235/55R18

Gute Fahrt 2022: All-Season Tire Test R18

The Gute Fahrt magazine has conducted a test of all-season tires in a size that fits such cars as Volkswagen Tiguan.

List of models tested:

For years, tire makers and tire experts consistently recommended following this simple formula: summer tires in summer, winter tires in winter. However, recently Europe has seen an increasing demand for the so-called «all-season» or «all-weather» tires, which used to be considered a viable choice only for megalopolis drivers or even for those who rarely use their cars at all. Such a reputation was rooted in a very simple circumstance — as a rule, all-season tires performed worse than the winter ones in winter and worse than the summer ones in summer because combining such parameters as high snow traction and optimum handling precision on tarmac is quite a tall order. What makes the situation even more complicated is the fact that some of the all-season tires have a summer and some a winter bias — and the consumer must keep this in mind when choosing his next set of tires so that they would be suitable for their future use and would not become a disappointment for the driver — for example, due to high wear during a summertime vacation down south.

The tires were tested using Volkswagen Tiguan.
The tires were tested using Volkswagen Tiguan.

All the fundamental flaws of all-season tires are very well known and indisputable, yet it is this particular segment of the European tire market that is literally booming right now, and some of the manufacturers who used to make loud statements to the effect that they would never release such a product (Continental, for example), are now wearing a different hat, so now all-season tires are offered in all popular sizes and for virtually any type of vehicle you can think of.

The main advantage of the tires of this type is also quite obvious because it allows you to avoid having your tires replaced twice a year, which saves time and money, and, in order to test what the all-season tires from the leading tire makers are capable of, the German magazine Gute Fahrt compared them in a series of tests organized in summer in the north of Italy and in winter in Sweden’s Lapland. The tests were carried out at temperatures ranging between +25 and -10 degrees Celsius, i.e. in exactly in the range, which, according to the tire makers, is optimum for all-season tires; the test involved tire models from Bridgestone, Continental, Falken, Goodyear, Nokian, Pirelli, and Vredestein.

Dry Handling

Falken
Very Good+
Continental
Very Good-
Goodyear
Good+
Nokian
Satisfactory+
Vredestein
Satisfactory+
Bridgestone
Satisfactory
Pirelli
Satisfactory

Info! Subjective.

Wet Handling

Continental
Very Good+
Bridgestone
Good+
Goodyear
Good+.
Vredestein
Good+
Falken
Good-
Pirelli
Satisfactory+
Nokian
Satisfactory

Info! Subjective.


As the GF experts noted, already in the summer part of the test it became clear that all the tested tires are fundamentally different in their behavior, and, in addition, they all demonstrated unbalanced performance, the only exception being the Continental model, which was taken as a reference tire. According to the experts, the Continental tire was equally good on wet and dry pavement, quickly responded at the zero position of the steering wheel, and had plenty of lateral grip. At the same time, this Continental model is anything but a sports tire, and this applies to all the tires involved in the test, for the sole exception of Falken, which made quite a surprise in the dry handling test with its extremely high traction and lightning-fast steering response.

Test discipline: wet handling
Test discipline: wet handling. Source: gute-fahrt.de

On the other hand, the Falken’s dry braking performance can definitely be improved — when braking from 100 km/h, this tire only stopped the car in 38.6 meters, while the Continental needed 37.7 meters. This 0.9 meter difference may at first seem insignificant but you need to keep in mind that the remaining speed of the car fitted with the Falken tires will still be 15.3 km/h, which is quite a lot. The only tire to perform worse than the Falken in this discipline was the Nokian, which had the longest wet braking distance as well, and the GF experts noted that the Finnish tire Nokian Seasonproof SUV definitely needed a revision in this respect. On the whole, however, the tests again confirmed that all-season tires are inferior to specialized summer ones in terms of tarmac braking, and on dry pavement the remaining speed will be about 30 km/h, and, in addition, all of these tires — save for the Falken model maybe — are totally unsuitable for the sporty driving style.

Dry Braking

Continental
37.7
Pirelli
37.7
Vredestein
38.0
Bridgestone
38.2
Goodyear
38.3
Falken
38.6
Nokian
39.0

Info! Braking in the range of 100–0 km/h, m.

Wet Braking

Bridgestone
28.0
Bridgestone
28.9
Bridgestone
29.1
Bridgestone
29.5
Bridgestone
29.9
Bridgestone
30.2
Bridgestone
30.5

Info! Braking in the range of 80–0 km/h, m.


As was already said, the tested tires were significantly different in their characteristics, and, for example, in the lateral hydroplaning resistance test, the difference between the best and the worst results (shown by Bridgestone and Vredestein respectively) was a whopping 20%. The Vredestein tire also became the worst in the classic test for straight hydroplaning resistance, during which it «floated» on a 7-mm layer of water at speeds almost 7 km/h slower than Continental. At the same time the Vredestein showed a quite acceptable result in the wet handling test, as well as received high scores for ride comfort and low noise emission.

