Choose winter tyres for the Golf class from 10 sets

Test ten sets of friction tire size 205/55 R16 presented a lot of unexpected surprises – in the tyre world new time is coming! The authors Sergey Mishin and Dmitry Tests, photo: Konstantin Yakubov

Wins this dimension fit all cars of a Golf class, so the range is enormous – for every taste and budget. The cheapest in our test – Chinese Triangle Snowlink PL01: the average 1495 USD apiece. On the sidewall of the formed the inscription: in Finland Engineered (“Designed in Finland”) – a good marketing ploy with a view to cover up less attractive stamped Made in China.

Surprisingly, only slightly more expensive, less than a hundred hryvnia per share, will cost real Japanese tires Nitto SN2. But two tires in the middle price category but of different origin – Finnish Nordman RS2 and full-blooded “Japanese” Toyo Observe GSi 5.

Of the “top” most affordable – Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2: almost the same price with the Toyo. And Japanese Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 and Bridgestone Blizzak VRX fabulously expensive: more than three thousand for each bus. The more interesting quite loyal to the price, 2470 UAH, for the Pirelli Ice Zero FR. By the way, this is actually a new tyre, albeit with the same name. The tread pattern is similar, but the profile width increased, and most importantly – the updated rubber compound (according to the manufacturer, the characteristics of the tires on snow and ice is improved, without prejudice to the “asphalt” properties).

The most expensive tire in our test is traditionally Continental with new VikingContact 7: 3,150 hryvnia! Just think: the price difference with a Triangle more than twice! Other premium new season, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3, amid Conti looks affordable: 2745 hryvnia.

Elevation of the ice or snow gives the experts additional information for the evaluation of controllability and unforgettable emotions.

On the bottom of the North In the North of Sweden, in the province of Norrbotten (in Swedish – and the Bottom), is the range of the Continental, on which all the conditions for testing of winter tires. In the second half of January stood stable weather without any thaws or severe frosts. The air temperature varied from -14 to -7 °C. Before the tests check the hardness of the rubber mixture of the tread for tire friction is one of the most important indicators. The softer the tread, the better it will work on ice, but worse on the pavement.

Of the total number of all participants with a hardness of 48-53 units shore struggling Pirelli and Triangle. The first, Oh, very soft – only 42 units. Ready to break records on the ice, but on asphalt after a few brake applications the risk to erase the protector to zero. Triangle, on the contrary, are very strict: 58 units. Close to the European frictional.

Winter tyres: myth and reality

Start with ice exercises – until the sky is not receiving snow. Non-studded winter tyres more than “my” sensitive to the purity of the coating: snowflakes on the ice work as microporosity, causing the tires to slip.
Different ice acceleration, braking distance and time of passage of the ice circle we measured on the smooth lake ice, which tire manufacturers call natural. The combined test of the “acceleration-deceleration” begin on a test Course with measuring equipment based on GPS. First test car accelerates to a speed of 25 km/h, and then beats that there are forces on the brake pedal.

The measuring system records the acceleration time from 0 to 20 km/h and then immediately locks the braking distance from a speed of 20 km/h to 5 km/h. For each set of tires have eight to ten measurements to minimize the deviation. Work to begin the base of the tire, referred to as “stove”; the rounds they repeat every three to four test sets. It is necessary to assess how the condition of the coating during the test. Non-studded winter tyres ice usually rolled because the end of the day the braking distance increase.

Supersoft Pirelli protector caused a lot of debate about what will happen to him on the pavement. The tests rejected all doubts: soft compound to the hard surface have shown themselves worthy.

How treacherous the ice! The best in the dispersal of Continental tyres, and the braking – Nordman! And we were waiting for records from Pirelli, with their soft tread. However, both exercises “Italians” showed the second result. The weakest in the longitudinal clutch was “Japanese”: on acceleration – Toyo, braking – Bridgestone.
Ice skate circle on such a scheme: cut 12-15 laps on each set of tyres, taking credit for the best repeatable time.

