Alternative tyre choices
Not sure about winter tyres? Here are two other options
Unlike in much of Europe, winter tyres are not a major part of the UK scene. If we could drive the tyres we use all year round (called summer abroad) on snow, as in our tests, we’d have a market for winter tyres overnight. At the very least, all-season sales would increase.
For those not able to experience the difference, we’ve brought back our comparison of the alternatives, to show the compromises involved in not changing tyres for the seasons. Here we see how a summer tyre performed compared with winter and all-season options.
All-season tyre: Hankook Kinergy 4S2
The figures here (and snow results for the summer tyre) are not a direct comparison, because they are taken from the concurrent all-season test figures, but they illustrate the basic differences between the tyre types.
Our wet tests were mostly done below the seven degrees Celsius point where the performance advantage switches from summer to winter tyres. The all-season Hankook would have finished behind all tyres bar the Vredestein across the five tests. In the dry test’s warmer temperatures the balance swapped, with a five-per-cent advantage for the all-season and nearly 10 per cent in braking.
It’s no surprise to see this all-season design eight per cent off the pace on snow, but it did feel safe – and significantly better than the summer tyre.
The Hankook is positively rated by customers. With a score of 4.4 out of 5, drivers favour value for money with these tyres. Reviews mention good grip, low road noise and the excellent performance in both wet and dry conditions.
|Hankook Kinergy 4S2|
Summer tyre: Bridgestone Potenza Sport
You don’t get far out of the test garage on snow before you realise why you need to change tyres for the white stuff. On all- season or winter tyres you drive pretty much as if it were wet – on the summer tyre it’s a white-knuckle ride just to get to the handling track. On the circuit it is not about finding the limit, but simply getting round and staying out of the snow banks. No wonder the UK grinds to a halt when snow settles.
Look at that dry-braking result and, for many, it is the compelling argument for swapping back from winter tyres in the warmer weather. It represents close to 10 metres and it’s easy to see how that could mean the difference between having and avoiding a collision. The best winter tyre was still doing almost 28mph when the Potenza Sport had stopped.
Customers rate this tyre, giving it a score of 4.5 out of 5. Most buyers are impressed with the grip and compliment the latest Potenza on how much longer it lasts compared with its predecessor.
|Bridgestone Potenza Sport|
In this review
- 1IntroductionWe push a selection of winter tyres to the max in all conditions to see which is Britain's best
- 2Continental WinterContact TS 870A strong all-round showing put the Continental into a lead over arch rival Bridgestone that it never lost
- 3Bridgestone Blizzak LM005The Blizzak LM005 won our snow braking and snow traction tests, and was close to taking top spot overall
- 4Goodyear UltraGrip Performance 3The Goodyear UltraGrip Performance 3 is a great all-round tyre in winter conditions
- 5Hankook i*cept RS3The Hankook i*cept RS3 came alive in the dry and wet, but it comes at the expense of grip in the snow
- 6Pirelli Cinturato Winter 2The Pirelli was on the pace in the dry, but struggled for stability in the downhill stop
- 7Michelin Alpin 6Fuel economy has improved over time, but sadly the same cannot be said for cabin noise
- 8Vredestein Wintrac ProThe Wintrac Pro was at its weakest in the wet, where lacked the balance of its rivals
- 9Alternative tyre choices - currently readingNot sure about winter tyres? Here are two other options
- 10Results by categoryWhich winter tyre performed well in which area? Our tables reveal all