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- Excellent handling and braking on dry roads
- Very good handling and braking on wet roads
- Reasonably comfortable and quiet at highway speeds
- Excellent treadlife and long treadwear warranty (70,000-miles)
- Approachable price, especially given the performance
- Control and traction are both acceptable in light snow conditions
- The ride quality suffers on very rough roads
- No LT-metric sizes for larger trucks, towing or hauling
- Not sturdy enough for off-road driving
Despite the push against vehicles that pollute the environment, trucks in North America are going stronger than ever. People simply can’t get enough of the utility and go-everywhere nature of these vehicles. Also, there is something about owning a large automobile that Americans love. However, to truly get the most out of your truck, you’ll need proper tires.
Now, there are a lot of options on the market. And, I don’t just point to the different brands here. Truck tires are divided into many categories, including touring tires, highway tires, all-terrain tires, and off-road tires. And, while all have their own advantages and disadvantages, truckers accepted highway all-season tires as the most balanced option out there.
The newest addition to the highway all-season category is the Firestone Destination LE3. A successor to the popular Destination LE2, the new model brings several improvements to the table. Namely, Firestone advertises improved safety in rainy conditions and optimized snow performance, which are certainly welcome.
The thing is, the highway all-season category already possesses many fantastic tires. The Michelin Defender LTX is our favorite, but other entries, such as Continental TerrainContact H/T, Cooper Discoverer HT3, and Goodyear Wrangler HT, also impress with how they perform.
To beat these models, the Destination LE3 will need to perform well across most conditions, including dry and wet pavement, snow, and hardpacked surfaces. Furthermore, truck drivers want their tires to be comfortable, so smooth ride quality and quietness are also important. Of course, the price plays a big role as well, since large truck tires aren’t exactly cheap.
But how does it stack up against the fierce competition? That’s precisely what we’re going to talk about in this detailed Firestone Destination LE3 review. I’ll cover every aspect of the tire, including on-road dynamics on dry and wet tarmac, winter traction, off-road abilities, durability, and comfort. In the end, you can see the pros and cons of the tire and my conclusion.
Before we do that, though, let’s see what the features of the Destination LE3 are.
What are the features of the Firestone Destination LE3?
According to Firestone, the Destination LE3 is a light and medium truck tire engineered with the most advanced all-season technology. Specifically, the engineers designed the tire to deliver a quiet and comfortable ride while also maintaining stable and consistent cornering in most conditions.
Firestone utilized an advanced rubber compound, molded into a symmetric tread pattern. The design focuses on delivering a smooth ride while also providing the driver with precise steering and handling. The company also employed the TractionTech package, which has full-depth 3D tread features that help the tire retain its performance as the tread wears down.
Furthermore, there is the Hydro-Grip technology, which employs open shoulder slots and an optimized tread pattern for better performance in rainy conditions and reducing hydroplaning. Meanwhile, the full-depth 3D sipes increase the number of biting edges, which helps on snow-covered roads.
What are the maintenance indicators?
The Destination LE3 comes with the industry-standard tread wear indicators, or TWI’s. These narrow rubber bars sit recessed into the grooves of the tire, and you can use them to monitor the tread depth.
Namely, as the tread wears down, the TWI’s become more visible. When the tread depth reaches 2/32-inch, they will be completely flush with the surface. At that point, you should immediately replace your tires. That’s because, without sufficient tread depth, the tire won’t be able to channel water from the treads, which reduces traction. And, the snow traction will be even worse. Ultimately, it’s illegal to drive with tires that have less than 2/32-inch tread depth.
Fortunately, the Destination LE3 should have an excellent treadlife. The previous model was already good in this regard, but this one takes it even further. Besides, Firestone provides an outstanding 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, and 90-days buy and try guarantee for added peace of mind.
How does it behave on a dry tarmac?
You will immediately be surprised at how the Destination LE3 handles, even in the first few miles. The steering feels responsive and positive, unlike the highway tires of old. I was actually surprised that a low-cost option, such as the LE3, can deliver such a good feeling from the road.
