With so many all-season and winter tyres now available for the colder months, it is essential these products deliver what they promise. Comparative tests are an invaluable tool for discovering a tyre’s particular strengths and weaknesses, and we’ve ranked the best from this year’s European and UK testing.
The tyre boffins at Auto Bild have been busy of late, evaluating no fewer than 56 products for their 2022 winter test. After looking at the size 255/55 R17 tyres’ braking performance in wet and snowy conditions, Auto Bild selected the 20 with the shortest average stopping distances and subjected these to further testing on dry, wet and snow-covered surfaces and also examined their comfort, noise, mileage and rolling resistance. The motoring publication declared two tyres joint test winners and gave five products the highest ‘exemplary’ rating.
It’s not every day that Michelin finishes last in a tyre test, but this was the case when Auto Express recently examined half a dozen winter tyres. But tester Kim Adams assures that the Alpin 6 is by no means a poor performer – instead, the result reflects the high standards amongst the tyres featured in this year’s test.
The winter tyre tests conducted by European motoring associations this year include several recommendable, solidly performing products, as well as a few poor results. Testers looked at 33 tyres in the small car size 185/65 R15 and SUV fitment 215/60 R16. Reporting the results, they particularly encourage buyers to “take a close look at braking distances and wear” before choosing a tyre.
Last month, Gute Fahrt published the first half of its latest all-season tyre test, remarking that the seven candidates didn’t handle wet and dry summery conditions as ably as the best summer tyres. As for how they fared in the snow, the motoring publication decided to test our patience and made us wait another four weeks before telling us. The time has come, and the news is both good and not great.
Bridgestone’s newest ultra-high performance tyre, the Potenza Sport offered the best results in wet and dry performance in the latest Auto Express tyre test. The tyre was able to make the most of its home field advantage as the magazine used Bridgestone’s Aprilla proving ground, just besting Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 by 0.5 per cent. Another notable result was the third-place finish of the Maxxis Victra Sport 5, which adds to a growing list of test successes proving that the brand is increasingly able to hold its own against the traditional premium brands. The test was conducted on the biggest selling 18” tyre size, 225/40R18 92Y. This UHP tyre test of seven products was split from the “UUHP mini test” of three of the highest-performing road tyre products, won by the new Continental SportContact 7. For the UHP test, Auto Express weighted its results to reflect UK driving needs: wet tests counted for 50 per cent of the final mark, dry 40 per cent, and the remaining 10 per cent on noise, fuel economy and price.
Continental is launching its new PremiumContact 7 into the European markets in autumn 2022. According to Continental AG’s Hanover headquarters, improved handling, braking ability and driving comfort are said to be the key features of the new tyre.
It was no mistake that Gute Fahrt published just half a new all-season tyre test in its August issue. The German motoring magazine for fans of Volkswagen Group vehicles decided to focus on tyre performance relevant to summer driving in the current magazine, and is making its reader wait until September to find out how lower temperatures and the presence of snow and ice alter the story.
With a grand total of three contenders, the latest comparative evaluation from Auto Express may be able to claim kudos for being the smallest tyre test ever. The motoring publication examined the new SportContact 7 in size 235/35ZR19 91 Y at Continental’s Ulvade providing ground in the USA, fitting the tyres to a VW Golf GTI and pitting them against two rivals from the ultra-ultra-high-performance segment, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S and the Pirelli P Zero PZ4.
In its recent test of ten summer tyres in the performance size 245/40 R19 98Y, Auto Bild reports that an original equipment tyre tested “by chance” alongside the aftermarket models delivered an “alarming result” in the wet braking test. Elaborating on this strongly worded evaluation, the motoring magazine explains that the OE specification tyre had been tweaked for optimally low rolling resistance – and thus minimal fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – at the expense of stopping distance on wet roads.
On 24 April 2022, the State Administration for Market Regulation of China announced the sampling inspection results of transportation products in 2021. Among the 24 batches of tyre products randomly checked by government departments, there were two batches of what are referred to as “unqualified products”, with a resulting failure rate of 8.3 per cent. In 2019 and 2020, the failure rate of the tyre product sampling inspection was 2 per cent and 0 per cent respectively.
Leading German motoring magazine Auto Bild has named Goodyear its summer tyre manufacturer of the year. It announced this honour in the 13 April 2022 edition of Auto Bild (issue 15/2022) after declaring the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 winner and eco champion in its main summer 2022 tyre test and the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 victor in its high-performance test. Partner publication Auto Bild Allrad also voted the EfficientGrip 2 SUV joint winner of its summer test.
During the past couple of months, we’ve followed the performances of just under 200 tyre models and sizes in comparative tests published by major car magazines, specialist tyre sites and motoring organisations. The results suggest that replacement tyre buyers are spoiled for choice, with the test experts giving 41 of the products – including some affordably-priced models – a rating of ‘very good’ or better. At the other end of the scale, they considered 16 tyres ‘not recommendable’.
When we published German motoring association ACE’s coverage of the tyre test it jointly undertook with Austrian counterpart ARBÖ, we commented that there were “no bad tyres” in the size 195/55 R16 evaluation. The ARBÖ begs to differ, as it has consigned two tyres to the undesirable ‘not recommendable’ category.
Safe, efficient motoring shouldn’t be the preserve of the wealthy, and anyone seeking excellent value can find this amongst the compact cars available today. The same applies when it comes to the tyres that these cars wear. To help drivers find good but affordable footwear, European motoring associations ACE and ARBÖ, together with vehicle monitoring organisation GTÜ, looked at the popular small car tyre dimension 195/55 R16.