2013 Auto Review Sports SUV Summer Test

A few years ago, testing a 255/55 R18 tyre on a Porsche Cayenne would have been classed as a niche, but with the rise of the "Chelsea tractors" using larger and larger tyre sizes, 255/55 R18 is now a common size.

This year, Russian magazine Auto Review tested eleven different tyres using a first generation V6 Porsche Cayenne producing 250 hp through its four wheel drive system. As usual with tyre tests, the results were weighted towards the wet performance, but the subjective dry handling got good commentary (below) and they even did limited testing of the tyres in sand.

The Results

Continental ContiSportContact 5 SUV1st: Continental ContiSportContact 5 SUV
Total: 109 / Dry: 35 / Wet: 46 / Comfort: 9 / Rolling Resistance: 10 / Noise: 9
Overall: Continental win the test with the new Sport Contact 5 SUV. The tyre offered an excellent balance in all areas, and was the strongest in the wet giving excellent traction and a nice progressive slide at the limit. In the dry, the grip was strong with good braking. High levels of comfort, low fuel use and a nice quiet ride rounded out the Continentals excellent result.

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Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric SUV2nd: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric SUV
Total: 107 / Dry: 32 / Wet: 46 / Comfort: 10 / Rolling Resistance: 10 / Noise: 9
Overall: Goodyear are traditionally strong in the wet, and the Eagle F1 Asymmetric SUV is no exception, scoring the shortest stopping distance in wet braking. The Cayenne had a nice balance during wet handling, but started to aquaplane earlier than the other leading competitors. During dry handling the Goodyear feels a little numb compared to some of the other tyres. Recommended for those who are looking for a safe and comfortable tyre opposed to a sporty drive.

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Michelin Latitude Sport3rd: Michelin Latitude Sport
Total: 106 / Dry: 35 / Wet: 45 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 10 / Noise: 8
Overall: The Michelin Latitude Sport was the only N rated tyre on test, meaning it is approved by Porsche for OE fitment on the Cayenne in the test. In the dry the handling is excellent, with quick steering and good traction. Handling in the wet is a little behind the top two, but good aquaplaning results keep the wet score high. Moderate comfort, these tyres are for those who want to get the most out of dynamic driving.

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Pirelli Scorpion Verde4th: Pirelli Scorpion Verde
Total: 103 / Dry: 33 / Wet: 44 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 9 / Noise: 9
Overall: The Pirelli Scorpion Verde (Green) has good braking performance and well balanced handling on wet roads. Good in the dry, the Pirellis don't like going past their limit and are quickest when driven just under. Strong in the sand, but only average comfort leave the Scorpion Verde in fourth.

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Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport5th: Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport
Total: 102 / Dry: 34 / Wet: 43 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 8 / Noise: 9
Overall: Bridgestone road tyres have been lacking a little in recent years, but the Dueler H/P Sport puts on a strong showing. While it can't quite match the top four in the wet, it's very confident in the dry, and fairly quiet. Average comfort, and lacks a little in rolling resistance.

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Dunlop SP QuattroMaxx6th: Dunlop SP QuattroMaxx
Total: 101 / Dry: 32 / Wet: 46 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 8 / Noise: 8
Overall: The Dunlop Quattromaxx continues Dunlops run of high grip tyres with strong dry and wet lap times. Subjectively, the steering is slow to react in the dry, meaning you have to turn early compared to some of the other tyres. Well balanced, the comfort level is compromised compared to the top tyres.

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Nokian Hakka Z SUV7th: Nokian Hakka Z SUV
Total: 102 / Dry: 33 / Wet: 43 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 9 / Noise: 9
Overall: The Nokian Hakka Z SUV is primarily designed for cooler summers, so when tested between 22 and 28c the tyre struggled a little. Confident under wet braking, but aquaplaned early. Like the Dunlop, in the dry the Nokian had a lag to the steering which made it hard to place the Porsche during wet handling. Average comfort, but good rolling resistance.

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Toyo Proxes T1 Sport SUV8th: Toyo Proxes T1 Sport SUV
Total: 94 / Dry: 33 / Wet: 38 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 9 / Noise: 7
Overall: The Toyo SUV tyre offers excellent dry handling, but is seriously compromised by its wet performance, characterised by long slides and a poor balance. Poor aquaplaning results round out the bad wet result (not surprising considering they start with 6.3mm of tread compared to 7.8mm) and have poor comfort and noise scores. Not the best option.

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Federal Couragia FX9th: Federal Couragia FX
Total: 88 / Dry: 30 / Wet: 34 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 8 / Noise: 8
Overall: While it's unlikely a Porsche owner would fit a Federal tyre, the Federals are half the price of the Michelin and Bridgestone. Are they half the tyre? The Federal has poor wet grip, but a very good aquaplaning result. In the dry the grip isn't much better, with long, difficult to recover slides and lots of understeer. Average comfort, noise and rolling resistance.

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Kumho Ecsta X3 KL17 ASYMMETRIC10th: Kumho Ecsta X3 KL17 ASYMMETRIC
Total: 86 / Dry: 29 / Wet: 36 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 7 / Noise: 7
Overall: The Kumho has poor wet grip, both in traction and cornering, but the good news is the car still remains predictable. In the dry this predictability disappears, with the Porsche often falling into long slides which are difficult to predict. Poor comfort and noise, combined with the worst rolling resistance give you plenty of reasons to avoid this tyre for powerful 4x4s.

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Hankook Ventus ST11th: Hankook Ventus ST
Total: 86 / Dry: 33 / Wet: 29 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 8 / Noise: 8
Overall: The Hankook RH06 has the worst wet grip in the test, with wet braking increased by over 10 meters from 50 mph and a poor balance. In the dry the grip is ok, but the tyre often has a double stab at the corner leading to unpredictability. Unpleasant and unsafe. Best traction in the sand, but they're the only tyre marked M+S in the test.

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