In response to critical customer feedback regarding the Firehawk AS’s performance on wintry terrains, Firestone has equipped the successor AS V2 with more snow-focused features. And whether they truly work in real-life professional tire tests is something our tire review will delve further into.
In this article:
Firestone Firehawk AS V2 Specifications & Features
|Tire Type||Ultra High Performance All-Season|
|Tire Size||17″ – 20″|
|Weight||22.0 LBS – 34.0 LBS|
|Load Index||91 – 106|
|Load Range||SL – XL|
|Speed Rating||– H: up to 130 mph|
– W: up to 168 mph
As an update from the Firestone Firehawk AS, the V2 aims to deliver better traction and road manners through the inclusion of innovative tire designs:
- The open shoulders, circumferential grooves, and large tread blocks resist hydroplaning risks.
- Interlocking lugs boost the car’s confidence in damp conditions and inclement weather, aided by a tread design inspired by the INDYCAR rain tire collection.
- 3D full-depth sipes provide stable performance in snowy conditions across the tire’s lifespan.
Firestone Firehawk AS V2 Review & Performance Test Result
During our 2023 COR Wheels Tire Test, the 235/55R17 tire size version of Firestone Firehawk AS V2 was installed on the 2017 Ford Escape SE across on-road and snow paths for ten days in June-July and another period around January.
1. Dry Performance: 8.7/10
Dry Traction: 8.9/10
AS V2 was quite a star on dry roads, as its stability slightly exceeded its AS predecessor due to better-placed grooves and sipes. 40 to 50 MPH seemed like the right range for the tire to balance itself between sidewall flex and stability, judging by the lack of screaming protests under the contact patch despite our deliberate attempts to veer with wide angles. We were also pleased with how the car could pull in quite clean cuts to semi-stops before lane merge entries without jostling or losing momentum.
The tire remained competitive when transitioning to highways, though we did notice a minor increase in drifting symptoms as the driving rates surged past 57 MPH. Its internal composure through long curves also played pretty much in our favor, so you will not have to worry about muted or fainter contact points during extended trips.
Due to the absence of rugged textures and extra protective layers, our car still stumbled every now and then on rough mountain passes and took slightly longer to recover from occasional hiccups on thicker gravel. But no real danger was at play; guaranteed no abrupt directional changes, even beginners should handle these lags just fine.
Corner Stability: 8.6/10
While the on-center ribs did waver a little through tight approach angles and closely aligned corner liners, it managed to hold its ground against the road patterns well – and hence, still bounced back with sufficient confidence to last our car through the very last exit points.
Abrupt accelerations did need to be catered to with better strategy and ground-down forces, but are doable regardless if you have a beyond-average physique. Understeer and oversteer recovery did not take as much time as its older sibling, either, reducing the chances of control loss to the minimum.
Steering Response: 8.6/10
Our team members were satisfied with V2’s responsive and quick steering response in most basic driving situations like lane shifting, cornering, and roadblock navigation.
Sure, the instant, sharp punctuality seen in more premium Firestone tires might feel distant at times – but it was there regardless, connecting the tire and road patterns in transparent touches to ensure no reactions went out of line. Unless the tire’s tread has been significantly worn down, you will never have to worry about dragged steering delays or, worse, no responses at all.
We also loved how the steering stayed consistent throughout most of the trip. Like any other performance tire, its feedback did grow more vague the nearer we got to excessive speed limits; yet, the changes were thankfully kept at a minimum to allow sufficient margin during emergencies.
2. Wet Performance: 8.2/10
Wet Traction: 8.3/10
AS V2 composed itself pretty well in shallow water of 2 to 5 inches. Straight-line endeavors were not completely without hiccups and jostles but remained breezy nonetheless, rarely losing their ground over unexpected bumps, 180-degree correction skids, or even bold dives into tight hairpins.
Deep water of 5 to 6 inches was tolerable, although we had to keep things civilized by slowing down to 35 MPH.
Unfortunately, from water of 6 inches onwards, ASV2 started to show mediocre road manners and downright unstable footings around littering puddles at road crooks. Slippery surfaces like wet bridges or wet pavement cobblestones only worsen the traction losses unless you do not move beyond 30 MPH.
Hydroplaning Resistance: 8.2/10
While the tire could not beat itself out of the frequent hydroplaning in water beyond 5 inches, the great news is that the tire-road connection was not completely whitened out like what we often observed in similar performance tires. As such, all the water slippage was still very much predictable, allowing us to gauge potential coughs around the flanks and re-adjust the steering wheel just in time.
