Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive Review – Perfect Marriage of Dry/Wet/Snow Performance

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Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive 1
Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive

Dry

79%

Wet

84%

Snow

79%

Comfort

90%

Noise

88%

Treadwear

94%

Overall

86%

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Valid through January 13, 2023
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Pros

  • Exceptional traction and surefooted handling in rainy conditions
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance and good braking on wet tarmac
  • Very good lateral grip on dry roads
  • Very responsive, precise, and enjoyable steering accompanied by good straight-line tracking
  • Strong traction on snow-covered roads
  • Balanced handling on snow with predictable behavior at the limit
  • Taut, but generally refined ride over impacts

Cons

  • It can be loud at lower speeds, particularly over rough tarmac
  • There is a slight penalty in treadwear warranty (though not unusual for a 3PMSF-rated tire)

Pirelli is one of the most innovative tiremakers globally, particularly in the high-performance segment, where it pushes the boundaries with each new generation. Still, the Italian tiremaker lags behind its closest competitors in the all-weather category, i.e., all-season tires with a winter-focused compound and tread pattern.

All-weather tires are a relatively new invention. Michelin was the first company to launch such a tire with the CrossClimate, and buyers immediately got hooked. And rightfully so – the CrossClimate offered similar dry/wet traction to regular all-season tires of its era, yet much higher snow traction and overall usability in the winter.

Pirelli took its time launching the first all-weather tire, but we guess it’s better late than never, right? The Italian tiremaker did that with two tires – the car-oriented Cinturato WeatherActive and crossover/SUV-oriented Scorpion WeatherActive. Upon close inspection, though, both tires look the same, with the main differences being the availability of different sizes and load ratings.

This is nothing new, but giving a different name to the same tire might confuse buyers into thinking they are buying something better or worse. In this Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive review, we will compare it to tires that fit crossovers and SUVs so you can make a more informed buying decision. Most will also come in sizes similar to the Cinturato WeatherActive, but let’s leave that comparison for that tire’s review.

The more important question is – should you buy the Scorpion WeatherActive? The answer to this question can’t be short because there are many aspects that we will need to cover. Not to mention, Pirelli’s all-weather tire competes in a very competitive category, with rivals from the premium and budget end of the spectrum.

So, without further ado, let’s look at our Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive review and see whether this 3PMSF-rated tire deserves its spot on your crossover/SUV.

What are the features of the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive?

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is a 3PMSF-rated (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol) tire designed to provide drivers with confident snow traction, along with a good dry/wet grip and long treadlife.

It features an innovative compound with a new polymer/resin system, ensuring the tire remains pliable at lower temperatures to provide successful wet/snow traction. However, the compound is also designed to work at higher temperatures and provide grippy and agile handling during the summer.

The tread pattern is directional, which is uncommon for an all-weather tire, with Michelin’s CrossClimate 2 SUV being the only competitor with a similar design. Still, this approach should give the Scorpion WeatherActive elevated snow traction without the noise penalty usually associated with tires with more aggressive tread patterns. Pirelli claims that the directional design ensured the Scorpion WeatherActive is 2dB quieter than a leading competitor at pass-by.

A notable feature of the tread pattern is the Zig Zag central groove, which ensures excellent wet handling and braking, along with higher snow traction. The trumpet-shaped lateral grooves help the central groove with water evacuation in wet conditions and on slushy roads.

Furthermore, the tread pattern features deep and continuous siping, ensuring the tire keeps its wet/snow traction across its lifespan. Notably, Pirelli says that 66% of the siping will still be visible when the Scorpion WeatherActive is worn down to 90%.

Meanwhile, the 3-rib treadblock design optimizes tread block stiffness for added response, stability, and uniform wear across the tire’s lifespan.

The whole tread is molded into a balanced footprint that is long and narrow, which should help with snow traction, particularly acceleration and braking.

Additionally, Pirelli says it has used advanced computer-aided tools and virtual simulators to cut development time. Namely, unlike previous tire generations, Pirelli used simulators to optimize the tire’s design before any prototype was made.

For instance, the virtual simulator can predict the tire’s behavior in wet or snowy conditions by analyzing hydroplaning, giving the engineers more time to test and fine-tune the tire. Apart from cutting costs and producing a better tire, this approach also reduced the environmental impact of producing the Scorpion WeatherActive.

What are the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive’s maintenance indicators?

