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- Smoothest ride of any run-flat tire on the market
- Quiet for a run-flat tire, even on the highway
- Excellent grip on dry tarmac
- Very responsive and linear steering
- Good traction and hydroplaning resistance in rainy conditions
- Solid braking and acceleration on light snow
- Longest treadwear warranty of any run-flat tire
- Nervous behavior at the limit (wet conditions)
- Understeer at the limit of traction (light snow)
- It doesn’t perform very well on ice-covered roads
Ever since it designed the run-flat tires for the worshiped Porsche 959, Bridgestone remained a leader in tires that can give you extended mobility with zero pressure. Now, the Porsche 959 changed the supercar game with its all-wheel-drive system, which is standard on most sports cars today.
But although run-flat tires are used by more car manufacturers today, they still can’t win the hearts of the non-OEM consumer. There are a few reasons for that, but it’s primarily their exorbitant price, much less comfortable ride, and shorter treadlife than comparable regular tires.
The Japanese tiremaker didn’t stop innovating through the years and continued to launch improved run-flat tires. Its most popular model is the DriveGuard, which is the first run-flat tire that combines a smooth ride with zero-pressure drivability.
However, Bridgestone didn’t rest on its laurels and launched the improved DriveGuard Plus in 2022. The new model brings several improvements across the board, including better wet/snow traction, even higher comfort, and longer treadlife. Or, at least, that’s what Bridgestone says.
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus is still expensive, though. For example, Bridgestone’s regular grand-touring all-season tire, the Turanza QuietTrack, costs around $180, depending on the store. Meanwhile, the DriveGuard Plus costs around $220, meaning you’ll pay more than $150 for run-flat convenience. The difference will be even higher if you opt for bigger sizes, but in all fairness, the DriveGuard Plus usually comes with higher speed ratings.
But let’s say that you finally want to ditch the spare tire (or tire repair kit) and have peace of mind on longer trips – should you go for the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus, or is there another run-flat tire that deserves its place on your car? That’s exactly what I’ll uncover in this detailed DriveGuard Plus review, where I’ll compare it to its closest run-flat rivals but also regular grand-touring all-season tires.
What are the features of the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus?
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus is a grand-touring all-season tire with run-flat capability. Its design features include 3D full-depth sipes for added wet/snow traction, open shoulder slots for better water evacuation, and full-depth main grooves for consistent water evacuation.
So, by looking at the features alone, the DriveGuard Plus doesn’t look more special than its competitors, including regular grand-touring all-season tires. It has a regular-looking asymmetric tread pattern for an all-season tire and sidewalls that don’t reveal its run-flat ability. That is apart from the fin design on the sidewalls, which helps with heat dissipation when using the tire at zero pressure.
Meanwhile, the tire is made from Bridgestone’s NanoPro-Tech (Nanostructure-Oriented Properties Control Technology) rubber compound, designed using molecular development to help the rubber and silica molecules bind better together. As a result, the compound becomes hydrophobic (silica is hydrophilic) while retaining the excellent wet grip of silica. It also improves wear life – Bridgestone’s tires are consistently offered with the highest treadwear warranties in their respective categories.
But what did Bridgestone do to make the DriveGuard Plus as comfortable as it promises? The company won’t tell, but I reckon it’s due to its commitment to its run-flat tires and continuous improvement of the concept. Bridgestone is one of the few companies that continuously improves its run-flat tires by meddling with the recipe, and that should show in how it performs on the road.
What are the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus’ maintenance indicators?
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus comes with the industry-standard tread wear bars, which can show the driver when the tread reaches 2/32-inch of tread depth, the lowest legally allowed in most areas in the world.
Unlike its competitors, like Continental, Bridgestone doesn’t include wear indicators that could show the tread depth more granularly. That’s important because, for usable snow traction, the minimum legal tread depth in the winter is 5/32 inches.
And monitoring tread depth is crucial for road safety. Seeing tires with almost no tread left is a common occurrence, and you can also see worn tires used in harsh wintry conditions. Sadly, on the DriveGuard Plus, your only option is to rely on a tread depth gauge. It’s an inexpensive tool that doesn’t take place in your car, but not many people use it.
What is the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus warranty?
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus comes with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty, the longest of any grand-touring all-season tire with run-flat capabilities. It even surpasses some regular grand-touring all-season tires, a tremendous feat!
The reason why it’s so hard to extract longer treadlife out of run-flat tires is their construction. Due to the stiffer sidewalls, run-flat tires have worse ride quality than comparable regular tires. As a result, manufacturers try to combat that by using a softer rubber compound, which wears more quickly.
