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ACL winter tyres test 2017

Published on 27.09.2017

Four of the 32 winter tyres being tested have been rated "good" in the most recent tyres test by the European Automobile Club (including the ACL).

Twenty-six tyres were rated as "satisfactory", while one model had to be satisfied with a "sufficient" rating. 1 winter tyre was rated as "insufficient" by the testers.

Size 195/65 R15

The most recent winter tyres test looked at 16 tyre models, size 195/65 R15. With a market share of 13%, this tyre size is one of the top-selling winter tyre sizes and is suitable for many vehicles in the lower mid-range. A VW Golf was used as the test vehicle.

Of the 16 tyre models tested, three models were assessed as good overall. 12 models were rated as "satisfactory" and one model was unable to score any higher than "sufficient" as the result of significant weaknesses on dry roads.

The test winner:

Tested for the first time, the Continental WinterContact TS860 achieved an overall rating of "good" as the only so-called premium brand. It was followed by two other tyres rated "good" overall – the ESA+ TECAR Super Grip9 and the Kleber Krisalp HP3. The amazing thing about these two is that both tyre brands are actually the secondary brands offered by their respective well-known manufacturers, but both performed better than their respective main brands. The ESA+ TECAR Super Grip 9, a product for the purchasing organisation of the Swiss car and motorbike industry, has been developed and produced by Goodyear and left the two main brands Goodyear and Dunlop standing in the most recent tests. The situations was similar for the new Kleber Krisalp HP3, a so-called "quality product" from Michelin. In the most recent tests, the Kleber beat the Michelin Alpin 5 by some way, particularly on snow.

The midfield:

The midfield consists of 12 models. The two winter tyres offered by Dunlop and Goodyear only demonstrated slightly weaker performance in one criterion. The Dunlop Winter Response 2 was marked down on the basis of its dry handling characteristics and the Goodyear UltraGrip9 lost points for slight weaknesses in the snow.

The other 10 models were found to have weaknesses in at least two criteria simultaneously, most frequently on wet roads and on snow. At the rear: the Semperit Master-Grip 2 was rated as "sufficient", mainly on the grounds of significant weaknesses on dry roads, and this meant it was at the back of the pack in the comparison. It also demonstrated slight weaknesses on ice and in the wear category.

Winter tyres generally have significantly longer braking distances on dry roads compared to summer tyres. The braking distance of an average summer tyre is around four metres shorter than the best winter tyre. However, there are also differences amongst the winter tyres themselves. While the Continental WinterContact stops within 44.6 m when braking from 100 km/h, the Semperit Master-Grip 2 needs around 2.5 more metres to come to a halt.

There are particularly clear performance differences in winter tyres when it comes to driving on wet roads. This is highlighted by the maximum passage speeds calculated during the test in aquaplaning measurement. The size 195/65 R15 tyres, very narrow for the lower mid-range, demonstrated positive aquaplaning behaviour overall, but there were differences between the candidates. While the Continental only started aquaplaning at a passage speed of just short of 93 km/h, the Sava Eskimo S3+ was off at 79 km/h. However, in general, it is clear that the winter tyres in the current size mostly demonstrate better aquaplaning characteristics than summer tyres. Even the Uniroyal summer tyres that specialise in aquaplaning (89 km/h) are no match for the best winter tyres.

What's new in the test:

Driving characteristics on snow for the most recent winter tyres test were checked out at the Testworld site in Finland for the first time. Given the changeable weather conditions at the former snow test site in Switzerland, the partners decided to relocate to Finland. The Testworld site in Ivalo offers many advantages. Ivalo is in northern Finland, north of the Arctic Circle, and therefore offers the best chances of meeting the prerequisites for guaranteed temperatures and snow cover. The numerous professional equipment options available for track preparation provide support for quick, flexible test track preparation. The large number of possible test tracks gives the test team a few opportunities to take a diversion. One of its greatest advantages is the closed site. No unauthorised access is allowed and no pedestrians or other road users can get onto the test track (unobserved). The best possible safety conditions are in place at the test site, including the run-off areas.

Results Size 195 65R15

Size 215/65 RH

The most recent winter tyres test looked at 16 winter tyre models in the top-selling SUV size 215/65 R16. A VW Tiguan was used as the test vehicle.

Of the 16 tyre models tested, only one achieved an overall rating of "good" and one failed with a rating of "insufficient". The majority of the tyres – 14 models – failed to gain a rating higher than "satisfactory" as the result of various weaknesses.

The test winner:

The Dunlop Winter Sport 5 demonstrated no weaknesses and was therefore the only SUV tyre in the test to receive an overall rating of "good". It was particularly convincing on wet roads, receiving the top mark in its field here. Its excellent characteristics relating to consumption and wear and tear also contributed to its good performance. Only its performance on snow and ice were not outstanding, but it was still rated good in these categories.

The midfield:

The midfield consists of 14 models. There was no one clear reason why these models lost points. Most of the tyres lost out due to weaknesses on wet, dry and/or snow-covered roads. One of the most prominent was the Continental ContiWinterContact TS 850P SUV. Although this tyre offered a solid performance, it demonstrated slight weaknesses on ice, which lost it a few marks. The Pirelli Scorpion Winter may have had weaknesses on snow and ice, but its increased fuel consumption meant that it was rated "2.8" overall. Eight of the models with lower marks demonstrated more than one weakness.

At the rear:

The Nankang Snow SV-2 was less than convincing. The tyres had serious weaknesses both on wet and snow-covered roads – this tyre is simply unfit for use as a winter tyre. It is hard to understand how this tyre was given the tyre label "C" for handling in the wet.

Results Size 215/65 RH

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