For the 2023/24 season, Tyre Reviews has tested ten of the very best all season tyres available. Following on from last years test in 17", this year we focused on the smaller 15" wheel size, and included summer and winter reference tyres to highlight exactly what the best all season tyre is for your driving, and where summer and winter tyres fit into the overall performance.
As always, this is one of the most in depth all season tyre tests on the internet, and each of the ten sets of tyres are tested in the dry, wet and snow, plus the tyres subjective noise and comfort and rolling resistance (energy use) is also tested.
As everyone's driving situation is a little different, you can also adjust the overall score weighting of the test below so you really can find the perfect tyre for your own driving needs.
Last year the Michelin CrossClimate 2 won for the second year in a row. Can it make it three of three?
In the dry, the summer tyre was the best and the winter tyre nearly the worst, so that adds up. The Siping required for all season tyres makes grip in the dry difficult than a summer tyre, and we've seen this again from the data.
Dry braking was led by Michelin, with the Kleber suspiciously close behind. Hankook was once again very good in braking, finishing third, with the Vredestein Quatrac a close fourth. Then there was a bit of a gap to the rest, which was led by Toyo, then Goodyear, Falken, Laeo, Firestone and Uniroyal. If you look at the Uniroyals tread pattern it really does look like a winter tyre, and seems to perform like one in the dry too.
During dry handling the Hankook and Goodyear were back at the front, even beating the summer tyre, which honestly on this one occasion can be chalked up to a bad lap due to traffic. Both the Hankook and Goodyear were lovely and predictable to drive, and while dry handling isn't exactly what an all season tyre is designed for, I did appreciate the performance of them.
Michelin and the Vredestein were close behind in third and fourth. The Vred was a fun tyre but did feel a little mismatched between the front and rear axle, and the Michelin behaved exactly as it always does, with plenty of understeer and didn't like getting really got.
The Falken in fifth had steering that felt sharp and disconnected but otherwise good, and the Firestone and Laeo finished joint sixth. They did feel quite different, the Firestone was well balanced and good to drive and the Laeo felt sluggish, but they ended up on the same time so it seems there's more than one way to get around the lap.
Eighth, ninth were the Kleber, Toyo and again the Uniroyal finished tenth.
Below is the subjective scores from dry handling.
Wet braking and wet handling lined up pretty nicely, which is always good to see, apart from the Hankook. This was the best in wet braking, but the worst in the aquaplaning tests which meant during the wet handling lap, it took more of a penalty in the deeper parts of the water. It also had quite a lot of understeer, which is a safe easy to handle feature, but it does cost time.
The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen 3 was second in wet braking and the fastest around the wet handling lap, with pretty good aquaplaning resistance. As usual I did wet handling twice, both times blind in a different order and both times the Goodyear was clearly the standout for me, it was just lovely and grippy and easy to drive fast. The Vector 4 Seasons Gen-3 is usually very good in the wet, but in this size it's exceptional.
The Kleber and Michelin once again finished in very similar positions, both of them better on the brakes than during the handling lap due to high levels of understeer, but both did have very good aquaplaning resistance.
The Firestone was the opposite of the Hankook, it 6th in braking, 4% behind, but was one of the best around the handling lap helped no doubt by a good aquaplaning resistance, and it was easy to drive and well balanced.
The Falken was consistent across the two grip tests but struggled a little more in the deeper water of aquaplaning, and once again I called the handling sporgy, which is a quick initial turn but then felt a bit too soft and wobbly which is always an interesting experience. It made me laugh that it was the falken again, it has quite a unique feeling.
Uniroyal and Vredestein were like chalk and cheese with the Vredestein feeling great across the lap and posting a good time, but not being the best on the brakes or in the deeper water, whereas the uniroyal was the best of all the tyres in the aquaplaning test but felt very soft and uninspiring around the lap, plus it struggled on the brakes.
Sadly the Toyo Celsius AS2 didn't seem to have any luck in the wet with the 9th slowest lap, 9th worst wet braking and 8th worst aquaplaning resistance, and lastly the Laeo was just lacking grip in braking and handling, which shouldn't be a surprise given it's the cheapest tyre on test.
In summary, if the wet performance is key to you, I'd pick the Goodyear or Hankook.
As for the summer and winter. Well that was interesting. The winter tyre was a DREAM around the lap posting the second fastest time, but the extra sipes of the winter tyre meant it wasn't up to matching the best of the all season tyres in the braking test. The summer tyre has no sipes, so was the best in braking, but it had a poor aquaplaning resistance which meant it wasn't the easiest to drive around the lap, but I'm wondering if part of this has to do with the fact it's an ECO summer tyre, so the wet performance of the tyre will have been traded off against the rolling resistance.
