All-season tires are becoming increasingly popular among the owners of compact and midsize passenger cars. According to German Tire Retail and Vulcanization Trade Association (BRV), in 2019 their market share constituted 20% and the trend has been rapidly growing. The advantages of all-season rubber are obvious: there is no annoying need to change winter tires to summer ones and back again every half year, and there is no need to go to a tire dealership in order to purchase a new set of seasonal tires. In addition, you can save up a fair bit of money not having to buy a second set of wheel rims or paying for the storage of the idle set of tires.
That being said, however, please be careful and keep in mind that not every tire, whose sidewall proudly displays the typical signs of all-season tires, will ensure adequate driving safety in any weather conditions. The comparative test of 32 all-season 205/55 R16 compact passenger car tires, conducted by Europe’s leading auto magazine Auto Bild, revealed many weak points of all-season tires, which you will learn about below. The test car was a popular hatchback Volkswagen Golf. The tires’ performance was rated on a scale of 6 (poor) to 1 (very good). In addition, for comparison purposes, the test also involved a set of winter and a set of summer tires, whose performance is also shown in the diagrams.
Thus, the thirty-two sets of all-season tires, which the German magazine experts anonymously bought retail, were first subjected to an elimination test of emergency braking from 100 km/h on dry and wet pavement. The main test involved only those models, whose combined braking distance was less than 95 meters. As for the tires, whose combined braking distance is over 100 meters, the Auto Bild strongly recommends avoiding using them for your own safety.
|Place||Brand and Model||Load Index / Speed Rating||Wet Braking||Dry Braking||Total|
|1||Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo||94 V||45.0||40.9||85.9|
|2||Vredestein Quatrac||91 V||46.3||40.6||86.9|
|3||Hankook Kinergy 4S 2 H750||94 V||47.2||41.1||88.3|
|4||Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3||91 V||47.0||41.6||88.6|
|5||Michelin CrossClimate+||94 V||49.7||39.7||89.4|
|6||Firestone MultiSeason Gen 02||94 V||49.3||41.2||90.5|
|7||Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF||94 V||51.1||39.8||90.9|
|8||Continental AllSeasonContact||94 V||48.6||43.0||91.6|
|9||Nexen N'Blue 4Season||94 V||50.3||41.9||92.2|
|10||Kumho Solus 4S HA32||94 V||49.3||44.3||93.6|
|11||Falken EuroAll Season AS210||94 V||51.3||42.7||94.0|
|12||BFGoodrich g-Grip All Season 2||94 V||51.0||43.1||94.1|
|13||Maxxis Premitra All Season AP3||94 V||53.4||40.9||94.3|
|14||Kleber Quadraxer 2||94 V||51.2||43.2||94.4|
|15||Achilles Four Seasons||94 V||50.8||44.2||95.0|
|16||Uniroyal AllSeasonExpert 2||94 V||47.9||47.7||95.6|
|17||General Altimax A/S 365||94 V||50.6||45.1||95.7|
|18||Barum Quartaris 5||94 V||50.0||46.0||96.0|
|19||CST Medallion All Season ACP1||94 V||51.9||44.3||96.2|
|20||Sailun Atrezzo 4Seasons||94 V||52.7||43.5||96.2|
|21||Viking FourTech||94 V||51.0||45.3||96.3|
|22||Nokian WeatherProof||94 V||51.6||45.2||96.8|
|23||Yokohama BluEarth 4S AW21||91 V||52.9||44.0||96.9|
|24||Toyo Celsius||94 V||53.0||44.9||97.9|
|25||Berlin All Season 1||94 V||55.4||43.0||98.4|
|26||Fulda MultiControl||94 V||54.8||44.5||99.3|
|27||Giti GitiAllSeason AS1||94 V||56.7||43.7||100.4|
|28||Apollo Alnac 4G All Season||91 V||56.0||44.8||100.8|
|29||Rotalla Setula 4-Season RA03||91 V||59.4||42.9||102.3|
|30||Nankang AW-6||94 V||58.1||44.4||102.5|
|31||Momo M-4 Four Season||94 V||59.3||44.4||103.7|
|32||Atlas Green 4S||91 V||63.0||42.8||105.8|
This way, the elimination round was passed by the following 14 tire models:
- Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo;
- Vredestein Quatrac;
- Hankook Kinergy 4S²;
- Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3;
- Michelin CrossClimate+;
- Firestone Multiseason Gen 02;
- Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF;
- Continental AllSeasonContact;
- Nexen N’Blue 4Season;
- Kumho Solus 4S HA32;
- Falken EuroAll Season AS210;
- BFGoodrich G-Grip All Season 2;
- Maxxis Premitra All Season AP3;
- Kleber Quadraxer 2.
The snow test
The snow test was conducted at the enormous indoor test facility Test World in Finland’s Ivalo north of the Arctic Circle, where a constant temperature of minus 10 degrees Celsius was maintained. The best snow traction (on a par with that of specialized winter tires) was demonstrated by the Kleber, Continental, and Firestone all-season models. During the slalom test, the test experts were impressed by outstanding cornering stability demonstrated by the BF Goodrich, Continental, Kleber, and Goodyear model. And it comes as no surprise that these same tires, due to their outstanding handling response, demonstrated the best lap time on the 400-meter track of the test facility.
The dry test
For the all-season tires, emergency braking on dry pavement is the main challenge, and, hence, the main area of possible safety margin improvement. The Michelin and Pirelli were the best to cope with this challenge, while on the Kumho tires the test VW Golf stopped considerably further down the line, at a distance that significantly exceeded the length of the car. As for the handling response, the Bridgestone, Vredestein, Hankook, and Michelin models behave on a dry track as dynamically as summer tires would. On the other hand, the BF Goodrich, Pirelli, Kleber, and Nexen were slower to respond to the movements of the steering wheel.
The wet test
Pretty much everybody knows that during a heavy rain or intense melting of snow the risk of hydroplaning rises dramatically. Out of the tested models, the best hydroplaning resistance was offered by Hankook, Vredestein, Maxxis, and Continental. As for the handling response, particularly good were the Vredestein, Hankook, and Goodyear models, whose lap time on wet and slippery asphalt was even shorter than that of the specialized summer tires. The shortest stopping distance on wet pavement was demonstrated by the Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo. Also, an exemplary short stopping distance on wet pavement was shown by Vredestein and Goodyear all-season models.
All-season tires inherently have greater potential for cost savings simply because you no longer need a second set of tires or even wheel rims. In addition, all-season tires are pretty fuel efficient due to their low rolling resistance. However, what impresses most about them is their long tread life. The experts of the Clausthal-Zellerfeld-based company IFV (Ingenieurgesellschaft für Fahrversuche), which specializes in abrasion tests, conducted tire test runs more than 12,000 km long to find out that the Vredestein, the Michelin, and the Goodyear model of this year (Vector 4Seasons Gen-3) all ensure an impressive tread life of over 70 thousand kilometers.
Test result summary
Thanks to advances in development, testing and manufacturing technologies, all-season tires have become much better over the 40 years of their existence. The modern all-season tires virtually have no weak sides. And the top five all-season tire models, rated as «exemplary» by the Auto Bild test experts, are living proof of that.
We do not question the conclusions drawn by the Auto Bild experts regarding the level of driving safety ensured by the all-season tires and the quality of their performance. However, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that, despite the impressive performance, demonstrated by the all-season tires during the tests, you should keep in mind that still the highest level of safety may only be achieved by using winter tires in winter and summer tires in summer. All-season tires are still a compromise.