Should cheaper tyres always be avoided? No, not anymore. Development is progressing also in the budget segment. When we test eight different summer tyres in the dimension
225/45 R 17, an Asian price presser is fighting for victory.
The autumn sun shines over the Mireval Proving Grounds, just west of the French student city of Montpellier. The climate in early October is like a northern European summer day. The temperature is stable just below 20 degrees, excellent conditions for the week that will be the 2021 edition of ViBilägare’s summer tyre test.
This time we have eight different tyres in 225/45 R 17, a common dimension that fits several popular car models. It is also a size where manufacturers offer two different tyre types. Either economical- and comfortoriented tyres, called High Performance (HP) by the industry. Or sportier tyres, so-called Ultra High Performance (UHP). We have chosen to test tyres in the HP segment, made for the vast majority of drivers. Among the news we find Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance 2 and the new Pirelli Cinturato P7. The newcomers will have
to show their talent against top performing loyal servants such as Continental PremiumContact6, Michelin Primacy 4 and Nokian Hakka Blue 2.
Also participating are three products from cheaper price segments: Hifly HF805, Landsail Sentury Qirin 990 and Maxxis Premitra HP5. The high-frequency howling of the wheel guns is constantly heard in the background. Two cars, each with its own set of test tyres, means that about 100 wheels are mounted and dismounted each day. In addition to the test tyres, we run a reference tyre first and last in each sub-test to capture how external parameters affect the grip level during time.
The established tyre manufacturers all perform at a high level of safety, albeit with different priorities and merits. But it quickly becomes clear that Taiwanese Maxxis Premitra HP5 are here to be taken seriously. Landsail’s new Qirin 990 also begins the week with impressively short braking distances. They are both good examples of the rapid development of tyres. When we tested budget tyres in 2017, Maxxis and Landsails placed in the middle ground with performance levels far from the best premium products.
Now – 2021 – the matter is completely different. When the whole test program I completed, the sensation is a fact – Maxxis scores the most points of all participants! It also impressively subjectively with a really good steering response and it remains easy to maneuver when provoked at the grip limit. Premitra HP5 is almost perceived as a disguised “UHP tyre” with a high level of grip and stability. However, this comes at the expense of comfort.
Because no tyre can be the best at everything. For consumers who want the lowest possible road noise, second-placed Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance 2 is the best buy. With the new generation, Goodyear has managed to raise the driving characteristics to a top level while road noice is by far the quietest in this group, especially on rough asphalt. Landsail ultimately places itself a bit behind the established tyre manufacturers.
The driving characteristics do not suit a keen motorist, with a slow steering response and a heavily understeered balance, but the fact is that the new Qirin 990 remains easy to handle under pressure. This is not the case for all tyres. Between the Qirin 990 and the last placed product – Hifly HF805 – there is actually not a large price disparity, but the differences in road safety in a crisis situation are miles apart!
Therefore, it is extra important to read tyre tests when your wallet has a veto. You should never buy a tyre that has not shown a reasonable level of safety in an independent test. It’s just throwing money in the lake.
Comments to test measurements:
Wet handling 15–18°C, cloudy/sun
Average time of three laps of 0,8 mm water. Maxxis and Goodyear steer quickly with neutral balance. Nokian reacts a little more smoothly. Continental has more understeer. Michelin is linear and logical but does not have the same cornering grip. Landsail is still easy to drive on the limit while Hifly loses the grip suddenly without warning.
Wet braking 15–20°C, suny
The average of seven ABS brakes from 80 km/h on 1,0 mm of water. Differences are bigger on wet compered to dry. Continental has by far the shortest stopping distance, Nokian also impresses. Pirelli slips half a meter behind the slightly worse premium tyres. Hifly needs two additional meters to stop on a wet road.
Corner grip on wet 19–21°C, sunny
Average time of eight laps around a circle with 0,8 mm of water. Goodyear’s rubber compound provides the best side grip with Nokian and Maxxis not far behind. Michelin and Landsail provide slightly lower side grips on wet roads, but clearly the worst of all is the Hifly.
