Finding (theoretical) perfection.
In any big comparison test, whether it be for tyres, cars, or anything else, finding a winner within an individual class is the norm. Hence, crowning AUTA 2022’s champions in the Ultra High Performance, Comfort, Sport Utility Vehicle, Eco, and Mainstream categories was relatively straightforward. But sometimes, people just want to know what’s the best, period. So in addition to the individual categories, we also set out to find which single one of our 23 tyres really was the cream of the crop.
The challenge of course, was somehow finding a way to make a fair comparison, because each of AUTA 2022’s five tyre categories utilised a different Kia car. For example, who knows how much of the 4-10 second difference in Dry Handling (Circuit) laptimes between the Mainstream and UHP categories were down to the performance difference between the Kia Stonic and the Stinger V6 versus the difference in tyre compounds?
To try and find an equitable solution, we turned to our Technical Partners and friends over at the National University of Singapore’s Formula SAE team, and they were able to come up with a formula that takes into account the differences in power, performance, size and weight of the various Kia cars:
In order to compare the tyres across categories, we had to eliminate the influence of the cars used for testing. To achieve this, we took an average of the raw score within each category for each test and subtracted the average from each tyre’s score.
This leaves only the relative score of each tyre against the others within the categories. Following this, the average score across all categories was calculated for the benchmark scores of an “average” car, and the relative scores of the tyres were then added to them to get the scores across the categories.NUS FSAE team
TLDR; the Ultimate winner is the single contender that gets closest to the theoretical perfect tyre.
Unlike the individual categories, we took the percentage scores from all seven stations into account for the Overall Tyre of the Year award. Additionally, a subjective element based on our test drivers’ feedback constituted a small portion of the total score. Thus, the scoring calculation is as follows:
- Averaged results from seven stations: 90%
- Subjective score: 10%
With these averaged scores now tabulated, we isolated the 5 best performers, and here is how they compared:
The Averaged Data
5th: Yokohama BluEarth-XT AE61 (89.88%)
In 5th overall is the best SUV tyre of our test, the Yokohama BluEarth-XT AE61.
It was absolutely dominant in its category, posting the best result in 6 out of 7 stations. Of particular note was its showing in the Wet Grip test; despite having the chunkiest sidewalls and being fitted to the tallest and heaviest car, the Kia Sorento, the Yokohama BluEarth-XTs came in 6th in terms of absolute score across all the 23 tyres tested. That means it was grippier in the wet than everything from the Mainstream and Eco categories, and even beat a couple of the Ultra High Performance offerings as well!
4th: Pirelli Cinturato P7 (90.17%)
In 4th place is Pirelli’s newcomer, the enhanced and improved Cinturato P7. Well, technically it came in 4th and 5th since it was entered in both the Comfort and Eco categories (and won the latter), but we didn’t think it’d be fair for one tyre to occupy two spots here.
True to its design philosophy of “Green Performance”, the Cinturato P7s excelled at Rolling Resistance, where it recorded the outright longest rolling distance of the entire event. Its braking performance was great too, coming in no lower than 2nd in either the dry or the wet, in either of its categories.
3rd: Hankook Ventus Prime 3 (90.55%)
3rd place goes to our Eco category’s runner-up, the Hankook Ventus Prime 3.
It actually had a marginally better cumulative raw score than the Pirelli Cinturato P7, but lost out only because its score in the weightage-heavy Rolling Resistance test was not as good. But in this Ultimate tally, its superior showing in the performance tests (Handling and Grip) allowed it to snatch the podium spot. Fun fact, the Ventus Prime 3 was the 5th-fastest tyre on the Dry Handling Circuit and the fastest non-UHP tyre (no doubt helped by the Kia Niro EV’s prodigious instant torque).
2nd: Hankook Ventus S1 evo3 (91.61%)
2nd place goes to what turned out to be the biggest surprise of the entire test, the Hankook Ventus S1 evo3.
When Hankook elected to enter what is technically a UHP tyre into the Comfort category, eyebrows in the AUTA office collectively shot skyward. Surely there’d be no way it could do well when there was so much emphasis on comfort and refinement? And yet, it beat its rivals to end up the victor in the Comfort category. That it smashed the category on the Handling Circuit and in the two Grip and Braking Tests was an expected result, but what blew us away was that it was tied for 2nd in the Noise Test, just 1dB behind the best-in-class!
1st: Bridgestone Potenza Sport (91.83%)
With just 0.22% distinguishing our overall champion from our runner-up, this was the closest winning margin of any category or even individual Test Station in the entirety of AUTA 2022.
As car and driving enthusiasts, we had eagerly awaited the Bridgestone Potenza Sport’s launch in Singapore, and couldn’t wait to try it for ourselves. And it didn’t disappoint! Grippy, responsive, and communicative, it was everything we could have wanted in a road-going performance tyre. Give a cheer then, for AUTA 2022’s Ultimate Tyre of the Year, the Bridgestone Potenza Sport!