The range of winter tires is huge and unclear than ever. Do you have to go for a premium band or does a low budget band do the job? Which tires keep their promises? AutoWeek figured it out.

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It seems like a luxury to have a lot of choice, but it can also prevent you from seeing the forest for the trees. Our anonymous purchasing round on the internet and at dealerships provides just over fifty different tires.

The 225/45 R17 tire size, a runner that is suitable for compact cars and mid-sized cars, is supplied by each manufacturer in at least one version. You pay very different prices for this - from 160 to more than 500 euros per set. These tires are supplied by premium manufacturers, B-brands that are in the middle price segment and low-budget manufacturers with unknown names.

Our first safety check, the wet-road braking test, makes it clear that money has been saved in the wrong way with low-budget tires - at the expense of safety

The tires in the middle price segment perform better, also in our second selection test: braking on snow. The tires of the B and C brands generally also leave a good impression in this test. The largest safety reserves offer the tires of the expensive premium brands, ending in the upper part of the table.

Cheaper tires also make a good impression. (Photo: AutoWeek)

Braking road winter tires very good in wet weather

First of all, we performed a safety test with the 53 tires: in a first step, all tires must qualify for a wet-road brake test - tires that are underperforming are immediately offside. Only the thirty tires that perform the best therefore participate in the snow tests. The twenty winter tires with the shortest braking distances ultimately qualify for the final.

All candidates perform well in the braking test on stuck snow, with the summer tire the test car comes to a standstill 63 meters later. The soft rubber mix and the many small notches in the tread (sipes) in the tread blocks of a winter tire stand in the way of better deceleration values ​​in dry weather on normal surfaces.

Braking distance in the snow at 50 km / h (in meters)

  • Kleber Krisalp HP 3: 24.0
  • Debica Debica Frigo HP2: 24.1
  • Sava Sava Eskimo HP2: 24.1
  • BF Goodrich g-Force Winter: 24.2
  • Dunlop Winter Sport 5: 24.3
  • Fulda Kristall Control HP2: 24.3
  • Goodyear UltraGrip Performance +: 24.3
  • Semperit Speed-Grip 3: 24.3
  • Continental WinterContact TS 860: 24.5
  • Bridgestone Blizzak LM 005: 24.6
  • Nokian WR Snowproof: 24.6
  • Uniroyal MS Plus 77: 24.6
  • Michelin Alpin 6: 24.7
  • Nexen Winguard Sport 2: 24.7
  • Kumho WinterCraft WP71: 24.8
  • Hankook Winter i * cept RS²: 24.9
  • Apollo Aspire XP Winter: 25.1
  • Vredestein Wintrac Pro: 25.2
  • Yokohama BluEarth-Winter (V905): 26.0
  • Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 i: 26.4
  • Summer tire: 89.1

In the snow, a summer tire has a 63 meter longer braking distance. (Photo: AutoWeek)

Slalom

A good sideways grip ensures a safe driving feeling. The snow kings of Hankook, Kleber and Semperit are unbeatable on snow. You can also drive safely on snow and ice with the tires from Yokohama, Fulda and Pirelli.

Slalom speed achieved (in km / h)

  • Hankook: 78.4
  • Kleber: 78.4
  • Semperit: 78.3
  • Debica: 77.8
  • BF Goodrich: 77.6
  • Sava: 77.4
  • Continental: 77.3
  • Goodyear: 77.3
  • Nokian: 77.3
  • Dunlop: 77.0
  • Nexes: 77.0
  • Uniroyal: 77.0
  • Michelin: 76.9
  • Apollo: 76.6
  • Vredestein: 76.5
  • Bridgestone: 76.4
  • Kumho: 76.3
  • Yokohama: 75.6
  • Fulda: 75.3
  • Pirelli: 75.3

With a large number of brands you can drive safely in the snow. (Photo: AutoWeek)

Aquaplaning and braking distance in wet weather

The largest safety reserves are offered by BF Goodrich, Continental, Kleber and Goodyear tires. On the other hand, aquaplaning occurs at a lower speed with the Yokohama and Nokian tires.

Under wet conditions, the braking distance with winter tires is now comparable to that of summer tires. The test car with the new Bridgestone Blizzak LM 005 stopped even before the summer tires.

Loss of road contact (at km / h)

  • BF Goodrich: 78.0
  • Continental: 76.7
  • Kleber: 75.8
  • Summer tire: 75.2
  • Goodyear: 74.6
  • Bridgestone: 74.2
  • Apollo: 73.4
  • Dunlop: 73.3
  • Kumho: 72.2
  • Michelin: 71.7
  • Fulda: 71.7
  • Uniroyal: 70.3
  • Hankook: 70.1
  • Vredestein: 69.3
  • Debica: 68.4
  • Nexes: 68.4
  • Pirelli: 68.1
  • Pirelli: 68.1
  • Semperit: 66.8
  • Sava: 66.6
  • Nokian: 65.5
  • Yokohama: 62.8

Braking distance on wet road surface at 80 km / h (in meters)

  • Bridgestone: 29.2
  • Summer tire: 30.4
  • Michelin: 30.4
  • Goodyear: 30.6
  • Vredestein: 30.8
  • Apollo: 31.2
  • Pirelli: 31.3
  • Continental: 31.5
  • Kumho: 31.5
  • Semperit: 31.6
  • BF Goodrich: 32.0
  • Hankook: 32.0
  • Kleber: 32.2
  • Nokian: 32.2
  • Yokohama: 32.5
  • Uniroyal: 32.8
  • Dunlop: 32.9
  • Nexes: 33.0
  • Fulda: 33.5
  • Sava: 33.6
  • Debica: 34.2

Winter tires have a similar braking distance in wet weather as a summer tire. (Photo: AutoWeek)

Conclusion

Five tires ultimately achieve the 'exemplary' test rating. In addition to the rubber from the major manufacturers Continental, Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone and Vredestein, this is the Apollo Aspire XP tire. This tire is fourth, behind Michelin, Goodyear and test winner Continental. The Aspire XP winter tire, together with the Michelin tire, also receives the best eco-score.

You can read the complete test in AutoWeek 44, which is in stores this week.