When it comes to buying a new set of tires, for some of the car owners comparative tire tests are the key factor that influences their decision. That’s why many of the industry publications and testing organizations make their tests before the new season, on the basis of which they define the best tires of this or that specific size.
Toward the end of April, most of the results of the summer tire tests are already published, and this means that the few remaining tests will hardly change the big picture.
Which of the tested models won the greatest number of awards, and which of them deserve to be called «the best tires 2019», we defined on the basis of 23 independent tests conducted by the experts of Germany, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Ukraine, and Russia.
Jumping ahead of ourselves, we will tell you at once that last year’s leader could not hold his top position, while budget models and Asian brands are pushing harder and harder.
We divided all of the prize-winning models 2019 into two conditional categories — «more expensive» and «less expensive».
Best tires: Continental
In order to single out the indisputable leader of the 2019 summer tire tests, we summed up the achievements of all the prize-winning models that scored the first places.
Beyond any doubt: the best tire 2019 is Continental PremiumContact 6.
It was able to make a clean sweep of the competition in four different sizes, plus it won silver and bronze as well. The only publication that did not give this tire any awards this year is Auto Bild (the fifth place). At the same time, the experts of this magazine granted these verdicts on this model: «Exemplary» and «Eco Master» — obviously, for consolation.
Meanwhile, the previous generation model is gradually losing its ground. And, while in the smaller size Continental ContiPremiumContact 5 is still capable of delivering the goods, in bigger sizes it has a hard time competing with younger rivals.
The «sports» league of Continental is also doing alright. SportContact 6 is the only one of the eight tested models that was able to score a «highly recommended» verdict from the expert team of Germany’s Sport Auto. Its rivals can only envy the outstanding grip that this tire provides on wet and dry pavement alike.
But then again, Continental still has a few things to worry about, and it also has a skeleton in the closet. Presented as early on as last year, the new model EcoContact 6 was launched in spring but, contrary to everyone’s expectations, it did not get shortlisted in any of the 23 tests conducted in 2019.
Best Michelin tires 2019
Last year’s leader of the summer tire tests, Michelin Pilot Sport 4, was of less interest to the test expert teams, and was only spotted in two. In one of them, this tire won an excellent victory, scoring only the fourth place in the other, getting a mere «Satisfactory» verdict from the exacting German experts.
The improved version of this model, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, also lost its popularity. It was only able to score a victory in a highly specialized Sport Auto test in the 20-inch fitting diameter nomination, which nonetheless brought silver to this French tire maker.
Parallel to that, the Michelin Primacy 4 model was quite able to get some hype in the tire experts community. In four of eight tests it was able to harvest an equal number of gold and silver medals. In the other four tests it did not win any awards but, according to experts, this tire is well worth its price. Thanks to its low wear it will become quite a valuable purchase and it literally fell one breath short of being named the best tire 2019.
Michelin CrossClimate+, which is still being marketed as a summer tire by its manufacturer, and which is still being stubbornly tested as an all-season model by the expert groups, did not achieve any significant success in tire tests 2019, its results directly depending on its size — the smaller, the better. So it goes.
Nokian Hakka Blue 2, including its SUV version finally made a hit this year. This Finnish tire maker does not seem to settle for anything less than the second place. The only thing that looks a bit strange in this tire’s results is the fact that this model was more interesting to the test expert teams of the Eastern, and not Central Europe.
Obviously, just as much this most northern tire maker expects from the two new models 2019: Wetproof and Powerproof. Their debut can be considered to be a success, Nokian Wetproof being the luckier one. They won the golden medals at the GTÜ/ACE/ARBÖ and Auto Motor und Sport tests. At the same time, the Auto Bild experts were more reserved when it came to summing up the results of their big test. They stressed that Wetproof’s hydroplaning resistance was on the weak side, and there were questions to the overall riding comfort. This is why Nokian Wetproof only got a «Good» verdict from Auto Bild, and the seventh place of the possible 20.
The best that Nokian Powerproof could get was a silver award at the Auto Bild Allrad test for summer SUV 225/55 R17 tires.
The Nokian Hakka Green 2, tested by the experts of Russia’s «Za Rulem» («Behind the Wheel») magazine, repeated last year’s scenario, only this time around it had to give up the yellow jersey and settle for the second place.
Practically body to body with Nokian Hakka Blue 2 goes the newcomer of the summer season Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5. The German expert group that tested the model with fitting diameters of 17 and 18 inches was very happy with it.
We will note that the manufacturer decided to keep the tread pattern of this model’s predecessor, only changing the formula of the rubber compound says the technical expert (Shina.Guide)
Still, this was enough to slightly improve the wet braking performance, and the position of this brand in the final test record sheets.
At the same time, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 and even Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 are by no means quitting the scene. They both distinguished themselves in 2019, scoring one medal each; silver from Auto Review and bronze from Sport Auto.
One must admit that it was virtually able to accomplish the impossible — the product of this Japanese brand rarely, if ever, is spotted in the TOP-3. Anyway, the fact remains that the technological innovation helped the world’s largest tire maker top make a giant leap forward. To compare, its predecessor, Turanza T001, was only able to score the 12th place in the 2016 ADAC test for summer tires of the same size.
