235/55R18

Auto Express 2022: Crossover Summer Tire Test R18

The AE experts compared seven SUV tire models ranging from premium Continental and Michelin to the cheap Gripmax of Chinese origin.

List of models tested:

Crossovers are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, and tire makers are taking steps to secure a share of this quickly growing market. Some of them have tweaked the already-existing models, some presented them in respective SUV versions, and Pirelli, for example, went as far as to create a whole dedicated line of SUV tires, which was recently completely renewed. The British magazine Auto Express decided to find out who of the tire makers managed to come up with the best tires for SUVs with their increased weight and a high center of gravity, for which the experts went to the Bridgestone’s proving grounds in Aprilia, Italy, where they tested seven tire models in size 235/55 R18, one of the most popular in this segment.

AE conducted its previous test of crossover tires back in 2019, and in 2022 only one of the participants returned — namely, the Continental PremiumContact 6. Hankook, Goodyear and Michelin this time around came with new models; the newcomers of the test are Maxxis and Bridgestone, and the role of the cheap Asian rubber was played by the Gripmax tire (priced at £79.63 vs £148.51, which is the price of the Michelin tire).

The test car was an Audi Q3; the experts evaluated the tires’ dry and wet handling performance, as well as the cabin noise (in the range of 50 to 80 km/h), and rolling resistance. The weight of the scores was distributed in the following way: wet — 50%, dry — 40%, other — 10%.

Wet Handling

Hankook
100.00
Bridgestone
99.40
Maxxis
98.90
Continental
98.60
Goodyear
98.30
Michelin
98.20
Gripmax
89.30

Info! Points, %.

Wet Braking

Hankook
100.00
Continental
100.00
Michelin
91.00
Goodyear
90.20
Bridgestone
89.10
Maxxis
83.50
Gripmax
54.50

Info! Points, %.


First place in the final standings was scored by the Bridgestone Turanza T005, designed for mass market and available in the range of sizes from 14 to 21 inches, which means that you can install them on all kinds of cars from crossovers to full-size SUVs, while other manufacturers sometimes produce dedicated models for each segment. In the previous British tests, Turanza performed with varying degrees of success, and this time it surpassed the competition, among other things, due to the lowest rolling resistance on test.

On wet pavement, the grip delivered by the Bridgestone model was not as consistent as that of some other tires, but, luckily, it was lost on the front axle, not the rear one. On dry pavement Bridgestone showed good time, but not the fastest steering response. According to the testers, the tires reacted to the driver’s inputs not as precisely as Continental or Hankook, but it did demonstrate a sturdy performance, which allowed it to eventually surpass the tire from the German brand. At the same time, it must be mentioned that the Turanza model had a relatively long wet braking distance — 3 meters longer than that of the leader’s (when braking from 80 km/h).

Straight Hydroplaning

Maxxis
100.00
Bridgestone
98.70
Hankook
94.60
Goodyear
94.30
Continental
93.70
Michelin
88.10
Gripmax
85.00

Info! Points, %.

Lateral Hydroplaning

Maxxis
100.00
Goodyear
99.40
Bridgestone
92.40
Hankook
84.40
Continental
75.30
Michelin
66.30
Gripmaxx
43.00

Info! Points, %.


Although the test involved Continental and Michelin tires, second-placed was the Hankook Ventus S1 evo3 SUV tire (the test of 2021 was won by the passenger model Ventus S1 evo3, which means that this Korean tire brand fares exceptionally well in the AE tests), which won in two disciplines — wet handling and braking performance — and demonstrated good hydroplaning resistance. Ultimately, the Hankook tire was pronounced to be the best one for rainy weather, surpassing Bridgestone by 2% in this part of the test.

In wet slalom, the Hankook tires demonstrated reliable grip on the front wheels, allowing the driver to quickly enter corners and follow the desired trajectory; in addition, they ensured excellent traction when exiting a maneuver. On wet pavement, the best results were shown by Continental, but Hankook was still able to surpass most of the competition, including due to the fact that it was good at switching lanes in an emergency. Its braking performance, however, was not as impressive, and Hankook stopped the car 2 meters later than Bridgestone. The tire from this Korean brand also had a high rolling resistance (if you switch to Bridgestone, you will cut down your fuel consumption by 3%), and this, combined with the loudest noise on test, stopped the Hankook model from winning the ultimate victory.

Dry Handling

Bridgestone
100.00
Maxxis
99.90
Continental
99.80
Hankook
99.60
Goodyear
99.50
Michelin
99.40
Gripmax
99.00

Info! Points, %.

Dry Braking

Bridgestone
100
Continental
99.70
Michelin
92.90
Hankook
92.20
Goodyear
92.00
Maxxis
90.60
Gripmax
84.20

Info! Points, %.