You must think that Bridgestone used a harder compound and called it a day, but remember that the Japanese giant also promises class-leading ride quality. And when you consider that, the 65,000-mile treadwear warranty looks even more impressive.
But comparing that number to its DriveGuard Plus’ closest rivals takes it up another notch. For instance, the Michelin Primacy MXM4 ZP comes with a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty while also costing more than its Bridgestone rival.
Meanwhile, Continental offers a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty on the ProContact GX SSR, but only on S and H-speed rated models; H-rated models get a 55K warranty, V-rated models get a 45K warranty, and W-rated models get a 40K warranty. Of course, the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus has the same warranty on all speed ratings.
Still, going for a regular all-season tire without run-flat capabilities will give you an even better treadlife. Notably, Bridgestone’s Turanza QuietTrack has an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on all sizes.
How does the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus behave on dry roads?
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus is the best-performing grand-touring all-season tire with run-flat capabilities on dry tarmac. Although some of its regular “non-run-flat” competitors provide better traction across the board, the DriveGuard Plus changes the game in the run-flat category.
The first thing that you’ll immediately notice is responsiveness. Thanks to the stiffer sidewalls of the run-flat construction, the DriveGuard Plus reacts quickly to the driver’s input, feeling almost like a performance tire.
But more importantly, the steering is linear and precise while also returning granular information from the road. Not on performance tire level, sure, but very good for the category. Some people might not like that the steering feels heavier, but you probably won’t notice that on modern cars with super-light electric-assisted steering.
You’ll also be surprised by the traction. The DriveGuard Plus will accelerate and stop like a regular grand-touring all-season tire, so you and your family will be safe. But the lateral grip is even more impressive. Although not better than the class-leading grand-touring all-season tires, the DriveGuard Plus still provides some of the highest Gs in the corners in the category.
Overall, the DriveGuard Plus might not set new standards as a grand-touring all-season tire, but it definitely wipes the floor with its run-flat competitors. This is not surprising, as Bridgestone upgraded its run-flat offering quickly after launching the original DriveGuard, which was already an excellent tire.
How is the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus on wet and slippery roads?
Although very good for a run-flat tire, the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus isn’t on the level of the class-leading grand-touring all-season tires in rainy conditions.
And, I must stress again, that’s not to say it’s bad. Most drivers will be completely satisfied with how this tire handles the rain. Push it to 80%, and it will provide you with excellent cornering balance, meaning it will be easy to position your vehicle in the corner or make an evasive maneuver.
Moreover, the lateral grip rivals the class-leading non-run-flat tires, so you need to push the DriveGuard Plus hard to reach its limits. The longitudinal traction is also pretty good; the stopping distances are slightly longer than you’d get on regular tires but still very competitive, while the acceleration traction is sufficient.
However, the DriveGuard Plus isn’t at its best when pushed past 90%. That’s when the handling balance changes to oversteer, making it harder for the driver to position the car in a corner. Fortunately, this probably won’t happen to you on public roads, except if you drive like a maniac.
Still, the current crop of regular grand-touring all-season tires will perform better at the limit, including Bridgestone’s Turanza QuietTrack, but also the Continental PureContact LS and Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive.
As for hydroplaning resistance, it is excellent. The wide and deep grooves, along with the numerous sipes, greatly mitigate hydroplaning. As a result, your vehicle will remain stable even when it hits a deep puddle of water.
With that being said, how is the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus on snowy roads?
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus is a solid performer on light snow, with good longitudinal traction and enough lateral grip to keep you in the line during cornering.
Still, it’s not on the level of some regular grand-touring all-season tires. Namely, the braking and acceleration are very good for a run-flat tire. Thus, you certainly won’t get stuck on light snow, and you’ll have enough braking power to stop on time.
However, the DriveGuard Plus isn’t very impressive in the corners. The lateral grip is solid but far from exceptional. More importantly, the tire exhibits a lot of understeer at the limit, making it hard for you to turn into a corner. You could do that by just letting off the gas pedal and waiting for the weight to transfer to the front wheels, but you’ll also lose speed.
Furthermore, don’t expect exceptional traction on ice. The DriveGuard Plus performs better than some cheaper grand-touring all-season tires, but you still need to be careful when driving on icy roads and reduce your speed.
