Firestone Destination LE2 vs LE3

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Both the Firestone Destination LE2 and the LE3 are packed with innovative tread compounds, ensuring decent performance for daily commutes, long drives, and various road conditions. Let’s take a look at both of these tires in more details.

Firestone Destination LE3

Being a tire engineer, my testing show that the LE2 excels in snowy conditions due to its numerous biting edges and greater tread depth. However, the Destination LE3 outperforms its predecessor, in noise reduction and tread life, promising a quieter, longer-lasting ride. Moreover, its also more fuel-efficient, as it gives out lower rolling resistance values, and displays superior on-road traction, particularly on wet roads, while both tires perform almost similarly on dry roads. So yes, its pretty safe to say, that overall, newer tire is better rule applies here.

Info on Sizes

The Firestone Destination LE2 comes in 15 to 22 inches (rims), with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: S, T and H.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: 10 to 13/32″.
  • Weight range: 25 to 42 lbs.
  • UTQG: 520 A B
  • Winter ratings: only M+S
  • Tread mileage warranty: 60k miles

The Firestone Destination LE3 on the other hand, also comes in 15 to 22 inches, but with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V (most sizes have H).
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: Almost all sizes have 10/32″.
  • Weight range: 21 to 40 lbs.
  • UTQG: 700 A B
  • Winter ratings: No 3PMSF, only M+S.
  • Tread mileage rating: 70k miles warranty.

Tread Pattern

Both of these tires incorporate a unique design feature. I mean see how the “S”-shaped blocks are enveloped by two distinct “F”-shaped ones. This is basically a design element that symbolizes the Fire Stone brand.

Firestone Destination Le3
Firestone Destination LE3

Looking at the tread pattern of Destination LE3 first. The tire is characterized by deep sipes that extend all the way to the base of the tread.

These sipes have better wave-like interlocking structures (which basically wipes water off in a better way, compared to those seen on LE2).

Moreover, the LE3, also has a better connectivity of its longitudinal and lateral tread voids, or grooves.

They all intersect with one another in a way, so as to create a superior hydroplaning resistance.

Firestone calls it Hydro-Grip Technology.

Other than this, the tire carries similar to LE2 features such as, having chamfered edges on the corners of all blocks, and similar four longitudinal grooves of the same width, (illustrating a good level of uniformity in their designs).

Moving towards the Destination LE2, the tire basically features greater biters in comparison.

Firestone Destination LE2
Firestone Destination LE2

I mean if you consider its shoulders, you’d see how they are not as streamlined, with the inner edges serrated, forming deep biters.

These biters, although feature amazing snow traction, they can’t offer similar treadwear performance or comfort values.

Moreover, all these lugs, including the ones in the middle, don’t carry full depth sipes, so with wear, the overall wet traction suffers.

Though with similar longitudinal ribs, and reinforced foundations, they do okay when it comes to overall dry traction.

That’s why it makes sense why both tires have almost similar dry braking distances and handling times.

Fuel Consumption

Fuel consumption is significantly influenced by rolling resistance, which is highly dependent on tires’ inner and outer construction.

And although the difference here is miniscule, the Firestone LE3 with lighter weight gets to be slightly better.

With lighter weight, it’s lugs have smaller pressure on them, as they rub against the road. Moreover, the tire’s smoother tread pattern also helps here.

The Destination LE2 on the other side, features more biters, and a slightly aggressive tread pattern, with marginally larger overall structural weight, so it’s not surpring to see it having a smaller overall fuel economy.

Tread Noise

Noise mostly generates when air hits the tread, and that air comes in form the shoulders (mostly).

That’s the reason why both tires employ Whisper Grooves technology (a term Cooper Tires uses). This is basically barriers, ridges, between the shoulder blocks that don’t allow air particles to comes it.

Moreover, both tires also feature variable pitch technology as well, so air particles that still somehow manage to come in are dampened down by it.

So the bottom line: Both tires are great here, very quiet, presenting similar decibels on different surfaces.

Dry Performance

To gain a thorough understanding of these tires’ performance on dry roads, I conducted tests to evaluate their directional grip, steering responsiveness, and cornering abilities.

Let’s check out these key elements one after another.

Directional Grip

Basically, the measure of a tire’s traction on straight road (like highways), is known as dry or directional grip. That’s why it gets determined by braking distances for the most part.

And since rolling straight, all the of the pressure (on the tire), gets emphasized in the middle, how much a tire contacts the surface from there is much more crucial.

And so looking at both tires, it can be explained why they both offer very similar performance values.

