The Best Tires To Perfect Your Toyota Corolla

The king of compacts deserves the finest rubber.

byJeric Jaleco| UPDATED May 10, 2022 10:21 AM
The Best Tires To Perfect Your Toyota Corolla
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A Toyota Corolla is one of the most popular cars available. There are many reasons why people consider it when buying a new vehicle. These cars are classy, provide a smooth ride, have a sporty look, and have great fuel economy. In addition, they are comfortable to drive and ride in. If you want to upgrade the tires, check out our list of some of the top Toyota Corolla tires available.

The mighty Toyota Corolla is arguably one of the best compacts you can buy, and its tires are one of the most important components you can change. Performance, comfort, and economy could all be yours at the click of a button and a trip to the tire shop. How do you know which tires are right for you? There have been a dozen generations of Corollas over several decades. Some have proven more economical than others, while more than a few are fun, spritely enthusiast cars. 

Allow The Drive to guide you through a dizzying assortment of tires for your tried-and-true Toyota. From navigating blizzards to blitzing apexes and everything in between, I have you covered. I have combined knowledge with extensive research to deliver a comprehensive buyers guide.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology

Our goal is to deliver informative and honest reviews in every guide. To find the best Corolla tires, I’ve combined my current expertise with research, diving deep into expert test data and consumer opinion. Tire Rack has proven to be a stellar textbook of data on every tire I’ve chosen based on popularity, Tire Rack’s test data, and most important, consumer experiences with dynamics and quality. Tires from previous guides on other compact cars were heavily considered, with many making it onto this list with consideration for the Corolla’s range of talents and buyers. For more information on how we generally curate our buyers guides at The Drive, visit the link here.

