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- Safe to drive on dry roads
- Provides some traction on snow
- Very cheap to buy (unusual for a Goodyear product)
- Excellent treadwear warranty for the price
- Dry handling and braking are way behind the class average
- Wet handling doesn’t feel surefooted and safe
- Very long wet braking distances
- The treadlife on the tires is very short
- Some owners report balancing issues!
- Loud on the highway and not overly comfortable
At our website, we are always proponents of purchasing high-quality tires. Why? Well, because they are much safer than cheap tires. There are circumstances where the difference between premium and cheap tire is literally the difference between life and death. You simply can’t put a price on road safety. For that reason, we strongly recommend purchasing tires from well-known and reputable manufacturers.
Well, if you go by that rule, there is a very good tire deal at Walmart. It is called the Viva 3, and it’s a passenger all-season tire manufactured by Goodyear, in the USA. Yes, a truly American tire at a price that’s close to Chinese tires. Sounds too good to be true? Of course. Going cheap with tires is almost never a good solution, even when they come from a reputable manufacturer. And, at least in North America, Goodyear is “the” tire company.
Honestly, the price of the Viva 3 caught me by surprise. It’s by far the cheapest product in Goodyear’s lineup. For example, let’s have a look at the popular 205/55R16 size. In Walmart, you can find the Viva 3 in this size for only $65. On the other hand, Assurance All-Season, the cheapest touring tire from Goodyear, costs $94.99 at Tire Rack. For a set of four tires, you will save $120. Cool, huh?
It’s just that it’s not. The Assurance All-Season might be budget-friendly, but it still employs many modern Goodyear technologies. Viva 3, on the other hand, has none. Zero. Instead, Goodyear made an exclusive deal with Walmart to sell the Viva 3 there. Actually, the tire is designed with Walmart’s customers in mind – people with tighter budgets.
And, trust me, I understand people that are on a tight budget. Replacing tires every 3-4 years can be costly for most families, which is why tires like the Viva 3 look very promising. The problem with the Viva 3, though, is that it will probably be more expensive in the long run.
Simply put, higher-quality tread compounds provide the driver with better performance, but they also last longer. Much longer. There is a reason why Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady costs $143.99 for the same 205/55R16 size as the aforementioned Viva 3 and Assurance All-Season. It’s simply in another league in terms of handling, braking, and wear.
So, what does that mean for the Viva 3? Is it really that bad? Well, you will have the answer to your questions in my detailed Goodyear Viva 3 review. Down below, I’ll cover the overall performance of the Viva 3, including dry and wet handling and braking, snow traction and braking, comfort levels, and treadlife. Prepare yourself for a bumpy ride. Literally.
Oh, yes, before we do that, let’s see what features Goodyear utilized in the Viva 3 to make it stand out. Or to be cheap. Or, if you want it simpler, let’s have a look at the marketing speech.
What are the features of the Goodyear Viva 3?
The Goodyear Viva 3 is a passenger all-season tire designed for owners of compact cars, mid-size sedans, and minivans. Walmart offers the tire in a wide range of sizes, starting from 14-inch wheel diameter and up to 18-inch wheel diameter. With these sizes, the retailer covers many older vehicles, which definitely points at which owners Walmart aims.
Meanwhile, according to Goodyear, Viva 3 is a value all-season tire that provides comfort and control. On Walmart’s website, on the other hand, you’ll find that the Viva 3 has confident handling and quiet ride. And that it provides all-season traction and long-lasting treadwear at an attractive price.
Goodyear doesn’t specify the type of the tread compound, which is the single most important thing for traction, grip, and braking. Anyway, the tread pattern features four wide circumferential grooves, which has become the industry standard by now. These grooves channel large amounts of water through the lateral grooves of the tire, which improves hydroplaning resistance and traction in rainy conditions.
Meanwhile, the tread also features stable shoulder blocks, which improve cornering grip and stability on dry roads. Interestingly, Goodyear utilized zig-zag sipes on the tread blocks. These sipes increase the number of biting edges for better snow traction, and they also help when driving on ice. You can find the same sipes, mostly on winter tires.
