Auto Bild: Large Winter Tire Test R17 2019

The selection of winter tires is tremendous and confusing. Premium, budget, and medium-class tires are available for all tastes and budgets — but do they all ensure the level of safety promised by the tire makers? This question is answered in the new publication of Germany’s Auto Bild.

Having bought anonymously 53 tire sets online, Auto Bild experts indeed conducted a «large» comparative test of winter tires 2019 in the size of 225/45 R17, which is currently considered to be the best selling tire size for compact and medium sized vehicles.

During the first (elimination) round, the experts tested the tires’ wet braking performance, and on the basis of the obtained results, 23 models were eliminated, whose braking distances turned out to be the longest of all.

  1. Continental WinterContact TS 860 - Winner Recommended

    So, the winner of the Auto Bild test 2019 is Continental WinterContact TS860, which won the second prize in last year’s test. «The best driving performance in any weather conditions» brought this tire a well-deserved victory. The experts particularly noted the crisp steering response, great lateral stability, fuel efficiency, high expected mileage, and low rolling resistance.

    Mileage   External Noise   Dry Braking   Slalom   Straight Aquaplanning   Dry Handling  
    87 66
  2. Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+ Recommended

    The second place was scored by Goodyear with its «new» winter tires UltraGrip Performance+, noted for «exemplary performance on wet and snowy roads». The pilots said that they delivered crisp steering response, dynamic handling, and efficient braking on wet and snowy surfaces. In addition, these tires are characterized by high resistance to wear.

    Snow Traction   Wet Handling   Wet Braking   Straight Aquaplanning   Lateral Grip   Lateral Aquaplanning  
    N/A 33
  3. Michelin Alpin 6 Recommended

    The second place was scored by Goodyear with its «new» winter tires UltraGrip Performance+, noted for «exemplary performance on wet and snowy roads». The pilots said that they delivered crisp steering response, dynamic handling, and efficient braking on wet and snowy surfaces. In addition, these tires are characterized by high resistance to wear.

    Wet Handling   Dry Braking   Wet Braking   Lateral Grip   Mileage  
    84 51
  4. Apollo Aspire XP Winter Recommended

    Although the model Apollo Aspire XP Winter didn’t make it to the winners’ pedestal, it was still able to get positive feedback from the testers, coupled with the title of «Eco Master». In addition to the attractive price/quality ratio, this model is characterized by «balanced performance potential» and good hydroplaning resistance. The fourth line in the final standings.

    Wet Handling   Mileage   Wet Braking   Lateral Grip   Lateral Aquaplanning   Dry Handling  
    N/A 29
  5. Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 Recommended

    The fifth position was occupied by Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 that was among the leaders during the elimination round. The testers noted its great handling properties and precise steering response on wet and dry pavement. The only critical comment was addressed to the tire’s lateral stability on snow.

    Wet Handling   Dry Braking   Wet Braking   Straight Aquaplanning   Lateral Grip   Dry Handling  
    81 49
  6. Vredestein Wintrac Pro Recommended

    The sixth line of the tournament bracket, and the last «exemplary» verdict was scored by Vredestein Wintrac Pro that demonstrated convincing handling properties on both wet and dry pavement, great steering response on wet surface, and stable traction on snow. However, just like in the case of Bridgestone, its lateral grip on snow was not up to the cut.

    Wet Handling   Dry Braking   Wet Braking   Lateral Grip   Dry Handling   Slalom  
    88 38
  7. BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2

    The seventh line in the final standings was scored by the relatively inexpensive BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2 that demonstrated great performance on snow and wet pavement, good hydroplaning resistance, little cabin noise, and long expected mileage. At the same time, the tire’s dry traction was described as average.

    Snow Traction   Snow Handling   Snow Braking   Straight Aquaplanning   Lateral Aquaplanning   Slalom  
    78 19
  8. Semperit Speed-Grip 3

    The Semperit Speed-Grip 3 model, described by the testers as «a convincing all-rounded talent with great winter properties», came the eighth. Its strong sides were dependable performance on wet pavement, low cabin noise, and low rolling resistance. Among the limitations of this model were relatively weak hydroplaning resistance, and a slightly increased dry braking distance.

    Rolling Resistance   Slalom   Snow Handling   Lateral Aquaplanning  
    N/A 36
  9. Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452

    The ninth place was scored by Hankook Winter i*Cept RS2 W452, «the king of winter with the best snow performance». «His majesty» also provides great handling response on dry pavement and a decent expected mileage. The price is also far from sky-high. The less successful operational properties are average lateral stability, and insufficient steering response on wet pavement.

    Slalom   Snow Handling  
    80 24
  10. Uniroyal MS Plus 77

    The tenth line of the tournament bracket was occupied by Uniroyal MS Plus 77 with stable handling response in any weather conditions, good lateral stability, and low rolling resistance, coming at an inexpensive price. At the same time, its braking distance in the dry turned out to be much too long.

