2013 Winter Tyre Buying Guide

2013 Cold weather tyre buying guideThanks to recent harsh winters, the best tyre for the UK roads is a hot topic, and with 2013 predicted to be the harshest winter of recent times, now is the time to be swapping tyres.

UK winter tyres need a different blend of abilities to northern Europe winter tyres, with priority being placed on cold wet driving, rather than all out snow and ice grip. We have no need for nordic “full winters”, or studded tyres, and on balance they’d perform worse in our climate.

 

On a Budget?

Unfortunately for those looking to save a few pence, budget winter tyres still haven’t improved. While they can work exceptionally well on snow, they often reported as “dangerous” in wet conditions which characterise our UK cold periods, with a recent test showing a budget winter tyre taking over 20 metres longer than a premium winter tyre from 62mph in wet braking. That’s a big accident.

 

Year Round Motoring

Along with our usual recommendation of winter tyres, we’re including a new category of tyres for consideration. All season. While running an all season tyre year round isn’t as efficient as running dedicated winter and summer tyres, the latest all season tyres will keep you mobile in the snow, and don’t need to be taken off at the first sign of summer conditions. For low mileage car, or cars which are only used in town they’re the ideal solution to year round piece of mind.

 

Winter

Continental TS850

Continental

Continental have perhaps the strongest winter tyre line up of any brand, with the ContiWinterContact TS850 in sizes up to 17” and TS830P for larger high performance vehicles (soon to be replaced by the TS850P.) The TS850 has won nearly every test it’s featured in, and the TS830P is still putting a strong showing despite its age. You won’t go wrong with a Continental winter tyre, and people have been running them year round with no problems. Our choice for the family car.

Michelin Pilot Alpin 4

Michelin

The Michelin Alpin A4 (up to 17”) and the Michelin Pilot Alpin 4 are Michelins latest and greatest winter tyres. The A4 has been updated this year and is winning tests, notably having the best wear amongst all the winter tyres, and the Pilot Alpin 4 has strong OE fitments on high performance vehicles, such as the Porsche 991 911 and Mercedes C63 AMG. They’re usually the most expensive on the market, but they’ll last the longest and provide excellent performance throughout the tyre life. Our choice for the sporty car.

Nokian WR D3

Nokian

To cover all types of vehicles Nokian has the WR D3 and the WR A3. While the Nokian doesn’t always test the best in the snow, it’s consistently the best in the dry and strong in the wet, which makes it particularly suited to both the UK winters, and year round running if changing back to summers doesn’t appeal. Branded as all season tyres in more extreme climates, this are some of the best value winter tyres money can buy.

 

 All Season

Bridgestone A001

Bridgestone A001

Designed specifically for the UK climate, the Bridgestone A001 could be the best single tyre for year round running in the UK. While it’s not as strong as other all season tyres in the snow, it still has a huge margin over the equivalent summer tyre and is consistently one of the strongest in wet and dry running. When combined with Bridgestones excellent wear properties, it’s the perfect tyre for those who don’t want to swap wheels twice a year.

Falken Euro All Season 200

Falken Euro AllSeason 200

A new entry from Falken, the Euro All Season 200 has replicated the Bridgestones strengths in the wet. While it gives a little in the dry, it makes up for it with an improved snow performance making it an all season tyre better suited to the northern parts of the country.


Goodyear Vector 4Seasons

Goodyear Vector 4Season

To add confusion, the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons further improves snow performance over the Falken and Bridgestone, but offsets it with a slightly weaker dry performance. A borderline winter tyre, the Goodyear is the one to take if your primary concern is snow running..

 

We’d really like to mention Vredestein in this list, as in the past they’ve produced excellent winter tyres but unfortunately they’re not submitting tyres for the group tests at the moment. Hopefully next year we’ll see how the new Wintrac Xtreme S stacks up...

 

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