During the transitional period between the seasons, when things get relatively slow on the tire market, occasionally even coming to a standstill, it’s the perfect time to speak about the tires, whose owners are not intimidated by the changing of the seasons and the vagaries of the weather. Or at least, this is what the manufacturers of these tires claim, vying to create the best all-season tire there is.
And there is a reason for that, because the ranks of fans of this type of tires are steadily growing by the year. Even the most die-hard climate skeptics, looking at the abnormally warm fall and the beginning of winter 2019/2020, are beginning to recognize all-season tires’ right of existence.
All-season tires are a compromise
For many car owners, the mantra «one set of tires for the whole year» looks like the perfect solution because it gives them an opportunity for saving quite a bit of money and spares them the trouble of going to the tire service to have their tires reinstalled twice a year. An extra bonus is the 3PMSF icon proudly displayed by any all-season tire, which gives the motorist the right to drive on winter roads in the countries where winter tires are mandatory.
Nevertheless, however hard the tire makers may try, all-season tires are at best an acceptable compromise, and by no means a salvation. At temperatures below 7°C, dedicated winter tires still work better, and in the warmer weather, dedicated summer tires will still be a better choice.
Tire tests 2019
One way or another, if you insist on your choice and still opt for all-season tires, our today’s article is addressed to you. Based on eight comparative tire tests, we zeroed in on the best all-season tires 2019. That being said, we will make a reservation that our list does not include the test of off-road tires conducted by 4×4 Australia because it fall beyond our format.
All-season tire tests 2019:
- Auto Bild Allrad, size 235/55 R19
- Auto Bild Allrad, size 235/65 R17
- Autonavigator, size 205/55 R16 - winter and all-season tires
- Autonavigator, size 205/55 R16 - summer and all-season tires
- GTÜ/ACE/ARBÖ, size 205/60 R16
- Auto Bild, size 225/45 R17
- Auto Express, size 205/55R16
- Al Volante, size 225/45 R17
Totally, the test experts of various European publications and testing organizations tested 44 models from 34 brands. Our review includes tires that scored the places from first to third, as well as the models that showed a consuming desire to win and fell one breath short of the winners’ pedestal.
The lineup of the claimants for the title of the best all-season tire slightly changed this year. For example, it no longer includes Nexen N’Blue 4Season and Hankook Kinergy 4S Н740, these two seemingly being replaced by three newcomers. But first things first!
Judging by the test results, the pool of the best all-season tires is still dominated by the premium models, proudly bearing this status since last year, or even earlier. In 2019, three models from Goodyear, Continental, and Michelin secured their positions in the leadership group. At the same time, each of these models has its own strong and weak sides.
Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2
So! With allowance for the foregoing, the tire, with which you can be totally sure of your safety during year-round operation, is Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2. Its list of achievements is massively impressive: starting from the moment it first showed up in the tests (which was in 2015), it scored the prize-winning places virtually all the time.
The SUV version of this model — Goodyear Vector 4Seasons SUV Gen-2 — has not won as much critical acclaim, yet most of the test experts still speak highly of it.
Continental AG was slow to launch an all-season tire under its flagship brand, sticking to the concept that all-season tires were essentially a compromise. However, in 2017, giving in to the harsh market realities, the German tire maker finally released an all-season model, naming it Continental AllSeasonContact.
Putting off this event as much as possible, the company gave its engineers the time to create this product that was expected to perform up to the brand’s reputation in the comparative tests. No miracle happened, of course, but the AllSeasonContact model at once hit all of the European tests, whose results showed that now Vector 4Seasons Gen-2 had a powerful rival to compete against.
Important!In their feedback about the all-season Goodyear tires, the experts mostly focus on their balanced performance in any weather conditions, while the Continentals are more designed for the cold weather, meaning, they are «all-season tires with winter capabilities», as an offset to Michelin that its manufacturer is marketing as a «summer all-season tire».
Michelin CrossClimate+, which did not make it to the leadership group last year, was placed by us into the group of pursuers. In 2019, the difference in its performance compared to the results shown by Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2 and Continental AllSeasonContact became pretty vague, and the «summer tire with winter capabilities» occupied the place it deserved in the tire pantheon.
Speaking about Michelin CrossClimate SUV, it must be said that it’s quite alright, really. In 2019, this model was tested twice by Auto Bild Allrad, which gave it the palm of victory in size 235/65 R17, at the same time awarding it with silver in size 235/55 R19, adding to it an «exemplary» verdict.
