Van tyre test highlights performance trade-off

Published by Stephen Goodchild
20th February 2019
Van tyre test highlights performance trade-off

While European motoring clubs the ÖAMTC (Austria), ADAC (Germany) and TCS (Switzerland) recommended all 16 of the tyres for small family cars they tested, their evaluation of 16 van tyres certainly didn’t yield the same result. None of the candidates received the top rating of ‘excellent’ or even a ‘highly recommended’, and no less than nine finished proceedings with a ‘not recommended’ to their name.

The tested tyre size was 215/65 R16C, a dimension suitable for use on vans, minibuses and campervans. Like the car tyres, all were tested in wet and dry conditions and evaluated for mileage, comfort, noise and fuel consumption. Victory went to the Apollo Altrust, and this tyre shared its ‘recommended’ rating with four other tyres, the Goodyear EfficientGrip Cargo, Pirelli Carrier, Nokian cLine and Continental VanContact 200.

The other tyres in test were either ‘conditionally recommended’ or not recommended at all. More than half the 16 tyres earned this dubious distinction thanks to – as the testers commented – their inability to deliver performance in one area without a sizeable trade-off somewhere else. Some tyres did fare better in this respect than others: The Apollo Altrust, Goodyear EfficientGrip Cargo, Pirelli Carrier, Nokian cLine and Continental VanContact 200 offered the best compromise between dry and wet performance, comfort, mileage and fuel consumption.

“Here we dealt with a classic conflict of tyre development objectives,” commented tyre tester Friedrich Eppel. “Many of the tested van tyres were obviously designed for the longest possible service life and low fuel consumption. Good to very good results in these areas came, however, at the cost of weaknesses, some significant, in wet grip characteristics. The result was long braking distances and unstable lateral control in the wet.”

With this in mind, the testers urge purchasers to pay attention to what type of tyre they buy. Anyone who fits ‘C’ (commercial) tyres should bear in mind their markedly weaker wet grip performance in this test. An alternative for some vans would be to fit car or SUV tyres. “This may be the better option, at least for privately-used vehicles,” said Eppel.