Fortunately, thanks to the advanced tread compound in this generation, the tire continues to impress with grip levels. Now, sure, it doesn’t beat its premium competition, but it comes very close. Expect excellent cornering grip, even when you push hard.
Also, your tires won’t look for traction during hard acceleration, even if your truck is unloaded. The stopping distances are pleasingly short as well, comparable to the premium competition.
Overall, the Firestone Destination LE3 proves to be an excellent daily driver. It feels good behind the wheel, and it provides the driver with excellent grip and traction.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
Rainy weather isn’t a big issue if you have the Destination LE3’s on your truck. The tires feel confident through the corners, without understeer or oversteer. The hydroplaning resistance is excellent as well, which makes the car more stable at higher speeds, even in very heavy rain.
If we dig a little deeper, the stopping distances are the best among “budget” highway all-season tires. Also, the Destination LE3 provides the highest cornering speeds on wet pavement, again when compared to similarly-priced tires.
That said, tires like Continental TerrainContact H/T and Michelin Defender LTX perform even better, both in the handling and braking tests. However, they also cost around 10% more, which isn’t insignificant in this category.
Still, for the majority of truckers, the Firestone will perform excellently in rainy conditions.
With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?
Firestone clearly worked to improve the snow traction of its highway all-season tire. The Destination LE3 feels much more confident on snow than its predecessor, and it’s not even close.
Specifically, the tire now possesses much better acceleration traction, so the chances that you’ll be stranded somewhere are lower. Also, the tire feels better in the corners and stops much sooner.
However, and this is important, Destination LE3 still isn’t a reliable choice for harsh wintry conditions. Light snow should be manageable, but very low temperatures combined with deep snow and ice are a no-go.
I can’t stress that enough, but a proper winter tire will give you much better performance in every aspect. The Destination LE3 is good, sure, but simply not on the level of a proper winter tire. For maximum safety in those winter months, I suggest installing tires that are made for those conditions.
Is it suitable for off-road driving?
Unlike the Michelin Defender LTX or Continental TerrainContact H/T, the Destination LE3 isn’t available in LT-metric sizes. This means that you can’t tow very large trailers or haul very heavy cargo, but also that the tire won’t be capable for off-roading.
And, I’m not talking about traction here. In those terms, the Firestone should be comparable to LT-metric tires. However, the construction of the tire is simply not sturdy enough for driving on rocky surfaces, especially if you need to lower the pressure. Also, the tread compound isn’t cut or chip resistant.
Use it only for shorter spurts, never for long off-roading expeditions.
Is it comfortable and refined?
The Destination LE3 feels largely comfortable over bumps. I was actually impressed by the ride quality on smooth roads – the tire doesn’t feel too soft or bouncy. It also fares well when you hit a larger bump or a pothole. There are not many vibrations entering the cabin, which elevates the smoothness.
However, the tire starts to suffer on broken roads with repetitive potholes. It isn’t bad by any means, but I found that it’s slightly less refined than the premium competition. Fortunately, the Destination LE3 completely redeems itself when it comes to noise. There is almost no tread growl coming from the tires at regular speeds, especially if your truck has good noise insulation.
Overall, for daily driving, the new Firestone highway all-season tire is a good performer. It keeps you well insulated from bumps and potholes, and doesn’t become noisy on the highway.
Should I buy the Firestone Destination LE3?
Well, if you own a truck, SUV, or crossover, and you want an approachable and reliable tire for most conditions, the Destination LE3 is a very interesting prospect. Compared to other budget-friendly tires, it performs better across most conditions, and it even gets close to the premium competition.
It still has issues, namely the fact that Firestone doesn’t offer LT-metric sizes for the largest trucks. However, if you don’t know that kind of vehicle, you should be just fine. Thanks to the excellent performance on dry and wet pavement, comfortable ride, and long treadlife, I recommend the Destination LE3 to owners of trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. It’s an excellent tire, no doubt about it.