Review: Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS

“Innovation is not always a big home run. Sometimes it's a series of singles.”

Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS
Image courtesy of Amazon

Compare Prices

Bridgestone likes to talk about “The Boss.” A lot. To Bridgestone, or at least to their marketing department, “The Boss” is the consumer, and what “The Boss” wants is what Bridgestone wants. Of course, Bridgestone is still a corporation that sells tires for a profit, and the idea that their customers are really the Boss is pure marketing-speak. Please don't any of you try to go sit in the CEO's office and give people orders, because that will probably end badly.

But it is a useful framework for looking at the ideas behind what Bridgestone is doing, especially with their new Dueler H/P Sport AS tires.

When Bridgestone looks at the state of the SUV/Light Truck market, they see that it is transitioning away from big heavy SUV's and towards much lighter, sportier “crossover” vehicles. As they note, this is what “The Boss” wants from the car companies, and what “The Boss” wants from these CUV's is not just ample cargo space and better fuel mileage, but the kind of responsive acceleration, braking, and handling that crossover-type vehicles provide. That's where the Dueler H/P Sport comes in. Intended to complement their Dueler H/L Alenza tire by providing a sportier model, the Dueler H/P Sport is targeted to just these types of higher-performance CUV's, such as the newest Honda CR-V, Nissan Pathfinder, and Porsche Cayenne. In fact, the CR-V and Pathfinder have already chosen the H/P Sport as their OEM tire fitments.

Pros

  • Tremendous wet grip.
  • Excellent steering feel and response.

Cons

  • Lacks the winter technology of the Dueler H/L Alenza.
  • A bit loud on dry pavement.

Technology

High Silica Content – Silica gives increased grip, particularly in wet conditions.

Circumferential Grooves - Four deep grooves channel water away from the tread areas.

High Stiffness Closed Shoulder – Stiffening the tread blocks on the tires shoulder area will generally improve cornering grip and response.

High Angle Slots – Bridgestone says that the steep angle of the tread slots helps evacuate water more quickly.

Low Rolling Resistant Sidewall Compound - The rubber compound used in the Dueler's sidewall reduces tire deformation for lower rolling resistance and greater fuel economy.

Optimized Casing – An interesting new development that I've only seen so far from Bridgestone, (and had to have an engineer explain it to me twice) the Optimized Casing means that the tread surface of the tire is very slightly canted to even out heat buildup and tread wear. It's somewhat like cambered tires, but at much less of an angle.

Eco-Product Designation – Bridgestone's Eco-Product badging means that the tires are low rolling resistant and lower weight to improve fuel efficiency and use “environmentally conscious materials” such as low-aromatic oils and recycled materials.

Performance

I was able to drive the Dueler H/P Sport AS at Bridgestone's launch event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month. We compared the Dueler to one substantially more expensive tire and one slightly less expensive tire, all mounted on the Porsche Cayenne CUV.

To put it simply and bluntly, the Dueler matched the more expensive tire in nearly every way, and just beat the stuffing out of the less expensive option.

Wet grip was what Bridgestone wanted to emphasize for our date with the Dueler, and for good reason; both wet grip and hydroplaning resistance are extremely good even at moderately ridiculous cornering speeds. But both steering feel and responsiveness were equally good in the wet and dry corners – this is a tire designed to be sporty and it knows it. Turn-in is precise and immediate and the tires engage beautifully, fighting not to understeer. At the limit and beyond, the tires are quite progressive, especially given the Cayenne's mass and rear-heavy balance, they give plenty of warning before truly breaking loose. Recovering from a skid is easy and positive.

They do ride a bit stiff, and there is some moderate road noise.

The Bottom Line

The Dueler H/P Sport AS is in nearly all respects an excellent example of an SUV/CUV/Light Truck sport tire. Most important to me is, of course, the safety issue when dealing with very heavy, not to mention rather top-heavy vehicles. The tires show a firm grip and a comfortable, confident stance that enhances safety and comfort in wet weather. But beyond that, they're grippy, snappy, sporty and quite a lot of fun to drive. “The Boss” should be pleased.

Available in 10 sizes from 225/65R17 to 275/40/20
UTQG Rating: 400 A A. (Most Sizes)
Treadwear Warranty: 40,000 miles.

Bridgestone's non-run-flat tires are also covered by their “Buy & Try” guarantee, in which a set of four tires may be returned for refund or exchange within 30 days.

Compare Prices