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What is the best SUV tyre, as rated by Wheels

By James Whitbourn, 08 Oct 2016 Car Advice

SUV tyre test with Kia Sportage

Nine tyres tested to find the best SUV tyre on the market.

Wheels’ recent Tyre Test put nine standard fitment style SUV tyres through the wringer to find the best brand and pattern on sale.

Each tyre from a range of brands including Goodyear, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Pirelli, Kumho and Continental was subjected to a rigorous test regime at the Ian Luff Driver Training Academy in Sydney’s Eastern Creek, designed to push every element of tyre performance to the limit.

Kia Sportage Slalom

Racing driver and automotive engineer Renato Loberto subjected each brand to a dry slalom test designed to measure cornering grip, emergency braking tests on both dry and wet surfaces and, finally, a timed circuit hot-lap devised to put each tyre’s cornering, accelerating and braking ability under pressure.

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Keeping the wheels turning were Jax Tyres – with equipment and expertise from Eagle SMF – who converted a Sydney Dragway scrutineering shed into an efficient tyre fitting operation that looked just like one of their 80-odd East Coast (and Tassie) retail stores.

Kia Sportage tyre test wet braking

The Kia Sportage test mule was in and out with a fresh set of tyres in much less than a minute, and it did a total of 50 circuit laps and slalom runs and more than 100 brake tests without complaint. At the end of the testing, it was as good as new.

Wheels used a Racelogic Performance Box to gather data on lateral and longitudinal acceleration – cornering and braking force – and recorded slalom and lap times, tyre and circuit temperatures, and tyre noise. All the vital information needed, in other words, to arrive at a winner.

SUV tyre test

And, in a dominant display, and a near clean-sweep of the results, that tyre was … the Continental Premium Contact 5. A well-deserved victor, it offered about 10 percent more handling and braking ability than the average car tyre, and could stop as much as a metre shorter in the wet.

Each brand was tested in 225/60R17, a standard size on SUVs such as the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Renault Koleos and Subaru Forester, though the winning Continental is also available in a range of sizes to suit the majority of small and medium SUVs.

You can read the full 2016 Wheels Tyre Test at WheelsMag.com.au or in the October issue of Wheels.