2021 Tyre Reviews SUV Tyre Test

It's the first Tyre Reviews SUV tyre test, and as usual, we're trying to do things as properly as possible!

We have 8 of the most popular SUV tyres in 235/55 R18, including the Michelin Primacy 4, the brand new Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV, the extremely popular Uniroyal RainSport 5, the new Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3 SUV, the Nokian WetProof SUV, the Vredestein Ultrac Satin, the Avon ZX7, the BFGoodrich Advantage SUV, and a budget tyre represented by Westlake.

As tyres like these aren't intended for serious off-road use, we'll be using a VW Tiguan and focusing on the dry, wet and comfort characteristics of the tyres, AND thanks to Goodyear allowing us to use their awesome off-road test facility in Texas, we'll also look at some of the basic off-road performances such as damp grass and gravel, meaning you'll have a complete picture of what SUV tyre is best at what, allowing you to make the ideal purchase choice for your own particular needs.

Vehicles which this size applies to are SUV and Crossover SUVs such as the BMW X3, BMW X5, Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 / XC60, Audi A8, Citroen C4 Aircross, VW Tiguan, Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, Mercedes Benz EQA, GLA, S Class, Nissan Qashqai and many more.

Let's start with the dry and wet performance of the nine sets of SUV tyres.

Dry

Dry braking was led by the Michelin Primacy 4, having an impressive lead over the rest of the group. BFGoodrich, Goodyear and Hankook were also good performers, while the budget Westlake had a big deficit to the rest of the group.

Handling tests might not be the most important criteria for an SUV, but they do still show us the peak lateral grip of the tyres, how safe they will be in emergency maneuvers, and if you're really keen, just how quickly you can get your child to school on a wet or dry morning.

The VW Tiguan is set up for understeer, and in the dry, that's what we got from all the tyres, just to different degrees, with the slowest tyres also being those with the most understeer.

Avon, Hankook and Goodyear were the nicest tyres to drive quickly, having relatively good steering response and balance. Again, the budget tyre was the slowest, and the BFGoodrich and Uniroyal had a slow steering reaction and a heavy understeer balance.

Wet

The wet braking testing had the Uniroyal Rainsport 5 move to the front, narrowly beating the Michelin Primacy 4. Like in the dry, the Goodyear and Hankook were the best of the rest, with the budget tyre performing extremely poorly, with the Tiguan still travelling around 40 km/h at the point the Uniroyal had stopped the SUV.

The Uniroyal continued its impressive run in the wet by being the fastest over the wet handling, beating the Goodyear and Hankook.

The Michelin Primacy 4 had trouble with the deeper parts of the wet handling lap, costing the tyre important time.

The aquaplaning tests highlighted both the Uniroyal's excellent ability in standing water, and the difficulties the Michelin had on the wet handling lap.

The Vredestein Ultrac Satin also performed well in aquaplaning, winning the curved aquaplaning test.

Off Road

On the slightly moist grass, there was semi correlation with wet braking, with Hankook, Michelin and Goodyear being the best of the best and Avon, Nokian and Westlake struggling a little more. There was over 10% between the best and the worst, which could be the difference of sliding around or getting moving.

On gravel Goodyear narrowly beat Uniroyal, which is interesting as the Uniroyal was the most "off-road" looking tyre, but the Goodyear had the highest starting tread depth which might have helped. Vredestein and Nokian were also good on gravel. Sadly a storm broke just as we were getting to the last set, which is why the data is missing for Westlake.

Environment

Comfort is an important quality for an SUV tyre, and the BFGoodrich and Uniroyal led the group, narrowly ahead of the Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV

Conversely, the BFGoodrich had the highest external drive-by noise.

The Michelin Primacy 4 had another impressive lead, this time in fuel use, having 7% lower rolling resistance than the second placed Goodyear.

Results

1st: Michelin Primacy 4

Michelin Primacy 4
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: B/A/69
  • Weight: 11.43kgs
  • Tread: 6.76mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking1st100%
Dry Handling5th+1.26 s98.8%
Subj. Dry Handling3rd-0.5 Points
Wet Braking2nd+0.17 M99.52%
Wet Handling7th+0.84 s98.8%
Subj. Wet Handling4th-1.5 Points
Straight Aqua9th-13.66 Km/H84.65%
Curved Aquaplaning9th-0.68 m/sec272.08%
Gravel Traction6th+1.02 M95.34%
Grass Traction2nd+0.02 M99.56%
Subj. Comfort4th-0.8 Points
Noise5th+1.7 dB97.61%
Rolling Resistance1st100%
Shortest dry braking by a margin, very short wet braking, good on damp grass, lowest rolling resistance by some margin.
Lowest aquaplaning resistance on test, which also cost the tyre time on the wet handling lap, average gravel traction.
The Michelin Primacy 4 is an excellent tyre with very low fuel use and an excellent braking ability. Unfortunately the tyre has the shallowest tread depth on test, and while that's unlikely to be a wear issue for the French tyre, it did mean the tyre scored poorly in aquaplaning test, and struggled in the deeper parts of water on the wet handling lap.

