The improvement in the quality of all-season tyres has supported their sustained growth in Europe. While the latest test by the DACH region’s leading auto clubs continued to characterise the product as an unrecommended compromise, German magazine ratings this year have been much less snooty about the segment. Joining the UK’s leading consumer testers in praising the latest generation of year-round fitments, was AutoBild, among the industry’s most coveted ratings, while the most recent Sportauto test gave six out of the seven candidates “good” or even “very good” overall grades. The test acknowledges the advantages of seasonal rubber via two Bridgestone control tyres, the Turanza T005 summer tyre and the Blizzak LM005, but also points out the “amazing qualities” of the seven test subjects on cold-wet and cold-dry roads. The seven all-season tyres were tested in size 225/45 R18 on a BMW 330i.
Tyre Reviews has made the newly released Goodyear Vector 4Season Gen-3 its 2020 All Season 17” Test winner. Putting nine all-season tyres in size 225/45 R17 through their paces at Goodyear’s testing facilities in Finnish Lapland and the south of France, tester Jonathan Benson gave additional recommendations to four further tyres: Hankook’s Kinergy 4S2 (second place) and the Continental AllSeasonContact (third) were given the review website’s Highly Recommended rating, while the Bridgestone Weather Control A005 (fourth) and Michelin CrossClimate+ (fifth) were Recommended. The weighting of different conditions is particularly relevant to all-season tyre tests, given the promise of functionality in a wide range of climate and road surface conditions. Tyre Reviews opted to award overall scores based on 30 per cent wet, 25 per cent dry, 25 per cent snow, 10 per cent noise and comfort, and 10 per cent rolling resistance. See below for the Tyre Reviews video of the 2020 All Season 17” test, and for additional comments on each of the nine tyres tested.
Construction and property maintenance specialist Princebuild is rolling out Michelin’s CrossClimate+ and Agilis CrossClimate tyres across its entire fleet of 180 cars and vans. The move will ensure its vehicles benefit from traction all year round; the Peterborough-based company made the decision to switch after a meeting with Michelin showed the statistics and improved safety its CrossClimate range of tyres could offer.
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”.
Michelin has launched a new CrossClimate tyre to take on the demanding conditions in which European van drivers increasingly operate. Having successfully rolled out the “summer tyre with winter capabilities” to the consumer market with two iterations of CrossClimates for cars and an SUV version, Michelin has extended the concept to light commercial operators with the Agilis CrossClimate. To mark its launch, Michelin demonstrated the tyre’s winter characteristics at a special test site in the French Alps. With the so-called Beast from the East providing the most extreme winter driving conditions the UK has seen in more than a decade as Tyres & Accessories goes to print, the appeal of products to handle such conditions while also suiting the mostly moderate climate in a market disinclined to fit winter tyres seems likely to receive at least a short-term boost.
Car service operator Addison Lee’s adoption of a Michelin CrossClimate+ policy, managed by Universal Tyre and Autocentres, has resulted in a reduction in its annual tyre bill of 20 per cent, the operator of the UK’s largest passenger car fleet states. Justin Patterson, head of operations at Addison Lee, says: “We’re currently fitting around 5,000 fewer tyres per year than we did prior to introducing the first CrossClimate tyres.”
Michelin’s latest tyres for the 4×4 segment exemplify the ongoing trend for the increasing focus on road handling characteristics, following the sustained strong growth of SUVs across Europe. While the manufacturer has extended its successful CrossClimate “summer tyre with winter capabilities” to the larger fitments required to supply the segment, the latest tyre from its off-road specialist brand BFGoodrich is the most indicative of this developmental direction. It states that the BFGoodrich Urban Terrain T/A is made for “taming the urban jungle,” offering increased toughness to SUV and urban crossover drivers.
The viability of a sustained winter tyre market in the UK has long been categorised as doubtful, with sales rarely climbing to 2 per cent. Meanwhile recent improvements in tyre technology and the introduction of products looking to change their perception, led by the Michelin CrossClimate’s success in the fleet market, have seen all-season tyres become an increasingly attractive proposition.
Each of the UK’s public sector ambulance services fits Michelin tyres on a first-choice policy. The 10 services in England have signed a first-choice policy, alongside those of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, each agreed under the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Supply and Fit Tyres framework. Michelin states that its products provide “long lasting performance and maximum safety,” while “helping to deliver better value for the taxpayer.”
The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust has fit Michelin’s CrossClimate+ to its 160-strong rapid response paramedic fleet of Škoda Octavias and Volkswagen Passats. The tyre is designed to match high performance summer competitors, but with winter capabilities, enhancing safety, longevity and durability.
Recognising the attractiveness of all-season tyres to the majority of the UK market, leading weekly magazine Auto Express has conducted its second comparative test of six products in the segment. Testing on the bestselling 17” size, 225/45R17, the magazine used the independent Test World facility, with support from Hankook, to test in snow, and Continental’s Contidrom to test in cold and wet conditions to represent winter, and dry conditions to represent summer. The full test also included two leading seasonal tyres, the Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1 winter tyre and the Continental ContiSportContact 5 summer tyre, which showed that all-season products continue to represent a compromise; however the performance gaps in the tests most relevant to UK drivers may surprise critics of year-round tyres.
The results table for the 2016 Auto Bild all-season tyre test saw last year’s winner and runner-up – the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons and Michelin CrossClimate – swap places. This occurrence means that this year’s size 205/55 R16 all-season tyre test was in fact won by a summer tyre, as Michelin considers its CrossClimate a summer fitment designed and legally approved for year-round use. Call it what you like, at any rate the Auto Bild team deemed the Michelin CrossClimate the pick of the ten-tyre bunch, and awarded it the test’s only ‘exemplary’ rating.