Tyres for compact SUVs – AMS tests 7 brands

Tyres for compact SUVs – AMS tests 7 brands

To avoid surprises, best stick to the brands and products you know. This may well have been the auto motor und sport (AMS) approach to tyre testing recently, as the German publication selected products from the “eight most popular tyre brands” in its local market for its 2024 summer test. These are the Bridgestone Turanza 6, Continental PremiumContact 7, Falken Azenis FK 520, Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 SUV, Hankook Ventus S1 Evo³ SUV, Maxxis Victra Sport 5 SUV, Michelin Primacy 4+ and Vredestein Ultrac.

AMS tested the tyres in 235/55 R18, a tyre size suitable for compact SUVs and saloons. Several of the tested tyres feature the abbreviation ‘SUV’ on the sidewall. Others do not, but all tyres in the AMS test are suitable for heavier SUVs thanks to their load capacities.

AMS’ testing focused upon each tyre’s ability to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance, especially on wet roads. Working with a Seat Tarraco, the test team performed multiple emergency stops at different temperatures with each brand of tyre. Although every tyre gained a ‘good’ rating or better, their levels of goodness vary. The results table shows notable differences between wet braking results, with more than three metres separating the best and worst stopping distances from 80 km/h (49.7 mph). In other words, the car fitted with the worst-performing tyres would still be travelling at least 26 km/h (16.2 mph) at the point where the best performer had stopped.

A difficult balancing act

In recent times tyre makers have focused upon minimising rolling resistance and noise characteristics, in the past few years widening this environmental remit to cover abrasion and sustainability and using higher proportions of recycled or renewable raw materials in new tyre production. For AMS, an elephant in the room is that manufacturers can’t always address these areas without impacting performance in other areas. While “every good tyre maker” can develop products for the shortest braking distances, long service life or lowest rolling resistance, it’s not so easy to deliver all three characteristics in equal measure without one taking a back seat. This is a balancing act that not every tyre maker has successfully achieved in the current test.

AMS declared the Continental PremiumContact 7 test winner, lauding the tyre’s outstanding grip in the wet, including safety when aquaplaning, as well as “strong grip, precision and reliability” when cornering in dry conditions. AMS also praises the Continental tyre’s ride comfort, with its only minor criticism being slightly high external noise and rolling resistance. It rates the PremiumContact 7 to be an ‘outstanding’ tyre.

Runner-up tyre the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo³ SUV achieved a ‘very good’ rating, as did the third-placed Vredestein Ultrac.

Test winner: Continental PremiumContact 7

+ Outstanding grip in the wet, safe when aquaplaning. Strong grip, precise and reliable even in dry bends. Good ride comfort
– Slightly louder external rolling noise, increased rolling resistance/low fuel efficiency

Rated very good

Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 SUV
+ Very good, dynamic wet behaviour with high grip level and easy controllability. Direct steering response, very dynamic on dry roads, good comfort characteristics
– Aquaplaning weakness when cornering and driving stability when changing lanes at speed

Vredestein Ultrac
+ Very good grip and easy to control in the wet, safe in aquaplaning. Good-natured handling characteristics on dry tarmac
– Sensitive to load changes, leading to slight rear wheel instability when changing lanes quickly. Limited ride comfort due to slight bumpiness

Rated good

Bridgestone Turanza 6
+ Good aquaplaning prevention and decent wet braking properties. Sporty and dynamic tyre on dry roads, yet easy to control
– Limited traction and cornering grip in the wet. Bumpy on transverse joints

Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 SUV
+ High aquaplaning resistance in bends. Good lane change stability in dry conditions, precise, easy to control handling, very low rolling noise, good comfort
– Weak braking, moderate cornering grip and pronounced understeer in the wet. Somewhat sluggish steering response

Maxxis Victra Sport 5 SUV
+ Despite comparatively long braking distances offers good, balanced wet performance with safe aquaplaning behaviour. Responsive steering, safe swerving, reliable handling
– Long braking distances on both wet and dry roads, highest rolling resistance in the test

Falken Azenis FK 520
+ Very good aquaplaning prevention, easy to control despite less dynamic handling on dry roads
– Limited braking and traction on wet roads. Not very balanced driving dynamics with oversteer and understeer

Michelin Primacy 4+
+ Short braking distances and spontaneous steering behaviour on dry asphalt
– Longer braking distances, weak cornering grip and poor traction in the wet. Deficits in aquaplaning protection. Increased risk of oversteer on dry tarmac when changing lanes quickly and in load change situations



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