There are two schools of thought about how an all season tyre should perform in snow. Some testers prefer a tyre that's almost winter like in ability, I prefer a tyre that a little more balanced to dry and wet, because even the worst all season tyres are way better than a summer tyre, as we're about to prove!
As always I bought a really cheap budget tyre, and it's fine. Not the fastest, but it's around a minute and a half lap, and it ends around 5 seconds off the best. Subjectively it was a little more behind even the tyres around the same pace, it gave you the illusion of grip until it ran out of grip suddenly and quickly. Not terrible, just not the best.
Next up was the Toyo, Hankook and Uniroyal, all on similar times, just under 5% off the best. The Toyo was pretty tricky to drive with peaky grip and an oversteer balance, and once you passed the limit of grip it took a long while to recover. Conversely the Hankook and Uniroyal were both two of the easiest tyres to drive on snow, they had a safe understeer balance, they were predictable and consistent.
Falken jumped in at sixth, feeling a little more like the Toyo than the Hankook in terms of balance and progressiveness, and a little ahead was the Vredestein in fifth which offered a lovely balance and good amount of grip, just a little bit looser than the tyres ahead of it.
The top 4 were all really impressive tyres. Goodyear and Firestone essentially tied in third and were both stunning to drive. The Goodyear had the tiniest edge subjectively, it was just a little more stable at the rear and give you a little bit more through the steering wheel, the Firestone steering felt a little light and detached. But this is on snow so I'm not sure anyone would ever notice.
And finally, the top two tyres tied for first place, and given they're sister brands, I can technically say Michelin won snow handling twice, once with the Michelin CrossClimate 2, and once with the Kleber Quadraxer 3.
As I test blind and I ran the Kleber quite early on in the sequence I was convinced it was the Michelin, and then when I ran the Michelin I was confused. Both tyres felt amazing, their advantage was mostly on corner entry where you could carry more speed than other tyres but also have confidence in the brakes, and both tyres were the least upset by the icer parts of the circuit. If I had to pick one, it might be the Kleber by the smallest margins.
But, if I was going to pick anything to drive, it would actually be the winter tyre. We already know the Hankook Winter I*Cept RS3 is a great winter tyre from last years winter test but it was just a dream, it would find grip where no all season could. Compared to some of the best all seasons it's only an incremental update sub limit but once you start pushing hard the tyre and car comes alive.
As for the summer tyre, it was actually amazing, for a summer tyre, and I'm mostly saying that as I didn't crash on it. The limit was very low in handling, you had no safety reserves at any point, and it felt really bad during traction. Which hopefully we're about to prove with traction and braking.
Subj. Snow Handling
Unfortunately it wasn't possible to do objective noise measurements due to the weather, but myself and a colleague did a subjective noise and comfort evaluation.
As always when you're testing a high profile small wheel size tyre on a vehicle like the golf, the differences are very small, however if noise and comfort is your priority I would be shopping for the Goodyear as it worked extremely well with the Golf, with the Hankook, Michelin and Kleber were also very good. If a firmer ride is your thing for some reason, the Toyo was the firmest of the group. The summer tyre was similar to the best of the all seasons and the winter tyre was just a little noisier.
The Leao was the cheapest tyre to buy and the Michelin the most expensive.
As for the rolling resistance of the tyres, this is getting more and more important as energy prices keep increasing. The lowest rolling resistance tyre in the test was the cheapest, the Leao, which even beat the summer tyre! Michelin was the best of the good all season tyres, with the Goodyear, Firestone also sneaking under the 8 kilogram / tonne mark, and the Hankook and Uniroyal were both on the 8kg/t. The highest rolling resistance was the Falken, around 12% higher than the Michelin, which equates to approximately 2.5% more fuel use in the real world.
Test winner, best in dry braking, very good grip in the dry, very good aquaplaning resistance, best snow braking, best snow traction, fastest snow handling lap, very good levels of comfort, very low rolling resistance.
Average wet braking and wet handling.
The Michelin CrossClimate 2 is back at the top, winning the test overall. Once again this tyre was best in dry braking, the best in the snow, had good levels of comfort, great aquaplaning resistance, and a very low rolling resistance. Is this the perfect all season tyre? Well, once again, not quite. It was 6th in wet braking and 8th in wet handling, which is a common theme of the CrossClimate 2. Michelin, give this all season tyre more wet performance for the next iteration, even if it comes at the expense of some of that snow performance, and the segment will have an unrivalled king once again. There's no denying the CrossClimate 2 is the best all season tyre money can buy in the dry and snow, but I just think wet should be more important.