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive comes with the standard wear bars on every other road-going tire. These bars can show the driver when the tread reaches the lowest legal depth of 2/32 inches (1.6 mm), necessitating an immediate replacement.

However, as tire professionals, we would like to see better indicators. That is because a tire is almost useless before reaching 2/32 inches of tread depth, with its hydroplaning resistance almost depleted and snow traction non-existent.

See, as your tire wears down, its ability to channel water out of the tread reduces continuously. Tires don’t just magically stop working in wet and snowy conditions when the tread reaches a certain depth.

For example, a tire with 3/32 inches (2.4 mm) of tread depth left might stop 30-40 ft (9-12 meters) later in wet conditions, which is quite a sizeable difference. Therefore, most professionals would tell you to replace the tires when they reach 4/32 inches (3.2 mm) of tread depth left, as the tire will be closer in performance to when it was new rather than completely worn out.

Unfortunately, the Scorpion WeatherActive has no indicators to tell you when the tread depth reaches that point. Goodyear, for example, employs Wear Gauges that show when the tread depth reaches 8/32, 6/32, 4/32, and 2/32 inches, making them very useful for the driver. Meanwhile, some Cooper tires have indicators that show you when the tread depth is at 100%, 75%, 50%, and 25% (2/32 inches).

With all that said, if your tires only come with the standard wear bars, like the Scorpion WeatherActive, we recommend purchasing a tread depth gauge. This inexpensive tool can measure the depth of various grooves on the tread, thus not only informing you on the tire’s remaining tread and whether it wears evenly.

What is the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive warranty?

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive has a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, solid for a winter-focused all-weather tire. Still, if you don’t need this tire’s higher snow traction, you can get a longer treadlife by opting for a non-3PMSF tire.

Notably, the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra comes with an 80,000-mile warranty, and even a cheaper all-season tire, like the Cooper Endeavor Plus, comes with a 65,000-mile warranty. Sure, these tires won’t give you the same snow traction, but they are still usable in mild winter weather.

The 3PMSF-rated all-weather tire with the longest treadwear warranty is the Bridgestone WeatherPeak at 70,000 miles, which comes in some crossover/SUV sizes. Moreover, the Continental CrossContact LX25, a non-3PMSF-rated all-season tire with excellent snow traction, has a 70,000-mile warranty.

However, Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive’s warranty is equal to one of its biggest competitors, the CrossClimate 2 SUV, so it is not that big of a minus.

Unfortunately, since Pirelli’s tire is quite new, we don’t have much data on real-world wear, with most owners still within the warranty period. Still, considering Pirelli has always made long-lasting tires, we reckon that the WeatherActive will be a durable tire that will last for years to come.

How does the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive behave on dry roads?

The Scorpion WeatherActive shows what Pirelli is capable of regarding dry handling – it is agile and grippy in the corners, stops with authority, and steers with precision and responsiveness.

This didn’t surprise us – Pirelli has always focused on delivering an enjoyable driving experience. And while the Scorpion WeatherActive can’t match the company’s performance tires when you push it to its limits, it is still very predictable for an all-weather tire designed for harsh wintry weather. It feels almost as buttoned-down as the CrossClimate 2 SUV, our favorite all-weather tire in dry conditions.

That said, no other tire can match the steering of the Scorpion WeatherActive. Some might find it too fast, but we think responsiveness is necessary in a category where most tires are dull and uninteresting. The Scorpion WeatherActive breaks that mold and delivers precise and sensitive steering with excellent on-center feel and stable straight-line tracking.

The lateral grip is also exceptional, especially when you consider all those small sipes across the tread block, which reduce the tire’s contact patch. Nonetheless, the Scorpion WeatherActive can stick to the road like the best crossover/SUV all-season tires while providing excellent stopping power and acceleration traction.

The high-speed stability is another strong point for the Scorpion WeatherActive. Thanks to the directional tread pattern, this tire makes it easy to keep your crossover/SUV in the lane without needing too much steering intervention. In addition, changing lanes is quick and easy.

At least in our tests, the Scorpion WeatherActive is neck and neck with the class-leading all-weather tires in dry conditions, like the Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV. This means it is also one of the safest all-weather tires in the business, with a grip that even surpasses most non-3PMSF all-season tires.

These results show that Pirelli did its homework with the Scorpion WeatherActive. Delivering higher snow traction often comes at the expense of worse agility and grip in dry conditions, and we are glad to see manufacturers like Pirelli and Michelin pushing the boundaries.

