|Dry Braking||▲Michelin Primacy 4: 33.73 M||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 39.50 M|
|Dry Handling||▲Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 SUV: 103.54 s||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 105.71 s|
|Subj. Dry Handling||▲Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV: 10 Points||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 07.5 Points|
|Wet Braking||▲Uniroyal RainSport 5: 35.4 M||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 47.43 M|
|Wet Handling||▲Uniroyal RainSport 5: 68.98 s||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 72.09 s|
|Subj. Wet Handling||▲Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 SUV: 10 Points||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 07 Points|
|Straight Aqua||▲Uniroyal RainSport 5: 88.97 Km/H||▼Michelin Primacy 4: 75.31 Km/H|
|Curved Aquaplaning||▲Vredestein Ultrac Satin: 2.432 m/sec2||▼Michelin Primacy 4: 1.753 m/sec2|
|Gravel Traction||▲Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV: 20.86 M||▼Avon ZX7: 23.11 M|
|Grass Traction||▲Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 SUV: 4.522 M||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 5.103 M|
|Subj. Comfort||▲BFGoodrich Advantage SUV: 10 Points||▼Westlake SU318 HT: 08 Points|
|Noise||▲Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV: 69.3 dB||▼BFGoodrich Advantage SUV: 71.9 dB|
|Rolling Resistance||▲Michelin Primacy 4: 6.61 kg / t||▼Avon ZX7: 8.72 kg / t|
We have 8 of the most popular SUV tires in 235/55 R18, including the Michelin Primacy 4, the brand new Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV, the extremely popular Uniroyal RainSport 5, the new Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3 SUV, the Nokian WetProof SUV, the Vredestein Ultrac Satin, the Avon ZX7, the BFGoodrich Advantage SUV, and a budget tire represented by Westlake.
As tires like these aren't intended for serious off-road use, we'll be using a VW Tiguan and focusing on the dry, wet and comfort characteristics of the tires, AND thanks to Goodyear allowing us to use their awesome off-road test facility in Texas, we'll also look at some of the basic off-road performances such as damp grass and gravel, meaning you'll have a complete picture of what SUV tire is best at what, allowing you to make the ideal purchase choice for your own particular needs.
Vehicles which this size applies to are SUV and Crossover SUVs such as the BMW X3, BMW X5, Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 / XC60, Audi A8, Citroen C4 Aircross, VW Tiguan, Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, Mercedes Benz EQA, GLA, S Class, Nissan Qashqai and many more.
Let's start with the dry and wet performance of the nine sets of SUV tires.
Dry braking was led by the Michelin Primacy 4, having an impressive lead over the rest of the group. BFGoodrich, Goodyear and Hankook were also good performers, while the budget Westlake had a big deficit to the rest of the group.
Handling tests might not be the most important criteria for an SUV, but they do still show us the peak lateral grip of the tires, how safe they will be in emergency maneuvers, and if you're really keen, just how quickly you can get your child to school on a wet or dry morning.
The VW Tiguan is set up for understeer, and in the dry, that's what we got from all the tires, just to different degrees, with the slowest tires also being those with the most understeer.
Avon, Hankook and Goodyear were the nicest tires to drive quickly, having relatively good steering response and balance. Again, the budget tire was the slowest, and the BFGoodrich and Uniroyal had a slow steering reaction and a heavy understeer balance.
The wet braking testing had the Uniroyal Rainsport 5 move to the front, narrowly beating the Michelin Primacy 4. Like in the dry, the Goodyear and Hankook were the best of the rest, with the budget tire performing extremely poorly, with the Tiguan still travelling around 40 km/h at the point the Uniroyal had stopped the SUV.
The Uniroyal continued its impressive run in the wet by being the fastest over the wet handling, beating the Goodyear and Hankook.
The Michelin Primacy 4 had trouble with the deeper parts of the wet handling lap, costing the tire important time.
The aquaplaning tests highlighted both the Uniroyal's excellent ability in standing water, and the difficulties the Michelin had on the wet handling lap.
The Vredestein Ultrac Satin also performed well in aquaplaning, winning the curved aquaplaning test.
On the slightly moist grass, there was semi correlation with wet braking, with Hankook, Michelin and Goodyear being the best of the best and Avon, Nokian and Westlake struggling a little more. There was over 10% between the best and the worst, which could be the difference of sliding around or getting moving.
