Putting aside the potholes and disrepair, the United Kingdom has some of the best roads in the world – for those of you that have travelled to or from the Stranraer ferry, you’ll know exactly what we mean; twisting little B roads, beautiful scenery, Lochs … it has the lot.
However, come winter time, some of those roads can be quite treacherous and almost un-navigable if you’re ill equipped for them, this is where you need a premium winter tyre to ensure that you’re safe on the road.
This is our choice for the top 5 premium winter tyres.
1.Nokian WR D4 – Prices from £69 per tyre
The Nokian WR D4 is the successor to the extremely popular and very competent WR D3.
The optimised tread pattern has been reinforced with special connections and incisions, all of which help to improve water dispersal and the clearance of slush and snow.
Buy Nokian WR D4
The engineers at Nokian have gone to great lengths to produce a tyre worthy of the 3PMSF symbol (Three Peak Snow Flake) – the standard for European winter tyres. The tyre features the Nokian Twin Trac Silica Compound, which contains rapeseed oil, silica and natural rubber.
The compound itself helps to increase grip, improves driveability on snow, reduces rolling resistance (a benefit for fuel economy) and extends the serviceable life of the tyre – it really is tyre technology.
2.Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S – Prices from £82 per tyre
Vredestein have been in the tyre business since 1946, this means that they know a thing or two about tyre technology.
Buy Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S
The Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S has been specifically designed for the extreme and changeable conditions that you’d expect to find in Eastern Europe. The UK weather (at its worst) can’t phase the Xtreme S, thanks to the Internal Sipe Locking technology that uses two sipe types to give optimum traction, short braking distances and maximum performance.
The high-tech polymer compound uses a new generation of silicone hydride which allows the tyre to be more durable whilst still using a light structure which helps to reduce rolling resistance, which of course gives you gains in the fuel efficiency department.
3.Continental ContiWinterContact TS850 – Prices from £147 per tyre
Continental is one of the largest manufacturing groups, encompassing such brands as Uniroyal and Viking. Their tyres always feature in the premium sector lists, regardless of tyre type.
Buy Continental ContiWinterContact TS850
The Continental ContiWinterContact TS850 uses an increased number of blocks and sipes to improve braking efficiency, water dispersal and grip in particularly wintery conditions.
It is also better able to transmit lateral forces thanks to a harder filling material and additional bead toe reinforcement. We should also point out that the TS850 has been rated as very economical thanks to the lower rolling resistance which helps to improve fuel efficiency.
4.Continental ContiWinterContact TS830 P – Prices from £78 per tyre
Despite being cheaper than the TS850, the TS830 P is designed for high-end passenger cars.
Buy Continental ContiWinterContact TS830 P
The asymmetric tread consists of two sections which means excellent performance in the wet or dry, and the large number of sipes aids the grip (and therefore, braking) in wet and icy conditions. The Continental ContiWinterContactTS830 P also has excellent water clearing ability which gives the tyre an almost unrivalled protection from aquaplaning.
The last notable feature is the even distribution of block stiffness which equates to optimum distribution of pressure on the ground contact patch, leading to a slower wear rate and increased longevity.
5.Pirelli SottoZero Serie 3 – Prices from £72 per tyre
Pirelli are perhaps best known for their motorsport and high-performance tyres, but they’ve been manufacturing tyres (in one form or another) since 1872 – they have a lot of know-how.
Buy Pirelli SottoZero Serie 3
The compound used by Pirelli is quite innovative, and it enables the Pirelli SottoZero Serie 3 to have a greater flexibility across a wide range of temperatures and conditions. It’s also partly thanks to the compound (and optimised tread pattern) that the tyre has a longer life and is more resistant to mechanical damage.
Where the Serie 3 really scores is the traction on snow, thanks to its wide central rib fitted with blocks in the shape of double arrows.
Finally, something extra by Michelin
Despite not making our top five list, we’d also recommend the Michelin CrossClimate (starting at just £82 per tyre). Strictly speaking, it isn’t considered a full winter tyre, but it’s officially winter approved. This means that it can handle pretty much anything a UK winter can throw at it.
Buy Michelin Cross Climate
Whatever winter tyre you choose, a premium brand will always give you the edge over the more value focused tyres, either in longevity, fuel economy or ability in the difficult conditions.
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