Best Toyota Corolla Tire Reviews & Recommendations

A favorite of many consumers and one I can’t wait to slap on my own daily driver, the Vredestein Quatrac Pro is one of the best all-around tires today. Coddling refinement and performance-car handling define this entry. A relative newcomer in the U.S., this option rewards those who give it a shot with responses and handling fit for sports cars. Wet weather grip is commendable, and a three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF rating) denotes high traction in light snow versus other all-seasons. The many zigzagging sipes lend this tire an appearance of being censored by some old-school TV mosaic blur. Exercise caution during more brutal winters, however, as these tires are not the best in Tire Rack’s snow and ice tests. They’re reportedly only on par with everything else in its class and a smidge behind the Michelin Cross Climate 2 tires. Sizing is unavailable for tire sizes less than 17 inches.
The Sumitomo HTR A/S P03 seems like too good of a bargain. Undercutting some premium all-seasons by hundreds of dollars per set, this tire manages to deliver respectable performance and commendable quality not too far off the pace of its premium rivals. While not the sharpest, responses are still sporty enough, it lends itself quite well with a basic runabout Corolla. Wet traction is among the best, and it surprised testers as the pack leader in light snow tests, although it’s still not a winter tire. One owner described having complete confidence after traversing three rainstorms and semi-flooded roads. The Sumitomo is far from perfect. Dry performance and responses will always trail the best names in the business, and the steering feel is reportedly a bit vague and somewhat unnaturally weighted. There was also a small yet noticeable level of road noise versus its peers, which Corolla owners may find intrusive.
The Continental PureContact LS is a capable luxury tire, and I’m confident 99 percent of Corolla buyers would be deeply satisfied with it. You don't get a free fire-breathing LS7 with your purchase, but you’re still gifted quick steering responses and reasonably athletic handling. Ride quality is stellar, and tread life is reportedly lengthy, with some consumers recording as high as 70,000 miles, but constantly monitor your own tread and replace accordingly. A neat party trick is having “temperature-activated functional polymers” in the rubber compound, which does a commendable job with wet traction, among the best in class, barely trailing the Quatrac Pro. Most issues are mainly nitpicking. Ride quality is just a tad firmer than a few other heavy-hitting rivals, and road noise is marginally louder. That’s not to say this tire is unrefined. It just faces incredibly stiff competition. Additionally, while the size range is broader than the up-and-coming Vredestein, it’s still unavailable on 15-inch wheels for hybrids or older generations.
The Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus upholds its heritage of thriftiness. Bridgestone’s NanoPro-Tech rubber compound reduces rolling resistance to deliver what most owners have experienced as meaningful improvements to their gas mileage. While hard fuel economy data was unavailable from Tire Rack test staff, this will likely live up to the previous generation Ecopia, which secured more than a half-mile-per-gallon edge over other fuel-sipper tires. One owner reported as much as a five-mile-per-gallon gain over other all-seasons that weren’t so focused on being frugal. Tread life is good. Owners regularly report between 50,000 to 70,000 miles, with one Jetta owner going as far as 90,000. It’s not all sunshine as you blitz past the pump as the pursuit of range and economy brings compromises. Outright traction in the dry and wet is unimpressive, and snow traction is reportedly nil. On the plus side, handling is predictable even when the limits are low. Road noise is a bit loud and reportedly ramps up as the tire reaches the latter end of its lifespan.
Best Winter Tire
Michelin X-Ice Snow
The Michelin X-Ice Snow is renowned as one of the most capable and reliable winter tires around. Industry testers from various outlets use this as a winter benchmark for a reason. Slush be damned in the wake of this tire’s massive channels, plentiful sipes, and a tread compound Michelin refers to as FleX-Ice 2.0. This compound features a “micro roughness” on its surface as an added abrasive edge to better grab in snow and ice. Clearly, the 3PMSF symbol is an understatement of its abilities. The soft compound, which performs well in the snow, also lends itself to a cozy-soft ride without turning the steering feel to mush. Sizes are available for all OEM wheel sizes down to a 14-inch wheel for older Corollas. Like any winter tire, driving these in warmer weather is not advised. The price is quite steep, which is expected for a premium winter tire, and some rivals are tuned to provide sharper dynamics for lead-footed Corolla fans looking to bring Takumi’s antics to the Snowbelt.
Best Summer Performance Tires
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Anyone rocking the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S will not be disappointed as they ascend to ludicrous planes of performance — for a street tire. From both personal experience and consumer praise, I stand by this tire’s impressive ability to elevate the well-roundedness of its previous generation. Handling is razor sharp. Dry traction stands among the greatest in its class. Wet traction has improved over prior generations via a hybrid compound I’ve discovered resists hydroplaning even at highway speeds in hurricane-like downpours. Road comfort is admirable with a composed ride and mild but unobtrusive noise. The cost of edging closer to that fabled GR Corolla is high. This is a tire you can get in economy car sizes and the price will still crest $1,000. Additionally, there are the typical summer tire limitations in winter. That super-glue grip is nonexistent below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and traction in light snow is abysmal.
Best Track Day Tires
Yokohama Advan A052
Yokohama’s Advan A052 is a rock-solid champion for all weekend racers with wild AE86s or GR Corolla Circuit Editions on order. Like all 200-treadwear track tires, expect monster levels of dry traction beyond even the sharpest summer tires. The A052s distinguish themselves with a soft rubber that delivers a surprisingly comfortable ride without sacrificing much in terms of feel or tread life. It can reportedly reach optimal conditions quickly and maintain composure at the limit with satisfying handling and response, making it ideal for novices and veterans chasing lap times. As it’s so focused on its mission, this tire brings its own set of compromises. Regardless of its ingenious use of rubber compounds and tread patterns, it still exhibits the worst tread life of anything on this list. And while it does have superior wet traction versus other track tires, it’s still more susceptible to hydroplaning, as Tire Rack test staff have learned.
Safari Corolla XSE hatchback, anyone? You know you want one, and Falken Wildpeak A/T Trails will help you. Marketed towards crossovers and small SUVs, these tires have also carved out a tiny niche for themselves among folks building road-going rally cars out of things that were probably never meant to be rally cars. Internet rallyists have declared this their tire of choice, likely due to offering admirable levels of dirt traction without sacrificing on-road refinement. While predictably a touch firmer, ride quality is quite pleasant for its class, with only a minor hint of road noise. Responses are surprisingly sporty for this type of tire, and it even bears a 3PMSF badge to denote its capabilities in light snow. Wet traction is reportedly best in class with the most cornering Gs, fastest lap, and shortest braking distances. A refined all-terrain tire will always lack the refinement of a standard all-season/touring tire and the athleticism of any performance tire. Stick to smaller wheel sizes to mitigate the chances of your enlarged sidewalls getting too acquainted with your fender lining.

Our Verdict

Vredestein’s Quatrac Pro is a multi-talented hero, while Sumitomo’s HTR A/S P03 gets top marks for standing as an unbeatable bargain with usable attributes up its sleeves. 

Let us know in the comments which tires you prefer.

What to Consider When Buying Tires for Your Corolla

There’s an expansive array of tires available for Corollas tailored to all sorts of talents. Every type has its strengths and weaknesses that define its category. I want to share a few ways that tires can distinguish themselves in a crowded field. 

Types of Tires

All-Season

The most well-rounded, comfortable, and common tires on this planet, all-seasons make up the bulk of passenger car tires from both the aftermarket and OEMs. It’s a broad, all-encompassing term that can include cozy, highway-oriented touring tires with low noise and high mileage and even all-season performance rubber for year-round driving fun. 