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Very well balanced tyre, excellent in dry handling, the best in wet handling with very short wet braking distances, good snow performance, best comfort on test, low rolling resistance.
Average dry braking.
In second place overall just 0.2% ahead of the Hankook was the Goodyear Vector 4Season Gen-3. Like with the Hankook, the Goodyear was a solid product in the dry, the best around the wet handling lap, but it did edge out the hankook in both snow performance and rolling resistance. The Goodyear and the Golf worked together beautifully in all conditions, if it just had a little more dry braking, it would probably have won the test, it's another no compromise performance from Goodyear, something they're very strong at.
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3rd: Hankook Kinergy 4S2
Best dry handling, short dry braking distance, shortest wet braking distances, very good levels of comfort, low rolling resistance.
Poor aquaplaning resistance, average snow performance.
The Hankook Kinergy 4S2 was the best in dry handling, the best in wet braking, good around the wet handling lap, good in dry braking, and was comfortable. It did lose out in the snow compared to the best, but as I said at the start of this, I would rather have an all season tyre that's good in the dry and the wet than one that excels in snow, that's what a winter tyre is for afterall. Once again the Hankook has the balance of an all season I really like.
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4th: Kleber Quadraxer 3
Very good dry braking, good wet braking, good aquaplaning resistance, very high levels of grip in the snow, excellent levels of comfort.
Average wet handling, higher than average rolling resistance.
Fourth went to the new Kleber Quadraxer 3. Kleber is a michelin sub brand, and while it definitely says Kleber on the sidewall, it performed exactly as I would expect a slightly cheaper Crossclimate 2 to perform. It was amazing in the dry, amazing in the snow, and ok in the wet. It was also very quiet and comfortable. The biggest downfall when compared to the michelin was nearly 7% worse rolling resistance, but as it's a cheaper tyre than the CrossClimate 2, that might be a worthy trade for some people.
5th: Vredestein Quatrac
Good dry braking and dry handling, very good around the wet handling lap, good performance in the snow.
Average wet and snow braking, higher than average rolling resistance.
The Vredestein Quatrac finished in 5th place overall, and was back flying round dry and wet handling laps. It was also good in the snow, with its real only weakness being wet braking, this is a good product and one I'm glad to recommend at it's price point.
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Very good around the wet handling lap, excellent grip in all snow tests, low rolling resistance.
Extended dry braking, slightly below average comfort.
The new Firestone MultiSeason was a very strong tyre in the snow, was good around the wet handling lap, and had a decent rolling resistance. It wasn't the best in wet or dry braking, which meant it couldn't finish higher up, but a good effort from the Bridgestone owned Firestone brand.
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Good handling in the dry, short wet braking distances, good around the wet handling lap.
Extended dry braking, poor aquaplaning resistance, weaker in the snow, highest rolling resistance on test.
The Falken Euroall Season AS210 finished in 7th place. I liked this tyre in the dry, even if it didn't give the most feedback, and it's wet performance was good, however it couldn't keep up in the snow and had the highest rolling resistance on test. Not a bad tyre, but perhaps a tyre more suited to a milder winter climate.
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Best aquaplaning resistance, good snow performance, good levels of comfort.
Weak in the dry with very long dry braking, average wet braking.
The Uniroyal AllSeasonExpert had the best aquaplaning resistance on test, which is something we often see from Uniroyal tyres, but like the Toyo grip wasn't up to the standard of the best in the group in any category.
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9th: Toyo Celsius AS2
Good dry braking, reasonable aquaplaning resistance.
Low levels of grip in the wet and snow, low levels of comfort, high rolling resistance.
The Toyo Celsius AS2 lost out mostly in the wet and snow, and while it was ok in the dry, it didn't really jump out in any category.
10th: Leao iGreen AllSeason
Ok grip during dry handling, ok snow braking, good aquaplaning resistance, lowest rolling resistance on test.
Very long wet braking, unstable handling in the dry and wet, low levels of comfort.
Somehow the Leao iGreen AllSeason still finished behind the summer tyre overall, in AN ALL SEASON TEST! It was really let down by its braking, which is key to safety. But it is cheap to buy and does have a low rolling resistance making it very good value, as long as you aren't expecting grip.
Reference Tyre: Hankook Winter I cept RS3
Reference Tyre: Hankook Kinergy Eco 2