General Altimax RT43 Review

General Altimax RT43

The General AltiMAX RT43 is a flagship offering in General Tire’s grand-touring all-season category introduced in 2013. It aimed to disrupt its premium competitors by blurring the line between budget and flagship tires. General Tires seemingly offered everything you’d expect from a top-class all-season touring tire in the AltiMAX RT43, keeping the price relatively low.

General Altimax RT43 — Overview

Even though it was launched back in 2013, the AltiMAX RT43 trades blows with premium tires from big brands like the Michelin Premier A/S and the Bridgestone Turanza Quietrack, but it’s much cheaper. With the AltiMAX RT43, General set a new standard in terms of what customers can expect at a mid-tier budget in the all-season grand-touring market segment. The main goals of this tire’s design are enhanced levels of comfort and noise reduction, reliable stability, and long-lasting tread life.

The main reason why this tire continues to thrive in the market almost a decade after its initial release is the sheer amount of value for money it offers. Besides being a genuine alternative to premium touring tires, it’s also widely available in many different sizes, covering everything from 13-inch wheel size to the massive 20-inch wheel that’s commonly found in crossovers.

Pairing a comfortable, durable, relatively cheap tire with a wide range of size availability [13- to 20- inches] seems to be the formula of the General AltiMAX RT43’s success. 

Whether you’ve got a sporty coupe, a compact, mid-size, or luxury sedan, a compact crossover, or even a family minivan — you can easily find a size that fits your car. That’s a highly inclusive portfolio and it’s not something many tire models offer, so General Tires definitely knew what they were doing with this one. 

General AltiMAX RT43 — Features

Even though the AltiMAX RT43 wears a humble price tag, it makes bold promises of offering premium levels of ride comfort, stability, and durability. The tire has also passed the test of time, with many buyers still satisfied with their purchase about 8 or 9 years later. So what’s the formula behind it all?

Let’s start with its tread compound; a Twin Cushion Silica material with an interesting composition! At its base, the compound is designed to be low-density to effectively absorb road vibrations and improve ride comfort. However, the compound is high-density at the top which allows the tire to stick to the road and provide enhanced traction all year round. This double-edged design of varying compound densities is where the term ‘Twin Cushion’ comes from. 

This special compound is modeled into a symmetric tread pattern featuring independent tread blocks and a continuous center rib all around. According to the manufacturer, this design is carefully engineered to muffle sound and reduce cabin noise. These intricate design elements aren’t common to see in a tire of this price range even today, let alone back in 2013.

Moreover, with General’s Anti-Slip Sipe Design, the tire has you covered even in rainy conditions. The technology features more biting edges which help maintain traction on wet tarmac and light snow.

Dry Road Performance

When it comes to handling and performance on dry tarmac, the AltiMAX RT43 isn’t too special. There are many other options in the market that are more responsive than it, but almost all of them come at a significantly higher price. Moreover, responsiveness isn’t really the strong suit of any grand-touring tire; this segment is all about comfort and practicality. So, all things considered, the tire’s performance on dry roads isn’t half bad. 

You get desirable levels of traction even if you fit the tire on a sporty coupe and step on the gas! Sure, it’s not a summer track tire, but it’s pretty good for a tire geared towards optimized ride quality. It provides you with a reliable and safe drive on dry tarmac.

If you compare it up against the budget category of all-season touring tires, the AltiMAX RT43 knocks them out of the park. That’s impressive because the  “budget category” isn’t even that much cheaper than the General AltiMAX RT43!

Wet Performance

The tire’s performance on wet pavement is about the same as on dry tarmac. The handling or traction isn’t bad at all, but it’s nothing too special either. As long as you keep the tire’s low price category in mind, you’ll be more than happy with the driving experience it provides in wet conditions. 

The circumferential grooves help the tire resist hydroplaning even as you drive past deep puddles. There’s always ample directional and cornering grip to work within city driving. However, traction could be better at higher speeds in heavy rain, but there’s only so much you can expect from a well-priced touring tire.

For responsible drivers, the RT43 provides a safe driving experience even in heavy downpours.

Snow Performance

The General AltiMAX RT43 is an all-season tire, which means it’s designed to handle snowy conditions — to some degree, at least. If you get mild winters and light snow where you live, this tire will provide pretty good braking performance, traction, and directional stability throughout the year. However, if you’re from a northern area and get severe winters, you’re better off with a winter tire.  

Off-Road Capabilities

As mentioned above, the General AltiMAX RT43 comes in a wide range of wheel sizes including one that’s big enough for compact crossovers. However, that doesn’t make it an off-roading tire. It’s a grand-touring tire that’s designed to be a reliable daily driver on public roads. It’ll handle lighter terrain like sand or mud in a pinch, but nothing rougher than that. 

Hardpacked surfaces are way out of the tire’s comfort zone, both in terms of durability and performance. If that’s what you’re looking for, you need to look at all-terrain tires like the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2.

Ride Quality

This is where the General AltiMAX RT43 shines. It’s one of the most comfortable tires you could get for your car. The technologies mentioned in the first half of this review seem to be highly effective at suppressing cabin noise and ironing out the road’s imperfections even at high speed. 

Conclusion — Should You Get It?

Yes. If comfort and quietness are all that matter to you and you’re somewhat on a budget, the General AltiMAX RT43 is a perfect choice!