There is a lot of confusion regarding the differences between the Primewell PS830 and PS850 touring tires. Both tires are basically the same since they have the same symmetrical tread design (although the PS850 has a more aggressive set of treads), and both tires are classified as all-season touring tires.
According to Primewell’s official website, the PS830 and PS850 was replaced by the new PS880 and PS870. The Primewell PS880 is a high-performance summer tire while the PS870 is a standard performance summer tire.
This review will focus on the Primewell PS830. I was lucky enough to obtain a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LS hatchback with the 1.8-liter motor and 6-speed automatic transmission. My test vehicle was fitted with stock 15-inch wheels and Primewell PS830 tires. I think this is a good match for the naturally-aspirated motor of my test car.
The owner of the Chevrolet Sonic is a city dweller. He does most of his driving in the city, and he rarely goes to the highway. If need be, he uses his Toyota 4Runner for those long highway jaunts. He bought the Sonic used 2 years ago and has been his daily driver ever since. The Primewell PS830 tires were almost a year old, and it shows. There were evident signs of wear on all four corners of the vehicle.
I have to be honest. I heard a lot of not-so-good things about the Primewell PS830, even before this review. Most of it had something to do with rapid tread wear, road noise, and poor durability. Maybe this is the reason why Primewell redesigned and re-engineered their new line of tires since their old lineup had terrible reviews.
The Primewell PS830 is equipped with four main circumferential grooves with sturdy shoulder blocks. The design is meant to deliver exceptional driving stability and all-weather traction. The Primewell PS830 is an all-season touring tire and offers good traction on wet or icy roads as well. But the most compelling reason for buying the Primewell PS830/PS850 is the price. You can buy a set of four tires for less than $350, and that’s not a bad deal at all.
This will be my first time to drive the Chevrolet Sonic in general. I have always thought this car had the looks and appeal of a sporty sub-compact, but the interior was a bit of a letdown as it was filled with cut-rate plastics and materials. The car simply felt cheaper than the price.
But for city driving, this car makes a lot of sense. It was honestly fun to drive and the handling was superb for a small car. But in this review, I simply felt the tires were a big letdown considering the handling prowess of the Sonic. I have more details below.
Is it that the base naturally aspirated motor is too powerful for the Primewell PS830/PS850 tires? I seriously doubt it. But the tires were squealing for grip as I drove towards a moderately fast corner. There was absolutely no drama, but you can feel the front tires struggling for grip as the steering wheel tugged lightly from left to right.
In hard, straight-line acceleration the tires will squirm for grip at the slightest provocation of sand and dirt on smooth tarmac. But get it up to cruising speed and everything settles down. It is not the best tire in terms of dry traction, but it’s not the worst either.
Let’s just say that wet traction is okay as long as you don’t push the car to the limit. Like I said, the chassis of the Sonic felt more capable than the tires. The result is the suspension also feels sub-par when the car is hushed, and this is more evident when you’re on a wet highway. As long as you maintain average speeds and avoid any sudden maneuvers on wet roads, you’re going to be fine. But I wish it offered more than this.
There was no time to test the tires in the snow, but I would honestly stay away from light snow as much as possible if my car was fitted with the Primewell PS830 tires. Since wet traction is a bit sub-par, what would you expect if you were to drive it on snow? I asked the owner about this and he had the same opinion. The car was okay on very light snow, but everything turns to butter once the snow piles up on the road.
If there is anything besides the price that the Primewell PS830/PS850 can claim, it would have to be driving comfort. The tires felt comfy on both city streets and smooth highway roads. The tires also silenced the nasty humps and thumps as you drive over nasty expansion joints on concrete roads. The sudden jolt of hitting a pothole was also made bearable courtesy of the PS830 tires.
Sadly, that’s about it. The Primewell PS830/PS850 tires were noisy on the highway especially at higher than average speeds but were muffled at slow speeds. This is a bit confusing since the tires also emitted a noticeable roar at speeds below 40mph. I have driven cars with cheap tires that were more refined than the Primewell PS830/850.
Considering the Primewell PS830 tires on my test car were almost a year old and were only used in the confines of the city, I can honestly say the wear characteristics of the tires was mediocre at best. There are reports the tires will last for only 14,000 or 15,000 miles before needing to be replaced, which speaks volumes about the wear characteristics of the tires.
If you want a cheap touring tire, you are better off with the newer Primewell PS870 and PS880. The Primewell PS830/PS850 offers good value for money at the expense of handling and driving satisfaction.