The SUV trend seems to be unstoppable; however, it is not the heavyweights that steal the show, but the compact models, such as Opel Mokka, Seat Ateca, or VW T-Roc. The best winter tires of the 2019/2020 season for such cars were named by the experts of Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport publication. For the test, they chose to go with size 215/55 R17, which offers the widest selection of tires out there.
The test involved the most interesting models 2019; first of all, we are talking about the brand new models of the season: Bridgestone Blizzak LM005, Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Plus, Michelin Alpin 6, and Nokian WR Snowproof.
The tires were thoroughly tested by the AMS experts on wet and dry pavements, as well as on snow. The main question of the test was — which of these tires can really help out compact SUVs with a front-wheel drive on winter roads.
List of winter models tested:
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 — the new model 2019/2020
- Continental WinterContact TS 850 P
- Falken Eurowinter HS01
- Giti GitiWinter W1
- Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Plus — the new model 2019/2020
- Hankook Winter i*Cept evo2 W320
- Michelin Alpin 6 — a test debutant
- Nokian WR Snowproof — the new model 2019/2020
- Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
- Toyo Snowprox S954
- Vredestein Wintrac Pro
The «white» tests were conducted in the north of Finland; all the others in Germany.
The results collected by the experts are shown in the tables below.
Test winner — Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Plus
- Pros: Extremely reliable tires with a quick response to load change; rather good handling performance on snow and wet pavement Short braking distance on dry pavement Well-balanced response to the commands of the ESP system
- Cons: Insufficient grip on dry pavement during the emergency maneuvers
The experts’ verdict: Premium-class winter tires with the best grip on snow, combined with excellent handling response on wet pavement (8.9 points, very good).
2nd place — Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
- Pros: High-precision steering response on wet and snowy roads. Predictable behavior during the load change. Short braking distance
- Cons: Insufficient grip during high-speed cornering and dry braking.
The experts’ verdict: An extremely safe new model 2019/2020 with the shortest braking distance in the wet and on snow (8.8 points, very good).
3rd place — Vredestein Wintrac Pro
- Pros: Rapid sporty steering response with plenty of headroom grip-wise, especially during the cornering in the dry and in the wet. Safe braking on wet and dry pavements
- Cons: A slightly increased braking distance. Increased rolling resistance
The experts’ verdict: The wet and dry grip is better than the grip on snow (8.3 points, very good).
4th place — Continental ContiWinterContact TS 850 P
- Pros: Generally stable, and, most importantly, well-balanced handling response, including on snow. Crisp steering response on wet pavement. A slight, although safe, understeer on dry pavement
- Cons: The tire’s snow and dry braking performance falls short of that of new models.
The experts’ verdict: In spite of its respectable age, this winter tire demonstrates a great well-balanced performance (8.1 points, very good).
5th place — Michelin Alpin 6
- Pros: Well-balanced performance on snow and in the dry. Completely safe cornering in the wet. Well-balanced response to the commands of the vehicle’s ESP system
- Cons: Minor drawbacks in the braking performance on snow and in extremely damp conditions.
The experts’ verdict: A premium-class tire with great «dry» and limited «wet» performance (7.9 points, good).
6th place — Hankook Winter i*Cept evo2 W320
- Pros: Very good traction combined with a great ride and a wide safety margin on snowy roads. Sporty handling in the dry. Low noise emission
- Cons: Long braking distance on dry pavement High rolling resistance
The experts’ verdict: A professional winter tire with great snow performance, yet with a slightly insufficient grip in wet conditions (7.6 points, good)
7th place — Falken Eurowinter HS01
- Pros: Crisp steering response. No slipping during acceleration combined with effective snow braking performance. Adequate hydroplaning resistance
- Cons: Weak grip on dry pavement. Insufficient traction on snow. The lowest score on test for the grip on dry pavement
The experts’ verdict: Medium-class winter tire with great snow performance, yet with limitations on wet pavement (7.4 points, good).
8 place — Toyo Snowprox S954
- Pros: Sporty tires with a great handling response on dry pavement.
- Cons: An increased braking distance on all surfaces. Poor steering feedback on snow and on wet pavement.
The experts’ verdict: Average on snow and wet pavement but sporty winter tires on dry pavement (7.3 points, good).
9th place — Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
- Pros: Very well balanced performance and sporty handling on dry pavement. Mostly average performance on snow and wet pavement.
- Cons: Relatively long braking distance on snow and wet pavement. The traction could have been better. Poor hydroplaning resistance.
The experts’ verdict: A well-balanced sporty tire that best performs in dry winter (7.0 points, satisfactory).
10th place — Giti GitiWinter W1
- Pros: Very short braking distance and steady grip on dry pavement.
- Cons: Traction and handling response on snow leave much to be desired. Unbalanced performance in the wet. Increased rolling resistance
The experts’ verdict: The least expensive tire on test with moderate performance, yet without any serious drawbacks (6.9 points, satisfactory).
11th place — Nokian WR Snowproof
- Pros: Safe and easy to control on snow. Short braking distances except in the wet. Best to use in dry conditions
- Cons: Extremely weak grip on wet pavement — poor handling response, lateral stability, and hydroplaning resistance. Low sensitivity to load changes
The experts’ verdict: Best to use on dry pavement. Average grip on snow. Don’t even try to drive on them on wet pavement (6.2 points, satisfactory).