The Czech motoring club Autoklub ČR regularly tests tires from various brands, but in the weeks leading up to the winter season 2020/2021 its experts for the first time decided to compare the performance by winter and all-season tires. The purpose of the test was to evaluate the tires’ performance in the entire range of weather conditions that can be faced in the wintertime.
The experts tested a total of fifteen tire sets in the popular size of 205/55 R16, seven of them being all-season.
Tires of this size can be fitted on Skoda Octavia, Opel Astra, VW Golf, and a number of other mid-class family cars. The test car that the Autoklub ČR experts used was a Peugeot 208.
The Autoklub ČR test provides a summary of the performance demonstrated by the tested tires in comparison with a reference «benchmark» tire with a default index of 100.
List of models tested:
- Yokohama BluEarth 4S AW21 — all-season
- Nokian WR Snowproof
- Michelin CrossClimate+ — all-season
- Michelin Alpin 6
- Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6 — a test debut
- Kormoran All Season — all-season, a test debut
- Imperial SnowDragon UHP
- Hankook Kinergy 4S2 H750 — all-season
- Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2 — all-season
- Goodyear UltraGrip 9+
- Dunlop Winter Sport 5
- Debica Frigo HP2
- Continental AllSeasonContact — all-season
- Bridgestone Weather Control A005 — all-season
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
«Autoklub ČR performs its comparative tests in order to inform drivers about the properties of the tested tire products. We often hear questions from the drivers if it’s worth it to use all-season tires or whether it’s better to do the usual seasonal tire swap. This is why before this winter we decided to do a big test, in which we examined the performance of both types of tires, so we could compare them with each other» — commented Libor Budina, manager of Road Safety Autoklub ČR.
The tests were performed on dry, wet, and snow-covered roads, the perfect winter conditions being provided by the mountain valley in Ulrichen at the foot of the Swiss Alps. The tires were tested in a total of 16 disciplines. The test results were intended to help the consumer choose the tire that best suits their needs.
Test results: comparing winter and all-season tires
The final standings
One must note that the Autoklub ČR experts used their own system of tire rating, and their evaluation approach is different from that of Germany’s ADAC. The Czech test uses a reference tire (this year it was the Goodyear Ultra Grip 9+ winter model), and all of its results in the disciplines are taken for 100%. The scores of the other tires involved in the test proceed from this tire’s performance. The tested tires score more than 100% when their performance is better than that of the reference tire, and less than 100% when it is worse.
On each type of surface, every tire gets an individual overall score, which is further included in the total score, yet with a different «weight». For winter tires, the weight of the wet and snow performance scores was 35%; on dry pavement 30%.
The best tire model to fit in with this formula for calculating the total score was the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005, closely followed by the «reference» Goodyear Ultra Grip 9+.
The victorious Bridgestone Blizzak LM 005 was strong both on dry and wet pavement, while the Goodyear model scored more points on snow. One must also mention one of the test losers — the Imperial Snowdragon UHP tire that failed several disciplines at ones, especially the wet tests.
As for the all-season tires’ performance on dry, wet, and snow-covered roads, however, these, according to the experts, all have an equal weight — in the total formula each type of surface weighs exactly one third. Under such conditions, not a single all-season tire could even come close to the reference Goodyear UltraGrip 9+, yet there were two models that fell behind with a smaller margin.
The first one is the Continental AllSeasonContact, which lost to Goodyear only 0.2 points in the final standings. The second model is the Michelin CrossClimate+, which lost only 0.7 points. The worst all-season tire on test was the Kormoran All Season.
On the whole, just as one should expect, the all-season tires performed better than the Goodyear model on dry and wet pavement, but on snow they all fell short of the reference performance to this or that degree.
The Autoklub ČR experts, giving scores in accordance with two different formulas, went all the way, and compiled a total ranking that included both winter and all-season tires. But then again, such an assortment is not something that is out of the ordinary: the «mix ‘em and shake ’em» formula was already carried to the point of absurdity by Hungary’s Autonavigator. Then there are other experts that like lumping everything under a general umbrella. Specifically, this is something that the experts of Tyres Testing Group, who earlier did tests for «Autocenter», tended to indulge in, studiously trying to apply the same standards for rating both Scandinavian and European tires.
In the overall ranking by Autoklub ČR, the top two Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 and Goodyear UltraGrip 9+ are followed by three all-season tires: the already mentioned Continental AllSeasonContact and Michelin CrossClimate+, and the Goodyear Vector 4Season Gen-2, for which, as we remember, the manufacturer released in 2020 a replacement — the Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 model.
In any case, the scores that the Czech testers got are seriously at odds with the results of the ADAC all-season tire test 2020. The latter involved all-season tires in size 235/55 R17, and the testers came to a certain conclusion that their performance fell drastically short of that of specialized winter or summer tires.
We will remind you that the ADAC experts did not think much of the all-season models due to the fact that each of them had issues on this or that surface, and this absence of balance leads to devaluation of the total score.
However, the Czech motoring club tested all-season tires in size 205/55 R16 with a much narrower tread, and this is the reason why the all-season models came really close to the winter tires in the final standings — emphasizes the Shina Guide technical expert. The fact that small-sized all-season tires are characterized by acceptable performance in mild winter conditions is confirmed by the ADAC test of 14-inch all-season tires. Its results are much higher than those of the 235/55 R17 tire test.
Below we would like to infer some general guidelines from the all-season tire tests: the all-season tires are recommended to be used by those who do little driving in the wintertime and do not go to the mountainous areas, or for motorists living in the regions where a real winter with snow is an extremely rare phenomenon.
One more thing: using all-season tires is more justified on compact passenger cars than on large SUVs or MPVs that need wide-tread tires.
The Autoklub ČR test of winter and all-season tires in size 205/55 R16 demonstrated that for a regular motorist, who rarely drives on harsh winter roads (particularly when they are all covered with ice) all-season tires are a better choice than two sets of specialized seasonal tires.
Nevertheless, the slightly more expansive pattern of «winter tires in winter, summer tires in summer» still remains the safest option.