All-Season: These tires are what you’ll find on the majority of passenger and luxury cars, minivans and even some compact pickup trucks. They are available in a very wide range of sizes, and have been engineered to appeal to the widest possible range of tire buyers. While they carry the designation “M+S,” which means they meet the definition of “traction tires” for mud and snow, they are not well-suited for deep snow or soupy muck. Their manufacturers mainly tout All-Season tires’ long tread life and comfortable ride.
Touring: Most commonly found on sporty sedans and coupes, Touring tires tilt the balance further in the direction of handling and dry grip than is the case with All-Season tires, though ride and inclement weather performance are not completely de-emphasized.
Performance: Standard equipment on sports cars, these are represented by Goodyear’s Eagle, Bridgestone’s Potenza, and BF Goodrich’s T/A lines, among others. Dry traction, steering response and a sporty appearance take precedence over tread life and ride comfort.
Snow Tires: As the name implies, these tires are designed specifically for use in deep snow. They feature a tread design with “lugs” to dig into snow and wide grooves into which the snow is compacted and removed as the wheels rotate. While many snow tires offer the option of adding metal studs for traction on ice, tire companies in recent years have developed new rubber compounds that significantly improve grip on icy surfaces . . . a definite advantage for drivers in areas where studded tires are not allowed.