225/45R17

Vi Bilägare 2021: Summer Tire Test R17

A new test by the Swedish magazine ended up in an unexpected victory won by a budget tire of Asian origin.

List of models tested:

Last fall, the experts from the Swedish magazine Vi Bilägare conducted their next tire test, comparing wet and dry performance by eight summer tires of various price segments in the size of 225/45 R17. In this size, tires of two classes — High- and Ultra-High Performance — are available, and the testers decided to test the less «sporty» HP tires, produced for a wider consumer market.

The test was conducted on Goodyear’s test track in Mireval, France.
The test was conducted on Goodyear’s test track in Mireval, France.

The test featured debuts by the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 and the second-generation Pirelli Cinturato P7, opposed by the well-known premium-class tires Continental PremiumContact 6, Michelin Primacy 4, and Nokian Hakka Blue 2, as well as by the economy-class tires Hifly HF805, Maxxis Premitra HP5, and Sentury Qirin 990. Getting ahead of our story, we will say that it was the budget Maxxis model (in Sweden it costs half the price of Continental) unexpectedly took first place, leaving behind all the acclaimed market leaders, but first things first.

The test was performed on two Volkswagen Golfs 1.5 TSI with a manual transmission.
The test was performed on two Volkswagen Golfs 1.5 TSI with a manual transmission.

After three laps on a dry track, the lead is taken by the Maxxis, providing excellent vehicle control. At the same time, the Pirelli model provides a more accurate steering feedback, while the Michelin demonstrates the highest stability at high speeds. Bad scores were received by the Sentury tires, which could not ensure the above-mentioned high-speed stability, as well as by the Hifly tires that were prone to skidding during emergency maneuvers.

Dry surface

 

On the whole, the differences in dry braking performance were only minor, the best results being shown by the Continental model, whose dry braking distance was two meters shorter than that of the Hifly tire.

On the wet track, the Maxxis and the Goodyear models were quick to respond to the driver’s actions, and demonstrated a very stable behavior, while the Continental tire was suddenly prone to understeer, and the Michelin lacked lateral stability. The worst tire was pronounced to be the Hifly because it loses grip abruptly and without a warning.

Wet surface

 

In the wet braking test, the result was calculated after seven brakings, and the clear leader was Continental, while Nokian also demonstrated an impressive performance in this discipline. Unexpectedly, the Pirelli model performed rather poorly, and the only tire that was even worse was the cheap Hifly, whose wet braking performance was rated as unsatisfactory.

The best lateral stability on wet pavement was demonstrated by Goodyear, followed by Nokian and Maxxis. The Michelin and the Sentury tires haad certain issues, and the Hifly model was just not up to the task.

The Nokian and the Maxxis tires demonstrated the best straight hydroplaning resistance, while the last lines of the tournament bracket were scored by the budget Hifly and Sentury.

The best tire to retain grip when hitting a puddle during cornering was Maxxis, which also demonstrated excellent results both on wet and dry pavement. In this discipline, the Maxxis tire had a clear advantage over its rivals, the best of which were Pirelli and Nokian. What came as a real shock, though, was the last place scored by the Continental tire, which was outperformed even by the economy-class models.

Fuel consumption was measured at a constant speed on an oval track, and the difference between the first and last places (Michelin and Nokian respectively) equals saving 34 liters of fuel per 10,000 km. The Hifly model had a very low rolling resistance rating on its EU label, but in reality it turned out to be not so bad, partially redeeming itself.

Environment

The Goodyear model proved to be the quietest tire on test; the noise from the Pirelli, Nokian and Sentury models will also not be bothersome for the driver. The Continental tire produces low-frequency noise at low speeds, but the situation does not worsen as the speed increases; the worst in this discipline was the Hifly tire, which makes very loud noise on uneven asphalt. The rolling resistance was measured by the EU label standard.

As was already said, first place was scored by the budget Maxxis model, which was nothing but a surprise. At the same time, however, one must remember that Maxxis is one of the world’s top 10 tire manufacturers, and the Premitra HP5 model has been constantly updated, which ultimately allowed it to demonstrate an amazing value for money. On dry pavement, this tire demonstrates excellent handling response; on wet pavement, it also maintains decent grip, and, in addition, the Maxxis model demonstrated the best hydroplaning resistance on test. There were minor gripes concerning its relatively high noise emission and less-than-perfect ride comfort, but this did not stop the Maxxis from winning first prize, and this considering the fact that the price factor was not even taken into account when calculating the final scores.

Maxxis Premitra 5 HP5
Maxxis Premitra 5 HP5

Silver was won by the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, about which the VB experts said that, compared to the first-generation tire, the handling response was improved, understeer was corrected, and the tire’s overall behavior became more neutral, including under high loads. At the same time, this Goodyear model also combines good handling response in any conditions with excellent riding comfort, so it will be the perfect choice for those who look for really quiet tires. As for the total victory, Goodyear missed it due average results in the brake and hydroplaning resistance tests.

Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2
Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2

The Continental PremiumContact 6 repeatedly won in the VB tests in 2018 and 2019 — it is still one of the best tires out there, which is confirmed at least by the first place in the wet handling tests. Its braking performance is still more impressive, and in this area the Continental model came out the best both on wet and dry pavement, and this surely proves something. At the same time, this Continental model does have its weak sides, and its lateral hydroplaning resistance was weaker than that of most tested tires. In addition, the Continental provides a relatively rough ride, but the high traction ultimately allowed it to score third place that it shared with Nokian.

Continental PremiumContact 6
Continental PremiumContact 6

The Nokian Hakka Blue 2 tire received their bronze primarily for excellent performance on wet pavement, where it had very short braking distances, high lateral stability and the best resistance to straight hydroplaning. In spite of that, however, this tire could not ensure the optimum balance of characteristics, and on dry pavement the Nokian model performed much worse — it was slow to stop the car, and at high speeds it lacked cornering stability. At the same time, Nokian was one of the quietest tires on test, and it provided the smoothest ride on an uneven surface.

Nokian Hakka Blue 2
Nokian Hakka Blue 2

Over the recent years, Michelin has been promoting the idea that tires must maintain consistent performance throughout their entire life, so the grooves in the tread of new Michelin tires open up as they wear, getting wider and, hence, still accommodating a large volume of water. In this particular case, however, the Michelin Primacy 4 could hardly benefit from this feature because its tread is only 6.3mm deep when new, whilst the Nokian and the Goodyear models have grooves that are deeper by more than 1.5mm. Nevertheless, the Michelin tire did quite a decent job of dispelling water.

The Primacy 4’s braking distances were short enough in all conditions, and in addition, this tire was ranked as the best in terms of fuel economy, and it also ensured good lateral stability under load. On the downside, the Michelin tire ensured average riding comfort, and ultimately scored only fifth place.

Michelin Primacy 4
Michelin Primacy 4

The Pirelli Cinturato P7 (P7C2) showed itself at its absolute best on dry pavement, where it provided excellent steering feedback and reliable behavior during emergency maneuvers. In addition, the Pirelli model demonstrated low noise emission, smooth ride, and high hydroplaning resistance. At the same time, this tire’s wet braking distances are not as short as those of the leaders, and the experts noted that in such conditions tires can dramatically lose grip on the front axle, which will make it difficult to control the car. As a result, the tire loses points and occupies only the sixth line.

Pirelli Cinturato P7 (P7C2)
Pirelli Cinturato P7 (P7C2)

When Sentury presented the Qirin 990 model in China, it was announced that the brand of Sentury would join Landsail and Delinte brands, and will be designed for a more upmarket segment. However, after the model was launched on the European market, it turned out that there is the brand name of Landsail on its sidewall, so now it is unclear what we should call it. You may also come across Landsail Sentury and Sentury Landsail versions, and we decided to keep the original variant.

The new Qirin 990 is remarkable not only because it is really affordably priced, but also because it got an «A» for its wet traction according to the EU label system, and, what’s more, if we are to believe the label data, the tire is very quiet — 66dB. The test confirmed that the Sentury’s wet braking performance is indeed comparable to that of some of the more expensive premium tires, and it was only the Continental tire that stopped the car faster on dry pavement. As for the noise emission, it was rather low, but there are quieter tires out there.

Sentury Qirin 990
Sentury Qirin 990

The reason why this tire occupied a relatively low place in the ranking was due to its insufficient handling performance, and rather fuzzy steering response on dry pavement. On wet pavement, this tire is also inferior to almost all of its competitors, but VB noted that the loss of grip is predictable, and the rear wheels demonstrate good skid resistance during cornering. On the whole, according to the experts, the Qirin 990 does fall short of the leaders, but it still offers an acceptable level of safety for the money.

The Chinese Hifly HF805 was the cheapest tire on test but that was its one and only strong point. Despite the fact that it is marketed as a sports tire of the UHP class (with an M+S sign on its sidewall hinting at all-season capabilities), its wet braking distance was the longest on test — two meters longer than that of the tire on the last-but-one place; in the other disciplines it also consistently showed the worst results.

Hifly HF805
Hifly HF805

The VB experts noted that driving on the Hifly tires, it is hard to control the car on wet pavement, while on dry pavement the tire just cannot tackle emergency maneuvers. In addition, the Hifly has high noise levels and a stiff ride, presenting the perfect example of just how bad cheap tires can be.

