215/75R16

Promobil 2020: Commercial All-Season Tire Test

Source: Promobil.de

The German magazine performed a comparative test of all-season tires designed for light trucks and minivans.

List of models tested:

European winters are becoming increasingly warmer, due to which the popularity of the so-called «all-season» tires stays on the rise. Last year, these tires occupied 18% of the German light truck and minivan tire market, which comes as no surprise because these tires spare the vehicle owners the time and money, otherwise spent on the seasonal tire swap. At the same time, all-season tires are winning the market not at the expense of winter tires, whose share in sales is still 50%, but at the expense of summer tires, whose market share dropped to 32%.

Promobil Commercial All-Season Tire Test
Source: Promobil.de

The previous tests have repeatedly demonstrated that all-season tires still fall short of dedicated winter tires on snow and ice, at the same time losing it to summer tires in hot weather conditions. Specifically, the excessively supple tread compound led to a worse performance on hot pavement, which affected the braking distance and cornering stability, also shortening tread life. At the same time, the experts note that all-season tires do have their strong sides in summer conditions, and their tread patterns with large grooves, combined with extra sipes, are capable of improving grip on slippery surfaces or loose soil, for example, when you need to exit a mud-ridden camping site on a four-wheel drive SUV after rain. In addition, all-season tires are generally known to have a better hydroplaning resistance.

That is where the benefits of all-season tires end, though, because their manufacturers tend to fine-tune them for a very diverse range of conditions, and the new Promobil test was meant to evaluate the performance of seven tire models in this category. The competitors’ list included the relatively new Continental VanContact 4Season, the inexpensive Falken Euro AllSeason Van11 and the Maxxis Vansmart A/S AL2, the previously tested Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Cargo, the summer-biased Pirelli Carrier All Season, as well as the Michelin Agilis CrossClimate featuring the arrow-shaped tread pattern that you would not normally expect to see in this segment, and the Vredestein Comtrac 2 AllSeason with large tread blocks and deep sipes.

Test discipline: snow handling.
Test discipline: snow handling. Source: Promobil.de

The snow tests were conducted in Nufenen (Switzerland) in the end of February on specially prepared tracks under a temperature of about -7°C, the test car being a Fiat Ducato. Special attention was paid to the speeds, which the tires could maintain during maneuvering, and the tires’ behavior at the grip threshold. The test was won by the Continental model that proved to be head and shoulders above its competitors. Then followed the Vredestein model, which also demonstrated good lateral stability, but not as effective acceleration and braking performance.

The Falken model was also good on snow, and its level of traction was only slightly lower than that of the leaders, combined with just as stable behavior. The Goodyear and the Maxxis tires could not boast such a well-balanced performance, but they still showed quite acceptable results, and only the Pirelli model could not ensure a satisfactory level of grip. The experts even noted that in actuality the Carrier All Season model can hardly be considered fit to be used in the wintertime, despite the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake sign on its sidewall.

Snow

 

The wet tests were performed at a test facility in the north of Germany in sunny weather at temperatures slightly above +10°C, one of the main questions being whether the Continental model would be able to keep its leadership. Ultimately, the tires of this German brand almost made it, but the characteristics of their tread compound, clearly optimized for winter conditions, kept them from making a clean sweep of the competition. From 80 km/h, the Continental tires stopped the car in after 38 meters, which cannot be called an outstanding result. The Michelin and Pirelli models turned out to be more effective in this area, and the discipline was won by the Goodyear model, whose stopping distance turned out to be almost 3m shorter than that of the Continental. The Maxxis and the Falken models fell slightly short of the Continental, while the Vredestein tires had obvious issues, their stopping distance being a whopping 42m.

Test discipline: snow handling.
Test discipline: snow handling. Source: Promobil.de

Two other performance areas that were also evaluated were straight and lateral hydroplaning resistance. On the track, a puddle 20m long and 7mm deep was specially created — because this is the typical situation when summer tires lose grip and start floating already at 60 km/h. At the same time, the heavy Ducato on all-season tires with large tread depth still did not lose grip at such speeds, but after 80 km/h the commercial tires still started «floating». The experts note that in this case the driver must react very quickly because, while on a passenger car tackling hydroplaning is relatively easy, things are quite different when a heavy van starts skidding at a speed of 100 km/h — making a safe correctional maneuver is much trickier due to the high gravity center and the ensuing risk of overturning. For this same reason performing this test was quite difficult and potentially dangerous, but, since the goal was to define the grip thresholds of the tires, the experts had no other choice. This discipline was won by the Michelin and Vredestein that ensured a really high level of hydroplaning resistance. The Continental, Goodyear, Maxxis, and Pirelli tires also demonstrated good results, and only the Falken model was losing grip relatively early.

The first place in the final standings of the wet tests was scored by the Goodyear model, which demonstrated stable and safe performance, combined with the shortest braking distance on test. A performance almost on a par with it, yet with weak sides shown in at least one discipline, was delivered by the Pirelli, Continental, and Michelin tires, while the results demonstrated by the Maxxis and Falken models can only be rated as acceptable. The only model to significantly lag behind was Vredestein, which showed a considerably longer stopping distance.