But still, Destination LE2 seems to have slightly more aggressive stopping and accelerating efficacy, subjectively speaking. And this credit goes to its enhanced number of biters.

Lateral Traction

The lateral traction of a tire (during cornering) largely depends on the shoulder’s footprint, as the tire’s entire weight shifts towards there (because of inertia you can say).

And we see a same tread on both tires here as well.

They although come out with similar handling times on laps, the overall steering response of Firestone Destination LE3 seems much more smoother.

This is because it’s shoulder lugs have a more smoother tread structure compared to LE2. So you get a superior under and oversteering balance.

Winter Performance

Evaluating a tire’s winter performance show some very outstanding results.

Upon examination, it was revealed that the Destination LE3 lags slightly in this regard, despite both tires missing with the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake certifications, (an industry standard for winter traction. Read more here).

So why is that?

Well that’s because on snowy terrain, you need a lot of biting edges to grip in, and Firestone LE2 offers you with that, exactly.

It’s serrated inner shoulder lugs, and sharper edges of the blocks in the middle effectively, scoop up snow particles and form greater snow to snow contact.

Its significant, because snow tends to adhere better to other snow particles rather than to rubber.

Wet Traction

Wet traction is where you’d see a major difference between the two tires. Let me explain why that’s the case.

So the Firestone Destination LE2 has unfortunately gained a very negative popularity in terms of it’s wet grip. And this is because of two main things.

The tire for one, wear, faster, and two, doesn’t feature full depth sipes.

Sipes are slits in the tread, and they do most of the work in wiping water off. They basically suck water particles in their slits, so the rubber can grip on to the surface.

And so as the Destination LE2 doesn’t have full depth sipes, and wear off quickly, it’s tread loses a lot of gripping effectiveness over time. And this leads to its slipping over corners.

This issue was fixed in the Firestone LE3, which now basically employs a slightly harder rubber compound, and superior full depth siping design.

Moreover, all lugs (of the tread) on LE3, are distinctly separated by lateral grooves (a feature missing in the LE2). So these account for better flexibility to the sipes, and biters, allowing them to grip wet and watery surface in a much better way.

These extra grooves also help with hydroplaning, and that’s why they Firestone calls it Hydro-Grip technology.

Tread Life

When it comes to tread life, there are a few things to consider, UTQG, tread depth, rolling resistance, and of course tread composition.

And analyzing of these tell why Firestone Destination LE3 is a superior pick and by a long shot, I should add.

The tire not only features a harder tread compound that resist faster burning, but it also features additional layer of polyamide, that help thing further (while both of them have 2 ply sidewalls).

That’s why it gets a UTQG of 700, while the LE2 only has 520.

For Your Info: The UTQG is not an accurate measure of tread life, but when both tires are from the same company, it can be very useful. So in our case it tell us that, the Firestone Destination LE2 would give you almost 5 times the tread life compared to test tire, where as the LE3 would offer greater, 7 times the treadwear resistance in comparison to their test tire. Learn more here.

So, What’s The Verdict?

After an in-depth analysis of the Firestone Destination LE2 and LE3 tires, we’ve arrived at some notable conclusions. Let me summarize them for you.

Although the Destination LE2 is an older tire, it features superior performance on snow terrains, thanks to it’s greater biting efficacy.

Moreover the tire also features almost similar dry traction, and handling, though can use some help in the overall steering feedback department. And worth reminding, that also affects its comfort performance too.

Though in term of noise (which also a crucial part of overall ride comfort), the tire does okay, showing up with similar decibels values compared to LE3.

The biggest different however is seen in the wet traction area, where the Destination LE3 excels by a greater margin.

And yes same goes for it’s tread wear. That’s why it gives you 10k more miles in its warranty, and the UTQG of 700 where LE2 only offers with 520 A B.

6 thoughts on “Firestone Destination LE2 vs LE3”

  1. Can you have le2 and le3 on the same car? I asked for le3 to match the two tires on the Subaru Crosstrek. They put on le2 instead. Is this a problem?

    Thanks

    Dave

    Reply
    • Dave, mixing different tire models on the same car is not generally recommended as it can affect the handling and performance of the vehicle. In your case, having both the LE2 and LE3 tires on your Subaru Crosstrek might result in uneven wear and could potentially affect the vehicle’s stability. I would recommend you checking out my article on “replacing just 1 tire?”.

      Reply
  2. My 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E came with Firestone Destination LE2. After reading your tests on different tires, which is the best brand to go with? There are so many. Bridgestone, Michelin, Continental and the list goes on. What are your thoughts?

    Reply

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