Very good lateral grip – Pirelli: the soft protector has done its job! The worst – the most rigid of Triangle tires. They Golf almost 11% slower. The tread pattern also contributes to the result, but the lateral grip on a smooth lake ice most influences the hardness of the tread. At the same time another Golf with a fully switchable ESP (electronic stability program) is already Ironing the ice track handling. It is situated on a slope that allows to evaluate the behavior of the machine as when unloading the rear axle (movement down the slope), and underloaded at the front wheels (up the hill). This ice tire called artificial, because he poured on the ground. Besides scratched and tyres with highly sticking out sports spikes. At such a coarse coating the tread pattern plays a more important role than smooth.

Without incident has not done. When traveling running “Eski” Golf wearing Nitto tires, the rear wheels abruptly fell into a slide and completely lost traction. The driver managed to stretch in the snow the rear bumper and making a 360 degree rotation to return the car to the original trajectory. It is noteworthy that the failure occurred when driving up a slope, when the rear wheel was the most loaded.

Tighten the wheel bolts according to the diagram and a torque wrench to ensure proper tightening torque.

Tires Nitto earned the lowest score of control on ice – for the tendency to oversteer, abrupt disruption in the significant loss of grip in a slide. And above other (8.5 points), we evaluated the Nokian: clear reaction persists even in the slides, which is rare for the friction tyres. The title of the hooligan testers gave the tyre Nordman: they allow you to control the car even in sweeping slides. The only claim to it – the need to rotate the steering wheel slightly at large angles.

Snow series

The timing of acceleration and braking on snow hold on the vast plateau. The size of his a lot more than the frozen lake, because the upper limit of speed up to 40 km/h On each set of tires, like on ice, doing a dozen measurements, and in three of the test kit back to the base tire by keeping track of how changes of the coupling properties of the coating.

The fastest acceleration Golf shows on the Continental tyres and Pirelli – 6.3 seconds. The slowest – Nitto lag 8% behind the leader. In the inhibition Pirelli holds the lead (16.3 m), however, on a couple of Goodyera. Outsider – Bridgestone, although a weak result will not name – the difference with the leaders is only 5.5%.

The Surprise Of The Triangle

Having dealt with the measurements, the saddle red Golf with a fully switchable ESP and sent to a snow route assessment handling. It’s a great track, full of bends of different curvature, slopes and rises, allowing to check how the tires behave when changing the clamping force.
Two experts, one after another, evaluate the behavior of the Course in two modes. First, low – key, with a neat “lick” turns in the initial phase of slip to evaluate the usability and reliability management. The second kiwerski, sweeping slides and snow spray from the wheels in which get the maximum pleasure from driving.

On the test Course special program allows you to fully disable ESP through a traditional menu.

In the soft mode more than others like Pirelli and Dunlop. Both provide the “classic” front-wheel drive behavior without a hint of drift of a back axis. If slightly to iterate over speed, the car smoothly and gently, the whole “body” straightens the trajectory.

Worse than the others behaved Bridgestone. On these tires the reaction Course strongly depends on the quality of the coating and the profile of the road that create uncertainty even on the straight parts. In cornering, the car picks from the demolition of the skid, forcing the driver to constantly work the wheel. This gives only an approximate direction, not the exact trajectory.

When driverkey driving the situation is different. Maximum enjoyment delivered to the Nokian, which even slides allow you to control the car as the steering and the change of the flow of fuel. And thrust to change trajectory possible faster and more accurate.

Antipodes Finnish tyres are Bridgestone and Nitto, fearful slides as fire. On the “bridge” in the transition to slip, significantly increasing the rotation angles of the wheel, the worse the reaction, the content, significantly decreases the adhesion. Behavior Golf is even less predictable than in normal driving, fight with the machine have more. Tires Nitto strained early and unclear transition slide, reduced grip, and the inability to control the car. Keep him on the arc in the slippage can only be faster, guessing actions.

But most of all, we shocked the Chinese tire, Triangle. We were not waiting for a breakthrough, considering the tires too hard for frictional Scandinavian style. It turned out not so bad! Pleased dense, informative steering and a fairly clear response. Is that sliding is not as smooth as I would like. The more these tyres surprised during active driving. If you do not fall into a deep slide and gently work the wheel, wearing them to Golf well managed. Even changing the thrust reacts adequately. “Asians” is usually not capable of.

