Introduction to 2023 Winter Tire Tests
With winter upon us, ensuring safe driving is crucial. And what plays a significant role in that safety? The right tires. In this article, we’ll dive into the top winter tire tests of 2023 and guide you in selecting the best one. We’ve gathered some of this year’s test results, so let’s explore the top choices for your vehicle this season.
Top Recommendation: Michelin Pilot Alpin 5
And let’s start directly from the best – Michelin tyres, specifically the Pilot Alpin 5, are difficult to beat. It’s been with us since 2020 and has been through 11 tests in total, winning 6 of them and coming in the best three in virtually every other test.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The tyre’s strengths include exceptional dry driving dynamics, unparalleled driving and braking performance on snow, precise and sporty steering response and a high level of comfort on dry and wet roads. If we were to find any weaknesses, it would be the high price, average rolling resistance and a bit worse resistance to aquaplaning.However, its unrivaled performance on snow and overall balanced handling characteristics not only make it the first choice in the winter tyre market but also a go-to option for sporty winter driving.
Sizes and Variants
It is offered in sizes from 16″ to 23″, but most variants are found in R19″ so it is more suitable for medium and higher class cars and sports cars. It’s got a special variant for SUVs, the Pilot Alpin 5 SUV, which has the same characteristics.
Alternative for Compact Cars: Michelin Alpin 6
If we were looking for a tyre for more compact and less sporty cars, there’s our second recommendation, which is the Michelin Alpin 6. This has been on the market even since 2018 and focuses mainly on long endurance, low rolling resistance and fuel consumption, which predisposes it to great ratings, especially in the ADAC tests, which give these characteristics a lot of weight. It of course also offers very balanced on-road performance, but with less steering response than the sporty Pilot Alpin. It’s got some minor weakness in lateral aquaplaning and wet handling, but other than that, it’s a very balanced and durable winter tyre.It is available in sizes R15 to R20.
The Much-Anticipated: Goodyear Ultra Grip Performance 3
Moving on, the Goodyear Ultra Grip Performance 3 is the biggest news this year. Historically, this model line has consistently ranked among the top winter tyres, setting high expectations for the latest iteration. Let’s start with what Goodyear says about its new tire and then we will have a look at the tests and see if they prove it. Building on its legacy, the UltraGrip Performance 3 was crafted to cater to today’s larger and more powerful vehicles, including SUVs and EVs. Goodyear streamlined their offering by introducing this tire as a direct successor to both the UltraGrip 9+ and UltraGrip Performance+.
Now, it’s available in an impressive 94 size variations. The tire has features such as the Snow Protect Technology for enhanced traction and the Wet Grip+ Technology to tackle aquaplaning. Furthermore, it’s supposed to be optimized for EVs, with attributes like reduced rolling resistance and improved noise-cancelling capabilities.
Features and Size Variations
And now the tests. Autobild confirms its balanced characteristics with excellent winter capabilities, impressive durability, short braking distances and comfort. However, it points out the increased rolling resistance, which Goodyear claims that was improved. TyreReviews.com then praises its dry performance, wet grip and snow performance, calling it a tyre with minimal compromise. In particular, it highlights the tire’s excellent comfort, but also notes the higher rolling resistance.
A Premium Contender: Continental TS870P
Next up, we have the Continental TS870P, another premium tyre with great legacy in winter tyres that, like the previous candidates, really has little to fault. It is most often praised for its great snow performance, short braking distances on all surfaces and excellent steering response. It also has low rolling resistance and high comfort, including low noise. Conversely, it is criticized for its price and lower durability, which is the main reason it came third after the Michelin Pilot Alpin 6 and the GoodYear UltraGrip Performance 3 in this year’s Autobild test. It is available in sizes from R16 to R22. For more compact vehicles, there is the TS870 variant, which is less sporty and more focused on rolling resistance and durability, but still has the excellent balance between snow, dry and wet – that is why it won the Autoexpress and the ADAC test this year.
A Resilient Competitor: Dunlop Winter Sport 5
Moving on, we have the Dunlop Winter Sport 5, which is quite interesting in that the tyre is already quite old – it was first introduced back in 2015. In tests around 2020, the tread pattern’s obsolescence was quite apparent and it didn’t fare too well in tests, but it’s back on top again in this year’s and last year’s tests, even winning the ADAC 2023 test in the 205/60 R16 size.
The Dunlop Winter Sport 5 is generally regarded as a balanced tyre with excellent performance in snowy conditions and high mileage. It offers good fuel economy and is reliable on dry roads. Wet performance and higher noise levels are often cited as weaknesses. The price is not among the lowest, but this is compensated by its long life and fuel saving optimizations.
Budget-Friendly Picks: Hankook Winter Icept Series
And we can’t leave out the affordable picks, starting with Hankook, which is now considered a premium tire, but the price tag is still a bit lower. There are two Hankook Winter Icept models that were proved and recommended in tests this year – the RS3 and the evo3. The RS3 starts from 14 inch wheels and goes up to 17 inch wheels, while the evo 3 continues from 17 inch up to 22.
The Hankook Winter icept RS3 has been lauded for its wet performance, winter safety, and fuel efficiency due to its lightweight nature. It offers strong safety on various road conditions and excels in wet and winter surfaces with good aquaplaning reserves and effective braking. However, it shows slight imprecision on dry roads, and some tests highlighted below-average anticipated mileage and elevated interior noise.
Size Availability and Variants
The Winter icept evo3 W330 boasts of commendable winter qualities, excellent snow traction and handling, good wet braking, and solid resistance to aquaplaning. However, its downsides include average mileage and extended dry braking.
The lowcost snow-expert
Moving on to even cheaper models, this year’s best performer so far in testing is the BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2, which is a sister model to the Kleber Krisalp HP3. As has been shown in many of the nearly 20 tests, it can beat even premium models in the snow, which is why it tends to score so positively in tests. But of course it also offers satisfactory ratings on other surfaces. Handling in the wet and braking distance in the dry are the most frequently cited weaknesses.
Best in one, second to last in other – why?
A rather interesting phenomenon is the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005. It won 2 tests this year (TyreReviews.com and ACE), but then came 15th out of 16 in the ADAC test.
ADAC’s testing approach stands out from others. Their grading system particularly focuses on a tire’s weakest performance in a category. This is inspired by the saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” So, while other testing organizations have set weights for each criteria, ADAC allows the poorest result in a category to heavily influence the overall rating. As a result, tires can achieve widely different scores across varied tests.
This disparity was evident in ADAC’s recent test for the 225/45 R17 size. Notably, ADAC is among the few that gauge braking distance on ice. Unfortunately, the Bridgestone tire underperformed in this area, which significantly impacted its overall snow rating. Following ADAC’s “weakest link” principle, this poor snow performance heavily weighed on the total score, constituting 70% of the final grade.
That being said, the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-005 is frequently commended for its performance on wet roads and is often considered the best in test in wet conditions. This encompasses braking, handling, cornering, and aquaplaning resistance. If you prioritize exceptional wet performance and can compromise slightly on snow performance and tread life, Bridgestone might be the right choice for you.
And that brings us to the end of today’s article. There are still a few more tests to come this year, but if you want to find the best and most affordable tyres in your size, you can find them on our website, where we compare both the price, including across e-shops, and especially the driving characteristics of the tyres, so we can guarantee that we will find you the best deal.