For its latest SUV winter tyres test, Auto Bild has chosen the popular 235/60 R18 size for SUVs / 4x4s, this time tested on an Audi Q5. If the selected tyres seem to be the traditional line-up, the German magazine invited a tyre from a lesser known brand: Achilles. You will see that this Indonesian tyre brand, with its entry level positioning, surprised Auto Bild with its performances. The list of winter SUV tyres tested:
Auto Bild decided to test a summer tyre (not approved by German law in winter) alongside the 10 winter tyres. If it managed to hold its own in dry and wet conditions, it was a complete fiasco on snow. Where the weakest winter tyre braked from 50 km/h to a standstill in 31.2 metres, the summer tyre required 81.7 metres to do the same.
Even the worst winter tyre is correct
The Toyo Snowprox S954 SUV may well be the weakest tyre of this comparison test, it still delivers good performances according to Auto Bild. It offers stable handling and convinces with its low price. Braking distances are relatively long in wet conditions but are still acceptable. However, on snow it is less efficient than the other tyres due to a slow steering response and reduced lateral guidance.
The Firestone Destination Winter is at ease in all winter conditions despite its low purchase price. However, its braking distances are too long for Auto Bild who also note a tendency to understeer. It also has low ride comfort.
The Achilles W101 X is the “surprise” guest of this Auto Bild test. If the magazine did not have high hopes for this Indonesian tyre, it was pleasantly surprised by its winter performances. It costs just over half the price of a Michelin tyre – the 4 tyres cost Auto Bild 350€ versus 675€ for the Latitude Alpin 2 – and yet it manages to hold its own. Although its steering response is sometimes slow and it understeers in the wet, Auto Bild drivers never found themselves in difficulty. However, its price must be put into perspective since it has the highest rolling resistance which in the long term means higher fuel consumption.
For the Michelin Latitude Alpin 2, its high rolling resistance is surprising, almost as high as the Achilles Indonesian tyre, despite its high base price. Although its dry braking distances are considered to be too long, it largely makes up for this on other surfaces. Stable and safe in the wet and snow, it also had a good steering response on these surfaces.
The Nokian WR SUV 4 has been named the “Winter King” by Auto Bild with its excellent handling and braking performance on snow and ice. If its price is fairly high, it compensates with a very low rolling resistance. All the same, it has a slow steering response in dry conditions, and to a lesser extent in wet conditions. It remains very efficient in aquaplaning tests.
Sporty as its name indicates, the Dunlop Winter Sport 5 SUV delivers dynamic handling in the wet. Its short braking distances and high resistance to aquaplaning also makes it a very safe tyre. Performance is a bit below par on snow and it is quite expensive.
The Fulda Krystall Control SUV has many advantages, especially with regard to its relatively low price. The very efficient winter tread design ensures well balanced performances. Its very good snow traction is offset by a weaker handling performance on this surface. Providing high aquaplaning safety, it also delivers short braking distances in wet and dry conditions.
The Continental WinterContact TS 850 P SUV is very convincing on snow and ice with the shortest braking distance on this surface. Dynamic and sporty handling in the wet, where it also has the shortest braking distance, it has one of the lowest rolling resistances of this comparison test. It just lacks consistency in dry conditions to do better in this test.
Tie for the top spot
The Pirelli Scorpion Winter and Goodyear UltraGrip Performance SUV Gen-1 tie for the top spot in the Auto Bild ranking. The Pirelli tyre is well balanced with the best wet handling result and second best for dry handling where it also has the shortest braking distances. If you decide to dip into your wallet to buy this tyre, it is worth the investment thanks to its rolling resistance, the lowest of all the tyres tested. Auto Bild underlines its steering precision and dynamic handling.
As for the Goodyear tyre, Auto Bild simply points out it is slightly noisy. For the rest, it provides excellent handling in all conditions and has a direct steering response. Far from being the most expensive tyre tested, it is systematically one of the 3 tyres with the shortest braking distance whether in dry, wet or snowy conditions.
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