Do you want to know what all season tire is best for year round driving whatever the weather? In this test we take nine of the very best 205/55 R16 all season tires on the market, plus a well regarded summer and winter tire as references, to see exactly what tire performs best in the dry, wet, snow, comfort, noise and rolling resistance tests!
|Best Dry Braking:||Michelin CrossClimate 2|
|Best Dry Handling:||Michelin CrossClimate 2|
|Best Wet Braking - Cool:||Bridgestone Weather Control A005 EVO|
|Best Wet Braking:||Michelin CrossClimate 2|
|Best Wet Handling:||Vredestein Quatrac|
|Best Straight Aqua:||Michelin CrossClimate 2|
|Best Curved Aquaplaning:||Michelin CrossClimate 2|
|Best Snow Braking:||Continental AllSeasonContact|
|Best Snow Traction:||Michelin CrossClimate 2|
|Best Snow Handling:||Nokian SeasonProof|
|Best Snow Circle:||Nokian SeasonProof|
|Best Subj. Comfort:||Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2|
|Best Noise:||Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2|
|Best Rolling Resistance:||Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2|
In the last 12 months, a lot has changed in the all season tire market! The only tires in this year's test which featured in last years are the test winning Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 and the excellent Continental AllSeasonContact.
Alongside those tires we have the brand new Nokian SeasonProof and Vredestein Quatrac, and the updated Avon AS7 Gen 2, Bridgestone WeatherControl A005 EVO, Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 the first test of the Michelin CrossClimate 2!
As with last year's test, we have a reference summer and winter tire in the tests to highlight exactly where all season tires lose out to their more specific cousins!
The lap at Wachauring is short, and has only one really hard braking zone, so is a good overview of the lateral grip of the tires, and we conducted the dry and wet testing around 2-4c air temperature.
The worst tire on test, and get used to this, was the "star performer", which definitely didn't live up to its name. It didn't feel horrible to drive, and didn't give you any nasty surprises, it just lacked grip everywhere and when you pushed a little bit too hard, it seemed to slide forever.
Next up was Avon and Nokian. The Avon felt nicely summer like with a good response to the inputs you made, but it didn't quite have the grip to back up the sporty feel, and the Nokian was another tire that was really well balanced, enjoyable to drive quickly and progressive, it just couldn't quite match the best of this very competitive group.
The Bridgestone and Goodyear were next. The Bridgestone was lacking feedback and steering precision, but was actually felt grippy for the first half lap, but then the heat build up got to it and the grip fell away. I'm not sure how I feel about this as you would never track day it, but it was the tire that came off the track looking the most worn, by quite a margin.
The Goodyear felt very similar, not the greatest feedback or steering precision, and was another that didn't like the heat, but it looked great after the laps in comparison.
Pirelli and Conti were next, both having good levels of grip, with the pirelli handling ok, but the conti surprisingly sporty and dynamic feeling, I really enjoyed it.
The Vredestein in second place had impressive grip, but felt a bit like a blunt instrument as it didn't give you a whole lot of information about what it was up to, and the original king of the dry, the Michelin CrossClimate, retained it's crown with the new version, but only narrowly in terms of time. In terms of feedback, it still felt the most summer like.
The reference winter and summer tire felt as you would expect. The winter tire was a lovely friendly experience, but as with any tire intended for winter, it just didn't have the grip to do dry handling laps, and the summer tire was the fastest, and felt the fastest, making the car feel more tight and alive, but in this 16" size there wasn't a huge difference between the summer and the best feeling all season tires.
Dry Braking again had the summer tire in the lead, ahead of the Michelin and Pirelli.
The slowest tire of wet handling was again the budget Star Performer. Weirdly it felt quite balanced, but balanced with no grip, meaning you were sliding everywhere, constantly, consistently. Fun, but not fast.
The next group was Nokian, Avon and Continental around 5% off, or 2.5 seconds. All three of these tires had very similar subjective notes, I enjoyed driving on them all, they all had a safe, neutral balance, but they just didn't quite have the grip of the best.
Pirelli and Michelin come in at fifth and fourth place, another half second quicker than the previous group. These tires weren't quite as enjoyable to drive on as the previous two, with neither tire giving great levels of feedback, but the grip was there and so was the time.
Goodyear and Bridgestone in third and second both around 1.5 seconds off the best and both much nicer to drive. The goodyear was extremely compliant and even tire with good cornering grip and a stable rear, giving you lots of confidence to push hard, but it gave you no surprises even when pushing on. The Bridgestone, well this felt mega under braking, and had great traction, but the cornering couldn't match. If it could, maybe it would have matched the test winning Vredestein.
The Vredestein felt like a different category of tire it had so much grip, and the grip was really rounded. It was the most sporty of the bunch, the most fun of the bunch, the easiest to drive fast of the bunch, just so much fun to drive.
The summer tire was a little closer on time, but less fun. Like in the dry the turn in was a little more positive, but not massively so in this 16" size, and the main difference was when the grip dropped away, it dropped away more quickly than the all seasons and you felt like you were fighting the car for grip. At the test temperature of 3c the tire felt nervous, like it was sitting on the surface of the road rather than keying in.
Wet braking was conducted at 4c at the track and at 15c at Nokians test facility in Finland. The biggest change in the order was the summer tire, which moved from being one of the worst on test at 4c to the best at 15c, showing just how much temperature affects grip!
