It’s at this time of year as the weather turns against us and conditions on the roads turn suddenly treacherous that many of us begin to wonder whether we should have done something about getting more suitable tyres fitted earlier.
Winter tyres have been a common thing in continental Europe for a long time and have, gradually, become more and more popular in the UK in recent years.
In general, they are a great idea, offering better performance in the cold and wet conditions we are faced with for several months of the year.
However, they do have their drawbacks. Firstly, you have to swap them over in time for the seasons changing, then do the reverse come spring. Also, given the UK’s unpredictable weather, we can experience 10-degree temperature swings in a matter of days, leading to warmer conditions that winter tyres aren’t suited to. The compound that allows them to perform well in low temperatures means they wear out quickly if used in hotter conditions.
One solution that tyre makers are increasingly looking to is the all-season or cross-climate tyre.
These are designed to offer many of the benefits of winter tyres but with the ability to be left on all year round.
Bridgestone’s Weather Control A005 EVO is the second generation of the brand’s all-season tyre and the firm says it is designed to offer year-round control, safety and convenience without suffering the rapid wear and poorer dry weather performance of a traditional winter tyre.
To see how it fared, we fitted a set to a Seat Ateca and ran it for several months across the full gamut of seasons.
Looking at the tyre, it’s clear this is designed more with snow and deep water in mind than a regular summer tyre. The tread pattern is an aggressive V shape to disperse water and additional jagged sipes are designed to help secure a grip in snowy conditions. Its official A rating for wet weather grip is the best in the all-season segment.
It certainly offers plenty of bite when there’s snow on the ground. Not long after we had them fitted, there was a serious snowfall that put the A005s to the test. On freshly fallen snow there was a clear immediate advantage over summer tyres, responding with accuracy and gripping well in corners and under braking. As the snow melted, it was a similar story, the tyres cutting through slushy puddles with confidence and maintaining consistency even as the surface changed beneath the wheels.
A dedicated winter tyre with even more aggressive tread design would still offer greater levels of grip but there’s no doubting the A005 performed strongly in low temperatures.
It’s a similar story on warmer, wetter roads, where the tyre works well at dispersing water and maintaining control even in challenging conditions.
In summer months there was a small but detectable difference in cornering and braking compared with a dedicated warm weather option. However, fitted to our heavy SUV there was still more than enough grip and communication to inspire confidence, with none of the vagueness associated with true winter tyres on warm roads.
Our impressions are based purely on using the tyres on a single vehicle across many months of changing seasons. We don’t have the scope to carry out standardised testing of tyres, however, the A005 EVO recently finished second in Auto Express’s all-season tyre test, earning praise for its balanced performance.
As with any all-season tyre there is an element of compromise. The A005 EVO isn’t quite a match for summer tyres in hot temperatures, nor is it quite as confidence inspiring as a full winter when the mercury plummets. But it performs more than adequately in all scenarios and offers a convenient fit-and-forget balance that copes well with the UK’s ever-changing climate.