Our company minivan straps on a set of new rubbers from the good folks at Bridgestone.
Photos: Joel Tam
I must say that I write this review with a bit of biasness. This is not the first time I've used Potenza RE003s on a car. My Forester 2.0 XT Turbo had a set as well and they performed admirably throughout the time I had the car. So when we had an offer to review these tyres, I readily said yes and looked forward to having (what some may consider an overkill for an MPV) them on the Estima.
First a bit about the car. The 160 bhp 2.4-litre Estima came shod with oddly matched forged staggered wheels that while I think look cool, are better fitted on a RWD car. Nonetheless, I've decided to keep them on since they work fine and are in pretty good condition. The tyres though, were not. Wrapped in mismatched brands (one Toyo, one Dunlop, two China-brand), it just made me uneasy whenever I spent time on the road.
So you can imagine the joy that came with the fitting of the RE003s. Whats more, I was planning a trip up north to a town off KL that weekend. That trip alone covered almost 1,000 kms back and forth. Installation was done at one of Bridgestone's B-Select stores, South East Tyre at Ubi, which happens to be a shop I regularly patronise for their high quality workmanship and standards. They were one of the pioneers to use nitrogen gas for tyres by the way. The job was done neatly and quickly, leaving me to enjoy the tyres in a jiffy.
The one thing I really enjoy about the RE003s, that to me immediately strikes a blow to the competition, is how quiet the tyres are. Let's face it - before you can even test the performance, the first thing you sense when you drive off, is the comfort and noise levels. This is where the RE003 shines, right from the start. Another tyre model that can match it (which I happen to love and use) is the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, but that belongs to a much higher price range!
Trundling around town, I immediately felt the vast difference from my previous set of rojak tyres. The Estima is now smooth, quiet and evidently more comfortable on the road. But as it's advisable to run-in the tyres, I waited till I was well past the first few hundred kms before I gave it the beans.
Which wasn't too difficult since I was on a road trip to Sekinchan that weekend. Once we reached our destination, we had already covered 450 km. Which gave me a chance to push the car - and the tyres - a bit harder. Down a set of Selangor B-roads, the tyres were grippy and never hesitated to follow every track with every steering input I gave. Over harsh and dusty roads even, the tyres were steadfast and precise. Weather on the whole was dry, so we never got to try it in the wet. But since coming back to Singapore, we've driven the Estima on highways in the rain and the RE003s never skipped a beat. Always feeling sure-footed with minimal or no aqua-planing across wet puddles.
Our first 1,000+ kms in the Potenza RE003s were as great as expected. A combination of awesome handling in all conditions, while keeping road noise to a minimal, makes this Bridgestone product a must-try.
Great performance at great value, if you’re looking for a performance tyre to use daily with the option of some hard driving, it's hard to find anything better than the RE003s.