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2nd: Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV

Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: B/A/70
  • Weight: 11.97kgs
  • Tread: 8.78mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking3rd+1.11 M96.81%
Dry Handling3rd+0.52 s99.5%
Subj. Dry Handling1st
Wet Braking4th+2.02 M94.6%
Wet Handling2nd+0.24 s99.65%
Subj. Wet Handling1st
Straight Aqua4th-5.27 Km/H94.08%
Curved Aquaplaning5th-0.27 m/sec288.98%
Gravel Traction1st100%
Grass Traction3rd+0.12 M97.41%
Subj. Comfort3rd-0.5 Points
Noise1st100%
Rolling Resistance2nd+0.52 kg / t92.71%
Very well balanced tyre, no real weakness in any of the tests, good in the dry and wet with good steering response, short braking distances, good levels of comfort, highest traction on gravel and very good on grass, low rolling resistance, lowest noise on test.
Slightly weaker curved aquaplaning resistance compared to the best.
Once again Goodyear is proving they can develop tyres with seemingly no weaknesses. While the new EfficientGrip 2 SUV only won a single test, it was rarely out of the top three in every other test making it an EXCELLENT all round tyre.

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3rd: Uniroyal RainSport 5

Uniroyal RainSport 5
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: C/A/71
  • Weight: 11.52kgs
  • Tread: 8.5mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking5th+1.57 M95.55%
Dry Handling8th+1.85 s98.24%
Subj. Dry Handling6th-1.5 Points
Wet Braking1st100%
Wet Handling1st100%
Subj. Wet Handling4th-1.5 Points
Straight Aqua1st100%
Curved Aquaplaning2nd-0.08 m/sec296.71%
Gravel Traction2nd+0.04 M99.81%
Grass Traction5th+0.19 M95.89%
Subj. Comfort2nd-0.2 Points
Noise6th+1.8 dB97.47%
Rolling Resistance5th+1.32 kg / t83.35%
Excellent wet performance with the shortest wet braking distances, fastest wet handling, high levels of comfort, good grip on gravel, and best aquaplaning resistance overall.
Relatively poor performance in the dry with extended dry braking and heavy understeer in dry handling.
The Uniroyal RainSport 5 is living up to its name by having a class leading performance in the wet, regardless of water depth, and as always, very good levels of comfort. Unfortunately, as we've found previously with the RainSport range, that comes at the expense of performance in the dry where the tyre has lower levels of grip and a heavy understeer handling balance.

Read Reviews    Buy from £93.19

4th: Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 SUV

Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 SUV
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: C/A/72
  • Weight: 12.7kgs
  • Tread: 7.94mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking4th+1.25 M96.43%
Dry Handling1st100%
Subj. Dry Handling1st
Wet Braking3rd+1.54 M95.83%
Wet Handling3rd+0.38 s99.45%
Subj. Wet Handling1st
Straight Aqua6th-7.5 Km/H91.57%
Curved Aquaplaning4th-0.15 m/sec294.04%
Gravel Traction7th+1.45 M93.5%
Grass Traction1st100%
Subj. Comfort5th-1.2 Points
Noise2nd+1 dB98.58%
Rolling Resistance7th+1.76 kg / t78.97%
Fastest dry handling lap, very good in wet handling, short braking distances in the dry and wet, low noise, good traction on damp grass.
Average straight aquaplaning resistance, high rolling resistance, low traction on gravel.
The Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 3 SUV is another well balanced tyre from the Korean manufacturer, performing well in all the grip tests. The tyres only major weakness was rolling resistance, where it was 20% off the leading tyre.

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5th: BFGoodrich Advantage SUV

BFGoodrich Advantage SUV
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: C/A/70
  • Weight: 11.15kgs
  • Tread: 7.15mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking2nd+1.08 M96.9%
Dry Handling7th+1.79 s98.3%
Subj. Dry Handling6th-1.5 Points
Wet Braking6th+3.42 M91.19%
Wet Handling8th+2 s97.18%
Subj. Wet Handling7th-1.8 Points
Straight Aqua3rd-4.93 Km/H94.46%
Curved Aquaplaning3rd-0.14 m/sec294.33%
Gravel Traction5th+0.73 M96.62%
Grass Traction4th+0.13 M97.16%
Subj. Comfort1st
Noise9th+2.6 dB96.38%
Rolling Resistance3rd+0.74 kg / t89.93%
Short braking in the dry, good aquaplaning resistance, good off road performance, very good levels of comfort, low rolling resistance.
Extended braking distances in the wet, slow handling in the dry and wet with high levels of understeer, highest external pass by noise.
The BF Goodrich Advantage SUV is a tyre with good levels of comfort, short dry braking distances, and good aquaplaning resistance in deeper water. The tyre struggles a little more in shallow water, with longer wet braking distances and understeer handling.

