2016 Winter Tyre Guide

With autumn finally here, now is a good time to take a look at the best solutions for keeping mobile regardless of the weather in 2016.

Winter tyre buying guide

Winter tyre interest spiked after the heavy snow in 2010 and 2011, but after a number of mild and wet winters the benefits of winter tyres have been largely forgotten. As such, the focus of both the consumer and tyre manufacturer has now switched to all season tyres.

All season tyres still offer improved grip compared to summer tyres when the temperatures are freezing, and offer a vastly improved performance on snow and ice when compared to a summer tyre, but their less extreme nature than a full winter tyre means there are less penalties during wet, and particularly dry braking where a full winter tyre can give up 20% of a summer tyres performance even in colder conditions.

Types of All Season

With the launch of the Michelin CrossClimate in 2016, there are now two categories of all season tyre - the summer-bias all season, and the winter-bias all season.

The Michelin CrossClimate is currently the only summer-bias all season tyre on the market, and while it gives up a little snow and ice performance when compared to the best winter-bias all season tyres on the market, it will still outperform a summer tyre by an order of magnitude, without giving up 15% dry and wet braking, as other all season tyres can so is our recommendation for ensuring winter mobility.

If you spend your time in the more northern parts of the UK and are more worried about snow and ice performance, Goodyear and Nokian are currently making the best winter-bias all season tyres on the market.

The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2 builds on the near flawless performance of the first generation tyre, has a wet performance to match any tyre on the market, and balances dry and snow and ice performance well.

The Nokian WeatherProof is a little more extreme again, having the performance of a full winter tyre on snow and ice, excellent wet grip, but as a result of the snow performance behaves more like a winter tyre in the dry, where it can give up almost 20% under dry braking.

One other tyre definitely worth considering as a winter-bias all season tyre is the Continental WinterContact TS860. While this is sold as a full winter tyre, it proves how the line can be blurred between winter-bias all season tyres and full winter, as it often out performs all season tyres in the dry and wet, and dominates them on snow and ice.

To highlight the difference in summer, all season and winter tyres, we took four identical Skodas to an indoor ski slope, and this was the result. The tyres, from left car to right car were Michelin Primacy 3 (summer), Michelin CrossClimate (summar-bias all season), Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons Gen-2 (winter-bias all season) and Continental WinterContact TS850 (european winter).

Winter Tyre Options

While we've be more than happy running to the alps on any of the tyres mentioned above, sometimes a full winter tyre is the best option for more performance bias cars where all season tyres aren't available, or if you plan extreme snow and ice driving in Europe.

Winter tyre

Other than the new Continental WinterContact TS860, 2016 has been a slow year with very few new winter patterns announced. Luckily, the winter tyres launched at the end of 2015 are still excellent options, with the Michelin Alpin 5, Dunlop WinterSport 5, Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1, and Nokian WR D4 all worth considering, depending on your personal requirements.

This Years Tests

NEW - 2016 ACE All Season Tyre Test

Winner: Nokian WeatherProof (Size: 205/55 R16 / Tyre: Premium Touring)

NEW - 2016 ADAC All Season Tyre Test

Winner: Michelin CrossClimate (Size: 205/55 R16 / Tyre: Premium Touring)

NEW - 2016 AutoBild All Season Tyre Test

Winner: Michelin CrossClimate (Size: 205/55 R16 / Tyre: Premium Touring)

NEW - 2016 GF All Season Tyre Test

Winner: Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons Gen 2 (Size: 205/55 R16 / Tyre: Premium Touring)

NEW - 2016 ADAC Winter Tyre Test - 225/45 R17

Winner: Dunlop Winter Sport 5 (Size: 225/45 R17 / Tyre: Ultra High Performance)

NEW - 2016 AutoBild Winter UHP Tyre Test

Winner: Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen 1 (Size: 245/40 R18 / Tyre: Ultra High Performance)

NEW - 2016 ADAC Winter Tyre Test - 185/65 R15

Winner: Goodyear UltraGrip 9 (Size: 185/65 R15 / Tyre: Premium Touring)

NEW - 2016 AZ Winter Tyre Test - 205/55 R16

Winner: Continental WinterContact TS 860 (Size: 205/55 R16 / Tyre: Premium Touring)

NEW - 2016 Winter Tyre Market Overview

Winner: Continental WinterContact TS 860 (Size: 205/55 R16 / Tyre: Premium Touring)

 

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