2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Click here to read the introduction
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! Not the worn, flaccid, often terrifying treads (or lack thereof) so often seen in the carparks of Australia.
Much as it played out last year, the worst-performing tyre in the wet took more than four metres longer to stop than our braking champion, the Falken Azenis FK510. The Momo actually felt good and performed dependably during the braking tests. “Braking performance in both wet and dry was consistent,” reported Ren. It turned out the stopping distance was consistent too – consistently long. Yet it was the wet braking discipline that betrayed the final finishing order of our bottom five.
The top four wet brakers – Falken, Hankook, Continental and Maxxis – all marked their territory by finishing well ahead of the rest. Not surprisingly, that’s almost how the podium played out in the final wrap-up. Consistency is the key to braking success, an area where the Vitora failed to rate, with a 1.3m variance between its wet stops and “a long ABS hit on initial pedal application”.
Falken Azenis FK510 - Winner
The Falken proved “incredibly consistent”, managing to clock a stellar wet braking performance only marginally longer than its dry braking distance. How much? Try just 33mm! And it kept improving with each wet stop, clocking 25.8m first time out and a field-beating 25.1m on its final wet run, eclipsing the highly capable but not quite as consistent Hankook’s best run by 0.3m. Just like its dry braking, however, the Continental topped the field with just half a metre between its best (25.7m) and worst (26.2m) wet-braking stops. The GT Radial and Achilles matched the Continental’s consistency, but added braking distance with each run, whereas the Conti improved.
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.
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.
Wet Cornering proved a definitive differentiator between the greats and not-so-greats of the group.
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