2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Click here to read the introduction
You would’ve thought that simply jamming on the picks as hard as you can and letting the anti-lock braking system (ABS) sort out the rest was a given in a modern car. And it is, but not without one big variable – tyres.
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Punished over the same section of coarse-chip bitumen at the back of Sydney Dragway, our Dry Braking test was judged by averaging three individual stops from 80km/h, with the Commodore’s brakes allocated equal time and distance to cool down between each run, for every tyre. A control set was also deployed at regular intervals to gauge any change in surface condition or tarmac temperature. More than 50 dry-surface emergency stops gave us both the stopping distance in metres – the data we used to score each tyre – as well as the peak and average G of each braking manoeuvre.
Straight off the bat, the BFGoodrich smashed a consistent peak of 1.1G in the dry and the wet (see Wet Braking results) – “the first time I’ve seen that in a Wheels Tyre Test,” said Renato – though its 26.40m stopping distance saw it finish fifth here in the dry, just ahead of the 26.42m average.
The Vitora brought up the rear, nearly three metres adrift of the winning Hankook and half a metre behind the 10th-placed but consistent Nexen, which recorded the same average and peak G readings (“indicating it has good overall longitudinal grip,” commented Renato).
Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 2 - Winner
Not only did the Hankook record a solid 1.1G for all its braking runs, it was the only tyre to sneak under 25 metres for stopping distance – 30cm shorter than the consistently powerful Continental.
Interestingly, much like their performance in the slalom, the Hankook, Continental and Falken crowded the top-end of this year’s field, each earning plenty of praise from our driver. “In terms of wet and dry braking performance, it’s the best tyre we’ve tested so far today” said Renato, with the Hankooks wrapped around the Holden’s 18s. But it was the Continental that proved the most consistent, clocking a 25.1m in its first run and a pair of 25.2s thereafter.
THE TYRE TESTS
The swerve-and-recover test, or slalom – just like the skiing event – is an efficient way to gather meaningful data on a tyre’s transient grip level in less than 10 seconds.
Wet Cornering proved a definitive differentiator between the greats and not-so-greats of the group.
It’s the one discipline that separates the mighty from the mediocre by a big margin … and we’re talking about brand new, correctly inflated, high-spec tyres here!
Few surfaces in the world can match the noise generation of an Australian coarse-chip road, so tyre noise does play a vital part in the driving performance of your vehicle.
TYRE TEST RESULTS
WHEELS TYRE TEST 2018: The Results
From the outset, it was clear the Falken Azenis FK510 was in with a real shot.
2018 WHEELS TYRE TEST
Upping your car's cornering G-force by 10 percent is the stuff of a sports suspension upgrade, right? And cutting a car-length from your braking distance is the work of a set of Brembos? Nope, you just need a great set of tyres