|Best tire for dry roads||Yokohama Advan Neova AD08|
|Best tire for wet roads||Continental Sport Contact 5|
|The lowest fuel use||Dunlop SportMaxx RT|
|The most comfortable||Michelin Pilot Sport 3 PS3|
|The best dry handling||Continental Sport Contact 5|
|The best value tire||Dunlop SportMaxx RT|
Conversely EVO spend plenty of time, and dedicate 60% of the overall result, to subjective handling. With the difference in grip between the best tires on the market ever shrinking, explaining how the tires actually feel to use give people who enjoy driving a good reference point. This years test was carried out at the Bridgestone test track in Italy, on a VW Golf GTI wearing 225/45 R17 tires.
It's back to the top step for Continental with a convincing all round performance from the Sport Contact 5. Only dropping out of the top three twice, the Sport Contact 5 excelled in both subjective feel and objective handling. The aging, but updated Pirelli P Zero had a good result in second place, largely down to wet and dry handling, and the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 rounded out the top three, with the usual Goodyear blend of wet grip and steering feel.
Fourth spot was taken by Yokohama, with the AD08. It was a surprising nomination from Yokohama, with the Advan V105 the logical choice, but the gamble paid off. Easily the most exciting and fastest tire in the dry, it wasn't as awful as some track day tires in the wet, giving you an "extreme performance" tire you can drive all year.
Michelin finished fifth, with a good all round performance, but we tend to feel the French brand was disadvantaged by the small size chosen. The Michelin Pilot Super Sport would have been the logical competitor to the other tires on test, but starting in 18 inches Michelin had to put forward the softer, more touring orientated Pilot Sport 3.
Vredestein entered the replacement to the Ultrac Sessanta, the Vorti, and will be happy they beat Toyo and Hankook to win the battle of the midrange tires. Dunlop disappointed in ninth struggling with overall grip, and Bridgestone embarrassingly finished last at home, with neither good feel or good grip.
One thing we're always being asked is "does sidewall stiffness relate to handling?" To try and answer this, we visited the warehouse at lovetires.com and measured the sidewall stiffness of each tire on test with a totally unscientific "squeeze test".
Expecting to find an approximate correlation between the best subjective tires on test, and the stiffest sidewalls, the results surprised us. Here is the order of stiffness, grouped into approximate stiffness groups, and the subjective dry handling result.
|Tire in order of sidewall stiffness||Subjective dry position|
The best and worst in group are in the right places, but there's no pattern between second place and ninth! Obviously there's more at work than basic sidewall stiffness to subjective handling.
It is however worth noting, subjective handling isn't just down to the tire - it's how the car works with the tire, the tire size on test, and what that particular writer values while driving. For example, we've tested various tires in 19 inch on an E46 BMW M3, and the Bridgestone Potenza S001 is the best we've tried for pure steering feel and feedback (but not outright grip.)
Sadly, with no easy formula to subjective tire feel, it looks like you have to look into detailed user reviews on your chosen vehicle.
Below are the full results. Please note, we've not included aquaplaning scores, or applied any weighting, so make sure you pick up a copy of EVO issue 201 (November 2014) for the test in its full glory. Also we entered the EVO road route test as "comfort", but EVO took into account comfort, noise and steering feel.
With four wins, and only twice dropping out of the top three, it was a convincing win for Continental with the Sport Contact 5. Both subjectively and objectively, the Sport Contact 5 is a joy to drive
Read Reviews Buy from £74.10
2nd: Pirelli P Zero
Whilst being a relatively old pattern, the updated P Zero put in a very strong performance in the key wet and dry handling tests. Often the only tire to get close to the Continental in outright grip
Read Reviews Buy from £79.30
While the now aging Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 failed to win any categories, its consistent placing in all tests resulted in a top three finish. Easy to judge levels of grip, and progressive over the limit
Yokohma took a gamble when it nominated the AD08 instead of the V105, but it paid off. Sensational in the dry, surprisingly "ok" in the wet, and performing well on the road too, the AD08 is a trackday tire you can drive every day
Read Reviews Buy from £111.00
Winning both aquaplaning tests and the road route, there was plenty to like about the Michelin and its weighty steering feel
Similar performance to the seventh place Toyo, the Vredestein Ultrac Vorti was mostly a "mid table" tire throughout the tests. It did well in wet handling, where it inspired confidence and finished third on the road route thanks to being comfortable and quiet
7th: Toyo Proxes T1 Sport
Seventh seems like a fair place for the Toyo T1 Sport. It didn't really excel in any tests, performing slightly better in the wet handling tests than the dry, but offered better feel when the roads were dry. Reasonably priced
The Hankook S1 Evo 2 had both good results, and bad. Strong in aquaplaning, and mid pack in dry handling, the tire was let down by a last place finish in wet handling and a poor score on the road route section
Read Reviews Buy from £64.30
9th: Dunlop SportMaxx RT
Well priced, best rolling resistance, good feel with the limit eas to judge, let down by the limit not being higher
Read Reviews Buy from £65.66
10th: Bridgestone Potenza S001
The home advantage counting for nothing, the Bridgestone S001 finished last, struggling in both the subjective and measured tests
Read Reviews Buy from £71.26