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- Excellent lateral grip on dry roads
- Very responsive and direct steering
- Outstanding lateral grip in wet conditions and solid braking
- Good traction and drivability on light snow
- Buttery smooth ride over any surface
- Quiet over most surfaces
- Best-in-class treadwear warranty
- Slightly longer dry/wet/snow braking distances than its main rivals
- Noisier than some of its premium rivals
Bridgestone recently replaced its super-popular Dueler H/L Alenza Plus with the Alenza AS Ultra. The all-new all-season touring tire for crossovers and SUVs promises numerous improvements over its predecessor and aims to take the class honors from its biggest competitors, Michelin and Continental.
Indeed, every Bridgestone tire arrives with many expectations, and the Alenza AS Ultra isn’t an exception. Thus, the Japanese giant completely revamped the design and used every advanced technology it had at its disposal to develop this tire. The categories where Bridgestone spent the most time improving were wet and snow traction, but the Alenza AS Ultra also got an even better wear life.
But marketing speech aside, is Bridgestone’s newest entry in the hotly-contested touring all-season crossover/SUV worth it? Moreover, how does it compare to its closest premium rivals? I’ll try to answer these questions in my in-depth Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra review, where I’ll cover every aspect of the tire. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!
What are the features of the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra?
Bridgestone used an all-new high-silica compound for the Alenza AS Ultra, molded into a symmetric, non-directional pattern with plenty of grooves and sipes to handle foul weather conditions.
The Japanese tiremaker doesn’t mention much about what is included in the rubber compound, but I believe it would work excellently across a wide temperature range.
However, Bridgestone couldn’t hide the tread pattern, and it’s evident that a lot of development time went into it. The symmetric, non-directional design allows for easy rotation while employing every feature a modern premium tire should have, like four circumferential grooves, numerous zig-zag sipes, and unique snow vices.
Furthermore, the Alenza AS Ultra features Bridgestone’s QuietTrack technology that lowers road noise. Bridgestone doesn’t mention what it includes, but I guess it’s about the carefully-designed tread pattern.
The internal construction is similar to other touring all-season crossover/SUV tires. It includes twin steel belts and a two-ply polyester casing to combine road comfort and high-speed stability. This design also means that the Alenza AS Ultra isn’t suitable for heavy-duty stuff (no LT-metric sizes), so if you plan on towing or hauling with your SUV, I recommend purchasing a set of highway all-season tires.
What are the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra’s maintenance indicators?
Bridgestone uses regular wear indicators that are mandatory on every tire, making it hard for the driver to monitor tread depth throughout the tire’s lifetime.
Namely, the wear indicators can only tell when the tread reaches 2/32 inches (1.6 mm) of depth. They are narrow rubber bars that sit into the circumferential grooves but protrude 2/32 inches from the bottom. Thus, when the tread reaches that depth, it will be flush with the surface.
Wear bars exist in every tire because they show the driver when it’s time to replace the tires. Numerous road safety agencies worldwide agreed upon that figure because it’s regarded as the minimum for safe wet traction.
But real-world driving also includes snow, and 2/32 inches won’t be nearly enough to give you reliable traction on snow-covered roads. Therefore, in the winter, 5/32-inch (4 mm) is the minimum tread depth, and the Alenza AS Ultra doesn’t have any indicators that will show you that figure.
If you want a tire that has easy-to-read and helpful tread wear indicators, go for the Continental CrossContact LX25. The German tire has the letters D, W, and S imprinted on the tread grooves, corresponding to Dry, Wet, and Snow. So, when the tire loses its ability to provide safe snow traction, the letter “S” won’t be visible anymore, and it’s the same with “D” and “W.”
What is the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra warranty?
The Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra comes with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on all sizes and speed ratings, which is the highest in its category.
Since it is a tire released in 2021, I still can’t confirm the real-world treadlife, but considering how good its predecessor was, the Dueler H/L Alenza Plus, I expect some great things.
For comparison, Bridgestone’s closest rivals have shorter warranties; the Continental CrossContact LX25 comes with a 70,000-mile warranty on H-T speed ratings and 65,000 miles on V-speed rated models. Meanwhile, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV has a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on all sizes.
So, if getting the most miles out of your tires is a priority, you should definitely think about getting the Alenza AS Ultra.
How does the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra behave on dry roads?
The Alenza AS Ultra is one of the best dry tires in the touring all-season crossover/SUV category, with excellent performance in almost every metric on dry tarmac. It also feels very good subjectively behind the wheel.
The numbers show that Bridgestone’s model sets new standards in lateral grip. Sure, it’s not a performance tire, but the Alenza AS Ultra is the best you can currently get in its class if you are a more spirited driver. And while the braking distances aren’t as short as its closest premium rivals, they are still pretty good.
On the highway, the Alenza AS Ultra is an excellent companion. It provides excellent straight-line tracking and outstanding stability at higher speeds, even on bumpy roads.
But the thing that I liked the most about this tire was the steering. While its rivals feel vague and slow to react, the Alenza AS Ultra is very responsive and direct. And it’s the subjective feel that differentiates Bridgestone’s latest entry from the competition, which isn’t insignificant in my eyes.
How is the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra on wet and slippery roads?
The Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra provides some of the highest lateral Gs in rainy conditions in its category, along with solid braking and acceleration traction.