All-seasons are often a jack-of-all-trades-type, meaning they’re rarely standout showstoppers. Their high-silica compounds, complicated tread patterns, and immense siping mean they’re ideal for rain and comfort but won’t be an enthusiast’s pick for maximum dry grip. Their need to function year-round also means they’ll seldom approach true winter tires in ice and slush except those bearing the 3PMSF badge.

High Performance

Exotic compounds, ultimate traction, and car meet clout are yours with the use of dedicated performance tires. This ranges from more street-oriented summer tires like a Michelin Pilot Sport 4S to hardcore, ultra-focused rubber like the Yokohama Advan A052. Their overall missions are simple: elevate a car’s performance through increased traction on the road and track. 

Many streetworthy tires will often use a hybrid rubber compound to optimize wet traction and comfort while still having an unyielding level of grip as a wheel leans into a corner. Low-treadwear track rubber will sacrifice on-road comforts like wet traction and road noise in favor of softer compounds that can better glue themselves to the pavement in the name of lap times. Due to being optimized for better performance in warmer weather, it’s strongly advised to avoid winter driving on performance tires.

Winter

A snowbelt savior and a rallyist’s delight, winter tires step above even the desirable 3PMSF all-seasons in terms of traction in slush, snow, and ice in frigid temperatures. They’re commonly offered as options from dealers and manufacturers but rarely installed as standard equipment due to their focus on traversing the winter wonderland. 

These are defined by the softest compounds to better resist hardening at freezing temps, as well as the most aggressive tread patterns this side of an off-road tire. Their wide channels and bounties of siping are better suited to evacuating moisture and providing an abrasive edge for grabbing at the snow. Avoid running these in warmer months as the heat can soften the rubber leading to accelerated wear and sluggish driving dynamics.

Key Features

Tread Pattern

All those gashes and slashes on the face of the tire mean something in how your tire ultimately performs in various conditions. Large channels run the circumference to flush out moisture to maintain contact and resist hydroplaning. Smaller, angled channels on the shoulders flush moisture outwards while siping (those itty-bitty cuts) assist on a smaller scale and even assist in grabbing at the snow. 

Winter tires will typically have the most aggressive tread patterns for their focused mission of traversing inclement winter weather. Performance tires will use as minimal tread as possible to maximize the contact patch, but most modern examples will use their tread cleverly not to sacrifice wet performance. Aggressive tread tailored for whichever discipline may contribute to increased road noise.

Sidewall 

An essential factor in determining ride quality as well as cornering and steering feel, sidewalls are the vertical face between your rim and the road-contacting surface of the tire. Their construction is arguably the decider if your tire rides soft or firm, with numb or lively steering feel. Soft sidewalls found on some touring tires will greatly increase road comfort at the expense of having slow, sluggish responses during cornering as the rubber flexes and bends. 

Firmer sidewalls on high-performance rubber will be harsher but will better transmit road feel through the steering system as well as better resist deflection for more predictable handling. In the case of economy tires, firm sidewalls coupled with firm rubber compounds may lower rolling resistance and thus increase mileage and tread life.

Rubber Compound

Premium, more expensive tires that are honed for specific tasks will sport unique and high-tech compounds to suit their tasks better. High-performance rubber may utilize hybrid compounds with center blocks formulated for wet traction and ride quality, while the shoulders are just soft enough to provide adequate traction as the wheel leans over. Firm rubber will lower rolling resistance for improved tread life and gas mileage, while softer compounds enhance traction and ride comfort.

An ingredient that helps modern tires excel is silica, a filler that allows them to remain pliable in a variety of temperatures. Popular in all-seasons and winter rubber, high-silica compounds are excellent at resisting freezing temps. In premium touring tires, high-silica compounds may be used to soften the ride.

Pricing 

Most tires can be had for less than $1,000 per set. Four Quatrac Pros can be purchased for about $600. The same size for PureContacts would run nearly $720. Specialized performance tires such as the Pilot Sport 4S will ring in at roughly $900, while the super-focused Advan A052 hovers between $750 to $1,000 per set, depending on size. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Can I use all-seasons in the winter?

You generally shouldn’t, but you could make it just fine through light snow with 3PMSF-rated all-seasons, which have improved siping, a more aggressive tread, and better resistance to freezing.

Are performance tires safe to use regularly?

Generally, they are, especially if we’re talking about more commonplace performance summer tires. Most modern options make ingenious use of their tread and compounds to sacrifice little in the wet. Track-oriented 200-treadwear tires are far more compromised, with abysmal tread life and poor wet traction. Avoid snow on any performance tire.

Is it safe to run a different wheel size than the OEMs?

You can. Just be careful about going too big in width or diameter to avoid rubbing on your inner fenders. Luckily, Tire Rack offers this fun configurator to help you nail down the right wheel and tire sets.