Tire Test Results

Testing Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Tires: Refine Your Ride

September 26, 2014

Tires Tested

Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
(Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season, 255/55R18 109H)
  • What We Liked: Good ride and handling plus excellent wet traction
  • What We'd Improve: A small increase in snow traction
  • Conclusion: A civilized tire that really delivers wet traction
Hankook Dynapro HP2 (Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season, 255/55R18 109V)
  • What We Liked: Crisp steering response and reasonable winter traction
  • What We'd Improve: Soften the ride a little and make a big improvement in wet grip
  • Conclusion: A sporty-feeling option that appears to trade off wet grip for winter traction
Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus (Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season, 255/55R18 109H)
  • What We Liked: Nice blend of comfort and handling
  • What We'd Improve: A small gain in wet traction plus a little more winter capability
  • Conclusion: A great way to refine your Crossover or SUV

Vehicles Used

2013 Porsche V6 Cayennes

Used as an adjective, "plus" denotes the addition of something.

Many of today's Crossovers and SUVs are full of "plus," bringing ever-increasing levels of refinement, comfort, and often, outright luxury to the driving experience. That means the tires they ride on need more of the same to keep pace with ever-increasing driver expectations.

Pirelli's Scorpion Verde All Season Plus tire is designed to do just that. It's "Plus" suffix indicates it isn't used as Original Equipment on any vehicle; so Pirelli engineers were free to tune the tire to deliver the combination of characteristics they think most Crossover/SUV drivers want, and also apply them to all sizes in the range (a number of sizes of the non-Plus version are used as Original Equipment, each tailored to meet the vehicle manufacturer's specifications). Also focused on the replacement market is the Hankook Dynapro HP2. Both tires feature silica-enhanced tread compounds for enhanced traction, along with highly optimized tread patterns and footprint characteristics to maximize the work done where the rubber meets the road.

To get an idea of how these two new Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tires perform, we drove them side-by-side in our Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive. For comparison, we also drove on the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus technology, a past test winner and current leader in our online consumer ratings for tires in the Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season category. Our evaluation used 2013 Porsche V6 Cayennes fitted with new, full tread depth 255/55R18 tires mounted on 18x8.0 wheels.

What We Learned on the Road

Our 6.0-mile loop of expressway, state highway and county roads provides a great variety of road conditions that include city and highway speeds, smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt. This route allows our team to experience noise comfort, ride quality and everyday handling, just as you would during your drive to school or work.

Out on the road our team found a two-way contest for top honors between the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology and the Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus. The CrossContact LX20 displayed a small advantage in ride comfort and overall noise level, while the Scorpion Verde All Season Plus was most liked for its refined handling and direct steering feel. The Hankook Dynapro HP2 was a reasonably close third. This tire displayed fairly quick steering response, but also had a little firmer ride than the other two tires while also generating a subtle but distinct tone heard when speeds were below 50mph.

What We Learned on the Test Track

Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, a five-cone slalom and simulated expressway ramps. Run in both dry and wet conditions, the test track allows our team to experience the traction, responsiveness, handling and drivability normally only encountered during abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers or competition events.

Our dry track results were fairly similar across the group, with just four feet covering the range of shortest to longest in the 50-0 mph panic stop test, and just 3/10ths of a second spread in lap times. The Hankook Dynapro HP2 relied on its high level of grip and direct steering response to slightly outperform the other tires, although it wasn't the subjective favorite. The Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus held that honor by a small margin, finding favor with our team for its balance and poise when asked to maneuver quickly. The Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology landed right in the middle, proving capable thanks to its nimble handling and stable feel.

In wet conditions, the CrossContact LX20 was the clear favorite with much better overall traction and composure than the other two tires. The Scorpion Verde All Season Plus' performance was appropriate, relying on the same balance and poise found in the dry, but with noticeably less ultimate traction than the Continental tire. The Dynapro HP2 struggled in comparison to the other two, feeling slippery when asked to brake hard, corner or transition quickly.

Driving in Winter Conditions

Winter weather is often unpredictable; and snow-covered roads change with every passing vehicle as they churn snow into slush or pack it down to polished ice. A constantly changing test surface makes side-by-side comparisons difficult, so we use a dedicated winter testing facility in Northern Sweden with acres of groomed snow that provides the consistency we need to get reliable acceleration and braking comparisons. This facility also has a prepared snow-handling course where we evaluate the stability and control of each tire during abrupt maneuvers. To simulate the icy conditions found at intersections or the black ice experienced out on the highway, we use ice at a local hockey rink and measure acceleration and braking traction.

