The SportCombi gets serious about rubber

Another week, and another Saab story to share.

Driving back from the airport last weekend in the SportCombi, we had the unfortunate luck of suffering a blow out –  one of the rear Bridgestone tyres completely gave up the ghost. Luckily though, we had just pulled off the motorway, and my son and I were able to hop out and change the offending tyre for the spacesaver which carried us all safely home.

This morning, I arranged to have 2 new rear tyres fitted, but as it turned out, these weren’t my worst type problem. I regularly check the tyres on all three Saabs, I hadn’t done a thorough enough job on the SportCombi, as although the tread depth was still legal, the far inner (hidden) edges of both front tyres were literally close to exploding; the rubber had begun to pull away and reveal the inner thread, not good.

Two hours later, nearly four hundred pounds worse off, and the SportCombi is a happy, safe Saab again, it’s also had some tracking alterations to ensure the new front tyres don’t suffer the same fate again in the near future.

When things like this happen, it serves to remind me just how important taking care of tyres are. One of the reasons I love Saabs is their superior safety, however, they still depend on 4 simple cylinders of rubber to keep my family safe, and at speeds Saabs are happy at, you can never underestimate their importance.

So what rubber best suits a Saab? Although I worship the handling and refinement of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s on my 9-3 saloon, I’ve become increasingly impressed with the all round capabilities of Kumho’s.

I recently put a full set on the Carlsson alloys for the 900, and the Mercedes Coupe before that, and they’ve performed faultlessly; great handing in both wet and dry conditions, extremely quiet, and a very attractive tread pattern. Although not cheap, the Kumho’s do represent a saving over say the Michelins and seem to suit Saabs well, so the SportCombi now proudly sits on a set of Kumho ECSTA LE Sport KU39’s.

I’ll report on their longevity in a few thousand miles, but until then, the SportCombi’s looking good with its new rubber.

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8 thoughts on “The SportCombi gets serious about rubber

  1. I was offered the Kumho’s when I need 2 new front tyres but wasnt sure as I hadnt heard or knew anybody who’d used them.

    be interesting to see what you make of them.

    I’m still very happy with the Avon ZZ3’s on my 9-3

    • Hi Paul, I like the Avon ZZ3’s, but they’re 91 rated, so I thought I’d stick with the fitters recommendations for the SportCombi and go for the 94 rated.

      We do a lot of miles in the SportCombi, with a load of stuff in it, so I’ll soon be able to share the longevity results 🙂

      Driving home in it last night, there’s a real marked difference in the road noise, far less.

      • Ah, are they XL’s then? to be honest Paul, unless the fitter hadn’t mentioned, I’d have been none the wiser regarding the ratings, but I had already decided to try the Kumho’s on the SportCombi as I really like them on the 900.

  2. I had a similar wear problem on my 2003 Aero. Got the tracking checked with a 4 wheel alignment and all was well. The car felt more stable too. For the past 75,000 miles I’ve run Conti Sport Contact3, which last around 18,000 miles on the front.

    Great blog btw as I’m looking at diesel aeros…….

    • Thanks for the comments Ian, yes, I’ve heard a few people have had the same tracking issues, I’ll have to check it more regularly.

      You won’t be disappointed with the TTiD Aeros, stunning Saabs, I never get bored of mine, and that’s high praise indeed.

      Good luck, and when you do find one, send a few pics in to share 🙂

  3. Kumho, hm, interesting. The longevity report will be interesting to many of us.

    I had Michelin PS3 last summer, they lasted only 17.000 km. It’s true that the V6 is more demanding to tyres but I am not driving a rally. It was such a disappointment.

    The current Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric 2 are very fine and it looks they will hold the standard 3 seasons.

    • I was initially sceptical when I put a set on my old Mercedes Coupe as they have a tendency to slide out at the rear, but for nearly 5000 miles, I couldn’t have been more impressed.

      The 900 also feels great on them, so together with the SportCombi, it should be a good real world test of how they suit Saabs, but only time will tell.

      My main reason for choosing them on the SpotCombi though was the tyre rating, apparently, they should be 94 rated, and most of the others, including the Bridgestones, Goodyears and Michalins are only 91 rated.

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