The group of pursuers
Unbelievable though this may sound, for a second consecutive year, the Bridgestone Weather Control A005 model demonstrates tremendous will to victory, which leads to the first place in the elimination round in the large comparative test conducted by Auto Bild. At the same time, however, and again, for a second consecutive year, it gets «bounced» by its stronger rivals to the very bottom of the tournament bracket, even it comes to all-rounded testing. The takeaway is that virtually nothing has changed for this model since 2018.
What’s more, Bridgestone got into a similar situation in the Auto Bild test with its winter tire Blizzak LM005: the first place in the elimination round (consisting of two disciplines), and only the fifth place in the final standings.
At the same time, the overall picture of the achievements of the Bridgestone all-season tires was slightly improved by the fifth (out of nine) place in the test conducted by the British Auto Express, and the victory in the tests conducted by Auto Bild Allrad, whose experts tested Bridgestone SUV tires in size 235/65 R17.
The results shown by Bridgestone Weather Control A005 in two tests done by Hungary’s Autonavigator vividly demonstrate that this tire’s grip on snow is nothing but average, whilst in the summer weather conditions this tire performs much better, but still falls short of the level of premium summer tires.
In 2019, Apollo Tyres caused a major paradigm shift in the minds of the European test experts. The winter range of two of its brands — Apollo and Vredestein — already got a lot of acclaim, and it looks as though now the time has come for its all-season models to harvest positive feedback from the experts.
This year, the ranks of the best all-season tires included not only the 2019 newcomer, Vredestein Quatrac Pro, but also its predecessor, Vredestein Quatrac 5. Both models now have an «exemplary» verdict in their portfolio. At the same time, Quatrac 5 was also able to improve its position in comparison to 2018.
However, as for the top achievement of Apollo Alnac 4G All Season, it is only the 11th place in the Autonavigator test of winter tires in size 205/55 R16, while in the summer tire test conducted by the same expert team it scored the last 20th place.
Fulda Multicontrol could not reach the final of the large Auto Bild test, just as could not the year before. However, it came the second in the GTÜ/ACE/ARBÖ tests. Such an achievement is something to be reckoned with, and we are placing this tire model into the group of pursuers.
A similar situation formed for the model Pirelli Cinturato All Season Plus: «failing» the final part of the Auto Bild test, the tire of this Italian brand became the winner of the silver award of the Italian motoring magazine Al Volante.
«Upper intermediate» or «when something is missing»
And now let’s take a look at the tire models that for this or that reason fell short of ascending to the winners pedestal but still came incredibly close to the prize-winning places, some of them even snatching a medal or two.
The latter, for example, was the case with Nokian Weatherproof, which scored the bronze award of the GTÜ/ACE/ARBÖ all-season tire test in size 205/60 R16. At the same time, according to Auto Bild Allrad, the Nokian Weatherproof SUV model only deserves an «average» verdict.
The Hankook Kinergy 4S2 H750 model debuted in the comparative tests 2018, scoring the fifth position in the Auto Bild test. A year has passed, and nothing has changed — the same fifth place from the same test group. Unfailing consistency of results! As an offset to this, one can put the opinion of the Auto Express testers, who are sure that the braking performance of this model in bad weather conditions still needs to be improved.
Its SUV version, Hankook Kinergy 4S2 X H750A, which was put on the market in 2019, thanks to its claim to victory in the Auto Bild Allrad test, left a pretty good impression.
Yet another new model 2019, Maxxis Premitra All Season AP3, replaced in the all-season tire tests its predecessor, Maxxis All Season AP2. It came the seventh out of ten in the final of the Auto Bild test, yet even in this situation, the experts pronounced a «good» verdict, adding that the change of generations was generally justified.
One wants to mention some slight interest from the test experts for Yokohama BluEarth-4S AW21. This tire model was presented in 2018, yet this year it was only tested by Auto Bild. Forming any kind of objective opinion about it is very difficult because of lack of information.
However, things have recently become clearer in respect to the new model Cooper Discoverer AllSeason, and now we know almost for sure that currently its place is on the bench, taking into account the last place in the final ranking of Auto Bild and the last-but-one place that it scored in the test conducted by Auto Express.
Justifying your opting for all-season tires with economic reasons, please remember that you will not be able to save up a lot of money in any case: the best all-season tires are only manufactured by premium brands, and in order to feel safe on the road, you will still need to empty your wallet.
Before buying this or that specific set of tires, it will also be worth your while to find out about the bias (winter or summer) of this model. Do not forget that tires with an all-round performance suited for any weather conditions are few and far between, if they at all exist.