Snow is not a barrier

Finally, evaluate directional stability at high speed, the behavior of the machine during a sudden lane change and the ability to overcome the virgin snow.

Every morning before the test tractor clearing all the tracks and access roads of the landfill.

The straightness of the movement and behavior of Golf with soft rebuild estimated at speeds of 100 km/h. the highest score will earn the Nokian, Nordman and Pirelli: the car is pleasing clear, informative “zero” and appropriate responses during the adjustment of the direction of movement. The most difficult to keep straight and to correct the course on the Bridgestone tyres: a wide “zero”, the delay in reacting to the wheel, the car also tends to steer the rear axle.

The lane change maneuver, which motorists perform frequently on all kinds of surfaces and not always successfully. In this exercise, Golf the most confident behaves on the Continental and Nokian tyres: in the limit of occurs soft drift to be corrected. The most dangerous for such a maneuver – tires Bridgestone and Toyo. For the first characteristic of a wide and unstable balance of control – limit Golf breaks in demolition, considerably straightening the trajectory, in a deep skid, badly twisting. And tires Toyo car at top speed maneuver abruptly goes into a progressive drift, requiring the driver of immediate action, otherwise the inevitable reversal.

For a full evaluation of patency is required in the new-fallen loose snow to a depth of approximately 20 cm.

Even in cities with well clean the main streets and roads snow-covered Parking lot – a real test for driver and car. Sometimes 50-100 meters of the road, swept the night’s snowfall, become an insurmountable obstacle. And help here can only be such tires that the snow is not terrible. The winner of the test on the permeability of the steel Nokian – rowed confidently forward even though back in any mode. A little more modest, but still very surely help to overcome the drifts of the Chinese Triangle. Slightly lower score earned Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear and Pirelli. Dislike the snow showed Toyo tires: they are Golf starts reluctantly, burrowing in snow, and hesitantly moves in reverse.

The revaluation of values

Interim results literally demolish the long-established hierarchy of winter tires. “White” tests, that is snow and ice, the first place is… Pirelli. Eternal leaders of the Nokian and Continental so enthusiastic about the fight for the win that missed the implicit competitor. Continental made it only to second place. And the Nokian was let just a little bit, but still weaker than its budget brand Nordman!

Almost in the middle of the list are Goodyear and Dunlop. And on the seventh position – Chinese Triangle, ahead of three indigenous Japanese: Toyo, Nitto and Bridgestone. Moreover, the name “bridge” was behind the all. Interestingly, the situation is temporary or is due for a serious redistribution of power?

Check asphalt

On another ground, we got out when the snow melted and roads dried up: the opening series of asphalt tests! The first thing to evaluate directional stability. Speed according to the monitor measuring complex GPS – 130 km/h.
The clear conduct Course provide Bridgestone tires and Triangle: something comparable to drive on summer tires. The “loose” – Goodyear, Nordman and Toyo. Because of the soft tread appears broad “zero” at the helm, delays in reactions, increased angles of rotation of the steering wheel when adjusting the rate, a lack of data. Goodyear and Toyo gives the car a tendency to steer the rear axle, and Nordman creates a feeling that the rod is in the steering rubber. Assessment all the same – six points. Surprisingly, the super soft Pirelli noted only minor delays in responses and slightly increased the rotation angles of the steering wheel.

It is more difficult to assess the handling in the snow, when the sun hides behind the clouds. The road merges with side drifts, and the direction of movement in a white shroud has to identify by touch.

Warmed the car and tires to the assessment of rolling resistance. Conduct measurements in both directions of horizontal two-kilometer stretch of road to eliminate the effect of even a slight breeze. During the measurements the experts estimate noise and smooth running in high speed. Final assessment after you put the driveways on the service road of the ground, imitating the broken highway.

In our tests for many years in this exercise shows the best results Nokian. No change occurred at this time: Nokian and its budget mark Nordman win the title of most fuel-efficient tire. However, the difference with the other participants a minimum of 100 grams of fuel per hundred in both speed modes. About anything.

