Chinese company GT Radial makes its Auto Express tyre test debut this year, and its Champiro HPY undercut rivals here by a comfortable margin – buy four, and you’d save around £100 over an equivalent set from a premium brand.
The HPY is produced in Indonesia, and as we’ve seen before with Asian tyres, there’s a price to pay for this on performance, particularly in the wet. Yet while the tyre ended up at the bottom of the pack, its results are only around 10 per cent off those of the winner.
On the wet handling track, it tested the Golf’s electronic stability programme more than most of its rivals did. The tyre felt imprecise, although it was far from the white-knuckle ride we’ve experienced when using other Far Eastern products.
The Continental’s great showing in our wet braking test exaggerates the GT Radial’s poor performance, but there’s no disguising the fact it needed another eight metres – or two car lengths – to stop. This from a tyre with a label rating of B for wet grip. It also proves that poor wet weather performance doesn’t always result in impressive rolling resistance.
The HPY finished fifth in the category, but was a long way off the remarkable Dunlop. It struggled with braking in the dry as it had in the wet, needing just under three more metres to bring the car to a halt. The demanding dry handling track was where the GT Radial felt best, with a sharp, sporty turn-in and good feel. There was a little scrubbing as the tyre loaded up in the tighter corners, but it hung on well and was only a second off the pace.