The sports tire Bridgestone Alenza 001 burst into the ranks of the best summer tires thanks to the third place that it scored in an Auto Review 255/45 R19 tire test, which was ensured by its outstanding grip on wet pavement.
Hankook in 2019 tire tests
The premium-class tires Hankook Ventus Prime3 K125, which scored an excellent victory in the large comparative Auto Bild test 2018, were left without any higher medals this year. Which, nevertheless, did not stop them from getting a lot of compliments from test groups of different countries. Ventus Prime 3 is worthy of recommendation, without a doubt.
Yet another premium-class newcomer, Hankook Ventus S1 evo3 K127, immediately drew the attention of the test experts. Both in the cutthroat competition of the 52 contestants in the qualification round, and in the final of the Auto Bild test it proved that it deservedly scored the third place and was worthy of the «exemplary» verdict. The fact that it only came the fourth in the Sport Auto test does not spoil the big picture at all because the position in the middle of the final tournament bracket is also quite a result by any standards.
Dunlop Sport BluResponse is a tire that makes you involuntarily exclaim «Long time no see!» It first hit the market in 2013, and it is quite a surprise to see it six years later among the best summer tires 2019, all the more so because a year ago this tire’s performance was not really successful at all.
It is hard to say what specifically changed over the year but the fact remains that Sport BluResponse hit the ranks of the leaders, and, consequently, found itself among the best tires 2019, which means that it is not going to quit the scene any time soon.
Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 has stood its ground. Its results in the summer tire tests 2019 are approximately the same as the year before.
Unlike the winter Ice Zero FR, summer Pirelli tires have not yet been caught in substitution — but the question of trust for the product of this brand is still there.
The Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tire became «exemplary» only for the expert team of Auto Bild Sportscars in the UHP category. In other, not so highly specialized, tests, against the background of tires with a more reserved character, the set of its sports features looks obviously misplaced.
While premium-class tires virtually always headline the test tournament brackets, the rare victories won by medium-segment tires are of particular interest because they vividly demonstrate such an important feature as price/quality ratio.
The dividing line between premium class and medium segment tires is slowly getting blurred. This has to do with the fact that the cutting edge technologies used in premium segment tires gradually become commonplace, grow less expensive and begin to be used in mass market models. The most vivid example of catching up with the premium class product in terms of performance is demonstrated by Falken Azenis FK510, Fulda EcoControl HP and Firestone Roadhawk. Hereinafter we will cover the best summer tires 2019 that you can lay your hands on without busting the bank.
Most of these models were also covered in our last year’s article but today we would like to focus on a tire that was literally head and shoulders above the others in 2019. It is Taiwan’s Maxxis Premitra HP5. The testers that granted this model with numerous awards were unanimous in their opinions: in spite of the tire’s cost and country of origin (and many people are preconceived against Asian-made tires), its performance is most of the time on a par with premium-class analogues.
For three years running, numerous expert teams have been happily including this model into lineups of various tests. Let’s see how this tire will be getting along in the future but even now one can say that this model is worth every penny of its price.
Two other newcomers in the lineup of the best summer tires 2019 by test results are Debica Presto HP and Sava Intensa HP that shared the third place in the joint test of Slovakia’s Autozurnal and Czech Autoklub CR. They demonstrated great grip both on wet and dry pavement. As for limitations, there was only one that they also shared, and that was high rolling resistance.
A rather loud statement was made by the fifth generation model that came to replace Barum Bravuris 3HM. Currently, it has only been tested by East European expert teams but this is already enough to make the first conclusions: Bravuris 5HM has an outstanding price/quality ratio.
The Finnish Nokian Nordman SX2 that passed through the dire straits of the test conducted by Russia’s «Za Rulem» («Behind the Wheel») magazine, demonstrated different results in different sizes. There seems to be only one expert team that is unconditionally convinced in the high quality of this model, and that is the Finnish publication Moottori that placed Nordman SX2 on the second position of its tire ranking.
Another model that we must mention here is Roadstone Eurovis Sport 04. This brand, which is an affiliate of Korea’s Nexen is generally rarely spotted in the tests but in this specific instance this model was not only tested but it was also able to win bronze. All of this happened thanks to the experts of the Norwegian publication Motor, who, together with the team of the Swedish Vi Bilägare Magazine, tested budget tires in the size 205/55R16.
Arguably, a minor sensation was made by Vredestein Sportrac 5 scoring the second place in the ADAC 185/65 R15 summer tire test that was brought to them by well-balanced performance on wet pavement, coupled with high resistance to wear.
Semperit Speed-Life 2 was able to score a victory in the test conducted by the already-mentioned Moottori but for this Continental’s affiliate brand its success was clouded by the fact that the model did not get shortlisted to the top 20 of the qualification round of the large Auto Bild test, which, as we remember is conducted on the basis of dry and wet braking performance. Of course, nobody is going to take away the Moottori golden medal from Speed-Life 2 but nobody will be able to say with certainty that it is a «great» tire either.
And, last but not least, Toyo Proxes Sport SUV. This tire scored the first place in the 17-inch size and the third among the tires with a 19-inch fitting diameter.
By and large, the summer tire tests 2019 once again proved the leadership of the brands that we traditionally see in the tournament brackets and rankings, as well as the «make way for the young to make way» mantra in the competition of different generations. Counterintuitively, some of the new promising models turned out to be soap bubbles and were not spotted in any of the independent tests.