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Best winter tyres 2018: tyre brands reviewed and UK prices compared

You don’t need to wait until a initial snowflakes tumble to confirm that it’s a good thought to switch to winter tyres.

Even if there’s no snow, winter tyres perform better, quite in a wet, than a UK default ‘summer’ tyre when temperatures dump next around 7 degrees Centigrade. You can pledge we will have conditions like that this winter, and a colder it gets, a bigger a advantage winter tyres have.

• Driving in sleet – tip tips

All-season designs might be a SUVs of a tyre world, with makers rushing to supplement them to their ranges or updating existent designs, though for a ultimate opening via a year, switching rubber for a seasons is a approach to go. So that should we fit to make it by this winter unscathed?

To find out, we lapse to one of a UK’s top-selling sizes: a 205/55R16 propitious to many family cars. We also go behind to a distant north of Finland, though this time to Goodyear’s Arctic Centre during Saariselka for a sleet tests.

Wet and dry tests were carried out during Continental’s Contidrom circuitously Hanover in Germany, and rolling insurgency during a circuitously RD centre. Most tests were finished by Auto Express drivers, detached from those requiring dilettante training, such as aquaplaning. We’ve enclosed a winning all-season and summer tyres to see how these options compare.

What we tested 

While makers have focused on all-season designs, winter tyre growth has slowed and 6 of a 8 patterns were in a 2016 exam in this size.

Bridgestone now has an EVO chronicle of a LM001 and Falken joins a test. Michelin is absent since a Alpin 6 wasn’t accessible during a time of contrast progressing this year. All a winter tyres had weight ratings of 91 and H speed ratings (up to 130mph), detached from a Falken and Goodyear; they were 94 V (up to 150mph).

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Our Michelin all-season tyre was 91 H and a summer Continental 91 V. Also listed next are a mandatory tyre tag ratings for any pattern. These rate fuel economy (FE), soppy hold (WG) and pass-by sound (N). Fuel economy and soppy hold are rated A-G, with A a best, and sound is totalled in decibels; a reduce a number, a quieter a tyre.

So we exam what we can buy, makers nominated a tyre that we afterwards bought in a indiscriminate market.

Winter tyres

Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 EVO – Ratings: (FE) C  (WG) B  (N) 72

Continental WinterContact TS 860 – Ratings: (FE) C  (WG) B  (N) 72

Dunlop Winter Sport 5 – Ratings: (FE) C  (WG) B  (N) 69

Falken Eurowinter HS01 – Ratings: (FE) E  (WG) B  (N) 70

Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1 – Ratings: (FE) C  (WG) B  (N) 71

Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 – Ratings: (FE) E  (WG) B  (N) 72

Nokian WR D4 – Ratings: (FE) C  (WG) A  (N) 69

Pirelli Cinturato Winter – Ratings: (FE) E  (WG) B  (N) 66

All-season tyre

Michelin CrossClimate + – Ratings: (FE) C  (WG) B  (N) 69 

Summer tyre

Continental ContiPremiumContact 5 – Ratings: (FE) C  (WG) A  (N) 71

Picking a winter winner

Since we final tested this stretch of winter tyre, we’ve altered a approach we name a winner. To improved simulate UK pulling conditions, we altered a separate between snow, soppy and a other tests.

Snow opening now depends for 20 per cent of a altogether score, with a wet-weather tests and additional assessments creation adult 40 per cent each. The heart of a calculation is still a same, with all formula converted to percentages. Our tip performer in any exam is awarded 100 per cent, with a rest scored relations to this.

The usually weighting we request is to safeguard any exam depends around a same to a altogether result. This ensures there’s no astray advantage to a tyre winning a exam with a vast opening between a best and misfortune performers compared with one where a outcome is close.

Snow

The perils of pulling in a sleet are a categorical reasons drivers cruise investing in a set of winter tyres. Our tests cover all aspects, either it’s avoiding an collision or only ensuring we can make it home or lift off a high driveway.