Of course, I can’t talk about the wet performance of this tire without mentioning its closest competitors – the Continental CrossContact LX25, Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV, and Vredestein Quatrac Pro (available in crossover/SUV sizes).
The Alenza AS Ultra falls in the middle among these models in lateral grip, though the differences are minimal and almost imperceptible on public roads. However, Bridgestone’s latest is a tad more playful at the limit, which I liked, but I can also see it being an issue with drivers wanting more stable cornering. Still, you’ll unlikely ever bring the Alenza AS Ultra over the limit on public roads.
As for braking, it trails behind its competitors, but only by a few feet at 50+ mph. This also means it’s better than any cheap crossover/SUV touring tire, so it’s a non-issue for me. Meanwhile, the hydroplaning resistance is excellent – you’ll have no problem keeping your vehicle on the road even when it’s pouring outside.
All things considered, the Alenza AS Ultra is one of the best wet tires in its category, with excellent overall performance.
With that being said, how is the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra on snowy roads?
The Alenza AS Ultra is a great performer in the winter, providing solid lateral grip and good braking on light snow. However, it’s important to note that the CrossContact LX25 and CrossClimate 2 SUV provide slightly better traction.
That shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Alenza AS Ultra is a good companion for those living in areas with mild winters. It is an easy-to-live-with tire, thanks to the balanced handling and good initial grip from the front tires. Even novice drivers won’t have issues navigating on snowy roads, which is a big plus, in my opinion.
And it’s not like the traction is terrible – the Alenza AS Ultra is still better than most all-season tires out there. It can even give you some traction in deeper snow, though you should drive more slowly in those conditions. Sure, its rivals from Continental and Michelin will be slightly better, but the differences are tiny.
As for ice, Bridgestone’s crossover/SUV touring all-season tire again provides solid traction for the category; still, if you often encounter icy conditions, I strongly recommend going for a set of proper winter tires.
Lastly, the Alenza AS Ultra works very well in freezing and dry conditions. The rubber compound stays pliable, which helps with grip and keeps you in control.
Is the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra AT suitable for off-road driving?
Although it fits most modern crossovers and SUVs, the Alenza AS Ultra is not an off-road tire, as it won’t provide meaningful traction, and its casing isn’t as tough as it needs to be. It’s the same with its competitors, which share the same disadvantages.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t drive a few miles on dirt and gravel here and there. Provided there are not many inclines, the Alenza AS Ultra should give you enough traction, and if you are careful enough, the tread should escape unscathed.
Still, if you want a more durable tire for driving on hardpacked surfaces, you should go for highway all-season models. These have similar tread patterns, meaning you won’t gain traction, but their casing is much stiffer and more durable. And if you want more traction, go for a set of all-terrain tires.
Is the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra a run-flat tire?
The Alenza AS Ultra is not a run-flat tire. For drivers that own a crossover or SUV with run-flat tires, Bridgestone offers the Alenza Sport A/S RFT. However, that model is not available in many sizes and only fits some expensive premium SUVs.
How are the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra’s road noise and comfort performance?
The Alenza AS Ultra is the most comfortable tire over bumps in its category, successfully smoothening out smaller and larger imperfections. It’s also quiet on smooth roads and only slightly audible on rough tarmac.
Compared to its rivals, Bridgestone’s tire offers by far the softest ride. As a result, smaller imperfections are less felt in the cabin, providing the passengers with a luxurious experience.
However, unlike other soft tires, the Alenza AS Ultra works well on broken asphalt. While other models would produce reverberations, which can significantly unsettle the ride, this tire effectively handles repetitive impacts and makes things easier for the suspension.
The Alenza AS Ultra isn’t as successful in the noise department, especially compared to the Michelin CrossClimate 2 and Vredestein Quatrac Pro. But it’s still a very quiet tire – I think most people will never even think about it, mainly since crossovers and SUVs produce more wind noise than regular cars. Still, although some of its rivals are quieter at highway speeds, they don’t come close to the Alenza AS Ultra in the ride refinement category.
Thus, overall, I think the Bridgestone tire is the best for drivers who own a premium SUV/crossover and desire the most luxurious driving experience, along with the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3. Oh, and let’s not forget, the Alenza AS Ultra combines its smoothness with excellent steering response, which a few other touring all-season tires manage to do.
Should I buy the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra?
The Alenza AS Ultra isn’t without compromises, but it’s the closest in its category to a perfect tire. It combines excellent year-round traction with the smoothest ride and has the longest treadwear warranty in its class. So, if you are in the market for a premium touring all-season tire for your crossover or SUV, you should undoubtedly put the Alenza AS Ultra on your shortlist.
However, if you want slightly better snow traction, you should also consider the Continental CrossContact LX25, Michelin CrossClimate 2, and Vredestein Quatrac Pro. Moreover, the Pirelli Alenza AS Ultra offers a slightly quieter ride, while the Yokohama X-CV is sharper to drive. Still, buyers with a more limited budget should give the Cooper Endeavor Plus and BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT a look.
What sizes does the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra come in?
The Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra comes in 49 sizes, ranging from 16-inch to 22-inch wheel diameter. Thus, it fits most modern compact, mid-size, and large crossovers and SUVs.
Below is a table with a full rundown of all sizes available to buy from Bridgestone.
|Tire Size||Load/Speed Rating|