WHAT ARE THE BEST WINTER TYRES FOR COMPACT SUVS? THE AUTO MOTOR UND SPORT TEST
The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport has published its ranking of the best winter tyres for compact SUVs. The test was conducted on eleven tyres which were put through their paces on fresh snow in the north of Finland. Tyre comparison tests that can help you choose the most suitable tyre for winter conditions, to drive your SUV safely.
Whether the vehicle is a compact or a crossover, SUVs are very popular in the country and in towns. The Volkswagen T-Roc, a very fashionable compact SUV in urban areas, was used to test the winter tyres.
For this comparison test, Auto Motor und Sport chose the size 215 55 R17 which offers a wide selection of tyres:
Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
Continental TS 850 P
Giti Winter W1
Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Plus
Hankook i*cept evo2
Falken Eurowinter HS01
Michelin Alpin 6
Nokian WR Snowproof
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
Toyo Snowprox S954
Vredestein Wintrac Pro
The performances of each tyre were assessed in a test centre in the north of Finland for the tests in snow conditions, then in the north of Germany for braking, aquaplaning, noise and handling tests.
SUV winter tyre test: opinion on the Nokian WR Snowproof
Despite results which were quite satisfactory, the Nokian WR Snowproof tyre finished last in the test due to unbalanced performances, depending on the driving conditions. It proved to be safe and easy to control on snow and in dry conditions. However, wet braking and grip were less reliable. The tyres were also very sensitive to load changes, i.e.: the load distribution on the wheels of the car changes and can be felt when braking, accelerating or in curves. This assessment criterion can be prohibitive for the magazine.
SUV winter tyre test: opinion on the Giti Winter W1
The Giti Winter W1 tyre stands out with its good grip in dry conditions and its short dry braking distances. On snow, it’s another story. Braking distances are longer and it delivers less grip. The vehicle seems difficult to control in wet conditions and tends to understeer. In terms of price, it is the cheapest tyre of those tested but its mixed performances places it at the bottom of the ranking.
SUV winter tyre test: opinion on the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
With balanced performances, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 tyre delivers a pleasant sporty drive in dry conditions. Likewise, it scores points with its good balance of performances in wet and snowy conditions. However, it accumulates weaknesses with long braking distances in snow and in the wet. Traction could be more efficient and the tyre tends to slide in aquaplaning situations.
SUV winter tyre test: opinion on the Toyo Snowprox S954
In this test, Toyo reveals winter tyres delivering a sporty and stable ride, but which lack grip in tight bends. The Snowprox S954 delivers braking distances which are slightly long on dry and wet surfaces and it tends to oversteer when cornering on wet roads.
SUV winter tyre test: opinion on the Falken Eurowinter HS01
Delivering excellent grip when cornering and accelerating, the Falken Eurowinter HS01 also provides good braking performance on snow and good aquaplaning protection. However, the car tends to slide due to a lack of grip in wet conditions. For dry cornering grip, its performance is limited. The Falken Eurowinter HS01 is a mid-range tyre on snow, but not as good in wet conditions.
SUV tyre test: opinion on the Hankook i*Cept evo2
The strengths of the Hankook i*Cept evo2 tyre are snow traction and handling and it is defined as being dynamic and sporty. It seems strong on dry roads and is very quiet. However, its weaknesses are braking distances that are too long in dry conditions. Its rolling resistance is not convincing either.
SUV winter tyre test: opinion on the Michelin Alpin 6
The Michelin Alpin 6 tyre remains a high end product which provides a good level of safety on dry roads and when cornering in wet conditions. It interacts well with Electronic Stability Programs (ESP, ABS…) commonly known as driving aids.
But, it lacks some assurance when braking on snow and in wet conditions. According to the Auto Motor und Sport magazine, this tyre provides good performance on dry surfaces but is limited in winter conditions.
SUV tyre test: opinion on the Continental TS 850 P
Although the tyre has already been available for five years, the Continental TS 850 P tyre still delivers good all-round performance. It is stable and dynamic, even on snow. The tyre offers predictable handling which ensures good vehicle control in rain and even when understeering in dry weather.
However, it strikes a sour note with a less efficient performance when braking on snow and in dry conditions, since it is now overtaken by other tyres using more recent technology.
SUV tyre test: opinion on the Vredestein Wintrac Pro
We now reach the podium with third place for the Vredestein Wintrac Pro tyre. Very sporty, it offers a fast steering response with high grip, particularly when cornering on wet and dry surfaces. It delivers good traction on snow, but compared with more efficient tyres in winter, its braking distances are slightly longer on snowy roads. Likewise, the tyre’s rolling resistance is a bit high.
SUV tyre test: opinion on the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
Second place goes to the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 tyre which stands out with its very precise steering response on wet and snow covered roads. It is easy for the driver to understand the reactions when loads change thanks to the stability of the tyres. Braking distances are very short and give the driver a good feeling of security. Its weak point? It feels a little less secure when braking and cornering on dry surfaces.
SUV tyre test: opinion on the Goodyear Ultragrip Performance Plus
Auto Motor und Sport declares the Goodyear Ultragrip Performance Plus tyre to be the winner of the compact SUVs winter tyre test. Thanks to its very reliable performance, it is easy to control when loads change, easy to handle on snow and on wet roads which makes it pleasant to drive. It also provides a certain level of security with short braking distances and maximum grip on snow and wet surfaces. The seamless and balanced interaction with driving aids makes driving much easier. Its only drawback, during a sporty drive it lacks grip when cornering hard on dry surfaces.
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