Vredestein Quatrac3 - All-Weather Car Tires
Late last year I had said "enough": my OEM tires were unbearable. It's not due to lack of tread depth (perhaps another 10-20k km would be possible) but it's the absolute lack of traction. Note to VW and Hankook: you do yourselves no favors with these tires.
I like traction - even when it costs a slight premium. But I'm a sucker for simplicity. I went to look for a set of "All-Weather" tires.
For those who've never heard of this type of tire (or tyre): it's an all-season tire that has the snowflake-in-a-mountain symbol which qualifies itself as a "winter tire" all-in-one.
Friends and colleagues have use the Nokian WRG and WRG2 tires for years with a lot of favorable commentary: probably the originator of this type of tire. The pricetag, however, put me off: $1000 for a set of tires? Ack!
I went shopping: in Canada we've got three choices for "all-weather" tires.
Hankook, Nokian and Vredestein. Both Nokian (through Kal Tire) and Hankook offer treadwear warranties (which I hear they lose their winter grippiness far before you reach that distance)
I ultimately ended up with Vredestein's Quatrac3.
205/55R16 – H Speed Rating
Life: unknown. The shop I got them from figured I should see 40,000km from them before the winter performance becomes compromised (online reviews state similar)
I’ve got ~5000km on them so far. No significant wear.
These tires are much louder than the OEM. It makes my VW boom like a Mitsubishi on the inside (perhaps not quite that loud: but it’s certainly significant). It’s really not the most comfortable tire when the roads are dry.
Ride is decent. Feels somewhat sporty.
Great. They stick like a good tire should. The shoulders feel solid and provide good feedback through turns.
As a note: I've not driven them above 15C as of yet and don't know how they'll feel when it gets warm out.
Wet Weather (incl. slush)
In the wet: it gets quieter; really nice and quiet. It’s as though these tires were developed for a wet-weather climate. This would fit well for someone from Vancouver, Seattle, Portland or anywhere in the UK.
Impressive. They’ve not let me down yet. I can still charge through an intersection faster than anyone else – quick enough to often catch the idiot who’s running the left-turn light as my light turns green.
This one is an interesting mix.
Ice: Poor. I don’t know many tires that are any good on sheer ice.
Hardpack Snow: So long as it’s not polished to an ice-like surface at the stop signs: they perform like mid-grade winter tires should. I can pull away from stops without drama and I can safely stop at a stop sign without fearing that I’ll slide further than I want to.
Loose snow: They’re better than really good all-season tires or similar to low-end/mid-grade dedicated winter tires. The main problem, however, is that the tread can’t evacuate packed snow as well as I think it should. If you spin the tire a little to release the snow: you can get some good grip. This is really the part that I feel it’s not as good as it could have been.
Sticky Snow: you know that snow/salt mix that you encounter at the gas station that sticks to EVERYTHING. I hate this stuff. These tires can’t clear it from the tread and can barely get traction..
This is a great crummy-weather tire. Great in the rain, ok-to-good in the winter and great traction in the dry.
Traction-wise: it surpasses the pathetic, generic, all-season
This is an excellent tire for someone who’s willing to compromise only a little. It’s not a top-shelf winter tire but does a good impression of one when the weather does turn ugly.
You could easily live with these in a place that gets snow but know how to clear it from the roads (either salting the crap out of them or plowing).
… but: you’ll want dedicated top-shelf winter tires if you’re living with a lot of snow or studs for ice.
Last edited by SpikedLemon; 02-02-2012 at 06:22 AM.