Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 vs Firestone Destination LE3

Leave a comment

The Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 emphasizes ride comfort and traction, while the Firestone Destination LE3 is geared towards a balanced performance for light trucks and SUVs. Let’s get to their main highlights.

Saturn VUE XR
Saturn VUE XR with Destination Le3

As someone who’s worked extensively in tire engineering, I can assert that the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 delivers superior directional traction, (offering shorter braking distances), enhanced handling and cornering from improved steering responsiveness, and performs better on ice as well. On the other hand, the Firestone Destination LE3 outperforms in hydroplaning resistance with its hydro-grip technology, snow traction, and offers a smoother ride.

Sizes Available

The Firestone Destination LE3 comes in 15 to 22 inches wheels. And all of those sizes have following specifications.

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

Review this tire in greater details: https://tiredriver.com/firestone-destination-le3-review/

The Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 comes in 17 to 22 inches wheels. And all of those sizes have following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 11/32″ on all.
  • Treadwear warranty: 70k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 800 A A.

Review this tire in greater details: https://tiredriver.com/pirelli-scorpion-as-plus-3-review/

Layout of Tread Pattern

The Firestone Destination LE3 offers a unique symmetric tread pattern.

Firestone Destination LE3
Firestone Destination LE3

Now its tread comes with 5 (vertically aligned) block columns, called ribs.

If you consider it’s tread pattern (from the image), you’d note that it 3 central ribs come with “F” and “S” shaped lugs (“S” designating the central rib and “F” for the adjacent ones).

These lugs provide biters, and act as water containers. Moreover, since they connect outer circumferential groove together, they further provide water dispersion capabilities.

Moving towards shoulders, they are less aggressive, and more you can say, streamlined.

They have similar siping structure on them, but you also see proper longitudinal slits there, joining up with notches (which face the central ribs).

Internally, the tire integrates a single polyester layer, reinforced with two steel belts and a nylon cap ply.

Shifting focus to the Pirelli Scorpion, its asymmetric tread design is distinctly different.

Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3
The AS Plus 3 central most rib divides the siping pattern on both sides.

Though you still get a 5 rib structure here as well. And they also form similar longitudinal grooves (4 of them) too.

But you get a lot more biting edges on this tire.

Take the central most rib, for example.

See, how it’s curved slits or in-groove notches are segmenting the tire’s overall siping in to two patterns.

This not only goes for this rib, but also on the adjacent ones, where one of them have wave-like siping on it, while the other is seen with linear designs.

Though they have similar (kind of), in terms of lateral grooves they make.

Moving towards shoulders, they are similar on both sides, as you can see.

Lastly, speaking of its internal construction, the Pirelli comes with 2 ply polyester casing with 2 steel belts, and dual nylon cap plies.

Pavement Performance Analysis

Dry pavement performance is largely influenced by a tire’s directional and lateral grip, and overall handling stability.

Let’s get into them.

Directional Traction

So directional grip is “pretty straight forward”, get it? It’s the tire’s straight-line grip. And here following 2 key points should be considered.

  • This traction is largely based on the tire’s braking efficiency.
  • The central tread region plays a crucial role in this respect, (as this area is where the weight saturates, when tire rolls straight, I mean).

Now having said that, I can now explain why the Scorpion AS Plus 3 comes out better here.

The tire features continuous-running central most rib, and has reinforced foundations. (It basically sits on a secondary, harder rubber layer).

And both of these allow for greater rubber to road contact, resulting in enhanced longitudinal traction.

On the flip side, the Destination LE3 falls short with it’s multiple notches and pronounced siping slits. I mean sure, they provide the bite, but they also ironically reduce the available contact area.

Though the main reason this tire lacks here is still it’s greater weight.

It’s bulkier structure leads to an increase in momentum inertia when steering, rendering it more challenging to stop.

Thus, in terms of average braking distances, the Pirelli tire consistently outperforms the Firestone” Destination’s ‘s LE3.


Now handling is a combination of the tire’s steering properties, and overall lateral grip.

In terms of grip, both tires are almost similar, showcasing very negligible difference, as seen from their lateral g forces comparisons.

But things quickly change when you put the steering response in to the whole picture.

Now steering is defined by 3 phases on cornering.

  • Cornering Entry: Where tire has to slow down. And with better braking (as already discussed above), Pirelli takes the lead.
  • Mid-corner: In this phase, it’s crucial to maintain grip, and avoid slippage in the form of under or oversteering balance, and Pirelli with it’s lighter weight again is leading here as well.
  • Exit: This is the post cornering phase, where you get back straight again, and here tire’s acceleration capabilities are tested. And once again Pirelli dominates this area as well.

So there you have it, while both tires offers good enough lateral grip, you still see the Scorpion AS Plus 3 leading the way (literally), as seen by its faster lap times on average.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy in tires is impacted by a myriad of factors that collectively influence the tire’s rolling resistance.

And here, some key elements include:

  • The weight of the tire, which is directly proportional to energy expenditure.
  • Tire’s internal and external structure, which defines stability, and ease of maneuvering.
  • And rubber’s composition, as certain rubber compounds, for example, include polymers that increase adherence to the road surface.

