2016 AZ Winter Tyre Test - 205/55 R16

Test Summary
Best tyre for dry roadsMichelin CrossClimate
Best tyre for wet roadsContinental WinterContact TS 860
Best tyre for snowContinental WinterContact TS 860
The lowest fuel useContinental WinterContact TS 860
The most comfortableContinental WinterContact TS 860
Nokian WR D4
Vredestein Wintrac xtreme S
Dunlop Winter Sport 5
The quietest tyreHankook Winter i cept RS2
GT Radial Champiro WinterPro HP
Once again in 2016, the German Magazine Auto Zeitung have provided one of the most exciting winter tyre tests we've covered. Testing thirteen of the latest winter tyres in 205/55 R16, including the Continental WinterContact TS860, Dunlop Winter Sport 5, Goodyear UltraGrip 9 and Nokian WR D4, Auto Zeitung have also included the Michelin CrossClimate summer-bias all season tyre as a comparison.

The new tyres dominate

The Continental WinterContact TS850 was largely unbeaten in its four year life, so it is no surprise the new TS860 once again dominates the test, winning on snow, in the wet, lowest fuel use, best comfort, and scoring extremely well in the dry.

The new Nokian WR D4 also continues where the WR D3 left off, scoring extremely well on snow and in the dry. Compared to the best winter tyres on test, the WR D4 lacks a little in the wet, but it's still one of the best winter tyres on test.

The top three is rounded out by the Pirelli Cinturato Winter. It scores well in the snow and wet tests, but gives up some points due to long braking distances in the dry and a higher rolling resistance than the best tested.

It's no surprise fourth, fifth and sixth places are taken by Goodyear, Michelin and Dunlop. All three tyres offer a strong balanced performance, and with the top six places so closely contested this year, any of these tyres would be excellent choices for winter motoring.

The Michelin CrossClimate

The inclusion of the CrossClimate in a full winter tyre test is extremely interesting, as the main reservation most people have for the CrossClimate is the snow and ice performance.

Unsurprisingly the Michelin dominates under dry braking, stopping the car from 62 mph in 40.2 meters whereas the winning Continental could only manage 44.4 meters. The dry handing lap was closer, but the CrossClimate still wins, completing the 3.3 km lap in 107.9 seconds, compared to 109.3 seconds for the Continental.

In the wet, the Michelin stopped the car from 62 mph in 57.6 meters, with the Continental much closer at 57.9 meters. The Continental wins the wet handling course, completing the 1.7 km lap in 87.5 seconds compared to 89 seconds for the Michelin, which places it fourth overall.

The snow performance is where the Michelin CrossClimate is often questioned. Under snow braking from 31 mph, the Continental stopped the car in 24.2 meters and the Michelin 25.1 meters, less than a meter shorter than the test winner, and beating one of the winter tyres on test. During snow handling the Continental finishes the 1.3 km lap in 74 seconds, and the Michelin 77.1 seconds. While this is a gap to the Continental, the Michelin CrossClimate was faster than three of the full winter tyres, including the winter experts Vredestein.

If you're living in a climate like England where snow is a rare occurrence, this test indicates you're better off running the Michelin CrossClimate as your winter option due to the dry and wet braking advantages the tyre offers.

The Results

Continental WinterContact TS 8601st: Continental WinterContact TS 860
Total: 412 / Dry: 84 / Wet: 142 / Snow: 143 / Comfort: 9 / Rolling Resistance: 25 / Noise: 9
Positive: Very good results in the snow, short braking distances and good handling on wet surfaces, short braking distances in the dry, low rolling resistance
Negative: Relatively weak dry braking

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Nokian WR D42nd: Nokian WR D4
Total: 387 / Dry: 83 / Wet: 124 / Snow: 142 / Comfort: 9 / Rolling Resistance: 21 / Noise: 8
Positive: Good handling on snow, short braking distances on wet surfaces, the shortest braking distance on dry roads (other than CrossClimate), predictable behavior on dry roads, low rolling resistance
Negative: Average wet handling

