2012 Winter Tyre Buying Guide

By now, we all know why we should be using winter tyres, but which of the winter tyres will work in our climate the best?

While Northern European winters are dominated by periods of heavy snowfall, here in the UK we tend to experience mostly cold and wet winters, which places a unique requirement on our winter, or cold weather tyres.

"The real challenge for a winter tyre is the balance of wet and dry performance, while offering a good snow ability"
Tyre Reviews
Snow performance, while important should be a secondary consideration when choosing rubber for the English winter. Any winter tyre will vastly outperform its summer equivalent on snow, with even the cheapest of winter tyres performing excellently on the white stuff, but the real challenge for a winter tyre is the balance of wet and dry performance, while offering a good snow ability.

When you consider a cheap winter tyre can take an extra 15.9 meters, or 52 foot to stop a car in the wet from just 50 mph, it is wise to research your winter tyre purchase properly.

Fortunately for 2012, there are a number of new winter tyres which specifically target the wet and slushy conditions we often experience in the UK, without any compromise on the snow performance.

2012 Winter Tyre Recommendations

Continental WinterContact TS 8501st: Continental WinterContact TS 850
Overall: Developed to replace the multiple award winning TS 830, Continental had a real challenge making the TS 850 better than the outgoing model, but somehow they've managed it.

It has featured in five of the 2012 winter tyre tests, and has placed first in every one. It manages to offer class leading performance in the dry, wet and snow, while offering good wear and rolling resistance scores. The only negative we could find is it was beaten in slushy conditions by other tyres, and it's not the cheapest tyre on test. We believe it to be a price worth paying, and believe this is the best winter tyre on the market for wheel sizes 16" and under.

Read Reviews Buy from £81.10
Goodyear UltraGrip 82nd: Goodyear UltraGrip 8
Overall: Last years tyrereviews favourite winter tyre, and often 1st or second in the magazine tests there's still excellent availability of the UltraGrip 8, and it's priced keenly for a premium winter tyre too. Resists aquaplaning, and grips well in the wet, making it another good choice for the UK winter.

Read Reviews Buy from £55.60
Nokian WR D33rd: Nokian WR D3
Positive: While there are a number of good choices in the midrange sector, we believe Nokian offers one of the best value winter tyres.

Cheaper than the premium tyres above, the sportier Nokian WR A3, and the smaller sized Nokian WR D3 usually trouble the premium brands in the tyre tests, and have some of the best dry braking on the market. We also have reports of people running the WR A3 all summer, without a significant increase in wear or drop in performance. A slush optimised design leaves these tyres branded as "all season tyres" in more extreme winter climates, which means they're ideal for the mild UK winters.

Read Reviews Buy from £54.80


2012 Performance Winter Tyre Recommendations

For drivers of ultra high performance cars, there's two new options in the 17" and above winter tyre sizes.

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 1st: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4
Overall: Though not shown its face in any tests yet, the Pilot Alpin A4 promises to be the ultimate performance winter tyre. Co developed with Porsche, and recommended by Mercedes for the AMG models, the PA4 retains excellent dynamic response coupled with a strong snow performance. This tyre won't be cheap, but it's sure to be good.

Goodyear UltraGrip 8 Performance 2nd: Goodyear UltraGrip 8 Performance
Overall: Another new pattern in the UHP sector, designed for the wetter European winter where slush is more of a problem than sheet ice, the UltraGrip 8 Performance is available in 18" and above.

Continental Winter Contact TS830 P 3rd: Continental Winter Contact TS830 P
Overall: Very much like its new 850 sibling, it is an excellent all-round tyre that not only performs well in all conditions but also has good fuel economy and comfort.



SUV and 4x4 Winter Tyre Recommendations

Michelin Latitude Alpin LA2 1st: Michelin Latitude Alpin LA2
Overall: Another new pattern from Michelin. We've tested it on sheet ice, snow covered off road tracks, and a warm dry track and nothing phases this tyre.

Goodyear UltraGrip SUV 2nd: Goodyear UltraGrip SUV
Overall: Offering the best wet and dry score in the 2011 Auto Bild 4x4 tyre test, the UltraGrip SUV looks to be another winter tyre particularly suited to the UK climate.

Continental Winter Contact TS830 P 3rd: Continental Winter Contact TS830 P
Overall: Very much like its new 850 sibling, it is an excellent all-round tyre that not only performs well in all conditions but also has good fuel economy and comfort.



Of course, there's the question of all season tyres, but we'll be covering that in a few weeks.

Update: We've covered all season tyres here

Similar Tyre Tests





Discussion:

comments powered by Disqus