The Continental PremiumContact 6 tire, which had already won the AE tests, this time again showed excellent results, even though it did let the two leaders get ahead. Despite the fact that the Continental PremiumContact 6 model was introduced a long time ago (the replacement is in the making), it demonstrated crisp steering response, which maybe did not always let it demonstrate the best lap time, but certainly ensured the optimum safety level.

As usual, the Continental was one of the best in the braking tests — although this time it lost to Bridgestone on dry pavement and shared the first place with Hankook in the wet. Eventually, the PC6 came third in the wet test, being inferior to the two leaders of the final standings, and let only Bridgestone get ahead on dry pavement.

Fourth-placed was last year’s newcomer — Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV. When Goodyear was launching this tire, the company claimed that it had a significantly longer tread life than that of the previous-generation model, and, as the AE experts noted, often increasing the tread life is achieved by compromising wet grip, but, luckily, this is definitely not the case with the EfficientGrip 2 SUV, and in this part of the test this tire came third after Bridgestone and Hankook.

Rolling Resistance

Bridgestone
100.00
Goodyear
95.80
Michelin
95.20
Continental
90.70
Gripmax
87.40
Hankook
84.10
Maxxis
76.70

Info! Points, %.

Cabin Noise

Goodyear
100.00
Gripmax
99.40
Maxxis
99.30
Continental
99.20
Brisgestone
98.90
Michelin
98.60
Hankook
97.90

Info! Points, %.


This Goodyear model had strong hydroplaning resistance, and it came fifth in the wet handling test, which is also quite a result, considering how tough the competition was. According to the experts, the main problem with this tire was insufficient grip when exiting a corner, but on the whole the tire was quite effective on wet pavement. On dry pavement, however, the Goodyear model was not as reliable, and was prone to skidding, but if comfort is your highest priority, it will be a great choice because this tire was the quietest on test. In addition, this Goodyear model has low rolling resistance, which spells fuel economy.

In the test 2019, the last place was unexpectedly scored by the Michelin Primacy 4; this year’s test involved its upgraded version — the Michelin Primacy 4+, which did climb up the order, but by just a couple of lines. At the presentation, the company claimed that the tire was designed in such a way as to maintain the original grip level as it wears (unfortunately, AE was unable to verify this claim), and surpasses its competitors in a worn-out state not only in terms of braking performance but in hydroplaning resistance as well. The tests showed that in a new state the Michelin model cannot substantiate the claim, and in both hydroplaning resistance tests — straight and lateral — it came last but one, surpassing only the cheap Gripmax tire.

Price

Michelin
148.51
Bridgestone
146.53
Hankook
140.03
Maxxis
139.99
Goodyear
139.44
Continental
133.21
Gripmax
79.63

Info! Price, £.


In the wet handling test, the Michelin tire again came sixth, but the gap from the leaders was smaller, and the AE experts emphasized that, although this tire does miss some crispness of steering response, the P4+ is good at keeping the grip on the rear wheels and ensuring an acceptable safety level. In addition, Michelin came third in terms of wet and dry braking performance (although in the first instance the braking distance was 3 meters longer than that of the best tires in that respect), and has a rather low rolling resistance.

The Michelin model was followed by the tire from Taiwan’s Maxxis, which demonstrated a very unbalanced overall performance, confidently surpassing models from much more reputed brands in some of the disciplines. First of all, this refers to the hydroplaning tests, where the only tire that could come close to Maxxis (lateral hydroplaning test) was only the Goodyear model; the Victra Sport 5 SUV also received bronze for good handling performance on wet pavement. According to the experts, the Maxxis tire ensures dependable grip on both axles, but its lap time was compromised because of a comparatively low traction that the tire demonstrated when exiting a corner. At the same time, the Maxxis braking distance was 6 meters longer than that of the leaders, and, due to high rolling resistance, it will increase the fuel consumption by the vehicle (by 5% compared to Bridgestone).

Result summary. 2022 Auto Express Summer Tire Test — 235/55R18.
Result summary. 2022 Auto Express Summer Tire Test — 235/55R18. (click to enlarge)

What consequences can economizing on tires can lead to was vividly demonstrated by the cheap Gripmax model that performed very poorly on wet pavement, stopping the car the 23 whopping meters later than Hankook and Continental. The same lack of traction was shown by Gripmax in the handling test, where the tire could easily go into a skid in corners — despite the fact that it has a «C» on the EU label. According to the experts, the rear wheels of the car fitted with the Gripmax tires were more prone to skidding than on any others, the only «upside» of this situation — if we can call it an «upside» — being the fact that it all happened at low speeds. There were fewer problems on the dry pavement, but the braking distance of the Gripmax tire was still 5 m longer than that of the best tires. The only performance area where Gripmax surpassed the competition was the noise level (the thing is pretty quiet), but this is definitely not enough of a reason for its purchase.