Overall, the DriveGuard Plus isn’t a bad winter performer by any stretch of the imagination – it’s actually better than most grand-touring all-season tires. Still, tires like the Michelin CrossClimate 2, Continental PureContact LS, and Bridgestone’s own WeatherPeak all-season/all-weather tire all provide higher traction and handle better. Although, it’s fair to say they don’t have run-flat capabilities.
Is the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus suitable for off-road driving?
No, the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus isn’t meant to be driven on uneven terrains. It’s a grand-touring all-season tire designed only for paved roads and the occasional dirt/gravel road.
Prolonged driving on uneven and abrasive terrains can damage the tread of the DriveGuard Plus. It can even cause serious issues like tread separation, cuts, and bulges.
Bridgestone has the Dueler A/T Revo 3 all-terrain tire, designed to be driven on paved and unpaved roads.
Is the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus a run-flat tire?
Yes, the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus is a run-flat tire. Unlike most of its rivals, this tire is designed with run-flat capabilities from the ground up, meaning it’s not based on any other Bridgestone product. Like every other run-flat tire, the DriveGuard Plus can travel up to 50 miles (80 km) and up to a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h) at zero pressure. This makes it very convenient for drivers, as you won’t need to meddle with a spare tire or a repair kit. Not to mention, it also frees space in your trunk.
Still, run-flat tires have some disadvantages you should consider before opting for one. For starters, run-flat tires are heavier from 5-10 pounds (2-5 kg) than regular tires. This might sound insignificant, but this is unsprung weight, i.e., it’s not supported by the suspension system. More unsprung weight can affect vehicle handling but will also make it harder for the suspension to react to the wheel’s movement, like when hitting a pothole.
But the added rotational mass also makes it harder for the engine to accelerate, meaning slightly worse performance and higher fuel consumption. You would mitigate some of that by removing the spare wheel/tire repair kit, but the rotational mass is usually worse than carrying stuff in the cargo area.
How are the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus’ road noise and comfort performance?
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus is the most comfortable run-flat tire available on the market right now, regarding ride quality and noise.
In the past, when a friend asked me whether to get run-flat tires, I almost unequivocally said no. The reason is the ride quality – run-flat tires are simply too harsh.
Even on modern BMWs, where engineers make changes to the suspension (basically making it softer) to counter the tire’s stiffer sidewalls, the ride is still too fidgety at lower speeds. Just test-drive a new BMW, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Heck, even the new Lexus LS, which was always famous for its buttery-smooth ride, doesn’t ride like its predecessors due to the newly-incorporated run-flat tires.
But finally, there is a run-flat tire that can rival regular tires for ride comfort, and that’s the DriveGuard Plus. Its predecessor was already the smoothest run-flat tire, but this model takes it up a notch. Now, the DriveGuard Plus rides like the smoothest regular grand-touring all-season tires on most roads. The tires cope very well with smaller road imperfections and don’t unsettle the cabin at all, so driving on the highway is as smooth as it gets.
Larger and sharper undulations do unsettle the ride a bit more than on the Turanza QuietTrack, for example, but I also sampled worse regular tires when driving over potholes. Crucially, I think that most people would never notice the difference when not sampling two sets of tires one after another.
Noise is also not an issue. Sure, you can hear a high-pitched noise at higher speeds if you are looking for it, but the wind noise will probably cover everything at that point. And, again, for a run-flat tire, the DriveGuard Plus is very quiet and refined at speed.
I am glad that Bridgestone finally made run-flat tires viable for owners of cars that came with regular tires as the OEM solution. With the DriveGuard Plus, your car will be as comfortable as before, yet you’ll never have to worry about changing a tire in the middle of nowhere.
Also, for drivers of premium cars that already came with run-flat grand-touring tires from the factory, you can expect a serious increase in comfort with the DriveGuard Plus at almost no penalty to performance.
Should I buy the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus?
Yes – if you are in the market for a grand-touring all-season tire with run-flat capabilities, there is currently no better option than the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus. Bridgestone’s latest run-flat is the first run-flat tire that rides well over bumps while also delivering solid dry/wet/snow traction.
Not to forget, the DriveGuard Plus also comes with the longest treadwear warranty in the category, which promises long treadlife, an area where other run-flat tires don’t even come close. Add to that the peace of mind when driving on long road trips, and you have a winner on your hands.
What sizes does the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus come in?
The Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus is available in 34 sizes, ranging from 16-inch to 20-inch wheel diameter. With the dimensions on offer, Bridgestone covers compact and mid-size cars, minivans, crossovers, and even some SUVs.