Aquaplaning beware – you have a new nemesis. Nokian Tyres has thrown down the gauntlet with its introduction of the Nokian Wetproof, a product it calls the “enemy of aquaplaning.” And while the Wetproof is a new member of the Nokian Tyres summer portfolio, it may help to think of it as an all-season tyre without specific snow and ice capabilities; Nokian has developed the Wetproof to “work safely and reliably from spring mornings to late autumn” in order to offer “steady performance and peace of mind for all three seasons.” Those wanting peace of mind in the fourth season are presumably welcome to fit winter tyres, preferably a Nokian product.
Another German car magazine’s summer tyre test has thrown in a handful of all-season tyres for good measure. Autozeitung evaluated a total of nine size 225/45 R17 tyres (W/Y speed rated and 91/94 load indices), six summer and three all-season products. Fitted to a Seat Leon, the tyres were tested in both wet and dry disciplines, with a maximum 150 points up for grabs in each of these.
Summer tyres share the limelight with all-season tyres in the latest test from Gute Fahrt. The German car magazine has evaluated the merits of nine V-speed rated size 205/55 R16 summer tyres and, perhaps for those who’ve noticed that winter isn’t quite over yet, three all-season products that are also approved for speeds of up to 149mph or 240km/h. The tyres were mounted on Volkswagen Group cars – the VW Golf, Seat Leon and Skoda Oktavia – for testing, and this was carried out at the Pirelli proving ground in Vizzola, near Milan. Testing covered the usual criteria – braking and handling in the wet and dry, aquaplaning, wet circular track performance as well as characteristics such as rolling resistance, comfort and noise.
It may be early in the year, but thanks to Auto Bild the first summer tyre test results from Europe are already with us. The German car magazine has stuck with its jumbo-sized format and evaluated a wide field of contenders for its 2018 summer test, with lower-performing tyres eliminated in a qualification round. Results from this initial round have now been released.
A new Fulda summer ultra-high performance tyre, the SportControl 2, is now available, and Goodyear says this latest generation product provides “enhanced performance on wet and dry roads.” The tyre maker also speaks of “high quality German technology at a wallet-friendly price” that doesn’t compromise on performance.
For this year’s summer tyre test, German motoring organisation ADAC, together with its Austrian and Swiss partners, evaluated a total of 31 tyre models – 16 size 195/65 R15 91V tyres were fitted to a VW Golf for testing, while 15 size 215/65 R16 98H products were evaluated using a VW Tiguan. Most tests were performed by ADAC personnel at facilities owned by Bridgestone and Continental.
Hot on the heels of the news that Michelin’s year-round summer tyre (the CrossClimate) has beaten all-season tyres at their own game in a magazine tyre test (see “Summer tyre wins all-season test”, which reports on the ADAC test originally published on 22 September), Michelin previewed the next generation of its category-defying product – the CrossClimate+ at the Paris Motor Show at the start of October. In addition to the original product’s unique summer-tyre-with-a-three-peaks-mountain-snowflake qualification, the latest version is said to improve winter performance and consistent whole tread life performance. This latter point picks up on what appears to be an increasingly important theme to Michelin – that tyres should performs consistently well through right up to the 1.6mm legal tread depth limit (see “Michelin reaffirms opposition to 3mm replacement” for more on this).
ZC Rubber (Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., Ltd) has introduced an upgraded version of its SV308 summer tyre. Called the SA57, the new product is available in 33 passenger car and nine SUV sizes, and is said to offer a ten per cent shorter wet braking distance than the previous generation tyre, along with five per cent improved wet handling, three per cent better dry handling, three per cent less noise and two per cent less rolling resistance.
While winter tyres are still more or less a niche product in the UK – Bridgestone says only around eight per cent of motorists drive on winter tyres – across Europe this figure is much higher. A number of drivers succumb to the temptation of keeping their winter tyres fitted all year round, and doing so is perfectly legal – yet few realise the extent to which this can compromise their vehicle’s braking performance.
In the introduction to its 2016 summer tyre test, Auto Bild comments that the range of tyres on offer has never been as large as it is today, and this abundance of choice can be overwhelming for drivers. The publication wishes to “shed light” on the current crop of tyres on the market, and thus assigned its testers the task of evaluating no less than 50 size 205/55 R16V tyres for compact cars.
In addition to publishing a test of 15-inch tyres for small and compact cars, German motoring organisation the ADAC has tested the popular 225/45 R 17 Y fitment, a size often found on mid-sized saloons and estates such as the Audi A4, VW Golf, BMW 3 Series, Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and Toyota Avensis. The ADAC used a VW Golf 7 to evaluate the 16 participating tyres and evaluated them on how they performed in a range of dry and wet surface criteria, as well as their rolling resistance, noise/comfort and wear characteristics.
Our neighbours in Germany are gearing up for the seasonal changeover to summer tyres, and every year this rush to swap to the warm weather rubber is accompanied by a rash of tyre tests. ACE and GTÜ were two of the first to release their comparative summer tyre evaluations, and now high-profile German motoring organisation the ADAC has published tests of two different tyre sizes – the smaller of the two tested dimensions is size 185/65 R 15 H, a tyre suitable for small and compact cars. The ADAC tested 16 tyres in this size.
A successor to Nokian Tyres’ AA label-rated eLine will come to market this spring. The Nokian eLine 2 summer range repeats the prior model’s feat of achieving the top rating in the European tyre label’s wet grip and fuel efficiency categories, and is said to be the product of “nearly four years of development and extensive field testing” in Germany, Finland and Spain.
On 2 March, at the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show, Michelin launched its CrossClimate tyre. You could be forgiven for calling this tyre as an “all-season” product, however Michelin executives are emphatic that it is not one. Instead it is being pitched as something of a paradigm shift – both for the the French manufacturer, which has repeatedly positioned itself as a staunch supporter of seasonal summer/winter swaps, and for the market in general. Instead Michelin is positioning the CrossClimate as a tyre tuned for European markets with more temperate climates. The United Kingdom and its growing all-season tyre market is undoubtedly one region the tyre maker has in mind for the CrossClimate, however the strategy and the implications of it latest offering go far wider than just the UK alone.