Now, upon evaluating these factors, it can be explained why both tires offer similar mpg readings.

The Firestone Destination LE3 being a highway terrain AS tire, although is a little heavier, and comes with softer rubber, it’s still saved by it’s shallower tread depth. Let me explain.

Basically heavier weight puts more pressure on the lugs, causing them to bend. And while softer compound is further helping this process, the reduced tread depth works against it.

So you get similar fuel economy compared to Pirelli’s tire, which is although lighter, still generates similar rolling resistance in comparison, with it’s greater tread depth (on average).

Ride Smoothness

Now ride smoothness in my book is highly dependent on, tire’s stability, ability to mitigate road bumps, and dampen down the noise.

Let’s split this in to two sections.

On Road Vibrations

Vibration comfort comes from the tire’s ability to handle road imperfections, and give out stability at the same time.

And here, the Pirelli’s tire is a better pick overall, (though it’s subjective).

The tire offers better stability, as already discussed (in the dry handling section), and it’s greater tread depth, and extra ply in it’s internal construction means, there’s more area for bumps to settle down.

But the overall difference between the two tires is pretty low, as the Destination LE3 comes with a softer tread relatively, which provides similar bumps dampening ability.

Road Noise

The generation of road noise is a pretty complex subject, as it involves a lot of factors like rolling resistance, groove resonance, tread pattern, the list goes on and on.

But let me simplify things for you here.

Out of both tires, the Pirelli stands out, providing a quieter ride, thanks to its semi-closed shoulder design and sophisticated tread compound.

If you consider it’s tread pattern again, you’d note that it has pretty closed up lateral voids between shoulder blocks, this basically minimizes the air entry, which is very crucial, as these air particles are the ones creating primary source of noise.

They collide around the tread walls, and impact of it creates what they call “tread noise”.

Now sure, the Scorpion AS Plus 3 still emits a lot of growling sounds, with it’s multi-directional biters, but it’s still less compared to Destination LE3 (which basically registers a higher decibel level, with its in-groove resonance).

Wet Performance

The efficacy of tires on wet surfaces is critically determined by the design of grooves and sipes on the tread pattern.

Grooves are essential for water evacuation, channeling it away through their expansive pathways. While sipes, on the other hand, come in lateral, dispersing the residual water particles from under the tread.

(Think of these sipes as a sponge, absorbing water particles, clearing the road for the tire’s biters/rubber to grip on).

Now having said that, it’s pretty evident why the Scorpion AS Plus 3 excels, providing outstanding grip and responsive handling under all sort of wet conditions.

The tire feels very stable, and gives you a consistent control, where you get the idea about how much grip is available.

It’s comes with an advanced siping pattern where the sipes not only have a dual pattern (linear and wave-like), but they also vary in terms of their angle orientations.

This basically gives you the grip in both longitudinal and lateral directions.

On the other side, the Destination LE3 may lack in providing as much grip, its not necessarily a bad tire here.

I mean it has a better interconnectivity of the grooves, facilitating superior water dispersion from all angles, and providing superior resistance to aquaplaning.

This innovative design (which Firestone calls, hydro-grip technology), lessens the reliance on sipes alone, contributing to the tire’s impressive performance in wet conditions.

So overall, Firestone is better in terms of hydroplaning, while Pirelli gives you a superior overall handling and grip.

Winter Performance

The performance of all-season tires in winter weather is gauged by examining three principal aspects:

  • How well the tire accelerates.
  • How stable it is, handling wise.
  • And how it performs on various terrains, where ice, snow and slush are involved.

Now, here we have some mixed results here, considering all these.

I mean although both tires aren’t great and miss out on 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings, overall the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 still showcase relatively better results on icy terrains.

While the Firestone Destination LE3 offers better grip when it comes to fluffy snow.

The Pirelli Scorpion owes its enhanced ice traction to the extensive use of interlocking sipes across the tread, which are arranged in a multi-directional pattern. This design enables effective traction in every direction, especially when it comes to slick icy terrains.

On the flip side, the Destination LE3, though experiences some limitations in braking and control on ice, (where it predominately understeers), shows exceptional traction in snow.

This is all thanks to it’s S and F shaped biting edges in the middle, and longitudinal and lateral notches/slits on shoulders.

Both of these basically engage with the snow, optimizing snow-to-snow contact.

But why is that important?

Well, that’s because snowflakes have interlocking arms, and they really like to stick with each other, forming greater friction, then they would against (tread’s) rubber.

Summarizing the Key Points

In conclusion, the decisive factors are as follows.

The Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 excels in the following:

  • Superior directional traction, and shorter average braking distances, due to its continuous central rib and reinforced foundations.
  • Enhanced handling and cornering capabilities, benefiting from better steering responsiveness throughout all phases of cornering.
  • Better performance on icy terrains, with its extensive use of interlocking sipes and multi-directional tread pattern.

On the flip side, the Firestone Destination LE3 is great in following.

  • Resistance to hydroplaning, with its hydro-grip technology, providing excellent water dispersion.
  • Snow traction, particularly in fluffy snow conditions, due to its S and F shaped biting edges.
  • A comparably smoother ride on the road, with a softer tread compound that helps in dampening road imperfections.

Leave a Comment