With that said, if you don’t need the better snow capabilities of the Scorpion WeatherActive yet want an even more enjoyable dry experience, Pirelli makes the Scorpion AS Plus 3.

Meanwhile, Continental’s CrossContact LX25 has an appreciably higher dry grip than the Scorpion WeatherActive, along with similar snow traction. Bridgestone’s Alenza AS Ultra is another excellent dry tire, though it suffers a bit in snowy conditions.

How is the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive on wet and slippery roads?

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is an excellent wet tire with relatively short stopping distances, good acceleration out of a corner, high lateral grip, and predictable behavior at the limit.

That last part is perhaps the most important because it keeps the driver in control, even when making an evasive maneuver. In other words, it is the thing that will help you evade the accident in the first place.

The Scorpion WeatherActive is one of those tires that lose traction gradually and remain controllable, giving the driver precious time to react to the slide. Most premium all-weather tires nowadays share the same characteristics, but still, it’s good to see Pirelli’s first all-weather tire being easy to live with in rainy conditions.

But what about traction? Well, Pirelli has done a great job there as well. The Scorpion WeatherActive is very solid regarding braking, with stopping distances that are slightly longer than the class-leading crossover/SUV all-season/all-weather tires. It also possesses excellent acceleration traction, but more than that, it provides a very high grip in the corners. In fact, it is one of the best all-weather tires for crossovers and SUVs regarding lateral grip.

As you would expect from a tire with a directional tread pattern, the Scorpion WeatherActive has a very good hydroplaning resistance. We drove through very deep puddles of water with this tire without experiencing stability issues or loss of traction. Of course, you can overcome its ability to channel water out of the tread at very high speeds, but the Scorpion WeatherActive is more than good enough for regular real-world driving.

With that being said, how is the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive on snowy roads?

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is one of the best all-weather tires on snow-covered roads. It is easy and predictable to drive, provides strong longitudinal traction (acceleration and braking), and has enough lateral grip to keep you in the desired line.

The behavior of this tire surprised us because it is the brand’s first foray into the all-weather category, where the Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV is the king when it comes to driving on snow. Still, the Scorpion WeatherActive holds its own against its rival, with near-equal stopping distances and acceleration traction.

We were particularly impressed by the tire’s behavior in the corners. The Scorpion WeatherActive was surprisingly responsive, with the front wheels gripping quickly after turning the steering wheel. However, this didn’t unsettle the SUV, as the rear tires were equally obedient in keeping the vehicle in the desired line.

Even when applying throttle, the Scorpion WeatherActive feels controllable, regardless of whether you drive an FWD, RWD, or AWD crossover/SUV. Not only that, but even when the tires lost traction, the vehicle reacted linearly.

On ice, the Scorpion WeatherActive performs as well as you expect from an all-weather tire. In other words, it has similar traction to the Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV and Bridgestone WeatherPeak but is still not very usable.

This brings us to a very important notice – the Scorpion WeatherActive is better than your average all-season tire on snow. However, it is still several steps behind an average winter tire. Thus, if you live in an area with severe winters, we would still recommend a set of good winter tires.

Is the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive suitable for off-road driving?

Although the Scorpion WeatherActive comes in sizes that fit modern crossovers and SUVs, it is not designed for off-road driving. Sure, you can drive over gravel for short distances, but you will definitely have traction issues over more challenging surfaces like dirt, mud, and large rocks.

Crucially, though, the Scorpion WeatherActive is made from a tread compound that is not too resilient and a construction that is not as stiff. As a result, sharp rocks will easily damage the tread, and some might pierce through the tire and give you a wide, nasty puncture.

With that said, it is a similar story to most other all-season/all-weather touring tires because each one of them is designed with paved roads in mind. Therefore, we recommend mild all-terrain tires if you need meaningful off-road traction and durability.

Is the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive a run-flat tire?

No, the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is not a run-flat tire. The Italian tiremaker offers many different run-flat tires, including the Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Run Flat, a touring tire designed for crossovers and SUVs.

However, the company doesn’t offer a 3PMSF-rated all-season tire with run-flat abilities. That is not surprising because most other tiremakers don’t have 3PMSF-rated all-season run-flat tires or offer run-flat versions of older versions of their regular touring all-season tires.