The tread pattern on the Viva 3 is also optimized for noise performance. Also, the sidewall is vertically serrated, which definitely improves the look of the tire. I’ll go as far as to say that it looks better than most offerings from Goodyear in the all-season category, at least from the side.
What are the maintenance indicators?
Goodyear utilized the industry-standard tread wear indicators (TWI’s) on the Viva 3. These indicators help the driver monitor the tread depth more easily and notify him/her when the tires need to be replaced.
That’s because wet traction becomes worse with time. As the tread wears down, the grooves on the tire become shallower, which limits the tire’s hydroplaning capabilities.
On passenger all-season tires, the minimum tread depth for driving in wet conditions is considered 2/32-inch, or 1.6 mm for the metric folks.
When the tread depth reaches that point, it is considered unsafe to drive on wet surfaces, and you should immediately replace the whole set.
The treadwear indicators can help you tell when the tread reached the 2/32-inch threshold. They are essentially narrow rubber bars that sit recessed in the circumferential grooves of the tire.
As the tread wears down, the TWI’s will become more visible. When the tread reaches the 2/32-inch threshold, they will be completely flush with the surface.
Now, Walmart and Goodyear provide a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Viva 3. For the price, that’s pretty amazing. For example, the 30% more expensive Assurance All-Season has only a 5,000-mile longer treadwear warranty.
However, most owners aren’t satisfied with the treadlife of the tire. On average, they report a treadlife of around 30,000-miles, which is way below the warranty. That’s also way below the class average – passenger all-season tires usually last twice as long.
Which brings me back to the price. Remember the Goodyear Assurance All-Season that I mentioned that’s 50% more expensive? Well, that tire will last twice as long, or 100%. So, in the long run, the Assurance All-Season will be cheaper than the Viva 3.
How does it behave on a dry tarmac?
I must say that Viva 3 performs better than some cheap Chinese tires that recently appeared on the market. The handling isn’t half bad, and the braking distances are okay.
However, by paying only $20 to $30 more for a tire, you can get superior performance. Push the Viva 3 over the limit, and it will quickly understeer. Moreover, the braking distances are still a step behind the competition, including Goodyear’s own Assurance All-Season.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
The difference between the Viva 3 and the Assurance All-Season widens on wet pavement. While the tire is good for dry roads, I can’t say the same for wet roads.
Simply put, the Goodyear Viva 3 doesn’t feel surefooted when it rains. The handling is dangerous at times, the tires slide more easily if you open the throttle, and the braking distances are way too long.
Want a safer tire for wet conditions? There are a plethora of options on Tire Rack and Discount Tire that are slightly more expensive, yet offer much better wet traction.
With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?
To my surprise, the Goodyear Viva 3 wasn’t bad over snow, probably due to the multiple zig-zag sipes. The traction is okay for the price, and the braking distances aren’t very long for an all-season tire. Now, sure, the Viva 3 isn’t class-leading – you can get much better snow traction and braking. It’s only good for the price.
Is it suitable for off-road driving?
The Goodyear Viva 3 isn’t designed for off-road driving. Not only it lacks enough traction on slippery surfaces, but but the tread on the tire can also get easily damaged.
Is it comfortable and refined?
The ride quality that the Viva 3 provides isn’t very smooth, especially when you hit a bump. Moreover, the tire exhibits a lot of tread noise, especially at highway speeds.
Should I buy the Goodyear Viva 3?
Well, in my opinion, you shouldn’t. Viva 3 has simply too many compromises, especially when it comes to safety. I know the price is very attractive for some buyers, but keep in mind that this tire won’t last very long, which defeats the purpose of the lower price.
Now, sure, you can find even worse tires on the market, but that doesn’t redeem the Viva 3. The tire is flawed in many ways, and there is no escaping that. Goodyear’s own Assurance All-Season is simply a much better buy, at around %50 higher price.