On another note, our Ford suffered from heightened aquaplaning risks when packed full (seven adults) and got significantly better once we reduced the number of passengers to 3-4. Thus, you could still use the tire for moderate, short-distanced family trips, but remember not to test the tire limits.
3. Winter/Snow Performance: 6.1/10
Light Snow Traction: 6.9/10
AS V2 did witness a notable improvement from its predecessors by implementing more consistent and stable clawing actions around sweeping curves. We also noticed a significant decrease in violent coughs (compared to Firehawk AS) during strong push-pull steering or palm-over-palm skidding around unexpectedly wet snow packs, allowing pretty uneventful 20 to 25 MPH strikes across straight-line roads.
That did not mean the V2 itself was a competent performer, however. Cornering attempts were still very risky, if not downright disastrous, sending our Ford into panic jostles every time we tried to apply subtle changes mid-way to aim for a smoother exit.
Late apex or intentional oversteers were obviously impossible – evident in the way AS V2 took almost half a minute to recover from them. Worse, if you do not use hard brakings over large snow bumps on rugged mountain passes, accidents will certainly be on the horizon.
Snow chains on all four did help us gain back some traction on tame, well-paved roads. Unfortunately, this minor progress was far from enough to push AS V2 higher on the list, and barely even there whenever we tried to climb steep ascents. All in all, you’d better use AS V2 as a dedicated winter tire around late winter or early spring, when the snowy roads start to soften and melt.
Deep Snow Traction: 5.9/10
Light snow performances were already very lackluster, so we were unsurprised by V2’s horrid performance on thicker snow beyond 3 inches. All the faint clawing actions observed in earlier light-snow tests disappeared almost completely here, leaving the tire to struggle on its own through short-interval hydroplaning with little to no groove assistance. Snow chains lasted the tire slightly longer around softer snow but proved useless when dealing with hard-packed surfaces.
Needless to say, any signal of spirited everyday driving, such as cornerings, accelerations, and correction skids, was out of reach. If you still wish to travel on these terrains regardless, either keep your road driving below 5 MPH or avoid traveling longer than 3 miles.
Ice Traction: 5.5/10
The V2 tire was a nightmare on ice roads. Even thin icemelt could not stop the tire from frequent hydroplaning and slippage, so all our attempts to retain the barest hint of decency on moderate and thick ice buildups fell disappointingly flat. The tire took extremely long to settle every time the road texture changed, dragged its oversteer recovery for minutes, and could not stop protesting anytime the steering force got stronger to refill traction loss.
Even with all passengers and luggage removed, AS V2 could only last a bit longer than 2 miles. The best bet is to never use the tire for ice terrains – or only travel alone in short distances if you have no other choices.
4. Comfort: 7.5/10
Ride Quality: 7.8/10
Firestone Firehawk AS V2 is quite comforting on regular driving roads, with the jostles and vibrations mostly kept within control at 40 to 55 MPH.
As mentioned, the tire lost some of its edges on highways or at higher speeds but remained composed nonetheless when applying consistent push and pull. Significant major bumps, however, did occur around wet and wintertime surfaces.
The absence of noise-absorption layers is clear; we heard the tire screeching non-stop even at very minimal inputs. These tread noises kept dragging around corners, worsened at sharp turns, and got twice louder in wet and snow seasons; unless aftermarket upgrades are installed, there is no way they can be trampled down.
5. Treadwear Grade and Durability: 7.7/10
It was clear that AS V2 handled cold temperatures badly; the tire stalled more often than not in heavy rain seasons and could barely hold itself together upon hard snow.
Still, AS V2 was surprisingly strong against sharp debris and nails despite the simple compound designs, and its internal temperature rarely got affected by overheating issues. The 50,000-mile treadwear warranty is also quite a good bonus, ensuring decent riding quality mile after mile for the first 3-4 years.
Firestone Firehawk AS V2 Pros & Cons
Sporty grip in dry weather
Confident steering and cornering in dry road conditions
Decent balance between riding quality and tire life
Good warranty (50,000 miles)
Underwhelming light snow manner; unrideable in deep snow and ice
Wet-road traction could have been better
No quiet rides regardless of driving habits
As seen in this Firestone Firehawk AS V2 tire review, it does outperform its predecessor in certain parts and is a good competitor on dry roads. Still, these strong edges could not keep this all-season tire from stuttering in cold weather (wet and snow), and its ice performance was disastrous. Hence, it is advisable to limit the road tire’s usage to sporty performances in dry, warm seasons only.
|Firestone Firehawk AS V2|
President & Automotive Expert at COR Wheels
Robert Herrera has been with COR Wheels for 17 years and has a great passion for the automotive industry. During his time at COR Wheels, he has driven and test-driven a variety of vehicles.