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6th: Nokian Wetproof SUV

Nokian Wetproof SUV
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: C/A/70
  • Weight: 12.53kgs
  • Tread: 8.01mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking6th+1.57 M95.55%
Dry Handling4th+0.83 s99.2%
Subj. Dry Handling6th-1.5 Points
Wet Braking5th+2.06 M94.5%
Wet Handling6th+0.77 s98.9%
Subj. Wet Handling8th-2 Points
Straight Aqua5th-7.37 Km/H91.72%
Curved Aquaplaning6th-0.3 m/sec287.75%
Gravel Traction4th+0.33 M98.44%
Grass Traction8th+0.42 M91.46%
Subj. Comfort6th-1.5 Points
Noise6th+1.8 dB97.47%
Rolling Resistance6th+1.42 kg / t82.32%
A balanced performance with good grip in the dry and on gravel.
Not leading in any test, relatively poor grip on damp grass.
The Nokian Wetproof SUV is a balanced tyre, and while it doesn't excel in any particular area, it's not drastically bad in any either.

Read Reviews    Buy from £104.39

7th: Vredestein Ultrac Satin

Vredestein Ultrac Satin
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: C/B/71
  • Weight: 12.24kgs
  • Tread: 7.93mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking8th+2.3 M93.62%
Dry Handling6th+1.42 s98.65%
Subj. Dry Handling5th-1 Points
Wet Braking7th+4.07 M89.69%
Wet Handling5th+0.73 s98.95%
Subj. Wet Handling3rd-0.5 Points
Straight Aqua2nd-3 Km/H96.63%
Curved Aquaplaning1st100%
Gravel Traction3rd+0.17 M99.19%
Grass Traction6th+0.36 M92.53%
Subj. Comfort8th-1.8 Points
Noise3rd+1.2 dB98.3%
Rolling Resistance4th+1.29 kg / t83.67%
Very good aquaplaning resistance, relatively low rolling resistance, good grip on gravel.
Long braking distances in the dry and wet, lower levels of comfort.
The Vredestein Ultrac Satin is a tyre we'd like to see trade some of its aquaplaning performance for some more rubber on the ground for improvements in the grip tests, as subjectively the tyre was nice to drive on, it just lacked grip.

Read Reviews    Buy from £92.64

8th: Avon ZX7

Avon ZX7
  • 235/55 R18
  • EU Label: C/A/69
  • Weight: 12.73kgs
  • Tread: 7.68mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking7th+1.82 M94.88%
Dry Handling1st100%
Subj. Dry Handling3rd-0.5 Points
Wet Braking8th+4.24 M89.3%
Wet Handling4th+0.41 s99.41%
Subj. Wet Handling4th-1.5 Points
Straight Aqua7th-10.64 Km/H88.04%
Curved Aquaplaning7th-0.54 m/sec277.88%
Gravel Traction8th+2.25 M90.26%
Grass Traction7th+0.39 M92.08%
Subj. Comfort6th-1.5 Points
Noise8th+1.9 dB97.33%
Rolling Resistance9th+2.11 kg / t75.8%
Excellent handling in the dry, with sporty direct steering, good in wet handling.
Longer braking distances in the dry and wet, poor aquaplaning resistance, low grip on gravel and grass, highest rolling resistance on test.
The Avon ZX7 was an enjoyable tyre to drive in the dry and wet, feeling even sporty at times, however the braking and aquaplaning performance of the tyre couldn't match the best on test.

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9th: Westlake SU318 HT

Westlake SU318 HT
  • 235/55 R18
  • Weight: 13.61kgs
  • Tread: 8.23mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking9th+5.77 M85.39%
Dry Handling9th+2.17 s97.95%
Subj. Dry Handling9th-2.5 Points
Wet Braking9th+12.03 M74.64%
Wet Handling9th+3.11 s95.69%
Subj. Wet Handling9th-3 Points
Straight Aqua8th-13.4 Km/H84.94%
Curved Aquaplaning8th-0.6 m/sec275.29%
Grass Traction9th+0.58 M88.61%
Subj. Comfort9th-2 Points
Noise4th+1.5 dB97.88%
Rolling Resistance8th+2.07 kg / t76.15%
Relatively quiet external pass by noise.
Low grip in all tests, extremely long wet braking distances, poor aquaplaning resistance, low levels of comfort, high rolling resistance.
Once again the cheapest tyre on test, performed the worst, however it's worth noting, while this tyre was sold as a summer tyre when shopping for the test, it is marketed as an all season tyre in north america, meaning it's likely to have a higher level of snow performance than the other eight tyres which could explain some of the offset in the dry and wet.

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