All-season tyres have come of age in the past couple of years. Nevertheless, purists still view them as a jack of all trades. But is this always the case? German car magazine Auto Bild Allrad doesn’t think so – its current test of seven SUV tyres in size 235/55 R19 opines that all-season products are no longer a “lazy compromise”. What’s more, while no single tyre can do everything well at all times of year, Auto Bild Allrad found one that came close.
Test winner: Vredestein
This tyre is the Vredestein Quatrac 5 (which, incidentally, will soon be replaced by the Quatrac Pro in this size). Crowning the Quatrac 5 its all-season test winner for this year, Auto Bild Allrad’s testers stated that the “Vredestein is a compromise of the compromise, as at no time of the year does it show any real weaknesses.” They praised the tyre for top performance in all weather conditions, offering all-round balance, precise steering response, short braking distances in the wet and on snow – all at an affordable price.
The rating of ‘exemplary’ given to the Quatrac 5 was shared by the Michelin CrossClimate SUV. In contrast to the Vredestein tyre, the Michelin features a more summer-oriented tread pattern. The tyre delivered sporty-dynamic behaviour in the dry, safe driving in the wet and in winter conditions, along with low rolling resistance. This performance didn’t come cheap, however, and the testers deducted points for the CrossClimate SUV’s “high price level”.
The third-placed tyre actually scored highly enough for an ‘exemplary’ rating, however the Continental AllSeasonContact lost marks for its “understeering handling”. This weakness aside, it displayed outstanding snow characteristics, dynamic wet handling, low noise levels and particularly low rolling resistance. Auto Bild Allrad rated it ‘good’.
Joint 4th: Goodyear & Nokian
Tyres from Goodyear and Nokian shared fourth place. The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons SUV Gen-2 delivered short stopping distances in the wet and on snow, low noise and low rolling resistance. However, Auto Bild Allrad’s testers criticised the tyre for its middling lateral control on snow and a tendency to understeer in the dry. It gained a ‘good’ rating.
The Nokian Weatherproof SUV may have tied for fourth with the Goodyear tyre, but it was only rated ‘satisfactory’. The Nokian tyre’s strengths include “strong winter qualities, safe aquaplaning and quiet tyre/road noise.” Stated drawbacks include extended wet and dry braking distances as well as understeering dry handling.
Auto Bild Allrad gave the Falken EuroAll Season AS210 a ‘satisfactory’ rating. The testers only reported one strength for the tyre: its high aquaplaning safety. This positive characteristic came with “delayed steering response, understeering driving characteristics and extended braking distances on wet surfaces” as well as just average comfort levels.
The wooden spoon went to the Gripmax Status Allclimate. According to Auto Bild Allrad, the tyre is affordable and gives low rolling resistance. However, it also delivered spongey handling in dry conditions together with markedly limited grip on wet and snowy surfaces. Furthermore, the testers gave particular cause for concern by reporting “dangerously lengthened” wet braking distances. The Gripmax tyre received a rating of ‘not recommended’.