The final push

We jumped the cracks and pits of the road, jumped at the expanded asphalt seams – and here’s the verdict about ride and noise.
Quieter roll all Continental and Toyo, and the loud – Dunlop, a chirping on smooth asphalt and humming to grainy. Toyo in proud loneliness the leader in ride, earning the title of the most comfortable tires. And the most rigid was tires Triangle, passing in the body of the shocks and vibrations from all the road irregularities.

Braking properties on dry and wet surfaces is evaluated on test areas stripped from road dust tenfold deceleration to “transport” tires. Wet slowing down from 60 to 5 km/h dry – from 80 to 5 km/h, cooling of the brakes carefully before every test braking.

The best result (18.9 m) on a wet road – Pirelli. It is noteworthy that even after a series of braking these unusually soft tyres look like new: no signs of any tread wear! Behind all – Toyo (22,8 m) with Nitto (22,7 m).
But in the dry the shortest stopping distance of the Golf course on the Bridgestone of 29.2 meters. On the Nitto tires braking distance is increased up to 33 feet away!
In the final “black” offset no serious permutations – as in previous years, won Continental. Pirelli tires, despite a very soft tread, took second place, pushing the Nokian on the third line. In the middle is located a dense group: Bridgestone, Goodyear and Triangle. Less confident feel on the pavement Dunlop and Nordman. Trailing – Nitto and Toyo.


So the leader of our test tires Pirelli Ice Zero FR, scored 926 total points. Congratulations!

Just two points behind Continental VikingContact 7, located on the second place. The honorable third place is Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3, with the gap to two points. All runway bus is equally good on “white” roads, and on the pavement. The differences between them are only in the nuances that normal mode you can hardly feel. Any of the three tires will appeal to all drivers, regardless of driving style and skill level.

On the fourth line – I RS2, this “Northern man”, which is snow and ice feels more confident than on the pavement. Fifth position is occupied by the Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2, scored 900 total points and thereby fit into the category of “great tires.” Conscientiously work on any surface.
In sixth place, having earned 887 points, located Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 is a very good tire that will fit for any coverage. Will appeal to those who understand a lot about handling in the snow, this will disappoint those who prefer silence.

On the seventh line, to our great surprise, it was Chinese Triangle Snowlink PL01. Respect! According to the total number of earned points (884), we will put these tyres to the category of “very good”. The inscription on the side “Designed in Finland”, according to the results, not empty words. To our knowledge, the development of these tires made hands former employees of the company Nokian. Balance shifted slightly towards the pavement, in the snow Snowlink is also good, but on the ice, these tires will require the driver accuracy.

Eighth position was taken tires Bridgestone Blizzak VRX – 863 points. In the winter disciplines they are only in tenth place, and in asphalt ranking climbed to fourth place. Good for longer trips on the clean asphalt roads, will appreciate the better braking properties on dry pavement. On snow and ice should move with caution, do not disable the electronics in the slip not to move.

Tyre Toyo Observe GSi‑5 was able to score 860 total points – ninth place. Modest performance on snow and ice, weak by modern standards, the braking properties on asphalt. Can boast a high level of comfort tolerable stability and handling on snow.
Completing our rating tires Nitto SN2 earned 853 points. Modesty coupling properties similar to the Toyo. Are slightly better stability on the pavement, but lose in comfort and handling. Not recommend for vehicles without electronic limiters.

Crisis lifehack

For those who have the choice of tyres considers money important the ranking “price/quality”. Great in this respect – tires Triangle Snowlink PL01. Each one thousand hryvnias rates brings a 591 score.

Those who trust Finnish products, I suggest you look to the tires Nordman RS2 is 454 points per thousand hryvnias. Fans of Japanese products – Nitto SN2: 543 points per thousand hryvnias.

In the middle of the list is the Trinity, the most balanced in terms of price and quality: Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2 Toyo Observe GSi-5 and Pirelli Ice Zero FR.
And for those who prefer only the finest in all the qualities of the tyres is not worth saving – you pay not only for the name.


Where better to store tires in the basement or the fridge?

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