Another tire that was praised for good riding comfort was Pirelli, which, unlike Falken and Goodyear, did not make loud noise and was effective at absorbing road inequalities. This part of the test was again led off by Continental, which proved that good handling response and ride comfort are not mutually canceling parameters, and, as the GF experts noted, all the other tire makers could learn from the Germans in this case.

Test discipline: Straight Hydroplaning.
Test discipline: Straight Hydroplaning. Source: gute-fahrt.de

A question arises: did the Continental have any prominent issues at all? The short answer is no, even though, according to the experts, wet braking could have been better. The GF experts also added that on a wet track they also expected higher results from the Goodyear tire, because, even though earlier the models of this brand received excellent scores in these conditions, this time around the tire from the Vector 4Seasons line only won in the hydroplaning resistance test, its stopping distance being almost two meters longer than Bridgestone’s.

Straight Hydroplaning

Goodyear
77.4
Continental
77.0
Bridgestone
74.1
Falken
73.2
Nokian
73.0
Pirelli
71.5
Vredestein
70.2

Info! Float speed, km/h.

Lateral Hydroplaning

Bridgestone
3.61
Goodyear
3.61
Continental
3.42
Nokian
3.28
Falken
3.20
Pirelli
3.12
Vredestein
2.96

Info! Maximum lateral acceleration, m/s².


Summing up the intermediate results, the GF experts stated that so far they had recorded no obvious fails, but the test revealed limits of the capabilities of all-season tires, whose braking performance is inferior to that of the specialized summer ones; within this limit, the best all-season tires for summer weather were pronounced to be the Continental, Goodyear, and Bridgestone.

Rolling Resistance

Pirelli
6.99
Bridgestone
7.02
Continental
7.16
Goodyear
7.36
Nokian
7.55
Vredestein
7.76
Falken
8.10

Info! Rolling resistance, kg/t.

Comfort

Continental
Very Good
Falken
Good
Goodyear
Good
Vredestein
Good
Pirelli
Good-
Bridgestone
Satisfactory-
Nokian
Satisfactory-

Info! Subjective.


The snow tests were conducted at the Älvsbyn test facility under the optimum temperature of about -5 degrees Celsius. If it had been really cold, like -20 degrees Celsius, the rubber would have gone past the «glass transition point» and become hard like summer rubber at zero. In order to keep the winter tires from becoming hard as a rock in freezing conditions, an increased ratio of natural rubber is used, which helps the rubber compound stay supple at low temperatures, while in the case of all-season tires you have to settle for a compromise. If you make a tire that stays supple in freezing weather, it will wear out quickly in summer, and the other way around — if you make an all-season tire too close to a summer one, it will be less effective in winter. Yet another factor is the lamellas, whose edges are meant to bite at the hard-packed snow, boosting the grip. A winter tire has about 2000 lamellas; an all season one about half that figure, and, again, you need to keep a reasonable balance. If you dramatically increase their number, it will compromise handling precision in the summertime, and if you reduce it, winter grip will deteriorate.

Snow performance
Snow performance. Source: gute-fahrt.de

The first discipline was snow traction. In such conditions, to achieve the most effective acceleration, the slippage of the tires must be about 20–30% — a lot more than on dry or wet tarmac. This test was won by the Goodyear model with a significant lead over the competition, which tells us that during the development of this tire its winter performance was a priority. Second-placed was Pirelli, while the Continental tire, which was the leader in the summer part of the tests, dropped to the bottom of the tournament bracket — the only tire to perform even worse was the Falken model, which was inferior to Goodyear by about 10%. The GF experts noted that they also tried to check how the tires would behave on a snow-covered 10-degree slope, and the result was «an utter disappointment because not a single tire could handle the task of starting uphill, while winter tires did not have any problems with that at all.»

Snow Handling

Goodyear
Very Good
Continental
Good+
Pirelli
Good-
Nokian
Satisfactory+
Vredestein
Satisfactory+
Bridgestone
Satisfactory
Falken
Unsatisfactory+

Info! Subjective.

Snow Traction

Goodyear
2244
Pirelli
2194
Vredestein
2174
Nokian
2172
Bridgestone
2164
Continental
2126
Falken
2034

Info! Average traction, H.


