Winter tyres are fitted by many of our European cousins during the colder seasons, yet us Brits still mostly stick with summer rubber all year round.
Attitudes are beginning to change in the UK, though, and slowly demand for seasonal tyres is picking up. To see if this trend is a worthwile one, we sample some cold weather tyres on an unlikely winter vehicle, before offering advice on how to best look after these specialised tyres, and yourself, on wintry British roads.
WINTER TYRES - THE AUTOCAR TEST
The one thing we know about the seasons is that they are seasonal, correct? Which means it’ll be winter before we know it again soon, and the questions about winter tyres will once again arise in the minds of the everyday motorist.
Such as: are winter tyres worth what they cost, do they really make a difference compared with summer tyres when the roads turn greasy, should they be made compulsory in the UK (as they are in many other "cold" European countries at certain times of the year), and which are the best ones to buy; and where are the best places to go to find the best deals?
Until recent years much of the Autocar team was skeptical about winter rubber. They were called a conspiracy designed by the car and tyre manufacturers to get us to part with our hard earned folding for something that we don’t strictly need. But then we tried some, at which point opinions on the subject changed completely.
The first test was using a BMW 1M - a rear-wheel-drive coupé with little weight over its driven axle - using Michelin Alpin winter tyres. Immediately the car felt remarkably different to drive; it was much more comfortable along a straight road, was sweeter to steer, less fidgety on badly surfaced roads, and offered much more grip everywhere in the wet.