When testing tyres, car magazines and motoring clubs are confronted with the good, the bad and the ugly. But things were a little different for Gute Fahrt this time round – in its summer 2019 test, all candidates put in a performance worthy of a rating of ‘good’ or better. This was a first for the German magazine – usually at least one protagonist is burdened with a lowlier rating.
Testing centred around the tyre size 225/40 R18 92Y XL, worn during the test by a VW Golf 1.5 TSI. Ten brands of 225/40 R18 tyre competed for top honours; one of these, the Pirelli P Zero, was additionally evaluated in sizes 225/45 R17 and 225/35 R19 to provide an insight into the merits and drawbacks of opting for larger or smaller rims.
First place was nabbed by the Continental PremiumContact 6, giving the tyre its second test win this month. Of the ten performance characteristics the Gute Fahrt testers looked at – dry and wet braking and handling, straight line and sideways aquaplaning, grip on a tight circular track, rolling resistance, comfort and noise – the PremiumContact 6 achieved a ‘very good’ result in nine, only departing from form in the rolling resistance category, in which it was ‘good’. Noting that Continental makes “really good tyres,” the testers opined that the “PremiumContact 6 can’t be beaten.” For its efforts, the Continental tyre was given Gute Fahrt’s top rating of ‘very good’.
Second and third places on the victors’ podium were occupied by the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 and Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 respectively. The Goodyear model fulfilled most expectations, even if a slight tendency towards unsteer was detected when pushed to the limits. Its Dunlop sibling was described as harmonious with slightly understeering handling characteristics.
The two Goodyear Dunlop tyres were rated ‘very good –‘, a distinction shared with the Nokian Powerproof and, by the skin of its teeth, the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo². The Powerproof offered impressive performance in a number of key disciplines, but was also found to have a “sporting base hardness” when tested for comfort.
A ‘good +’ rating was awarded to the Bridgestone Turanza T005 and Pirelli P Zero. The Pirelli was also tested as a 17-inch tyre, for which it was rated ‘very good –‘ after being named the “clear winner in comfort,” and in 19-inch, for which it was rated ‘good’. The larger diameter tyre didn’t score as well as its smaller counterpart for comfort, straight line aquaplaning and for wet grip on the tight circular track.
The rating ‘good’ was given to the Apollo Aspire XP, Falken Azenis FK510 and Vredestein Ultrac Vorti. The Falken tyre was marked down for wet grip whilst the Vredestein mainly lost points for minor deficits in the sideways aquaplaning, comfort and rolling resistance tests.
“If you overlook their somewhat taught comfort you won’t go wrong with the top tyres in our tyre test from Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Hankook and Nokian. They offer driving pleasure, safety and good looks with no regrets,” summarised Gute Fahrt.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to tyres
Examining the three different Pirelli P Zero sizes tested, the Gute Fahrt testers commented: “Whoever is looking for the best possible comfort should take a 17-inch (tyre) instead. This size is the ideal compact all-rounder, and there’s nothing to complain about even when it comes to handling. On the other hand, whoever reaches for the expensive 19-inch (tyre) sacrifices a great deal of comfort for the sake of aesthetics and crisp, sporty dry handling, and in addition larger wheels are quite hydrophobic.”