Handling performance was evaluated on a snow-covered track with turns of different types, and the first line of the tournament bracket was again scored by Goodyear, followed by Continental and Pirelli. The testers considered such factors as the tires’ behavior at the grip limit, steering precision, road holding ability, and overall traction, and the leading trio scored from 7 to 8 points on a 0 to 10 scale, which, according to the experts, is quite a result for all-season tires. At the same time, if real winter tires were taken as the benchmark, even the best of all-season tires could not have scored more than 6 points, the reason for that being that even though there were no complaints about their overall longitudinal traction, these tires were far less stable in corners, and they insisted on pushing the car towards the outer shoulder, and sometimes even beyond. The ESP and ABS system also kept getting engaged surprisingly early, which means that you actually have to brake before entering a corner. The last discipline involved measuring the braking distance on snow — from 50 km/h to a full stop. The Goodyear tire stayed true to itself, sharing the first place with Nokian, but you need to keep in mind the fact that the stopping distance demonstrated by the specialized winter tires was about 3.5 meters shorter.

Snow Braking

Goodyear
28.49
Nokian
28.56
Bridgestone
29.73
Continental
29.93
Pirelli
30.08
Falken
30.28
Vredestein
30.91

Info! Braking in the range of 50–0 km/h, m.


Summing up the results of the snow tests, the GF experts noted that some 10 or 15 years ago the same results were demonstrated by good winter tires, and you can actually reach your destination on all-season tires without sweating with fear, but, of course, they are no match for modern winter tires. In general, the experts recommended all-season tires to those who live in regions with a mild climate, do not travel long distances and may afford to refrain from using the car in particularly bad weather. At the same time, it is better for everyone else to still buy two sets of rubber.

Result summary. 2022 Gute Fahrt All-Season Tire Test — 235/55R18. (click to enlarge)
Result summary. 2022 Gute Fahrt All-Season Tire Test — 235/55R18. (click to enlarge)

1st place: Continental / AllSeasonContact

Quick Take
88 61

Continental AllSeasonContact

Price/Quality Wet Performance Handling Snow/Ice Performance Dry Performance Treadwear Comfort
  • Available Sizes in Line: 149
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Volkswagen Multivan T7 [2021 .. 2023]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+
Continental AllSeasonContact

  • Well-balanced performance
  • Excellent handling response and a short stopping distance on wet and dry pavement alike
  • Good snow performance
  • Good riding comfort
  • Low noise emission
  • Very good+ (recommended by Gute Fahrt)

1st place: Goodyear / Vector 4Seasons SUV Gen-3

Quick Take
86 39

Goodyear Vector 4Seasons SUV Gen-3

  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Goodyear Vector 4Seasons SUV Gen-3

  • Very good handling response, good snow traction, and a short braking distance on snow (the best snow performance among the all-season tires)
  • Good handling response in the wet and in the dry
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Relatively long braking distance on wet pavement
  • Very good+ (recommended by Gute Fahrt)

3rd place: Bridgestone / Weather Control A005 Evo

Quick Take
81 58

Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo

Price/Quality Wet Performance Dry Performance Handling Snow/Ice Performance Comfort Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe
Bridgestone Weather Control A005 Evo

  • Well-balanced performance
  • Good handling response and a short stopping distance on wet pavement
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Good longitudinal traction on snow
  • Insufficient handling response in the dry
  • Rough ride
  • Good+

4th place: Pirelli / Cinturato All Season SF 2

Quick Take
76 42

Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF 2

Comfort Handling Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire replaced ⛔ Pirelli / Cinturato All Season SF
  • Available Sizes in Line: 30
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2021
  • Regions for sale: Canada, Europe, Japan
Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF 2

  • Very short dry braking distance
  • Very low rolling resistance
  • Strong traction and good handling response on snow
  • Insufficient handling response on wet and dry pavement
  • Relatively long braking distance on snow and wet pavement
  • Reduced hydroplaning resistance
  • Good+

5th place: Vredestein / Quatrac Pro

Quick Take
80 47
Price/Quality Comfort Wet Performance Dry Performance Handling Snow/Ice Performance Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe
Vredestein Quatrac Pro

  • Good handling response in the wet
  • Short braking distance on dry pavement
  • Great snow traction
  • Smooth ride
  • Low noise emission
  • Insufficient handling response in the dry
  • Relatively long braking distance on wet pavement
  • Relatively long braking distance and less-than-perfect handling response on snow
  • Poor hydroplaning resistance
  • Increased rolling resistance
  • Satisfactory+

6th place: Falken / EuroAll Season AS210

Quick Take
78 44

Falken EuroAll Season AS210

Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Dry Performance Handling Treadwear Comfort Price/Quality
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Falken EuroAll Season AS210

  • Good handling response in the wet and in the dry
  • Relatively long braking distance on dry pavement
  • Low lateral hydroplaning resistance
  • Very high rolling resistance
  • Weak snow performance
  • Satisfactory

6th place: Nokian / Seasonproof SUV

Quick Take
N/A 24
  • Available Sizes in Line: 18
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Nokian Seasonproof SUV

  • Excellent traction and very short braking distance on snow
  • Less-than-perfect handling response and a relatively long braking distance on dry and wet pavement
  • Insufficient handling response on snow
  • Increased rolling resistance
  • Increased noise emission
  • Satisfactory

Price