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Pirelli Cinturato Winter3rd: Pirelli Cinturato Winter
Total: 378 / Dry: 70 / Wet: 138 / Snow: 139 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 15 / Noise: 9
Positive: Good steering feel and precise reaction to steering and neutral behavior in the snow, good handling on wet surfaces
Negative: Long braking distances and a tendency to understeer on dry roads, high rolling resistance

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Michelin CrossClimate4th: Michelin CrossClimate
Total: 376 / Dry: 105 / Wet: 122 / Snow: 113 / Comfort: 6 / Rolling Resistance: 21 / Noise: 9
Positive: Acceptable results in the snow, short braking distances and good handling on dry roads
Negative: Poor resistance to lateral aquaplaning (2mm less starting tread depth than full winter tyres)

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Goodyear UltraGrip 94th: Goodyear UltraGrip 9
Total: 376 / Dry: 78 / Wet: 127 / Snow: 132 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 22 / Noise: 9
Positive: High traction on snow, good braking and lateral stability on wet surfaces
Negative: Snow understeer, slow steering in the dry

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Michelin Alpin 54th: Michelin Alpin 5
Total: 376 / Dry: 74 / Wet: 128 / Snow: 140 / Comfort: 8 / Rolling Resistance: 18 / Noise: 8
Positive: Good traction in the snow, good overall grip in the wet
Negative: Slow steering on snow, slow steering and poor handling in the dry

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Dunlop Winter Sport 57th: Dunlop Winter Sport 5
Total: 367 / Dry: 80 / Wet: 112 / Snow: 136 / Comfort: 9 / Rolling Resistance: 22 / Noise: 8
Positive: Short braking on snow and in the dry, high resistance to aquaplaning, low rolling resistance
Negative: Understeer in the snow, average wet braking, slow steering in the dry

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Hankook Winter i cept RS28th: Hankook Winter i cept RS2
Total: 363 / Dry: 85 / Wet: 104 / Snow: 141 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 16 / Noise: 10
Positive: High traction, short braking distances and predictable behavior on snow (although the steering feel could be better), excellent resistance to aquaplaning, quiet
Negative: Poor wet handling, long wet braking

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Bridgestone Blizzak LM0019th: Bridgestone Blizzak LM001
Total: 341 / Dry: 80 / Wet: 100 / Snow: 127 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 19 / Noise: 8
Positive: High resistance to longitudinal aquaplaning, high lateral grip and good handling on dry surface
Negative: Slow response to steering on snow, average braking performance and a tendency to understeer in the wet, the longest braking distance on dry roads

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Nexen Winguard Snow G WH210th: Nexen Winguard Snow G WH2
Total: 341 / Dry: 84 / Wet: 86 / Snow: 136 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 20 / Noise: 8
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Kumho WinterCraft WP7111th: Kumho WinterCraft WP71
Total: 309 / Dry: 76 / Wet: 76 / Snow: 125 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 16 / Noise: 9
Positive: Short braking distances on snow and in the dry, relatively low rolling resistance
Negative: Tendency to understeer in the snow and dry surfaces, weak lateral stability, long braking distances and generally poor grip in the wet

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Vredestein Wintrac xtreme S12th: Vredestein Wintrac xtreme S
Total: 307 / Dry: 84 / Wet: 73 / Snow: 114 / Comfort: 9 / Rolling Resistance: 18 / Noise: 9
Positive: High traction and good handling on dry surfaces
Negative: Poor snow grip, poor aquaplaning scores, long braking in the wet

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GT Radial Champiro WinterPro HP13th: GT Radial Champiro WinterPro HP
Total: 305 / Dry: 78 / Wet: 95 / Snow: 102 / Comfort: 6 / Rolling Resistance: 14 / Noise: 10
Positive: Ok dry handling, quiet
Negative: Poor aquaplaning resistance, high rolling resistance, poor wet grip

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Westlake SW61814th: Westlake SW618
Total: 249 / Dry: 74 / Wet: 52 / Snow: 98 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 10 / Noise: 8
Positive: None mentioned
Negative: Low adhesion, poor steering feel and unpredictable behavior on snow, poor resistance to aquaplaning, the longest braking distances in the wet, poor handling on a dry surface, very high rolling resistance

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