When it comes to buying a new set of tires, the motorists oftentimes proceed from the results shown by their favorite models in comparative tire tests. Every year, lots of independent testing organizations and industry publications around the world conduct comparative tests that help the consumers to find the safest tire models on the market. We, in turn, based on the results of numerous tire tests, name the best of them.
In today’s article of the «results» series, we gathered together the results of 70 tests and determined the best tires of 2019 among the winter, summer, and all-season models.
The ranking of summer tires 2019
Beyond any doubt: the best summer tire 2019 is Continental PremiumContact 6. It scored six clean victories in four different sizes, against the background of a multitude of silver and bronze medals. The German magazine Auto Bild was probably the only publication that left this tire model without any awards this year, but even in the test conducted by this publication it was able to score the fifth place and get the verdicts «Exemplary» and «Eco-master».
Saying which tire models could occupy the second and third positions of our ranking is next to impossible because the difference in performance of the five pursuers breathing down the leader’s neck is all but negligible.
Five models on the second place
For example, last year’s leader of the summer tire tests, Michelin Pilot Sport 4, was of less interest to the test expert teams, and was only spotted in two. In one of them, this model won an excellent victory, scoring only the fourth place in the other, getting a mere «Satisfactory» verdict from the exacting German experts.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S model also lost its popularity. It was only able to score a victory in a highly specialized Sport Auto test in the 20-inch fitting diameter nomination, which nonetheless brought silver to this French tire maker.
At the same time, there was quite a lot of hype going on about the summer model Michelin Primacy 4. In four of the eight tests conducted in 2019, this model collected a harvest of equal numbers of gold and silver medals. In the other four tests it did not win any awards but, according to the experts, this tire is well worth its price.
The results shown by the Nokian Hakka Blue 2 model and it SUV version prove that this tire does not settle for less than a second place. The only thing that looks a little bit strange is the fact that this tire has aroused more interest from the testers of the Eastern Europe, than of the Central.
In the season’s tests, Nokian Wetproof debuted more successfully than Nokian Powerproof, also presented in 2019. It won the gold medals from Auto Motor und Sport and GTÜ/ACE/ARBÖ. At the same time, Auto Bild put this tire model on the seventh place out of the possible 20, which can also be considered quite a decent result.
Yet another new model of 2019, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5, with a visual appearance that it inherited from its predecessor with a «3» in its name, got a renewed tread compound, which, improving the tire’s grip on wet pavement, took the product of this American brand «to a whole new level»: topping the 2019 tire chart from Auto Bild Allrad, this model also scored three silver medals from other German publications.
The best studless winter tires of the European type
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, which by the beginning of the winter 2019 only decided to slightly renew its range, ultimately struck gold: its tire model UltraGrip Performance Plus, positioned as an improved version of UltraGrip Performance Gen-1, brought this tire maker lots of awards and positive feedback from the experts in each and every test that the new model was involved in.
Under the onslaught of this American model, Continental WinterContact TS 860, which hitherto occupied the leading position for the two last seasons (2017/2018 and 2018/2019), started to give way, but did not drop out of the race, proving yet again its status of one of the safest tires to be driven on winter roads.
The conditional third place among the best studless winter tires of the European type 2019 can be given to the products of two brands, specifically to Bridgestone and Apollo, however strange this may sound in either of the two cases.
First of all, the Bridgestone tires, as a rule, do not claim the top lines of tire charts, let alone any medals (obviously, this tire maker seems to be quite happy with its world’s biggest sales volumes). However, the new winter model Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 was able to break this tradition. It literally just exploded the tire world, winning gold in the Hungarian Autonavigator test, and two silver awards from the German test groups of Auto Bild Allrad and AMS.
At the same time, the Apollo Aspire XP Winter tire model completely changed the testers’ idea not only of the quality of this particular model, but of the Indian tire makers in general. The AutoBild Allrad test experts awarded this tire, tested in size 215/60 R17, with a status of the best winter tire, complemented by delighted reviews from the Auto Bild testers, which came together to form the «exemplary» verdict.
