|Best tyre for dry roads||Yokohama Advan Neova AD08|
|Best tyre for wet roads||Continental Sport Contact 5|
|The lowest fuel use||Dunlop SportMaxx RT|
|The most comfortable||Michelin Pilot Sport 3 PS3|
|The best dry handling||Continental Sport Contact 5|
|The best value tyre||Dunlop SportMaxx RT|
Conversely EVO spend plenty of time, and dedicate 60% of the overall result, to subjective handling. With the difference in grip between the best tyres on the market ever shrinking, explaining how the tyres actually feel to use give people who enjoy driving a good reference point. This years test was carried out at the Bridgestone test track in Italy, on a VW Golf GTI wearing 225/45 R17 tyres.
It's back to the top step for Continental with a convincing all round performance from the Sport Contact 5. Only dropping out of the top three twice, the Sport Contact 5 excelled in both subjective feel and objective handling. The aging, but updated Pirelli P Zero had a good result in second place, largely down to wet and dry handling, and the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 rounded out the top three, with the usual Goodyear blend of wet grip and steering feel.
Fourth spot was taken by Yokohama, with the AD08. It was a surprising nomination from Yokohama, with the Advan V105 the logical choice, but the gamble paid off. Easily the most exciting and fastest tyre in the dry, it wasn't as awful as some track day tyres in the wet, giving you an "extreme performance" tyre you can drive all year.
Michelin finished fifth, with a good all round performance, but we tend to feel the French brand was disadvantaged by the small size chosen. The Michelin Pilot Super Sport would have been the logical competitor to the other tyres on test, but starting in 18 inches Michelin had to put forward the softer, more touring orientated Pilot Sport 3.
Vredestein entered the replacement to the Ultrac Sessanta, the Vorti, and will be happy they beat Toyo and Hankook to win the battle of the midrange tyres. Dunlop disappointed in ninth struggling with overall grip, and Bridgestone embarrassingly finished last at home, with neither good feel or good grip.
One thing we're always being asked is "does sidewall stiffness relate to handling?" To try and answer this, we visited the warehouse at lovetyres.com and measured the sidewall stiffness of each tyre on test with a totally unscientific "squeeze test".
Expecting to find an approximate correlation between the best subjective tyres on test, and the stiffest sidewalls, the results surprised us. Here is the order of stiffness, grouped into approximate stiffness groups, and the subjective dry handling result.
|Tyre in order of sidewall stiffness||Subjective dry position|
The best and worst in group are in the right places, but there's no pattern between second place and ninth! Obviously there's more at work than basic sidewall stiffness to subjective handling.
It is however worth noting, subjective handling isn't just down to the tyre - it's how the car works with the tyre, the tyre size on test, and what that particular writer values while driving. For example, we've tested various tyres in 19 inch on an E46 BMW M3, and the Bridgestone Potenza S001 is the best we've tried for pure steering feel and feedback (but not outright grip.)
Sadly, with no easy formula to subjective tyre feel, it looks like you have to look into detailed user reviews on your chosen vehicle.
Below are the full results. Please note, we've not included aquaplaning scores, or applied any weighting, so make sure you pick up a copy of EVO issue 201 (November 2014) for the test in its full glory. Also we entered the EVO road route test as "comfort", but EVO took into account comfort, noise and steering feel.
With four wins, and only twice dropping out of the top three, it was a convincing win for Continental with the Sport Contact 5. Both subjectively and objectively, the Sport Contact 5 is a joy to drive
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2nd: Pirelli P Zero
Whilst being a relatively old pattern, the updated P Zero put in a very strong performance in the key wet and dry handling tests. Often the only tyre to get close to the Continental in outright grip
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While the now aging Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 failed to win any categories, its consistent placing in all tests resulted in a top three finish. Easy to judge levels of grip, and progressive over the limit
Yokohma took a gamble when it nominated the AD08 instead of the V105, but it paid off. Sensational in the dry, surprisingly "ok" in the wet, and performing well on the road too, the AD08 is a trackday tyre you can drive every day
Winning both aquaplaning tests and the road route, there was plenty to like about the Michelin and its weighty steering feel
Similar performance to the seventh place Toyo, the Vredestein Ultrac Vorti was mostly a "mid table" tyre throughout the tests. It did well in wet handling, where it inspired confidence and finished third on the road route thanks to being comfortable and quiet
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7th: Toyo Proxes T1 Sport
Seventh seems like a fair place for the Toyo T1 Sport. It didn't really excel in any tests, performing slightly better in the wet handling tests than the dry, but offered better feel when the roads were dry. Reasonably priced
The Hankook S1 Evo 2 had both good results, and bad. Strong in aquaplaning, and mid pack in dry handling, the tyre was let down by a last place finish in wet handling and a poor score on the road route section
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9th: Dunlop SportMaxx RT
Well priced, best rolling resistance, good feel with the limit eas to judge, let down by the limit not being higher
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10th: Bridgestone Potenza S001
The home advantage counting for nothing, the Bridgestone S001 finished last, struggling in both the subjective and measured tests
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