Summer Tire Test Summary Vi Bilägare R17, 2021. Places 1–10. Click to enlarge.
Summer Tire Test Summary Vi Bilägare R17, 2021. Places 1–10. Click to enlarge.
1st place: Maxxis / Premitra 5 HP5
Quick Take
77 43
Dry Performance Wet Performance Handling Comfort Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2015
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+, Oceania
Maxxis Premitra 5 HP5
  • The best price/quality ratio
  • Great handling on dry pavement
  • Good grip on wet pavement
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Acceptable braking performance
  • Increased noise
  • Relatively rough ride
2nd place: Goodyear / EfficientGrip Performance 2
Quick Take
85 65

Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2

Price/Quality Wet Performance Comfort Dry Performance Handling Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Goodyear / EfficientGrip Performance
  • Available Sizes in Line: 62
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Toyota Yaris Cross XP210 [2020 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, China, Southeast Asia
Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2
  • Great handling response in the wet and in the dry
  • A high level of comfort, including acoustic one — the tire will be the perfect choice for those who see ride comfort as one of the primary considerations.
  • Average hydroplaning resistance
  • Average braking efficiency
3rd place: Continental / PremiumContact 6
Quick Take
89 72

Continental PremiumContact 6

Dry Performance Price/Quality Wet Performance Handling Comfort Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Continental / ContiPremiumContact 5
  • Available Sizes in Line: 263
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Toyota C-HR Facelift [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Br205 [2015 .. 2021]
    • • BMW 3 Series VII (G20/G21) [2018 .. 2021]
    • • BMW 5 Series VII (G30/G31) Facelift [2020 .. 2021]
    • • Mazda CX-5 KF [2016 .. 2021]
    • • Ford Kuga III [2020 .. 2021]
    • • Renault Koleos II (CMF-CD) [2016 .. 2021]
    • • Subaru Forester SK [2018 .. 2021]
    • • Renault Megane IV (9A) [2016 .. 2021]
    • • Volvo XC40 [2017 .. 2021]
    • • Skoda Superb 3V Restyling [2020 .. 2021]
    • • Volvo V60 Cross Country II [2018 .. 2021]
    • • Mercedes-Benz X-Class D23 [2017 .. 2021]
    • • Audi A6 C8 [2018 .. 2021]
    • • Volvo S60 III [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Renault Alaskan D23 [2016 .. 2021]
    • • Volvo V60 II [2018 .. 2021]
    • • Jaguar I-Pace [2018 .. 2021]
    • • Ford Fiesta VII [2017 .. 2021]
    • • Ford Mustang Mach-E [2020 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, Japan, Oceania
Continental PremiumContact 6
  • Great handling response on wet pavement
  • The shortest braking distance both on wet and dry pavements
  • Poor hydroplaning resistance
  • Relatively stiff ride and high noise emission
4th place: Nokian / Hakka Blue 2
Quick Take
86 28
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Nokian Hakka Blue 2
  • Short braking distance, high lateral stability, and very good overall performance on wet pavement
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Low noise emission
  • Good riding comfort
  • Long braking distance and insufficient stability during high-speed cornering on dry pavement
  • High rolling resistance
5th place: Michelin / Primacy 4
Quick Take
85 66
Comfort Dry Performance Wet Performance Price/Quality Handling Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: Mexico, Central & South America, Europe, Russia+, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Oceania
Michelin Primacy 4
  • Short braking distance on wet and dry pavement
  • Low fuel consumption
  • Good hydroplaning resistance
  • Average ride comfort
  • Relatively weak lateral stability on wet pavement
6th place: Pirelli / Cinturato P7 (P7C2)
Quick Take
82 54

Pirelli Cinturato P7 (P7C2)

Treadwear Dry Performance Wet Performance Handling Price/Quality Comfort
  • This tire replaced Pirelli / Cinturato P7
  • Available Sizes in Line: 28
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • BMW 8 Series G14/G15/G16 [2018 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Europe
Pirelli Cinturato P7 (P7C2)
  • Excellent handling response and reliable behavior during emergency maneuvers on dry pavement
  • Low noise emission
  • Good riding comfort
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Long braking distance and less-than-perfect handling response on wet pavement

7th place: Sentury Qirin 990

  • Short braking distance on wet and dry pavement
  • Low noise emission
  • Low fuel consumption
  • Insufficient handling response on wet and dry pavement
  • Relatively weak lateral stability on wet pavement
  • Low hydroplaning resistance
8th place: Hifly / HF805
Quick Take
65 28
Dry Performance Price/Quality Comfort Handling Wet Performance Treadwear
  • Available Sizes in Line: 91
  • Year Released: 2013
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, East Asia
Hifly HF805
  • The lowest price on test
  • Poor results in all of the disciplines
  • A very long braking distance on wet pavement
  • Poor handling response in the wet and in the dry
  • High noise emission
  • Low riding comfort

Price