2010 Auto Express Winter Tire Test

2010 marks the start of the UK automotive magazine industry taking winter tires seriously with the largest weekly magazine publishing the 2010 Auto Express winter tire test.

Auto Express launched its interest of winter tires with style, testing 6 premium winter tires against 13 rigorous tests and included an all season and summer tire for comparison. All tires were tested in 205/55 r15 on a VW Golf.

Snow Performance

The snow tests covered the braking, traction and handling of the various tires on a snow covered frozen lake. Braking was tested first, and of the winter tires the Goodyear was the only tire to dip below 18 metres. The rest of the winter tires were extremely close, stopping within 2 metres of the Goodyear while the all season tire needed another 5 metres.

The summer tire stopped in a massive 43.14 metres, 25 metres longer than the winter tire! This means when you had stopped on the winter tire, you would still be doing 20 mph on the summer tire having both braked from 25mph!

The Goodyear also outperformed the rest of the tires in the traction test, with over 3 times the grip of the summer tire. The snow handling lap was very close, with all 6 winter tires finishing within seconds of each other over the 100 second lap. Unsurprisingly summer tire was a handful, offering very little grip and took over 160 seconds to get the car to the finish.

Wet Performance

For the UK climate a winter tires wet performance is more important than the snow performance, with wet braking being the top priority.

At near freezing temperatures the Dunlop and Continental winter tires out performed the summer tire during the wet braking test. At 7+c this result was reversed, but in both tests the results were extremely close.

The summer tires more sporty tread design helped it win the wet handling course (at 7+c) but the Nokian was an extremely close second thanks to sporty handling and good feel. Once again, the results were close with just 3 seconds between the best time and the worst time, which was set by the all season tire. Unfortunately the wet handling course wasn't run again in colder temperatures as the wet braking run was.

The Goodyears aggressive tread design won the aquaplaning tests with the all season scoring poorly in last place. The Nokian was the last of the winter tires due to a tread pattern optimised for clearing slush rather than water.


Unsurprisingly, the summer tire won the dry tests in the relatively warm temperatures, winning the braking test by stopping the car in just 39.2 metres. Reflecting other summer VS winter tests, the best winter tire stopped approximately 10% behind the summer tire at 44 metres. The dry handling test was much closer, with the Dunlop and Nokian just 2% behind the summer tires laptime.

Fuel Economy and comfort

Proving once again that winter tires aren't noisy fuel guzzlers, four of the six winter tires had a lower rolling resistance than the summer tire while two of the winter tires were actually quieter than the summer counter part.


Auto Express have done a great job highlighting the importance of winter tires to the UK public. Auto Express thoroughly recommend winter tires for the UK climate thanks to the increased safety they bring. You can find the full write up in issue 1138.

1st: Goodyear UltraGrip 7+

Goodyear UltraGrip 7 Plus
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 961.9
  2. Dry: 186.2
  3. Wet: 288.4
  4. Snow: 299.7
  5. Comfort: 98
  6. Rolling Resistance: 89.6
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2nd: Continental WinterContact TS830

Continental WinterContact TS830
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 969.3
  2. Dry: 184.8
  3. Wet: 295.8
  4. Snow: 294.7
  5. Comfort: 100
  6. Rolling Resistance: 94
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3rd: Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 952.7
  2. Dry: 188.3
  3. Wet: 295.2
  4. Snow: 288.2
  5. Comfort: 99.1
  6. Rolling Resistance: 81.9
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4th: Vredestein Snowtrac 3

Vredestein Snowtrac 3
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 953.1
  2. Dry: 186.4
  3. Wet: 291.5
  4. Snow: 285.7
  5. Comfort: 98.8
  6. Rolling Resistance: 90.7
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5th: Pirelli Sottozero Serie II

Pirelli Sottozero Serie II
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 941.1
  2. Dry: 185
  3. Wet: 279.4
  4. Snow: 281.5
  5. Comfort: 95.2
  6. Rolling Resistance: 100
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6th: Nokian WRG2

Nokian WRG2
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 948
  2. Dry: 185.3
  3. Wet: 294.9
  4. Snow: 277.7
  5. Comfort: 97.3
  6. Rolling Resistance: 92.8
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7th: Vredestein Quatrac 3

Vredestein Quatrac 3
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 921.1
  2. Dry: 188.2
  3. Wet: 282.6
  4. Snow: 264.6
  5. Comfort: 99.1
  6. Rolling Resistance: 86.6
All Season Tire

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8th: Continental Premium Contact 2

Continental Premium Contact 2
  • 205/55 r15
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 718.8
  2. Dry: 200
  3. Wet: 282.6
  4. Snow: 46.6
  5. Comfort: 99.1
  6. Rolling Resistance: 90.5
Summer Tire

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