On gravel Goodyear narrowly beat Uniroyal, which is interesting as the Uniroyal was the most "off-road" looking tire, but the Goodyear had the highest starting tread depth which might have helped. Vredestein and Nokian were also good on gravel. Sadly a storm broke just as we were getting to the last set, which is why the data is missing for Westlake.
Comfort is an important quality for an SUV tire, and the BFGoodrich and Uniroyal led the group, narrowly ahead of the Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV
Conversely, the BFGoodrich had the highest external drive-by noise.
The Michelin Primacy 4 had another impressive lead, this time in fuel use, having 7% lower rolling resistance than the second placed Goodyear.
1st: Michelin Primacy 4
Shortest dry braking by a margin, very short wet braking, good on damp grass, lowest rolling resistance by some margin.
Lowest aquaplaning resistance on test, which also cost the tire time on the wet handling lap, average gravel traction.
The Michelin Primacy 4 is an excellent tire with very low fuel use and an excellent braking ability. Unfortunately the tire has the shallowest tread depth on test, and while that's unlikely to be a wear issue for the French tire, it did mean the tire scored poorly in aquaplaning test, and struggled in the deeper parts of water on the wet handling lap.
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Very well balanced tire, no real weakness in any of the tests, good in the dry and wet with good steering response, short braking distances, good levels of comfort, highest traction on gravel and very good on grass, low rolling resistance, lowest noise on test.
Slightly weaker curved aquaplaning resistance compared to the best.
Once again Goodyear is proving they can develop tires with seemingly no weaknesses. While the new EfficientGrip 2 SUV only won a single test, it was rarely out of the top three in every other test making it an EXCELLENT all round tire.
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3rd: Uniroyal RainSport 5
Excellent wet performance with the shortest wet braking distances, fastest wet handling, high levels of comfort, good grip on gravel, and best aquaplaning resistance overall.
Relatively poor performance in the dry with extended dry braking and heavy understeer in dry handling.
The Uniroyal RainSport 5 is living up to its name by having a class leading performance in the wet, regardless of water depth, and as always, very good levels of comfort. Unfortunately, as we've found previously with the RainSport range, that comes at the expense of performance in the dry where the tire has lower levels of grip and a heavy understeer handling balance.
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Fastest dry handling lap, very good in wet handling, short braking distances in the dry and wet, low noise, good traction on damp grass.
Average straight aquaplaning resistance, high rolling resistance, low traction on gravel.
The Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 3 SUV is another well balanced tire from the Korean manufacturer, performing well in all the grip tests. The tires only major weakness was rolling resistance, where it was 20% off the leading tire.
Short braking in the dry, good aquaplaning resistance, good off road performance, very good levels of comfort, low rolling resistance.
Extended braking distances in the wet, slow handling in the dry and wet with high levels of understeer, highest external pass by noise.
The BF Goodrich Advantage SUV is a tire with good levels of comfort, short dry braking distances, and good aquaplaning resistance in deeper water. The tire struggles a little more in shallow water, with longer wet braking distances and understeer handling.
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6th: Nokian Wetproof SUV
A balanced performance with good grip in the dry and on gravel.
Not leading in any test, relatively poor grip on damp grass.
The Nokian Wetproof SUV is a balanced tire, and while it doesn't excel in any particular area, it's not drastically bad in any either.
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Very good aquaplaning resistance, relatively low rolling resistance, good grip on gravel.
Long braking distances in the dry and wet, lower levels of comfort.
The Vredestein Ultrac Satin is a tire we'd like to see trade some of its aquaplaning performance for some more rubber on the ground for improvements in the grip tests, as subjectively the tire was nice to drive on, it just lacked grip.
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8th: Avon ZX7
Excellent handling in the dry, with sporty direct steering, good in wet handling.
Longer braking distances in the dry and wet, poor aquaplaning resistance, low grip on gravel and grass, highest rolling resistance on test.
The Avon ZX7 was an enjoyable tire to drive in the dry and wet, feeling even sporty at times, however the braking and aquaplaning performance of the tire couldn't match the best on test.
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9th: Westlake SU318 HT
Relatively quiet external pass by noise.
Low grip in all tests, extremely long wet braking distances, poor aquaplaning resistance, low levels of comfort, high rolling resistance.
Once again the cheapest tire on test, performed the worst, however it's worth noting, while this tire was sold as a summer tire when shopping for the test, it is marketed as an all season tire in north america, meaning it's likely to have a higher level of snow performance than the other eight tires which could explain some of the offset in the dry and wet.