EXCELLING IN one or two disciplines isn’t enough in a tyre test. Consistency is key to keeping our contenders up towards the pointy end of the field. It was that consistency that earned the Continental PremiumContact 6 the top step on the podium. It only led the field in two categories – dry cornering and noise levels – but it finished second (often closely) in the remaining four, giving it a scorching 99.3 percent score, nearly three percent above runner-up Maxxis. It was a tyre that impressed Renato from the first twirl of the wheel.
“That felt like the best tyre by some margin … it did everything really well,” he noted. “Super consistent everywhere.”
That it sells for $260 a tyre confirms the PremiumContact as premium rubber, albeit one that – anecdotally – could wear quicker than some alternatives. It was also a far more convincing all-rounder than our champion stopper, the Maxxis Premitra 5. If it weren’t for lacklustre dry cornering, the Maxxis could have scored an upset.
Similarly, it was dry cornering that proved the undoing of the third-placed Bridgestone Ecopia H/L001. The second of the Continentals, the UltraContact UC6 SUV, had the feel and some impressive cornering nous but shed crucial points stopping in the wet. The UC6 SUV being more expensive than the other Continental makes it an easy choice.
The mid-pack trio consisted of the Cooper CS5 Grand Touring, Hifly Vigorous HP801 and Giti Control SUV880. Curiously, all hung on stubbornly through wet corners, but fell short in other disciplines; the Cooper and Giti in wet braking and the Hifly in dry cornering.
Consistency was a trait of the Kumho Crugen Premium – consistently subpar. “Feels like an 80 percent all-rounder,” Renato declared.
Cellar-dweller the Hankook Dynapro was okay when it came to cornering performance but fell down on braking. At $310 per hoop from a company that’s delivered big improvements over recent years we expected more.