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Winter tire test 2018: 11 winter tires for the compact class

Ingolf Pompe
Winter tire special
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  • These tires have we tested
  • This is how we tested
  • Conclusion

The winter tires tested by us are specially designed for moderate latitudes such as Central Europe. Here they can be used almost as universally as all-season tires. Like d he all-weather tire test 2018 showed that they stand out due to their significantly better winter properties, but also have disadvantages in comparison: less reserves on dry roads, less sportiness, more wear and more fuel consumption. On the other hand, pure winter tires enable safe passage through snow and ice, especially when snow chains have to be fitted. With many compact models, this is only possible with comparatively narrow tire sizes, such as the 205 dimension that was tested. If, for example, as in the previous all-weather tire test, wide 225/45 R-17 tires are fitted, the steel traction reserves do not find enough space in the wheel arch and cannot help.

So in winter 205. We tested 11 such tire models. Well-known branded products such as Michelin or Continental as well as cheaper alternatives from Giti or Kumho are included. Here are the test results with strengths and weaknesses of the individual tires, starting with the test winner:

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Goodyear Ultra Grip 9

Good traction, but poor cornering on snow
Precise and easy to control on wet and dry Track
Unbalanced driving behavior on snow
Disparity between longitudinal and lateral grip
Some lateral guidance is missing when dry


Conclusion: Recommended (8.2 points)

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Nokian WR D4

Best performance on Snow: precise, easily controllable and reliable
Acceptable on dry asphalt
Lowest rolling resistance
Deficits in wet conditions , especially when braking in the wet
A bit clumsy


Conclusion: Recommended (8.1 points)

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Hankook i'cept RS2

Very reliable, precise and strong traction on snow
Safe and easy to control in wet conditions
Equally safe understeer tendency dry
Comparatively long braking distances on dry asphalt
Increased rolling resistance


Conclusion: Recommended (8.0 points)

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Pirelli Ci nturato Winter

Safe and balanced handling on snow as well as on wet roads
Good mechanical comfort
Only moderate performance with little clear handling on dry tracks
Vigorous skew humming when cornering
Increased rolling resistance


Conclusion: Still recommended (7, 9 points)

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Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 Evo

Very neutral drivable and curve-grip tire
Dry steering spontaneous andSafe when changing lanes
Mostly safe
Weak traction
Slight oversteer tendency and poor cornering on snow
on wet corner aquaplaning


Conclusion: Still recommendable (7.8 points)

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Vredestein Snowtrac 5

Good traction
Harmonious winter properties with the exception of braking
Still acceptable wet performance
Above average dry performance
Weak wet braking


Conclusion: Still recommended (7.8 points)

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Nexen Winguard SnowG WH2

Still decent performance on snow
Good wet braking
Badly balanced wet handling
Poor aquaplaning precaution
Unbalanced dry balance
High rolling resistance

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Giti Winter W1

Outstanding and reliable snow performance
Poor aquaplaning precaution
Little grip and strong load change reactions in wet conditions
Little steering precision
Weak leadership and unbalanced dry


Conclusion: Still recommended (7.2 points)

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Toyo Snowprox S943

Very precise and easy to control in dry corners
Harmonizes perfectly with the vehicle control system
Only moderate performance on snow
Very weak wet braking
StrongLoad change reactions and oversteer in wet curves


Conclusion: Still recommended (7.2 points)

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Kumho WinterCraft WP 51

Apart from blemishes still good winter properties
quiet rolling
poorly balanced driving behavior on snow
mismatch between longitudinal and transverse grip
weak on wet and dry tracks
Very high rolling resistance


Conclusion: Conditionally recommended (6.4 points)

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You can find the detailed result table in the picture gallery.

=highly recommended, =recommended, =still recommended, =conditionally recommended

So also in the current winter tire test 2019 for compact SUV models.

Ingolf Pompe
The tests on snow include braking distances and traction rated.

The first test is on snow. And indeed the Giti and Nokian trump cards here; Pirelli, Conti and Vredestein follow in front; Goodyear, Toyo and especially Bridgestone cannot really make friends with the white element. Can the snow kings maintain their lead even in the wet? Newcomer Giti certainly not: With around 37 meters of braking distance from 80 km /h, he slips smoothly out of bounds with Toyo, Vredestein and Nokian. With around 39 meters, only the Kumho brakes even weaker. Good wet brakes, on the other hand, manage 32 meters and less.

Strong wet brakes lead

These include Conti, Goodyear and Bridgestone; Pirelli, Hankook and Nexen also come to a safe stop in the wet. If you summarize all wet criteria such as braking, cornering, aquaplaning and handling, Conti and Goodyear are unbeatable, Bridgestone, Hankook and Pirelli at the front; Nexen, Nokian and Vredestein are still acceptable, while Giti, Toyo and especially Kumho sometimes lag behind expectations. Why are the wet properties so important? Because the Central European winter consists less of stuck, grippy snow slopes and more of cold, wet or dry asphalt. In both cases you should be able to rely on the grip of your tires.

The most important discipline also dry: braking. And it is not only the shortest braking distance, which is included in the evaluation with a strong 40 percent, that is decisive, but also its effects on the vehicle's control systems. Without good longitudinal deceleration, the best ESP and the most sensitive emergency brake assistant are only worth half. The Conti again delivers the best system support and top values ​​when braking. Delayed from a maximum of 100 km /h, the load stops after less than 42 meters. Chapeau! The next best, Vredestein, needs a whole meter more, Toyo and Nokian need another; Nexen, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Hankook and Pirelli follow, Giti and Kumho need more than 45 meters to stand.

Dino Eisele
The wet and dry tests are also carried out as realistically as possible in winter temperatures.

But that's it The test is far from over: In dry handling, for example, we scrutinize the dynamic driving properties of the tires far into the limit range. To do this, we check how directly, precisely and accurately the tire turns. What are its reserves in fast corners, how does it react to a sudden evasive maneuver? All of this is recorded in addition to the subjectively determined ride comfort in the dry disciplines.

In addition to the dominant Conti, the Toyo Snowprox S943 gives a very positive picture: With high steering precision, direct steering behavior and easy controllability, it almost reaches the level of summer tires. The fact that it buckles when it comes to snow and wet performance makes the existing constructive conflict of objectives in winter tire development particularly clear. For example, tires with a soft rubber compound and many fine incisions (sipes) in the tread blocks interlock perfectly with snow, which provides good traction and short braking distances there. If, however, great forces act on the tread block, for example when braking on dry asphalt, the soft, unstable blocks tip over and the braking distances become longer.

There remains a conflict of objectives

It is the task of the tire developer it is, from their point of view, to achieve the best compromise between performance on all relevant road surfaces. And that seems to have succeeded the Conti developers in Hanover best. The TS 860 alone passed the test on all tested surfaces without any notable weaknesses and, with an outstanding overall performance, secured a clear lead over its direct rivals Goodyear, Nokian and Hankook. Like Nokian on snow, they deliver top individual results. But who knows on which surface the tire will have to prove its performance in a rescue emergency maneuver. In case of doubt, this can only be a broadband generalist. Only then, as the table shows, the selection is not particularly large.

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