Occupying the two top spots in 2020, superminis are well-represented in UK registration figures. But auto motor und sport (ams) notes that testers tend to overlook the tyres they wear in favour of wider, sportier models. The German car magazine has addressed this paucity of test data by examining 11 tyre brands in size 195/55 R16H.
Ams fitted the tyres to a VW Polo and Seat Ibiza and evaluated their performance on wet road surfaces (contributing 50% towards the total score) and in dry conditions (40%), as well as for rolling resistance and tyre/road noise (10%).
The ams team declared the Michelin Primacy 4 the “best in test” and gave it, along with two other tyres, their top ‘very good’ rating. They rated a further six tyres ‘good’. At the rear of the field, one tyre was ‘satisfactory’ and another deemed only ‘adequate’.
Trio of ‘very good’ tyres
Michelin Primacy 4 – test winner
Strengths: Shortest stopping distances and high reserves of safety in wet and dry conditions, very balanced characteristics, easy to handle, very low noise and rolling resistance.
Weaknesses: Weak aquaplaning protection, limited ride comfort.
Bridgestone Turanza T005
Strengths: Stable and safe, with ample reserves, when cornering and during evasive manoeuvres, lowest rolling resistance.
Weaknesses: Dry braking shortcomings, elevated risk of aquaplaning during heavy rain.
Strengths: Very safe in wet conditions aside from slight weaknesses in the braking test, cooperates harmoniously with the ESP control system, forgiving and easy to handle on dry asphalt.
Weaknesses: Lengthened stopping distance in the wet, rolling resistance on the high side.
6 tyres rated ‘good’
Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2
Strengths: Good aquaplaning safety, precise steering, safe lane-changing characteristics, high comfort.
Weaknesses: Stopping distances a little too long in wet and dry conditions, limited rear axle lateral control in the wet.
Continental PremiumContact 5
Strengths: Safe handling on dry asphalt despite reduced grip levels, very safe in the evasive manoeuvring test, no weaknesses of note in the wet.
Weaknesses: Lengthy stopping distance on dry asphalt, rolling resistance on the high side.
Maxxis Premitra 5
Strengths: Dynamic driving characteristics on wet surfaces, easy to control when cornering in dry conditions, low tyre/road noise.
Weaknesses: Slight tendency towards oversteer during changes of load in wet condition, lengthy stopping distances, elevated rolling resistance.
BF Goodrich Advantage
Strengths: Good braking performance in the wet, stable, safe and predictable behaviour on dry roads.
Weaknesses: Dry braking distances on the long side, slight weakness in aquaplaning protection, rolling resistance on the high side.
Hankook Kinergy Eco2
Strengths: Acceptable performance aside from braking shortcomings, particularly safe and stable during evasive manoeuvres, very low noise and rolling resistance.
Weaknesses: Weak braking on wet and dry roads, inadequate cornering grip in the wet and weak aquaplaning protection.
Falken Ziex ZE310 Ecorun
Strengths: Easy to control when cornering in the dry despite sluggish steering response, good reserves of grip, very good aquaplaning protection.
Weaknesses: Weak braking performance on wet and dry surfaces, pronounced change of load sensitivity with a slight tendency toward oversteer in the wet, very high rolling resistance.
A satisfactory tyre
Pirelli Cinturato P1 Verde
Strengths: Mainly well-balanced, safe driving behaviour with good aquaplaning protection in the wet, safe during evasive manoeuvres on dry roads.
Weaknesses: Long braking distances in wet and dry conditions, elevated rolling resistance.
Toyo Proxes Comfort
Strengths: Very good cornering grip on wet and dry asphalt.
Weaknesses: Braking distances too long in the wet, very unstable with narrow thresholds, responds sluggishly to steering commands, limited ride comfort.