Toyo winter tyres: Rezulteo’s test
Toyo is a tyre manufacturer whose reputation is largely based on its sports ranges: an injustice that the Japanese manufacturer wanted to put right by presenting us its new winter ranges, so we could compare them with market leaders.
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Toyo’s DNA comes from the tyre manufacturer's passion for automobiles. In recent years, if Toyo has developed and expanded its tyre ranges with products such as the NanoEnergy, its 4x4 and sports ranges are the benchmarks in dedicated communities.
Sports car owners have naturally turned to the Proxes range, especially track-day participants with the top-notch Proxes R888. This tyre is also known for its aggressive design and exceptional grip.
Toyo invited us to the Val Thorens track (France) to demonstrate that, beyond its sports tyre ranges, the Japanese tyre manufacturer is also relevant when it comes to winter and Nordic tyres.
Given the importance of this challenge, Toyo wanted a head to head confrontation with Nokian products, whose winter performances set the standard.
Snow Prox S943: A winter tyre for on-road use
Our test started with Toyo's flagship tyre from its winter range: the S943. This tyre, designed for compact cars, small and medium-sized saloons, is available in 42 different sizes for 14 to 17 inch wheel rims.
It features the tyre manufacturer’s latest technological developments, including a new compound that lowers rolling resistance and maintains tread stiffness, whatever the temperature.
The tread design is characterised by wide, straight grooves that effectively clear water and slush.
For us to evaluate this tyre’s performance, Toyo chose to pit it against the Continental ContiWinterContact TS 830 P, size 225/45R17 91H fitted on a VW Golf VII, to be driven on a track freshly covered with snow.
It must be said that in these conditions, both tyres give very similar performance. A positive point for Toyo, which is considered to be the outsider in this showdown.
Continental is characterised by its good stability, but needs more steering angle than the Toyo, which stands out with its excellent traction. In both cases, these tyres offer good performance but we would have liked the opportunity to compare them in other circumstances (asphalt, wet and dry surfaces etc.) to decide between them.
Observe GSi-5: a tyre for tough conditions
With the GSi-5, we move to a more distinctive product, clearly geared towards tough winters and regular use on snow-covered surfaces.
To successfully test these tyres, the route to be followed was a sloped slalom. Covered in fresh snow and with ice in places, this route enabled us to bring the fine precision and consistency of the tyres to the fore. The Nokian was very precise, but the Toyo proved to be stable, showing a good balance between the front and rear axles.
In general, performances were similar, even if these tyres express themselves differently.
Although no form of hierarchy emerged, we only retain the surprising performance of Toyo who can pride themselves on being able to compete with a benchmark winter tyre.
Observe G3-Ice: for extreme conditions
Our test ended with the most extreme winter tyre in the Toyo range: the Observe G3-Ice - a studdable Nordic tyre.
The latest addition to the range, this tyre stands out for its technological credentials. Starting with the stud distribution to improve traction and reduce noise levels.
Available with or without studs, we had the opportunity to test the studded option and once again, compare it with a mainstay of the category: the studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7.
An Audi A4 (front-wheel drive) was the vehicle lined up for these tests and a slalom on ice, the module used as the test basis. A real decider for the Toyo tyre (less incisive than the Nokian), its performance was more neutral and reassuring. In these conditions, Toyo came out on top. Although less precise, it remains much easier to control and shows greater overall efficiency. These feelings reflect the different design choices, but a common development rigour.
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