Straight aquaplaning data can be found below, and curved aquaplaning data can be found in the overall results at the bottom of the page.
Unfortunately due to travel restrictions during the winter testing window, Tire Reviews was unable to travel to finland, so instead hired a Finnish independent tire tester to perform the winter testing at Nokians impressive "white hell" facility.
The fastest tire around the snow handling lap was the Nokian, and once again the Continental and Michelin rounded out the top three. The test driver noted the nokian had really good front axle grip and I was easy to maintain the driving line, the continental had good overall grip and a friendly understeer balance, and the Michelin was easy to drive quickly.
Goodyear placed a respectable 4th, just 1% behind the best and another tire with good front end grip, and Pirelli finished 5th, with a little too much oversteer in the balance to challenge the best. As in the other snow tests, the Star Performer, Vredestein and Avon struggled, you can read the subjective testing notes on the tire reviews website, where you can see the results of the snow circle data too!
Shockingly, the summer tire was essentially undrivable in the snow, with almost no ability to get the car moving and taking nearly twice the amount of time to finish the snow handling lap.
The safety critical snow braking testing was led by Continental, with Nokian in second place and Michelin in third. In both traction and braking Avon, Vredestein and the star performer tires performed poorly.
Michelin promised a big improvement in snow performance with the CrossClimate 2, and they certainly delivered it in the snow traction test, with the french tire leading the pack by nearly 2%. The Goodyear started coming into its own with a second place, and the new Pirelli rounded out the top three.
Nokian rounded out an excellent run of snow results, winning the snow circle test.
The Pirelli new Pirelli was the quietest tire on test, the only tire ahead of the summer tire.
The Pirelli, Goodyear and Nokian were also the most comfortable tire on test.
Pirelli also had an impressive lead in the rolling resistance test.
Clear leader in the dry, good wet handling, shortest wet braking at warmer temperatures, best aquaplaning resistance in both tests, one of the best tires overall in the snow, low levels of noise, low rolling resistance.
Average wet braking at cooler temperatures, expensive.
The new Michelin CrossClimate 2 had a near flawless test, with the only weakness coming in the wet at cooler temperatures where it couldn't quite match the best. It was the most summer-like tire in the dry, led both deep water tests, was one of the best in the snow, and had low noise and low rolling resistance. A really impressive performance from the new tire, and a worthy upgrade to the CrossClimate+.
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Excellent new tire, very balanced across most tests, particularly strong in the dry, good snow traction, lowest noise levels on test, excellent levels of comfort, by far the lowest rolling resistance on test.
Average performance in the snow with long snow braking distances.
The Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 is in a clear second place, which is a big improvement when compared to the previous tire. The new Pirelli is a rounded tire, with very strong dry braking, a good wet performance and a quiet comfortable ride with the lowest rolling resistance on test.
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Very short wet braking distances at both temperatures, excellent dry handling, good aquaplaning resistance, excellent grip in all snow tests, low rolling resistance.
Long dry braking, average wet handling.
The Continental AllSeasonContact performed well in nearly all conditions, and was particularly strong in the snow. A well balanced all season tire, excellent for climates which see regular snow across the winter months.
Read Reviews Buy from £70.79
4th: Vredestein Quatrac
Excellent wet and dry handling with short braking distances whatever the temperature, good aquaplaning resistance.
Poor performance in the snow with long snow braking distances, high levels of external noise, high rolling resistance.
The Vredestein Quatrac is the wet and dry specialist, performing extremely well in all the grip tests. Unfortunately, the snow performance of the tire was lacking compared to the best, but this is still a very good all season tire for the milder climate.
Read Reviews Buy from £63.00
Good handling in all conditions, excellent snow traction, good aquaplaning resistance, low noise, high levels of comfort, low rolling resistance.
Long braking distances in the dry and wet.
The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 was a tire with mixed fortunes. It performed well in nearly all tests, however an unusually long dry and wet braking result meant the tire could only finish in fifth place overall.
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Shortest wet braking in cooler temperatures, quick wet handling lap, good snow braking, good dry braking.
Longer braking distances in the wet at warmer temperatures, increased rolling resistance, poor aquaplaning resistance in both tests, poor snow traction.
The Bridgestone WeatherControl A005 Evo continues Bridgestone dominance in the the shallow water tests, and it had good braking in nearly all conditions, but the tire had a high rolling resistance and performed poorly in aquaplaning testing, which is important for an all season tire.
Read Reviews Buy from £62.89
7th: Nokian SeasonProof
Excellent in the snow, high levels of comfort, reasonable aquaplaning resistance.
Long braking distances in the dry and wet.
The Nokian Seasonproof was excellent in the snow and had good levels of comfort, but the poor braking performance of the tire in the wet and dry makes it a poor choice for a mild climate.
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8th: Avon AS7 Gen 2
Good wet braking, especially at warmer temperatures, good subjective handling in the dry and wet, low external noise.
Poor performance in snow, highest rolling resistance on test.
The Avon AS7 Gen-2 is a significant step ahead of the budget tire, and has good grip in the wet, but it had poor performance in every snow test making this a tire more suited to the milder winter climate.
Low purchase price.
Very low grip in all tests, extremely long dry and wet braking, long snow braking with poor traction, high levels of noise, high rolling resistance.
The Star Performer SPTS AS might be a cheap tire to purchase, but it has very low levels of grip in all conditions and cannot be recommended for any type of driving.
Read Reviews Buy from £58.70