In Germany, ACE Lenkrad is the official magazine of Auto Club Europe, the second largest automobile club in the country with more than 620,000 members. This year, to prepare winter, it has decided to compare the performances of 9 winter tyres and 3 all season tyres in the size 185/65 R15:
Bridgestone Blizzak LM001
Continental WinterContact TS 860
Dunlop Winter Response 2
Goodyear UltraGrip 9
Kenda Wintergen 2 KR501
Kumho WinterCraft WP51
Nexen Winguard Snow G WH2
Nokian WR D4
Pirelli Cinturato Winter
Michelin CrossClimate +
Note that Michelin was not part of the winter tyre line up since the Alpin 6 was not officially launched at the time of the test. The selected tyre size very is common on current compact vehicles such as the Opel Corsa, Volkswagen Polo or the Citroën C3. Today, all season tyres offer a real alternative to winter tyres. This is why ACE wanted to compare them with winter tyres in the same conditions. Each driving surface (snow, dry road, wet road) has the same weighting to find the most balanced tyre with the least compromise.
On snow, price isn’t everything
First surprise of the comparison test, of the 12 selected tyres the Kenda Wintergen 2 KR501 delivers the best performance on snow despite being the cheapest tyre in the line-up. But it quickly comes face to face with the reality, particularly in wet conditions where it requires 7 metres more than the best tyre to come to a standstill. In aquaplaning tests, the Chinese manufacturer’s tyre is even considered dangerous, hence the rating “recommended in certain conditions”.
The Pirelli Cinturato Winter obtains the same rating from ACE Lenkrad. The Italian manufacturer’s tyre is less efficient in dry conditions than its peers. At ease on wet roads, particularly in aquaplaning tests where it obtains the best results, it does not confirm this performance on snow due to low traction and fairly poor braking.
All season tyres offer a real alternative
Although the Michelin CrossClimate + all season tyre did not convince ACE for its use on snow or in wet conditions, it offers good arguments on dry roads. On this surface, it is the best of all the other tyres and remains in line with its positioning of a “summer tyre with winter capabilities”.
The Nexen Winguard Snow G WH2 is not exceptional but is quite well balanced. All the same, it remains average in wet conditions, particularly in aquaplaning tests.
The Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 has performances similar to those of the Nexen, but does better in aquaplaning tests. It delivers balanced performances but is slightly more expensive. In dry conditions, the Japanese manufacturer’s tyre shows high capabilities. It has the best braking performance on this surface.
The Kumho WinterCraft WP51 provides good wet safety performance, particularly in aquaplaning tests. On other surfaces, it offers balanced performances. It also stands out with its very competitive price.
The Dunlop Winter Response 2 is well balanced on all surfaces. Its has short braking distances on snow and on dry roads. A bit more expensive than the others, it compensates with the lowest rolling resistance.
The Nokian WeatherProof all seasons tyre is particularly efficient on wet roads where it is better than most winter tyres. If it shows some weaknesses on snow, it performs well in dry conditions. It has a very low rolling resistance compared with winter tyres which are naturally less “economical”
The Goodyear UltraGrip 9 has the second shortest braking distance on wet roads. It confirms its abilities on this surface in aquaplaning resistance tests where it is the most efficient. Equally good on dry roads, it is unable to stand out from the others on snow.
The Nokian WR D4 is at ease on all surfaces. On snow, it has short braking distances and delivers a high level of traction and good ride comfort. Good on dry roads, it also delivers good performances in wet conditions. Only drawback, braking distances are slightly longer than the others on wet roads.
The recently launched Continental AllSeasonContact all seasons tyre delivers very good performances in all test conditions. Only a little more expensive than winter tyres, its braking performance matches them in snow and on wet roads. On the driving side, it surprised ACE Lenkrad drivers with its handling, similar to the winter tyres taking part in the test. On dry roads, it is also at the same level as winter tyres. But, that is its weak point according to the magazine who expects an all season tyre to be more like a summer tyre on this surface. But in the context of this comparison test, it manages to steal the show.
The Continental WinterContact TS 860 largely dominates this comparison test. It delivers the shortest braking distances on dry and wet roads, but is only second on snow. Best tyre for handling on all surfaces. If you have to pay the price for this tyre, it is worthwhile according to ACE Lenkrad who can see no compromises.