With the 2017 tyre test season in full swing, now is a good time to look at the best tyres for the coming summer.
Due to the target conflicts within tyre development, where attributes like comfort and handling, or wet grip and tread life can oppose each other, there's no one "best" tyre available. This means you should only use this guide as a starting point in your tyre purchasing journey, and combine user reviews with professional tests to find a tyre that best meets your requirements.
It's been a great twelve months if you drive a performance car. Continental have released the Sport Contact 6, Pirelli have released the P Zero (PZ4) and most recently, Michelin have released the Pilot Sport 4S.
Of these three new tyres, there's the most hype surrounding the Michelin with initial user reviews and an independent test by TUV positioning the Pilot Sport 4S extremely well in the market.
The Continental Sport Contact 6 is an extremely solid tyre. It has already been featured in three tests, winning each of them convincingly, and as with anything Continental the wet grip looks to be its ace card.
The drawbacks of both the above tyres? Cost. If you're looking to spend a little less, there are excellent options from Hankook and Falken which are testing really well in 2017.
Unfortunately for those of who drive sports cars with 17" or the more popular 18" tyre size, things aren't quite as simple. Neither the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S or the Continental Sport Contact 6 are available below 19 inches, but fret not, there are still excellent new and existing options.
The king of of this size range has always been the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric range, and the current third iteration is still performing excellently in tests. There are also two new tyres available, again from Michelin and Continental.
The little brother of the Pilot Sport 4S is the Pilot Sport 4, and like the Continental it has aced all three tests it has been featured in, offering an excellent all round performance.
Continental have merged the Premium Contact 5 and Sport Contact 5 ranges into one new tyre, the Premium Contact 6. Like the Michelin, the Premium Contact 6 has featured in three tests, winning two of them, and placing third in one. Unfortunately for the Continental, the test it finished third place in was won by the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 where the new Premium Contact 6 surprisingly lost out in the wet braking tests.
As with the 19" tyres, none of the above are the cheapest tyres on the market, and again as with the 19" tyres, it looks to be Hankook and Falken who are making the best mid range tyres this year. An honourable mention also goes to the new Fulda SportControl 2, but this new tyre from the Goodyear owned Fulda needs to be featured in more tests before we can confirm its credentials.
In the past if you're a driver which prefers comfort and low noise over sporty handling you'd generally be looking at a different set of tyres, but with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 and Continental Premium Contact 6 merging sport and comfort, these are still excellent options for the bigger wheel size.
In the smaller wheel size, the market changes slightly. Pirelli have updated the Pirelli Cinturato P1 Verde which is scoring extremely well, and almost surprisingly Bridgestone have updated the Turanza T001, added "EVO" to the name, and addressed the biggest issue with the original T001, the wet grip. Goodyear and Dunlop still offer excellent tyres with the EfficientGrip Performance and Sport BluResponse, and while both tyres are now a few years old, they're still scoring extremely well in all categories of testing.
No list of touring tyres would be complete without mentioning the Michelin CrossClimate. The CrossClimate is the current darling of the tyre industry, being the first "summer optimised" all season tyre. This means the tyre can keep you mobile in the snow and ice where a regular summer tyre would fail, but doesn't have the dry performance issues traditional all season tyres have. The CrossClimate is available in 14 to 18" sizes, covering car and SUV.
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