Wet Surface

 

In the dry disciplines, the leader changed again, and this time it was the Michelin model, which was definitely designed with a focus on improving on the summer performance. The braking distance from 100 km/h demonstrated by the Michelin model amounted to a mere 43.8 meters, while the result of the tires, which came second in this discipline, was 2.5m longer. The Pirelli, Falken, Goodyear, and Maxxis models needed extra 2 or 3 meters, and Continental and Vredestein already 3 or 4 meters, which can make all the difference in an emergency situation.

Test discipline: wet handling.
Test discipline: wet handling. Source: Promobil.de

On the dry track, the pilots were to perform an emergency lane switching maneuver at 120 km/h, and the tires’ behavior was evaluated — how accurate was the handling response, and how stable was the grip of the rear wheels — all this was taken into consideration in the final rating.

As was already said, the highest level of driving safety on dry pavement was ensured by the Michelin model, followed by the Pirelli and Continental tires, which demonstrated even better lateral stability, but not as great braking performance. Another tire that was rated pretty high was the Goodyear model.

Maxxis and Falken fell behind the leaders, but showed quite acceptable results, while Vredestein lost points due to long stopping distances. The Promobil experts note that the company already addressed this issue, and recently a modified version Comtrac 2 AllSeason+ was released, which ensures a higher level of safety.

Dry Surface

 

The weights of the scores given in snow, wet, and dry tests, as well as in the test for hydroplaning resistance, were taken as 20/40/20/20. In accordance with this formula, first place was scored by the Continental model, the most effective one on snow, and at the same time very well-balanced — it surpassed the Goodyear and the Michelin models, which came first in the wet and dry tests respectively.

Test discipline: dry handling.
Test discipline: dry handling. Source: Promobil.de

On the whole, however, as the experts remind us, you should pick your tires based on the conditions, in which you are most likely to drive — for regions with snowy winters, the Continental tires will be the best option, while if you live in a snowless region, choosing Pirelli will be totally OK. At the same time, if you care about ensuring maximum safety, just make sure to put on a set of new tires before each season.

Test Results

Commercial all-season tire test summary Promobil, 2020. Places 1–7.
Commercial all-season tire test summary Promobil, 2020. Places 1–7. Click to enlarge.

1st place: Continental / VanContact 4Season

Quick Take
83 38

Continental VanContact 4Season

Dry Performance Wet Performance Comfort Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+
Continental VanContact 4Season

  • Excellent traction, good lateral stability, and short braking distance on snow
  • Great handling response in the wet
  • Excellent lateral stability in the dry
  • Low noise emission
  • Long braking distance on dry pavement
  • Recommended

2nd place: Goodyear / Vector 4Seasons Cargo

Quick Take
79 37

Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Cargo

  • This tire replaced Goodyear / Cargo Vector 2
  • Available Sizes in Line: 32
  • For light commercial vehicles, transporters and vans.
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Cargo

  • Good handling response and high safety level in any conditions
  • Short braking distance on wet pavement
  • Good hydroplaning resistance.
  • Lack of balance between the longitudinal and lateral grip on snow
  • Relatively long braking distance on dry pavement
  • Recommended

3rd place: Michelin / Agilis CrossClimate

Quick Take
84 38

Michelin Agilis CrossClimate

Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Handling Comfort Treadwear
  • Available Sizes in Line: 80
  • For light commercial vehicles, transporters and vans.
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+
Michelin Agilis CrossClimate

  • Good lateral stability on snow
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Well-balanced behavior and very short braking distance on dry pavement
  • Lack of balance between the longitudinal and lateral grip on snow
  • Extremely prone to understeer on wet pavement
  • Recommended

4th place: Falken / EuroAll Season Van11

Quick Take
N/A 28

Falken EuroAll Season Van11

  • Available Sizes in Line: 53
  • For light commercial vehicles, transporters and vans.
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Falken EuroAll Season Van11

  • Acceptable performance on snow
  • Stable behavior during lane switching
  • Long stopping distance and weak lateral grip on wet and dry pavement
  • Low riding comfort
  • High noise emission
  • Recommended with limitations

5th place: Maxxis / Vansmart A/S AL2

Quick Take
N/A 26

Maxxis Vansmart A/S AL2

  • This tire replaced ⛔ Maxxis / MA-LAS
  • Available Sizes in Line: 58
  • For light commercial vehicles, transporters and vans.
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Maxxis Vansmart A/S AL2

  • Stable behavior on snow (even though the overall level of traction is lower than that of some other tires)
  • Low noise emission
  • Long braking distance on any type of pavement
  • Delayed steering response
  • Poor lateral stability and prone to understeer on dry pavement
  • Recommended with limitations

6th place: Pirelli / Carrier All Season

Quick Take
N/A 32

Pirelli Carrier All Season

  • This tire replaced ⛔ Pirelli / Chrono Four Seasons
  • Available Sizes in Line: 36
  • For light commercial vehicles, transporters and vans.
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe
Pirelli Carrier All Season

  • High level of driving safety on wet pavement
  • Good hydroplaning resistance.
  • Good handling response and high safety level on dry pavement
  • Very poor traction and long stopping distance on snow (the tires are unfit to be used in regions with snowy winters)
  • Conditionally recommended

7th place: Vredestein / Comtrac 2 All Season

Quick Take
N/A 27

Vredestein Comtrac 2 All Season

  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+
Vredestein Comtrac 2 All Season

  • Excellent lateral stability and good handling response on snow
  • Very long braking distance on wet and dry pavement
  • Very slow steering response
  • High noise emission
  • Conditionally recommended

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