Aquaplaning, straight 12–14°C, cloudy
The speed at which the front wheels start spinning at 15% higher speed than the rear wheels during an acceleration in 7,0 mm of water. Nokian and Maxxis are the best in the group. Then it is even among the established manufacturers with some advantage for Pirelli. The Chinese Hifly and Landsail struggle in deep water.
Aquaplaning, curved 15–19°C, sunny
Speed at the highest g-value in a curve with 8,0 mm of water. More tyres have problems with aquaplaning when the road turns. The poorest is Continental, but also Hifly and Landsail struggle at a low speed. Goodyear does not impress either. The clear winner will be Maxxis with Pirelli and Nokian also doing well.
Dry handling 16–19°C, sunny
Average time of three laps. Maxxis has a fast and linear sense of control. Pirelli gives the best feedback to the driver. Michelin has good stability at higher speeds. Landsail has the worst high-speed stability and heavy understeering. HiFly is poor with handly shift of load and loses the rear grip suddenly in S-corners.
Dry braking 15–20°C, cloudy/sunny
ABS braking from 100 km/h. Average value of five decelerations. On dry roads, there are relatively small differences. Just like on wet roads, Continental brakes the best. Nokian performs worse on dry roads. HiFly stops just over two meters later than Continental.
Fuel consumptions 15-20°C, sunny
Measured at a constant speed (60 km/h) with a slight steering angle on a round oval. Between the best (Michelin) and worst (Nokian) there is a difference of 34 liters of fuel / 10’000 km – about SEK 493 in fuel. Hifly has poor rolling resistance according to the label, but on a car, it manages reasonably well.
Noise (interior) + comfort + rolling resistance
Goodyear is clearly the most silent tyre. Pirelli has nice frequencies for the ear, as do Nokian and Landsail. Continental has some low-frequency sounds that interfere already at low speeds, but it does not get worse at higher speeds. The toughest for the ear is HiFly with low infra-frequencis that press against the eardrum on rough asphalt. Rolling resistance is measured according to the EU tyre label standard. We see that the result of the certification procedure – straight ahead on a drum – differs for some tyres compared to our own fuel consumption (mounted on a car, around an oval).
How the test was conducted?
The summer tyre test was performed in early October 2020 at the Mireval Proving Grounds, in the south of France. The weather was sunny with temperatures just below 20 degrees, representative of a Scandinavian summer day.
All tests begin and end with a reference tyre. It is also used between the test tyres when needed, for example in the event of weather and temperature changes. All tyres are then compared to the reference tyre. In this way, we can correct the result according to how the road surface is affected by external circumstances.
Two manually shifted VW Golf VIII 1.5 TSI were used as testcars. We test with ABS but with the anti-slip system in a sports mode to better feel the tyre balance during the
driving tests. The price information is taken from our local dealer Vanadis Gummi AB, apart from Landsail and Maxxis where the prices are averages online prices. It pays to compare
prices from different outlets. Tyres online can be cheaper. Keep in mind, however, that transport and assembly costs will be added.
How we scored?
Grades: 5 = Excellent. 4 = Very good. 3 = Average. 2 = Less good. 1 = Lousy .
After setting a gread 1–5, a weighting is made of all properties and the rating is multiplied by different factors, from 1 to 3. Braking ability and safe driving characteristics on wet roads, for example, are given the highest weight. Some elements – driving characteristics and internal noise – also include a subjective valuation in the grade as a complement to the measured value. How well the tyre rolls over bumps is rated strictly subjectively. The sum of all the test points is then the total points. The maximum number of points is 100. If a tyre is judged as “average”, ie with a grade of 3 in all parts, the score is 60. The summary grades are made to show the tyres characteristics in a clearer way. Exact values are reported on pages 30 – 31.
Maximum points for each round:
Wet braking: 15
Wet handling: 15
Wet side grip: 10
Aquaplaning, straight: 10
Aquaplaning, curve: 10
Dry braking: 10
Dry handling: 10
Fuel consumption: 10
*This article is courtesy of Vi Bilagare magazine.