All three of the all-season tires in our test enjoyed the acceleration benefit of our all-wheel drive test vehicle, getting the vehicle moving with astonishing ease during the subjective handling test. But when it came time to stop or turn the heavy SUV, all three were considerably more challenged. In this scenario, the Hankook Dynapro HP2 provided the best cornering traction of the group by a modest, but noticeable margin. The Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus and Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology followed, both struggling more than the Hankook to turn the vehicle, especially when still trying to slow down.

Driving at speed around the relatively narrow lane of the snow handling track reminded us of the challenges faced by any driver of an all-wheel drive vehicle with all-season tires, particularly the effect driving all four wheels creates to mask the limits of the tire's traction on snow. Acceleration can feel quite effortless to the driver, but the all-season tire's traction limitations suddenly become (sometimes painfully) apparent when the driver needs to perform a panic stop or avoidance maneuver.

Fuel Consumption Results

Our Real World Road Ride features a relatively flat, 6.0-mile loop of 65 mph expressway, 55 mph state highway and 40 mph county roads along with two stop signs and one traffic light every lap. Our team drove each tire approximately 400 miles over the course of several days. Since we wanted to compare fuel consumption results that typical drivers would experience, our drivers were instructed to maintain the flow of traffic by running at the posted speed limits and sustain the vehicle's speed using cruise control whenever possible. They did not use hypermiling techniques to influence vehicle fuel economy.

Tire Test MPG* Gallons/Year
@ 15,000 Miles
% vs. Most Efficient
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology 22.7 660.8 -3.1%
Hankook Dynapro HP2 23.1 649.4 -1.3%
Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus 23.4 641.0 --
*Our evaluation used Linear Logic ScanGauge II automotive computers to record fuel consumption, and Race Technology DL1 data loggers to record true distance travelled.

While none of the tires in this test were designed with low rolling resistance as a high priority, we did find a difference in observed vehicle fuel economy across the group. Based on our results the 0.7 mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of almost 20 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $3.50/gallon, it would amount to an annual difference of just over $69 for drivers driving 15,000 miles per year.

It's important to note our test's fuel consumption measurements follow consistent procedures designed to minimize variables that could influence the results. However, they do not represent an exhaustive long-range fuel consumption study. While our procedures require the test vehicles in each convoy to run under the same prevailing conditions, the week-to-week differences in ambient temperatures, barometric pressures and wind speeds that we experience over a season of testing can influence vehicle fuel consumption and prevent the absolute mpg values of this test from being compared directly against those of others.

Larger differences in consumption between tires may indicate a difference that might be experienced on the road, while smaller differences should be considered equivalent. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Summary

Good road manners and handling are the norm among today's refined Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tires, and all three tires in this test group do a reasonably good job delivering on the promise. The Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology strikes a very good balance between ride quality, handling and traction while leading the group in outright wet grip while also providing reasonable snow traction. It does trade off a little fuel efficiency to get it, however. The Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus follows suit with excellent handling, good road manners and reasonable snow traction, but it just can't match the CrossContact LX20's level of wet traction. The Hankook Dynapro HP2 has the crisp handling and dry traction to keep pace with the others, but its road manners aren't quite as refined, and it falls well short of the others in wet traction. As an apparent trade off for its relatively poor wet traction, the Dynapro HP does have the most winter traction of the three tires in this test.

Product Details

Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology (Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season): The CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology is Continental Tire's ecologically friendly Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tire developed to help crossovers, sport utility vehicles and light-duty pickup trucks perform on the highway and in mild, off-road conditions. The CrossContact LX20 is designed to enhance driving pleasure, save fuel and maintain grip when braking on wet surfaces while providing long wear and all-season traction, even in light snow. Read more.

Hankook Dynapro HP2 (Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season): The Dynapro HP2 is Hankook's Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tire developed for the drivers of crossovers, sport utility vehicles and prestigious pickups looking for year-round, on-road capabilities. Designed to combine good ride comfort, long wear and low rolling resistance to promote vehicle fuel economy, Dynapro HP2 tires also deliver all-season traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions, even in light snow. Read more.

Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus (Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season): The Scorpion Verde All Season Plus (Verde - Italian for green) is Pirelli's enhanced eco-friendly Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tire developed for the drivers of crossovers, sport utility vehicles and prestigious pickups. Designed to deliver more miles and miles per gallon than its predecessor, the Scorpion Verde All Season Plus combines longer treadwear and reduced rolling resistance while retaining year-round traction in dry, wet and wintertime conditions, even in light snow.
Read more.

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