talk about what the SecuraDrive aims to achieve. The SecuraDrive is a new range of tyres designed for premium hatchbacks, compact-SUVs and premium sedans. It aims to provide stability at high-speeds and cornering grip, as well as everyday comfort. The tyres come in two speed ratings — H (210kmph) and V (240kmph) and ten different sizes and can fit over 60 different cars. We got the SecuraDrives in the OE size which is 215/60 R16, to keep the playing field relatively level. Talking of the playing field, we devised a few tests, that cover acceleration, braking, cornering and comfort, to compare the CEATs to the OE tyres.
The first test we conducted for the two tyres is simple — the same stretch of road, same car, same driver and a simple 0 to 100kmph run marshalled by our specialist timing gear. The Sonet isn’t exactly a sportscar so there wasn’t going to be too much drama at the start from either of the compounds but the difference between the two tyres was actually larger than I thought. We managed to clock a best time of 11.14 seconds with the OE tyres, which isn’t particularly bad for a compact-SUV. However, with the SecuraDrives we shaved off almost three-tenths of a second and got a best time of 10.87 seconds.
The second test was a simple braking test — accelerate to 100kmph and then a full emergency stop to a halt. To keep the test as accurate as possible, we did the runs over the same patch of road. The Sonet managed a respectable 100 to 0 time of 3.61 seconds, covering a distance of 48.16 metres before coming to a halt. When we swapped in the SecuraDrives, we got a best time of just 3.37 seconds, stopping over 4 metres earlier at 43.89m. While these numbers may not seem significant, an extra few metres could prove life saving in an emergency situation. Moreover, we also noticed a lot less drama when doing hard braking with the SecuraDrives.
The third (and final) performance test is cornering. Now it is hard to measure exactly how much extra cornering grip the CEATs can generate on a car like the Sonet since we don’t have a racetrack at our disposal to compare tenths shaved off of a laptime. However what we do have is a go-kart track, and a resident rally driver — Annirudha Rangnekar. We strapped him in and let him loose on the Circuit 77 track in Pune and even here the CEATs came out on top. Flicking through a go-kart track is more about the finesse of the handbrake than the outright grip from the tyres but “the SecuraDrives actually screeched around much less and put the power down noticeably easier,” said Annirudha. He managed to get a best time of 50 seconds with the OE tyres, and 45 seconds with the SecuraDrives. Is this all down to the tyres? Possibly, but it could also be that he simply managed to put together a better lap with the CEATs. However, the average laptimes for both tyres, 48 seconds for the CEAT and 51 seconds for the OE tyres also prove that some of it is indeed down to the tyres.
Having done these tests, we realised that what matters on the road aren’t 0 to 100 times, or how fast a car can go around a go-kart track. What matters in the real world is comfort. Cars like the Sonet are primarily driven on our roads and our roads aren’t exactly buttery smooth. And out there is where the SecuraDrives really make a massive difference. Even in the initial few kilometres after installing the new tyres, I noticed a significant lack of road noise and a lot more suppleness from the ride. I noticed that the ‘thud’ from hitting potholes has been reduced and the Sonet’s cabin feels even more closed-off from the outside world. In terms of quiteness, the differences between the two aren’t night and day, but over long journeys the constant road noise and thuds from the tyres can get annoying.
So that settles it then — aftermarket tyres are better than OE ones, right? Well, it depends on the tyre you’re buying and the car you’re buying it for. In this case we found that the CEAT SecuraDrive tyres were indeed better in almost all parameters — from providing better control, to reducing braking distances and thus making the car safer while also improving comfort. So, we suggest going out and getting yourself a set of CEAT SecuraDrive tyres, call it an early Christmas gift.