We're going to let the test data do the talking for this one. The excellent Swedish testers at ViBilagare have tested eight SUV studless friction winter tires, included the new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV and new Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V3 using a Volvo V40 wearing 235/55 R18 tires. Fortunately, where the tire patterns match those in the Tire Reviews Nordic Winter Tire Test, the results are very similar!
Which winter tire is best? Check out the magazines excellent data and final results below!
|Dry Braking||▲Bridgestone Blizzak DM V3: 33.29 M||▼Kumho WinterCraft WS51 SUV: 35.12 M|
|Subj. Dry Handling||▲Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2: 5 Points||▼Mazzini Snowleopard LX: 1 Points|
|Wet Braking||▲Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2: 36.42 M||▼Michelin X Ice Snow SUV: 40.76 M|
|Wet Handling||▲Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2: 41.88 s||▼Bridgestone Blizzak DM V3: 43.06 s|
|Straight Aqua||▲Kumho WinterCraft WS51 SUV: 70.6 Km/H||▼Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV: 60.3 Km/H|
|Snow Braking||▲Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV: 10.94 M||▼Continental VikingContact 7: 11.6 M|
|Snow Traction||▲Michelin X Ice Snow SUV: 2.74 s||▼Kumho WinterCraft WS51 SUV: 3.03 s|
|Snow Handling||▲Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV: 72.84 s||▼Mazzini Snowleopard LX: 77.29 s|
|Ice Braking||▲Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV: 12.89 M||▼Mazzini Snowleopard LX: 16.72 M|
|Ice Traction||▲Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV: 2.94 s||▼Mazzini Snowleopard LX: 3.73 s|
|Ice Handling||▲Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV: 39.97 s||▼Mazzini Snowleopard LX: 43.14 s|
|Noise||▲Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2: 73.5 dB||▼Continental VikingContact 7: 75.6 dB|
|Price||▲Mazzini Snowleopard LX: 1684||▼Michelin X Ice Snow SUV: 2740|
|Rolling Resistance||▲Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV: 5.58 kg / t||▼Bridgestone Blizzak DM V3: 6.22 kg / t|
On ice the new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV offered the best braking, traction and handling, with the Michelin X Ice Snow SUV being the best of the rest.
Snow once again showed the Nokians winter credentials, with the R5 SUV leading in snow braking and snow handling, and second place in snow traction.
The Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2 was the best tire in the wet grip tests, leading wet braking and wet handling. Nokian and Michelin, which did so well on ice and snow, struggled more in the wet showing creating a tire which does everything well isn't yet possible.
The deep water test of aquaplaning was led by the Kumho WinterCraft WS51 SUV.
The Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V3 offered the shortest dr braking, followed by the Falken Winterpeak F-Snow.
While the magazine didn't publish dry handling times, they did rate the tires on how easy they were to drive in the dry with the Goodyear and Nokian leading the way.
The Goodyear had the lowest internal noise measured of all the tires.
Naturally the budget Mazzini was the cheapest SUV winter tire of the group, with the Michelin the most expensive.
The new Nokian offered the lowest fuel use.
View Results as a single table and adjust the score weighting
1st: Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 SUV
Best grip on ice, driving characteristics on all surfaces, rolling resistance.
Braking distance wet road, aquaplaning.
This year's big news in the segment is the Hakkapeliitta R5, which replaces the R3. Then newcomer immediately becomes the new yardstick for winter grip. The Nokian takes home all the available points in both snow and ice conditions. The cornering grip is most impressive on ice and the Nokian is the only friction tire that maintains good controllability on the wrong side of the grip limit.
The biggest improvement over the predecessor is on dry roads, mainly the noise level which is no longer affected by troublesome frequencies. The steering is slightly sharper and in the evasive maneuver tests the R5 reacts quickly with maintained stability. The rolling resistance is the lowest of the bunch. One the minus side we find braking on wet roads and low aquaplaning characteristics.
In total, the tests best winter grip gives the Nokian a clear victory.
2nd: Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2
Best nordic friction tires on asphalt. Low road noise.
Slightly lower cornering grip on snow/ice.
UltraGrip Ice 2 is the best choice for those who drive mostly on asphalt ground in milder winter conditions. It is superior on wet asphalt, that is otherwise a problem for Nordic friction tires. Goodyear handles aquaplaning well and also has good cornering grip and shortest braking distance on wet roads. You will also find the best stability and steering response on dry roads. In addition, the interior noise level is the lowest.
Despite the good asphalt properties, Goodyear performs well in the winter rounds. The braking distances are right up there with the best. The disadvantage is slightly worse cornering grip on snow and ice, where the grip disappears relatively suddenly and without warning.
In terms of points, it will be second overall, but Goodyear is the clear winner in wetter climates.