The best spiked winter tires
The title «Best winter tire 2019/2020» went to the newcomer of this season, Continental IceContact 3. Judging by the results of the comparative tests, it not only knocked the bottom out of the main intrigue of the season — whether or not the 250 spikes of Michelin XIN4 would help it to score the victory «tooth and claw» — but it also ousted the last year’s leader, Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9. Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!
IceContact 3 was spotted in all of the three tests of the season, winning a prize in each of them. This model is the winner of three gold medals that it scored in size 225/50 R17. This is an extremely successful start of a tire’s career in the tests.
In the final standings, the overly «toothy» Michelin X–Ice North 4 comes just a little short of Continental IceContact 3, but specifically in the popular fitment of 205/55 R16 it does prevail. In the final tire ranking 2019 from Test World, IceContact 3 surpassed no less than 21 competitors.
Under the onslaught of the new models of the season, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 model started to give way. This situation may change in the future, but so far the studded winter model from Nokian was only able to score three prize places in five tests of the season, none of them being the first one (compared to the three first places that it scored in 2018).
The best studless winter tires of the Nordic type
The title «best studless winter tire of the Nordic type 2019/2020» was won by Continental VikingContact 7, which confidently held its leading position last year as well. This model proved that competing with it is very hard indeed, and for some tires, plain impossible.
VikingContact 7 topped the final rankings of all the three Scandinavian tire tests of the season, and, in addition, in two mixed tests of winter tires that involved spiked models, our hero not only scored the first places in its «studless» subgroups, but also outstripped a few «toothy» rivals.
The indisputable second prize of the season 2019/2020 is Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3, which is something that both Russian and North European test experts might agree with. This model scored an excellent second place in the ranking 2019/2020 in three publications at once: Za Rulem, Autoreview, and Vi Bilagare, while the testers of Autocenter went as far as to award Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 with gold.
The group of the leaders of the season also includes Michelin X-ice Xi3. At the same time, it would not hurt to mention that over the years this model has been showing quite inconsistent results, about which we shared in a separate publication. Nevertheless, the French tire maker does not seem to be in a hurry to put the fourth generation of Nordic studless tires on the market. From the manufacturer’s standpoint it can be indeed too early to do that, but what about the motorists, for whom purchasing Michelin XI3 with its inconsistent results becomes a lottery?
The best all-season tires 2019
As the tests results show, the leading positions among the all-season tires are still held by premium models. In 2019, the title of the best all-season tire simultaneously went to three models from Goodyear, Continental, and Michelin.
At the same time, each of these tires has its weak sides that stopped us from naming any of them as the best. On the other hand, the strong sides of each of these models give the drivers a lot of room for maneuver, allowing them to choose the tires for certain weather and operating conditions.
Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2 has invariably scored the prize-winning places since 2015, i.e., from the moment of its first participation in the tests.
Germany’s Continental AG, who has been postponing the release of a new tire model under its flagship brand, gave in to the realities of the market in 2017, finally putting on the market an all-season model, logically naming it Continental AllSeasonContact. It immediately hit the tests of all the Europe industry publications, whose expert teams started talking about the appearance of a powerful rival of Vector 4Seasons Gen-2.
Compared to 2018, the results shown by Michelin CrossClimate+ in respect to the achievements of Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2 and Continental AllSeasonContact stopped being so different, which allowed this «summer tire with winter properties» from the French brand to occupy a well-deserved place in the tire pantheon.
The final tire ranking 2019/2020
It was only the efforts of Goodyear that thwarted Continental’s plans to collect gold in all five nominations. Goodyear was the best in creating the all-season and winter tires of the European type, while Continental created the best models for the summer and colder winters. The winners were closely followed by Michelin and Nokian models.
In the category of the tires designed for softer European winters, the bronze was shared by the tire makers that ascend to the winners pedestal extremely rarely — Bridgestone and Apollo.
You will find more information about all of the models that were involved in the comparative tests in 2019 in the dedicated sections of our website devoted to the best summer, winter, and all-season tires, as well as the best studless tires of the Nordic and European type.