1st place: Bridgestone / Turanza T005

Quick Take
84 65

Bridgestone Turanza T005

Price/Quality Dry Performance Handling Wet Performance Comfort Treadwear
  • This tire has run-flat model:
  • Available Sizes in Line: 238
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Audi A7 4K8 [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Volkswagen Tiguan
    • • Volkswagen Caddy V [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Skoda Superb
    • • Volkswagen Transporter
    • • Jeep Renegade
    • • Renault Captur
    • • Nissan Juke
    • • Ford Kuga
    • • Nissan Micra
    • • Volkswagen T-Roc I (A11/AC7) [2017 .. 2023]
    • • BMW 1 Series
    • • BMW 3 Series
    • • BMW 8 Series
    • • MINI Clubman
    • • Audi A6
    • • Audi A3
    • • Audi SQ2 GA [2019 .. 2020]
    • • Audi A1
    • • Audi A4
    • • Audi A5
    • • Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz A-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz B-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    • • MINI Countryman
    • • BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer
    • • Lexus LC Z100 [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Lexus LS
    • • Lexus ES
    • • Mazda Mazda6
    • • Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
    • • Toyota Camry
    • • Volkswagen Polo
    • • Volkswagen Golf
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: North America, Central & South America, Europe, Russia+, China, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, Oceania
Bridgestone Turanza T005

  • Good handling response and a very short stopping distance on dry pavement
  • Good handling response in the wet
  • Very low rolling resistance
  • Relatively long braking distance on wet pavement
  • Increased noise

2nd place: Hankook / Ventus S1 evo3 SUV K127A

Quick Take
N/A 35

Hankook Ventus S1 evo3 SUV K127A

Comfort Treadwear Price/Quality
  • This tire replaced Hankook / Ventus S1 evo2 SUV K117A
  • This tire has run-flat model:
  • Available Sizes in Line: 64
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • BMW X5 IV (G05) [2018 .. 2023]
    • • BMW X6 III (G06) [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Audi RS Q8 4M [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Porsche Cayenne III (9Y) [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Audi Q8 4MN [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Audi Q5 FY Facelift [2021 .. 2023]
    • • Volkswagen Tiguan II (AD/BW) Facelift [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Audi SQ8 4MN [2019 .. 2023]
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, China, South Korea
Hankook Ventus S1 evo3 SUV K127A

  • Excellent handling response and short stopping distance on wet pavement
  • Good handling response in the dry
  • Relatively long braking distance on dry pavement
  • High rolling resistance
  • High noise emission

3rd place: Continental / PremiumContact 6

Quick Take
88 73

Continental PremiumContact 6

Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Handling Comfort Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Continental / ContiPremiumContact 5
  • Available Sizes in Line: 265
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Toyota C-HR Facelift [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Br205 [2015 .. 2021]
    • • BMW 3 Series VII (G20/G21) [2018 .. 2023]
    • • BMW 5 Series VII (G30/G31) Facelift [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Mazda CX-5 KF [2016 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Kuga III (CX482) [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Renault Koleos II (HC) [2016 .. 2020]
    • • Subaru Forester SK [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Renault Megane IV (9A) [2016 .. 2022]
    • • Volvo XC40 I [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Skoda Superb III B8 (3V) Facelift [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Volvo V60 Cross Country II [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Mercedes-Benz X-Class D23 [2017 .. 2020]
    • • Audi A6 C8 [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Volvo S60 III [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Renault Alaskan D23 [2016 .. 2020]
    • • Volvo V60 II [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Jaguar I-Pace [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Fiesta VII [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Mustang Mach-E [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Porsche Taycan I [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Br206 [2021 .. 2023]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, Japan, Middle East, Oceania
Continental PremiumContact 6

  • Good handling response and a short stopping distance on wet and dry pavement alike
  • Relatively low hydroplaning resistance

4th place: Goodyear / EfficientGrip 2 SUV

Quick Take
97 43

Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV

Comfort Handling Dry Performance Wet Performance
  • Year Released: 2021
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV

  • Good hydroplaning resistance
  • Acceptable handling response in the wet
  • Extremely low noise emission
  • Low rolling resistance
  • Insufficient handling response in the dry

5th place: Michelin / Primacy 4+

Quick Take
N/A 40
Comfort Handling Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance
  • Year Released: 2022
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Michelin Primacy 4+

  • Acceptable handling response and a short stopping distance on wet and dry pavement alike
  • Low rolling resistance
  • Low hydroplaning resistance
  • Increased noise

6th place: Maxxis / Victra Sport 5 SUV

Quick Take
N/A 30
  • Available Sizes in Line: 27
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Maxxis Victra Sport 5 SUV

  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Good handling response in the wet and in the dry
  • Relatively long braking distance on dry and wet pavement
  • Very high rolling resistance

7th place: Gripmax / Stature H/T

Quick Take
N/A 16
  • Available Sizes in Line: 63
  • Year Released: 2013
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Gripmax Stature H/T

  • Low price
  • Low noise emission
  • Poor traction, poor handling response, and a dangerously long wet braking distance
  • Low hydroplaning resistance
  • Not recommended.

Price