3rd: Continental VikingContact 7
Good grip and good driving characteristics on all surfaces.
Slightly higher noise level than the best tires.
VikingContact7 has several victories from our tests of traditional passenger car tires in the bag. Now it collects a bronze medal.
To adapt to the higher weight of the SUVs, Continental has made a stiffer tire with a harder rubber compound. It provides slightly less convincing driver properties on ice and snow, with longer sliding phases than we previously experienced from VC7. However, the level of grip is still good compared to the competition.
The upside is that the tire in this larger dimension, with a more open pattern, handles aquaplaning really well. It also has fine stability on asphalt with maintained steering precision in the evasive maneuver tests.
Never the best but often at the top, regardless of the surface, results a well-deserved podium.
4th: Michelin X Ice Snow SUV
Braking distances on snow/ice. Stability and steering feel asphalt.
Grip on wet roads, aquaplaning.
One of the tires that benefited most from the switch to SUV size is Michelin. X-Ice Snow has previously been one of the stiffer tires that gave good stability on asphalt but was not as compliant on winter surfaces.
This time Michelin is one of the very best on ice. The slightly more open pattern also provides good grip on snow. However, Michelin has prioritized longitudinal grip - start and brake - and does not have quite as good lateral grip as the best in the winter rounds.
The X-Ice Snow behaves all the better in the curves in the asphalt tests where it can handle high lateral forces and has good steering response.
The minus item is the wet grip, which is the poorest in the test This means that Michelin ends up just outside the podium.
5th: Falken Winterpeak F Snow 1
Grip and safe driving characteristics on snow/ice. Low noise level.
Stability and steering feel on asphalt, rolling resistance.
Another novelty among the friction tires is the F-Snow 1, which is part of Falken's new Winterpeak family. Just like the studded sibling F-Ice 1, the friction tire has a very soft rubber compound that provides good grip on snow and ice. The tire construction is also on the softer side, which contributes to compliant behavior on winter roads with a steady rear end without any skidding tendencies under pressure.
The soft rubber also provides short braking distances on dry roads. The disadvantage is slow steering reactions and strong understeer in evasive maneuver tests on dry roads and in curves on wet roads. A bit numb steering feel also reduces the impression on bare ground.
Overall, the Falken is an affordable option for those who prioritize high winter grip.
6th: Bridgestone Blizzak DM V3
Braking distance dry road, cornering grip on snow, road noise.
Cornering grip wet road, hydroplaning, rolling resistance.
DM-V3 is the name of the SUV version of Bridgestone's classic friction tire Blizzak. In terms of results, the tire ends up in something of a no-man's land. It achieves few top results in the test rounds, but it does not fall through negatively in any round.
Its advantages are good sound comfort, short braking distance on dry roads and well-balanced driving characteristics with good cornering grip on snow.
Unfortunately, for a Nordic winter tire, it has some grip problems on the ice where it falls behind the other well-known premium names.
Despite four longitudinal drainage channels, the aquaplaning ability does not impress either.
Without any real top scoring results, it’s a modest point harvest and a sixth place overall.
7th: Kumho WinterCraft WS51 SUV
Hydroplaning, braking distance on wet roads, steering feel on asphalt.
Ice grip, loose rear end and difficult to control all surfaces
WS51 is the SUV version of Kumho's latest friction tire Wi51. It's the stiffest tire here, with high priority on asphalt rounds, not winter grip. On ice it performs far from the best. The WS51 is difficult to master under pressure on both snow and ice, where all grip suddenly disappears at once and without warning.
It does a lot better against aquaplaning where Kumho is the best of the bunch. The braking distance on wet asphalt is also good, and the steering feel for small steering movements as well.
Unfortunately, the WS51 has problems with a loose rear-end both wet and dry roads with a skidding behavior in the evasive maneuvers and especially in wet corners. Nor is the noise level impressive. Difficult to control on the limit and poor winter grip result in a low score.
8th: Mazzini Snowleopard LX
Good snow grip, braking on wet roads, hydroplaning.
Good snow grip, braking on wet roads, hydroplaning.
One of the cheapest tires on the market is the Snowleopard LX from Chinese Mazzini. It is notable by an unusually rough pattern. In addition to good aquaplaning properties, it provides good grip in the snow - in any case, starting grip and braking distance. The cornering grip, on the other hand, is far from the best, but the tire is honest and warn early on about the poor grip. On ice the grip is close to non-existing. The braking distance is long and it looses the grip early already at very low cornering speeds.
In the dry, the steering feel is better than feared the open pattern considered, although in a crisis situation the tire can only turn in one direction. When you have to steer back, the pattern has folded and gives strong understeering.
Loud road noise that grows to high pattern singing with light steering, cementing an already clear last place.