Auto Zeitung 2021: All-Season Tire Test R16

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The German magazine tested all-season tires in a popular size, evaluating, among other things, the correlation between grip and the ambient temperature.

List of models tested:

All-season tires save your time and money, and those who use the same set of tires all year round do not need to wait in line for the seasonal tire swap, and do not need to worry about finding space for storing the extra set of tires. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that in Europe this type of tires is growing ever more popular. At the same time, the experts remind us that all-season tires are not the best choice for any region and any type of car, and those who live in the northern latitudes or drive fast powerful cars still need to have their tires replaced twice a year. On the other hand, for the owners of compact cars, who cover a moderate mileage during the year and live in regions with a milder climate, the all-season tires may become a good alternative, which was one of the reasons why tires of this category were tested by the Auto Zeitung experts this year.

The manufacturers of all-season tires pursue different approaches, but, on the most general level, one can say that such tires fall into two major categories: winter tires adapted for summer conditions, and summer tires adapted for winter conditions. For example, a tire with large tread blocks is better suited for tarmac, while a tire with a large number of sipes is more likely to have a better snow grip. Another important factor is the tread compound that must stay supple at low temperatures, i.e. be soft enough, yet at the same time be wear resistant in summer. In order to estimate how the tires would perform at different temperatures, AZ conducted two series of tests on dry and wet pavement — at more than 20 and at less than 10 degrees Celsius. The tires were also tested on snow, and finding such an opportunity was quite a difficult task, but help came from Nokian that organized the snow tests in the indoor Test World facility in Ivalo, where such tests can be conducted even in summer.

Vehicle overview of the dimension 205/55 R16
Manufacturer Model series
Audi                 A3
BMW               1 Series, 2 Series Coupé / Cabrio
Dacia              Sandero      
Fiat               500L, Bravo, Stilo, Croma
Ford                   Focus, C-Max, Mondeo  
Honda              Civic, FR-V, Accord  
Hyundai  ix20, i30
Kia  Cee'd, Soul, Venga
Mazda 3, 5, 6
Mercedes  A-, B-, C-Class, CLA
Opel  Astra, Zafira, Vectra
Peugeot  2008, 307, 308
Renault  Mégane, Scénic, Laguna
Seat  Leon, Toledo, Exeo
Skoda  Octavia, Superb, Yeti
Toyota  Auris, Corolla, Avensis
Volvo  S40, S60, V40, V50, V70
Volkswagen  Beetle, Eos, Golf, Jetta, Passat, Scirocco, Touran 

Nine tire models were selected, all of which sported a 3PMSF sign; the test pool included Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo, Maxxis Premitra All Season AP3, Nokian Seasonproof and Vredestein Quatrac, Continental AllSeasonContact, Falken Euroall Season AS210, Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3, Hankook Kinergy 4S2, and Michelin CrossClimate+.

Snow

The best tires on snow were Continental and Nokian, even though the Hankook tire unexpectedly scored first place in the handling test. The worst snow grip was demonstrated by the Bridgestone and Maxxis models.

Wet

The tests on tarmac were conducted in two temperature modes, and their results prove that a lot of tires significantly change their performance as the temperature drops or rises. At the same time, however, there are tires that offer a consistent performance, and the Hankook tire, for example, was able to score the high second place in both hydroplaning resistance tests. The Hankook model was also the quickest to stop the car on wet pavement in the cold test but, as the temperature rose, it quickly dropped to the third place counting from the end, i.e. this tire is also temperature-sensitive. The best performance in this area was demonstrated by the Bridgestone model.

In the wet handling test conducted at the higher temperature, the balance of power changed almost completely, and it was only the Goodyear model that was able to retain its position because this tire performs equally well at any temperature. On the circular track, where the tire’s side slip resistance was evaluated, Vredestein was the best, while the Nokian tires had a few issues at both temperatures.

Dry

In the cold weather, the tire that was the quickest to stop the car on dry pavement was the Michelin model, which in the warm test only came fifth. At the same time, the Falken tire demonstrated a consistently low braking efficiency. In the handling test, the last places in both temperature modes were scored by the Nokian model, while Michelin was recognized to be the best. The Nokian model was also the worst on the slalom track, while the Bridgestone tire, which scored the last-but-one place in the cold test, quickly jumped to the second place as the temperature rose.

The external noise level was also evaluated in two temperature modes, the quietest being the Goodyear model, the loudest Falken. The Goodyear model also has good fuel saving capabilities; the only tire with a still lower rolling resistance was Nokian. The worst tires by this parameter were Falken and Maxxis.

Results

In this season, the Michelin CrossClimate+ will be replaced by the new CrossClimate 2, whose European premiere took place on September 2, but will still be produced in the most popular sizes — although now this is a previous-generation model, it demonstrated quite a decent performance in the recent tests. Although its snow traction and lateral grip could have been better, on dry pavement the Michelin tire quickly stops the car, demonstrates good grip in corners, and generally ensures a good level of safety regardless of the tarmac temperature. At the same time, in the wet test the Michelin model was much more temperature-sensitive, and in the warm weather the grip threshold was achieved relatively early, while the cold weather the efficiency of the tires kept rising (particularly on the front axis), and in these conditions this model was one of the best on test. At the same time, it has weak hydroplaning resistance, straight and lateral alike, and we can only hope that the successor will improve on the predecessor’s performance. One way or another, the Michelin model still received a «Highly Recommended» verdict, so the bar still was raised very high.

