Cars

Winter tire test 2021: twelve 18-inch models in comparison

Anyone who dares to hit the slopes with summer tires in snow and ice today will find that not much moves with them – apart from the wheels spinning wildly. In the last few decades, our summer tires have developed into extreme asphalt grabs, with braking distances that were not considered technically feasible just a few years ago. The problem: They only stick to the slopes in summer temperatures. If the thermometer drops below plus 5 degrees, the rubber compound begins to harden and the tires can no longer build up grip. Winter tires, on the other hand, are knitted the other way around. Their rubber compounds work best at low temperatures, and they’re really in their element on snow and ice. It’s really amazing what forces they can transfer to just four postcard-sized contact areas. On the snow-covered test tracks in Finland, around 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, our twelve test tires on a Mercedes C-Class were able to show what they’re made of. Here come the results!

Winter tire test 2021 (225 / 45-245 / 40 R 18): the test results

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Price per set

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EU label *

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Snow**

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Wet**

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Dry**

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verdict

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Strengthen

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weaknesses

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Excellent performance on snow and wet, good safety reserves for aquaplaning, dynamic handling and short braking distances on snow and wet, very good price-performance ratio.

Winter profile with exemplary driving characteristics in all weather conditions, precise steering behavior, short braking distances

Convincing all-round talent with very good winter and wet qualities, stable wet and dry handling, low price level

Average ride comfort

Snow professional with convincing performance on wet and dry slopes, short wet braking distances, precise wet and dry handling

Moderate aquaplaning properties

Excellent performance on snow-covered slopes, short wet and dry braking distances, pleasant comfort, low rolling resistance

Understeering dry handling

Winter specialist with sporty driving qualities in mud and snow, good aquaplaning qualities, low rolling resistance

Understeering dry handling

Well-balanced winter tire with safe driving characteristics in all weather conditions, dynamic wet handling, short wet braking distances

Extended dry braking distances

Winter king with the best driving characteristics on snow, quiet pass-by noise

Average wet grip, slightly longer wet braking distances

Convincing driving characteristics on ice and snow, good aquaplaning characteristics

Understeering handling and delayed steering response on wet slopes

Stable dry handling, low rolling noise, low acquisition costs

Extended wet braking distances, moderate cornering on snow-covered roads

Good safety reserves for aquaplaning, dynamic dry handling

Only satisfactory winter qualities, understeering wet handling

Good aquaplaning properties

Limited grip on ice and snow, dangerously extended wet braking distances, severely understeering wet handling

Winter tires in 225 / 45-245 / 40 R 18: Hankook and Michelin test winners

First place is shared by winter tires from Hankook (Winter i * cept evo3) and Michelin (Pilot Alpin 5). Both received the test result “exemplary”. Of the Hankook-Tire scores with excellent performance on snowy and wet slopes, good safety reserves for aquaplaning, has dynamic handling and short braking distances on snowy and wet slopes and offers a very good price-performance ratio. Of the Michelin-Tire impresses with its exemplary driving characteristics in all weather conditions, precise steering behavior and short braking distances. The only weakness of the Pilot Alpin 5 is the high price level – with a price of around 700 euros per set, it is around 200 euros above the Hankook tire (approx. 495 euros / set).
Winter tires tested in 2021 - HANKOOK Winter i * cept evo3

Test winner: Hankook Winter i * cept evo3 (picture) and Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 both come in first.

The Wintrac Pro follows in third place Vredestein (Since place 1 was awarded twice, place 2 was not occupied). He also received the test result “exemplary”. Of the Vredestein-Tire convinces as an all-round talent with very good winter and wet qualities, stable wet and dry handling and its low price level. The only weak point: The ride comfort is only average. The tires were rated “good” by Bridgestone (Blizzak LM005), Dunlop (Winter Sport 5), Goodyear (UltraGrip Performance +) and Continental (WinterContact TS 850P). We do not recommend the Nankang Winter Activa NK Snow SV-2 tire, which in the test showed only limited grip on ice and snow as well as dangerously extended braking distances in wet conditions.

Winter tires tested in 2021 - MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5

Michelin Pilot Alpin 5: exemplary, but not exactly cheap. A set costs around 700 euros in stores.

Our test was supported by: BF Goodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Falken, Goodyear, Hankook, Michelin, Nexen, Toyo and Vredestein. You can find our standards for transparency and journalistic independence here.

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