10 November 2016

Special tyre sizes for Scenics improve comfort, economy

When the new Scenic and Grand Scenic are introduced here by Renault Ireland before the end of the year, they will come with 20” wheels as standard, writes Brian Byrne.

But they’re 20” with a difference, being new ‘Tall & Narrow’ tyres developed by Continental, among other original equipment suppliers, in one fitment — 195/55 R 20.

Interestingly, it took around five years for the concept to come through to production, and is a clear example of how a tyre maker like Continental can respond to a specific OE need by a car company.

In this instance, it was a request by Renault to have a tyre with less rolling resistance, while maintaining the other essential characteristics of an equivalent tyre, in the Conti case the 17” PremiumContact 5.

The overall concept provided a visual impact of the 20” size, along with taller than usual sidewalls and narrower than usual widths for such a size.

The tall sidewalls provide a better degree of comfort than the reference tyre too, and the new tyre concept has better wear characteristics. Handling and dry braking ability was retained, and there are lower fuel consumption and emissions, influenced also by the better aerodynamic performance of a narrower tyre.

A slight decrease in wet braking ability is deemed not to be significant.

The Tall & Narrow tyre overall gained a one label class improvement to ‘A’, and there’s no increase in cost.