Our assessments have shown that winter tyres move a biggest gains over summer designs on braking and traction, interjection to all those sipes – little grooves – operative in a ideal true line.

These are assessed in a same exam with matching GPS apparatus to a pack used by a highway testers; we magnitude a stretch taken to accelerate from 5-19mph regulating full stifle and traction control. The automobile is afterwards accelerated serve and braked to a halt, triggering a ABS, with a stretch taken to delayed from 31-3mph available to safeguard a unchanging result, expelling a inconsistencies in a final few metres to a stop. An normal of several runs is used for a results.

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Sliding off in corners is another vital regard when pulling on snow, so we took to a doing lane to see how any tyre coped with discerning changes of direction, parsimonious downhill sections and long, climbing turns that exam traction when those sipes are not operative during a ideal true forward angle. A path time normal was used to get a result.

Just how most parallel hold all those sipes, grooves and channels can beget was assessed on a sleet circle. We tucked a car’s nose tighten to a middle corner afterwards increasing speed until a line could no longer be held. Multiple laps supposing an normal time for a result.

Wet

While we design winter tyres to be improved than summer versions on snow, they are also higher in a soppy in low temperatures. The continue gods were not kind to us during a German proof belligerent since temperatures were above a 7 degrees Centigrade cross-over point, giving a corner to a summer comparison tyre.

The dual tests influenced by a continue are braking and handling. The former is finished on a rail system, that means a tyre brakes on precisely a same square of tarmac any time to safeguard consistency. We totalled a stretch taken to stop from 50mph mixed times, stealing any extremes before holding an normal for a final result.

Just as on a snow, path times were taken to consider handling. The 1,823-metre lane has a identical multiple of sweeps, instruction changes and parsimonious corners, though though a betterment change. A 58-metre round was used to rate parallel hold and a same technique used as on snow; line adult on a middle edge, afterwards accelerate until a nose starts to pull wide.

Aquaplaning – when a tyre rides adult on a tip of H2O rather than slicing by it – is not influenced by temperature, though winter tyres still need to be means to understanding with complicated rain. Straight aquaplaning uses a same rail complement as soppy braking, though this time with one round in a water. A array of runs is carried out underneath tough acceleration and a round trip is measured, observant a speed when it is 15 per cent some-more than a tyre in a dry – a supposed indicate during that control is lost.

To magnitude parallel aquaplaning, we headed to a vast round with a territory flooded to 6mm. A array of ever-faster laps was driven until all hold is lost. A G-meter measures a detriment of parallel acceleration to form a result.

Dry

Dry roads are not a healthy medium of winter tyres, though they need to be means to perform here, quite during any finish of their anniversary time on a car. Dry braking was totalled from 62mph to a stop, with several attempts finished to get an normal for a altogether rating.

The proof belligerent dry doing lane winds a approach by prosaic grassland and we timed a territory that enclosed a prolonged sweeper that tested a tyres’ traction and quick instruction changes. We finished several attempts and took an average.

Cabin noise

The EU tyre tag ratings magnitude pass-by sound regulating specially-prepared cars to besiege a sound from a tyres. That’s good for pedestrians and those vital tighten to bustling roads, though there’s no approach couple between this and a cabin sound that concerns many drivers.

Our comment was finished regulating a sound scale while coasting from 50mph over petrify paving slabs, and severe and well-spoken tarmac. Results from dual runs were used.

Rolling resistance

Forget about a squeeze price, this exam tells we how most a tyre is going to cost we to run. Rolling insurgency measures a force indispensable to spin a installed tyre during opposite speeds.

Imagine pulling a automobile with rightly arrogant tyres, afterwards how most some-more bid would be compulsory if 15psi were taken out of any one and we get a idea. Our exam is finished to attention standards and is a outcome of an normal of dual tyres.

Price

We wouldn’t suggest shopping tyres on price, that is because it plays a tiny partial in a altogether score.

Our total come from a leader of a exam of online tyre retailers, Blackcircles.com, and were scold during a time of writing. They embody wise and are what a association charges or would do if a tyre is not partial of a range.

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