    Rolling Resistance   Lateral Grip  
    70 26
  11. Nexen WinGuard Sport 2

    Nexen Winguard Sport 2 was number 11 in the final standings. At the same time, the test experts’ feedback was generally positive. They described the product of this brand as «well-balanced, with stable handling performance in any weather conditions». They particularly noted the braking distance on snow, low cabin noise, and the attractive price. The model’s limitations showed up in the rolling resistance and dry braking tests.

    External Noise   Dry Handling   Lateral Aquaplanning   Dry Braking   Rolling Resistance  
    73 33
  12. Fulda Kristall Control HP2

    The twelfth position in the tournament bracket was shared by two models at once — Fulda Kristall Control HP2, and the new model of winter season 2019/2020, Nokian WR Snowproof. The subsidiary brand of Goodyear’s provides «well-balanced performance» coupled with great riding comfort and low rolling resistance. At the same time, the tire’s lateral grip on wet pavement and on snow was described as somewhat average.

    Lateral Aquaplanning   Rolling Resistance   Snow Traction   Snow Handling  
    74 30
  13. Nokian WR Snowproof

    The winter model WR Snowproof with its «nordic» tread pattern demonstrated dynamic properties on snow, pleasant riding comfort, and low rolling resistance. Its average ranking was conditioned by its relatively weak grip on wet pavement and average hydroplaning resistance. In the previous test, the AMS model showed a similar result — the last 11th place.

    Rolling Resistance   Straight Aquaplanning  
    67 39
  14. Yokohama BluEarth Winter V905

    Yokohama BluEarth*Winter V905’s firm grip on snow, short braking distance on wet pavement, stable and safe handling response in the dry, and low rolling resistance were regretfully crossed out by its low hydroplaning resistance and understeer in the wet. As a result, only the fourteenth place in the final standings.

    Snow Braking   Straight Aquaplanning  
    N/A 30
  15. Kleber Krisalp HP3

    Kleber Krisalp HP3 turned out to be «very good on snow» with dynamic handling response and a short braking distance. The tire also ensured good hydroplaning resistance. At the same time, this model is prone to understeer, while its braking distance on dry pavement is longer than expected. The expected mileage also leaves much to be desired.

    Lateral Aquaplanning   Snow Braking   Straight Aquaplanning   Snow Handling   External Noise   Mileage   Dry Handling  
    79 40
  16. Dunlop Winter Sport 5

    The Dunlop Winter Sport 5 model was only able to score the 16th place. All this considering the fact that the Auto Bild expert team called it a «snow expert», doing justice to its grip and braking performance.The tire’s high hydroplaning resistance also did not pass unnoticed, just as its being prone to understeer in wet and dry tests, as well as the braking distance on dry pavement, which was a little longer than it should have been.

    Rolling Resistance   Snow Braking   Snow Traction  
    83 45
  17. Sava Eskimo HP2

    Sava Eskimo HP2 was named by the test experts to be the tire that, coming at a reasonable price, ensures dynamic handling and a short braking distance on snowy roads, maintaining the optimum fuel efficiency. Its downsides included average traction in the wet and in the dry coupled with a limited mileage potential.

    Rolling Resistance   Snow Braking   Wet Handling   Dry Braking   Wet Braking   Lateral Grip   External Noise  
    N/A 20
  18. Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

    A place at the bottom of the second ten was scored by Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 because of its average performance on snow, low riding comfort, and short expected mileage. These, however, could not outweigh the upsides of the model, such as effective braking on wet pavement and low rolling resistance. The eighteenth place for a «premium brand» tire.

    Dry Braking   Lateral Grip   Snow Braking   Snow Traction   Mileage   Slalom   Snow Handling  
    80 46
  19. Debica Frigo HP2

    This might come as a surprise but the tire from the popular brand Debica Frigo HP2, with an extremely dependable performance on snow, high riding comfort and fuel efficiency, were only able to score the nineteenth place in the overall standings. Evidently, it had some serious rivals to compete with. This model’s drawbacks were poor lateral stability and understeer on wet and dry pavement. The loud rolling noise does not add to its attractiveness either.

    Snow Braking   Snow Traction   Slalom   Snow Handling   Wet Handling   Dry Braking   Wet Braking   Lateral Grip   External Noise  
    N/A 26
  20. Kumho WinterCraft WP71

    Strange though it may sound, what devalued the overall rating of Kumho WinterCraft WP71 was the average expected mileage and increased rolling resistance. Its braking distance on wet pavement and on snow was short, and the tire’s overall wet performance was considered to be generally safe by the test experts. In addition, these tires are characterized by low noise emission. Anyway, like it or lump it, the 20th place.

    Rolling Resistance   Snow Traction   Mileage   Dry Handling  
    N/A 29
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Auto Type
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Professional Tire Test
Date added
Oct 31, 2019
Date updated
Feb 27, 2020