Déjà vu aplenty in this year’s Auto Express all-season tyre test. The publication returned to the 205/55R16 size it last looked at in 2019, and the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 that participated in the test two years ago was back as a contender in 2021. Same tester, same tyre, same size. But this is where the similarities end; whereas the Hankook tyre finished seventh in the 2019 test, this year it won.
After a Covid-enforced delay, Auto Express has published its 2021 Summer Tyre Test, with Hankook leading a list of nine top tyre brands. Each of the nine tyres displayed strengths in at least one of the test segments. The UK magazine used Continental’s Contidrom proving ground near Hanover in Germany to conduct its objective performance tests, enlisting the help of a local independent tyre tester to get around travel restrictions in the country before verifying the results. The problems of testing tyres in Europe with rules around travel in flux also affected the way Auto Express was able to get tyres to the proving ground; rather than acquire tyres on the open market, it asked manufacturers to send sets, verifying the test-topping tyres against regular production models after the fact. The magazine used the size 225/45 R17, as it had previously in 2018 – a very popular UK size for compact to medium-sized family cars, and in this case one fitted to the tyre test mainstay Volkswagen Golf.
Continental has collected silverware in the Auto Express Product Awards 2021, with its AllSeasonContact winning the all-season tyre category. The tyre maker states that gaining the Best All-Season Tyre award “highlights how committed Continental is to providing drivers with the safest and top-performing choice all year round.”
With sales of all-season tyres being one of the good news stories of an otherwise challenging year, at the end of November Auto Express published its latest test comparing the performance of leading year-round tyres. Continental’s AllSeasonContact was the outright winner, but Goodyear’s Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 and Hankook Kinergy 4S2 were not far behind it in second and third place respectively.
Bridgestone’s Blizzak LM005 tyre has won the Auto Express Winter Tyre Test 2020 beating 205/55 R16 tyres from seven other manufacturers to the top of the table. Auto Express cited the tyre’s performance in the wet as a key factor. The tyre, which boasts an ‘A’ tyre label grade for wet grip across the full range, has secured Bridgestone’s first Auto Express test win and follows on from a series of improved results in recent times. However, there were strong performances from Hankook’s Winter i*cept RS2 (2nd) and Michelin’s Alpin 6 (3rd). At the same time, we have to note that Hankook Goodyear and Dunlop each won individual categories as well as Bridgestone, of course. Looking forward, Continental’s TS 870 has to be described as the one that got away because it’s market-beating performance couldn’t be counted owing to the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the new tyre’s release for a year.
Long-term reliability issues are the biggest worry for more than half of today’s car buyers, despite most drivers having overwhelmingly positive long-term ownership experiences in the real world. But, according to analysis by the online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk, more than a third of car buyers report zero worries when changing their vehicle.
The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns mean that sales of car tyres especially have sustained a harsh blow around the world. But as measures introduced to halt the spread of COVID-19 begin to be eased, motorists will steadily begin to use their cars again, increasing demand. In the car tyre sector, high value, ultra-high performance segments could prove vital, as better potential margins offer attractive opportunities for increasing cashflow quicker. The other side of that coin is that motorists’ finances are also under pressure, putting the price they pay for their car tyres under even greater scrutiny. Could this, therefore, present an opportunity for mid-range brands to make a case for their products, offering more palatable performance compromises compared with premium rivals than the lowest-priced brands?
Auto Express given a big thumbs up to the latest Philips workshop lamp, the RCH 25. The RCH25 brings various key features to the workshop lamp sector, most notably, an adjustable light output to match the particular needs of a specific task.
Night Breaker Laser, the next generation of automotive upgrade halogen bulbs from OSRAM, have outshone competition by being named the Auto Express Best Buy Car Headlamp Bulb 2019. Key features include the bulb’s laser ablation technology and the highly engineered filament. They enable the bulb to shine up to 150 per cent brighter, while providing a beam of up to 150 metres and 20 per cent whiter light compared to the minimum legal standard.
The team at Tyrepress.com view independent tyre tests as an invaluable consumer purchasing tool. We will therefore follow the new licensing partnership between Auto Express and Auto Bild with interest, particularly in regards to how it influences both publications’ approach to tyre testing.
Philips’ RacingVision headlight bulb, developed by Lumileds, has been named Auto Express Headlight Bulb of the Year 2019 during the magazine’s annual product awards ceremony. Philips RacingVision has an illustrious history of winning Auto Express awards; most recently, it scooped the Best of Test accolade in 2016, Headlight Bulb of the Year 2017, Best of Test 2018 and now this year’s Headlight Bulb of the Year.
Continental has commented on its victory in the Auto Express winter tyre test, which represented a third in the three years since the WinterContact TS 860’s launch. The manufacturer said that summer and winter tyre test victories in 2018 are “an excellent endorsement for Continental’s continued ambition to improve driver safety as part of our VisionZero initiative.”
Continental’s WinterContact TS 860 has won its third consecutive Auto Express winter tyre test. The tyre beat strong competition from major manufacturers, most notably Hankook, whose Winter i*cept RS2 received a “commended” rating in second place, in a test tweaked this year “to better reflect UK driving conditions”. Outside the winter tyre competition, Auto Express also commented that the all-season control tyre, the Michelin CrossClimate+, not only finished close to the top in dry and wet tests, but was also only behind Hankook’s star performer in the snow – a result Auto Express described as “remarkable”.
Trico has received a 4-star rating in the Auto Express Best Wiper Blades: 2018 group test, for its Exact Fit and Flex ranges – securing two of the top five spots. Auto Express tested eleven blades, looking for a clean wipe. Noise was measured, while testing in the dry, ease of fitment and price were also taken into account.
Continental has scooped top spots in the Auto Express tyre awards 2017 for both its summer and winter products. The Continental ContiPremiumContact 5, and the WinterContact TS 860, both successfully took first place.