205/55 R16 winter tire test summary Auto Zeitung, 2021. Places 1–9. Click to enlarge.
205/55 R16 winter tire test summary Auto Zeitung, 2021. Places 1–9. Click to enlarge.

The performance of the Falken Euroall Season AS210 is the direct opposite of the Michelin model because this tire performs at its absolute best in the warm weather, but, once the temperature drops, the tire’s braking performance declines, as well as lateral stability. On the whole, the Falken model showed rather weak results because of poor dry traction, and even the decent snow performance did not help it to score a higher place.

Falken Euroall Season AS210
Falken Euroall Season AS210

The Hankook Kinergy 4S2 ensures rather good traction on snow and dry pavement, but at low temperature it had an excessively long wet braking distance. In turn, the Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo model was weak on snow, but still received a «Highly Recommended» verdict (in spite of the fact that it scored the same number of points as the Hankook tire, which did not get this status), because regardless of the outside temperature it delivered excellent wet traction, which you could expect from the only tire on test with an «A» grade by this parameter in the Euro label. Another tire that stopped the car as fast on dry pavement was the Bridgestone model, but it had stronger rolling resistance.

Hankook Kinergy 4S2
Hankook Kinergy 4S2

The Nokian Seasonproof was very effective on snow but it ultimately scored only the seventh place because of poor wet traction, while the last line of the tournament bracket was scored by the Maxxis Premitra All Season AP3 tire, which has good hydroplaning resistance and had excellent grip at a low temperature but that about wraps it up for its strong sides. The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 performed much better and it actually had no prominent issues at all, even though the dry braking performance could have been better. The Goodyear model showed excellent results on snow; it also had low rolling resistance, and it scored third place in the final standings.

Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3
Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3

Eventually, the test was won by the Continental AllSeasonContact and Vredestein Quatrac, which differ significantly in their characteristics. While the Continental model with its numerous sipes delivered excellent snow performance, the Vredestein tire scored a lot of points on tarmac, particularly in the wet. The Quatrac model behaves predictably at the grip limit, and it also has low rolling resistance and an attractive price, while the Continental tires are very balanced and, although they were not the best in the tests on dry and wet pavement, they were always close to the leaders. At the same time, the Continental model was one of the most expensive tires on test, the only tire that is more expensive in Germany being the Michelin CrossClimate+.

1st place: Continental / AllSeasonContact
Quick Take
89 63

Continental AllSeasonContact

Price/Quality Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Handling Dry Performance Treadwear Comfort
  • Available Sizes in Line: 134
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+
Continental AllSeasonContact
  • Well-balanced performance
  • Good results on snow, dry and wet pavement
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Highly recommended

1st place: Vredestein / Quatrac
Quick Take
91 41
Comfort Handling Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Vredestein Quatrac
  • Excellent results on wet and dry pavement
  • Acceptable safety on snow
  • Good price/quality ratio
  • Highly recommended

3rd place: Goodyear / Vector 4Seasons Gen-3
Quick Take
92 58

Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3

Handling Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3
  • Good results on wet and dry pavement
  • Acceptable safety on snow
  • Low rolling resistance
  • Good riding comfort
  • Highly recommended

4th place: Michelin / CrossClimate+
Quick Take
83 71
Wet Performance Dry Performance Comfort Handling Price/Quality Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire replaced Michelin / CrossClimate
  • Available Sizes in Line: 122
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Citroën E-Mehari [2016 .. 2019]
    • • Peugeot 3008
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, China
Michelin CrossClimate+
  • Good results on wet and dry pavement
  • Acceptable safety on snow
  • Low hydroplaning resistance
  • Highly recommended

5th place: Bridgestone / Weather Control A005 Evo
Quick Take
82 57

Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo

Price/Quality Wet Performance Dry Performance Handling Comfort Snow/Ice Performance Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe
Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo
  • Excellent traction on wet and dry pavement regardless of the temperature
  • Good riding comfort
  • Weak snow performance
  • Highly recommended

5th place: Hankook / Kinergy 4S 2 H750
Quick Take
80 52

Hankook Kinergy 4S 2 H750

Comfort Treadwear Dry Performance Wet Performance
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Hankook Kinergy 4S 2 H750
  • Great snow grip
  • Good results on dry pavement in warm weather
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Insufficient handling response in the wet

7th place: Nokian / Seasonproof
Quick Take
75 37
Comfort Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance
  • Available Sizes in Line: 46
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Nokian Seasonproof
  • Very good snow performance
  • Very low rolling resistance
  • Insufficient grip on dry and wet pavement

8th place: Falken / EuroAll Season AS210
Quick Take
79 46

Falken EuroAll Season AS210

Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Dry Performance Handling Treadwear Comfort Price/Quality
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Falken EuroAll Season AS210
  • Excellent performance on wet pavement in warm weather
  • Good results on snow
  • As temperature drops, the wet and dry grip deteriorates

9th place: Maxxis / Premitra All Season AP3
Quick Take
69 42

Maxxis Premitra All Season AP3

  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Maxxis Premitra All Season AP3
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Short braking distance on dry pavement
  • Weak overall traction
  • High rolling resistance

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