The current run-flat market is quite dire because most models are of older design, even though they are designed to fit high-class premium vehicles. Not to mention, some great new tires are not and probably never will be available in run-flat form.

How are the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive road noise and comfort performance?

The Scorpion WeatherActive is not what you’d call a soft tire, but it is still refined over bumps and generally quiet. With that said, there is no question that some other all-weather tires are slightly more comfortable and quieter.

Pirelli obviously chose to make the Scorpion WeatherActive more enjoyable to drive. To do that, the company made the whole tire stiffer, which, in theory, should’ve made the ride much busier. True, the ride is not as soft or pliable as most of its rivals, but there is a solidity to it that we think some drivers might prefer.

Namely, a softer tire would have difficulty stabilizing after the impact, particularly over potholes and sharp undulations. Not the Scorpion WeatherActive, though, as its stiffer sidewalls don’t produce secondary motion and quickly stabilize after the bump. The initial impact is also not too harsh – there is a refinement to this tire’s ride, however firm it might be.

That said, drivers who prefer a plush, cloud-like ride might want to check the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra. It has a much softer ride over most types of impacts while remaining refined and sophisticated over sharp cracks on the road.

As for noise, the Scorpion WeatherActive is not very quiet. However, you can only hear the tread growl at lower speeds, where the low-pitched frequency creates a hum. At higher speeds, the noise largely settles down and creates almost no comfort issues for the passengers.

Overall, Pirelli did a solid job, balancing out a sharper steering response with a relatively smooth ride and quiet operation at speed. Some competitors do it better, but few can match the comprehensive handling/comfort characteristics the Scorpion WeatherActive offers.

Should I buy the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive?

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is one of the best 3PMSF-rated all-season (all-weather) tires for crossovers and SUVs. It performs well across various weather conditions, provides a generally smooth ride, and has solid durability.

Picking out this tire’s issues is hard because it performs well in most areas. Apart from the slightly noisier ride at lower speeds and the average warranty, it is hard to find faults on the Scorpion WeatherActive. As such, it is a tire that is easy to recommend to people prepared to pay a premium.

How Does the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive Fare Against its Competition?

The Scorpion WeatherActive is an excellent tire, but we think you should also check some alternatives. Its closest rival, the CrossClimate 2 (and CrossClimate 2 SUV), comes in a few similar sizes and offers largely similar performance across the board.

However, Michelin’s tire costs more and generally comes with lower speed ratings (when you compare the same size). This makes the Scorpion WeatherActive a much better solution for drivers of high-performance crossovers and SUVs because the higher speed ratings ensure better high-speed stability.

Another tire you should also look at is the Continental CrossContact LX25. Although not 3PMSF-rated, the LX25 offers similar snow traction while beating the Scorpion WeatherActive on dry roads with shorter stopping distances. It also has a longer 70,000-mile warranty and costs slightly less than its Pirelli rival.

Meanwhile, the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra offers a class-leading 80,000-mile warranty, along with exceptional dry and wet grip, but lacks the snow traction to compete with the Scorpion WeatherActive. It is also slightly more expensive.

If you want to save some cash, the Cooper Endeavor Plus is a very solid option. It costs 15% less on average than the Scorpion WeatherActive yet offers a longer warranty and good dry/wet traction. However, it can’t match WeatherActive’s snow traction and doesn’t feel as responsive.

Lastly, the Yokohama Geolandar CV G058 also costs less than Pirelli’s tire while offering a longer treadwear warranty, good dry grip, and a quieter ride. But, again, it can’t match the Scorpion WeatherActive on snow.

What sizes does the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive come in?

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive comes in 23 sizes, ranging from 18-inch to 22-inch wheel diameter. The dimensions Pirelli chose are clearly geared toward larger crossovers, SUVs, and light trucks, particularly premium models with powerful engines and large wheels.

This tire is unavailable in LT-metric sizes, meaning it won’t fit heavy-duty trucks. Still, all sizes come in the highest possible load and speed ratings (for that particular size), making the Scorpion WeatherActive a good option for buyers who want to maximize the capabilities of their vehicles.

Pirelli also makes a passenger-car version of this tire called the Cinturato WeatherActive. Although named differently, it is almost the same tire with the same tread pattern and compound. The Cinturato WeatherActive comes in sizes with narrower sidewalls (18-20 inches) and lower load ratings to fit regular passenger vehicles like sedans and coupes.

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