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2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Winner

By Nathan Ponchard, 08 Oct 2018 Features

2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Winner

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

2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Click here to read the introduction

From the outset, it was clear the Falken Azenis FK510 was in with a real shot. “Extremely consistent; feels like a real high-performance tyre,” was Renato’s initial comment about this year’s winner, and the data consistently backed up that seat-of-the-pants assessment. With a 98.5 percent total score, the Falken Azenis FK510 is one of the strongest performers we’ve ever had in a Tyre Test.

Close thirds in the Slalom and Dry Braking were merely the entree for its wet-surface performance, which was consistently superior to the rest of the field. “Super-consistent the whole way through,” was Renato’s succinct summation of its many talents, and at an average online price of $222 per tyre, it’s smack-bang in the pricing ballpark of the top four tyres (spanning $220 to $235 each).

Looking at price versus performance, it’s obvious you get what you pay for in a 245/45R18. The Falken, Continental ($235) and Hankook ($224) were the three most expensive tyres in the field, and clearly the best-performing. The Hankook blitzed the Dry Braking in much the same fashion as the Falken did in the wet, yet the Falken never finished out of the top three placings.

And while the Continental failed to grab the top spot in any discipline, its three silver medals and an excellent 98.2 percent final score see it nipping at the Falken’s treads for overall ability. “It feels like it actually has grip, yet when pushed it can be controlled on the limit”, said Renato. Ability, control and feel – exactly what you want from a tyre.

At the other extreme, we probably wouldn’t be chucking a set of Momos onto anything that lives in areas of high rainfall, due to its lack of progression in wet conditions. The Hifly managed to replicate that sudden change of attitude in dry conditions as well. So while you’ll be paying nearly double the price of the Hifly or Achilles for 2018’s Tyre Test winner, the Falken’s breadth of ability means that for a $430 set-of-four premium over the cheapest tyre here, your 245/45R18-wearing vehicle will feel like a completely different (meaning much better) car.

“Super-quick and consistent, in both lateral G and stopwatch results”, combined with competitive levels of road noise, sounds like the sort of tyre we’d happily recommend to anyone.

 

THE TYRE TESTS

2018 Wheels Tyre Test: SlalomSlalom
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.

2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Dry BrakingDry Braking
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.

2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Wet CorneringWet Cornering
Wet Cornering proved a definitive differentiator between the greats and not-so-greats of the group.

2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Wet BrakingWet Braking
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!

2018 Wheels Tyre Test: Tyre NoiseTyre Noise
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.



2018 WHEELS TYRE TEST

MOTOR Tyre Test 2015: The VerdictIntroduction
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