Technical The Great 4x4 Tyre Experiment

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Technical The Great 4x4 Tyre Experiment


Established member
Apr 13, 2005
Uphill, Weston super Mare
After just under 24,000 miles I feel the tyres on my 4x4 are worn enough to require replacement.
I feel the original Bridgestones have not worn as well as I'd like, so, after looking at reviews, I am fitting Hankook Centum H720's. These are all season tyres, marked M+S (mud and snow, not Marks & Spencer, nor masochism and sadism), same as original Bridgestones. Ordered through MyTyres and fitted locally they work out at £43 per tyre.
I will update on performance for other 4x4 drivers who may be tempted just to go for Bridgestones again.
Please note, as I rotate the tyres, they are all worn at the same time. All 4x4 drivers should do this as 4WD systems don't like tyres with different tread depths on their wheels.
Nice one...
Keep us updated with the performance of those.. dry, wet, mud etc..

I will be very interested to hear more.. any other alternatives you saw that might be good?
Alternative all-season tyres I considered on the MyTyres site were Pirelli P2500 Euro (but a recent Auto Express tyre test rated Pirellis very badly), Maxxis MA-AS (but no tyre test results on MyTyres and I'm still wary of Chinese manufactured tyres) and Dunlop SP4 All Season (too expensive).
I was looking for tyres with good ratings for grip and braking in both wet and dry along with reasonable performance in snow. Tyre wear was a consideration but only secondary to the above safety issues.
MyTyres link your chosen tyre to the ratings which are concise and in English. I really don't know how valid they are but it's all I have to go on.
Finally, the Hankook tyres do look quite sporty with their uni-directional tread and I think this will suit the little Panda.
The Hankooks have been on for a couple of days so I will update you, whether you want to know or not!
They seem to be a bit noisier than Bridgestones but also seem to produce a slightly lower rolling resistence, the car seems to maintain speed better after lifting the accelerator than before. Handling is great in the dry but we haven't seen rain here in the North East for a while and definitely no snow yet.
Looking into going up to 14s on my panda ..good site is mytyres I have bought from them before and found there service very good .I will be getting some Falken ZE 512s on the wheels when I finaly get them .. here's a link to their site
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I've used Falkens and Hankooks before, found them quite decent but wore quite quickly. Thing is, they will probably be different compounds for different sizes/types so this might not apply to yours!
I've used Falkens and Hankooks before, found them quite decent but wore quite quickly. Thing is, they will probably be different compounds for different sizes/types so this might not apply to yours!

true, I had them on a FrontWD fabia vRS... worked very well, may have different characteristics on a 4WD, but doesn't the panda only put power to the rear wheels when the front slips? so when grip is good, works just like a FrontWD ? if alot of 4WD circumstances were anticipated, maybe a "winter" tyre would be better?
The VC does actually transmit some drive all the time, yes it may be limited, but it does... Well it does on another VC equiped vehicle I have..

If you jack one wheel off the ground, is there a lot of resistance if you try and turn the wheel?

I think the others have siad about 2wd cars and what tyres they have used.. not specific for the 4x4 Panda..

Its difficult to find many all season tyres with a good winter pattern.. so its a compromise.. really good in crappy conditions and poor summer or ok summer and winter... or 2 sets of wheels!!
Yes the Panda 4x4 VC does always transmit some power to the rears.
I chose all season tyres rather than winter tyres cos that's what the original Bridgestones are and even here in the North East we don't get a lot of snow these days.
The Hankooks have a nice open tread pattern that should cope well with mud and snow, although the compound is also important in cold conditions and I cannot say how suitable it may be.
So why not just fit OE Bridgestones? Well, I'm a naturally curious person who likes to experiment with alternatives, it's the only way we learn new things.
Has anyone spotted any more serious "ooh, mud, lots of mud, serious mud in Mongolia" tyres on their hunt? I've seen some Conways which look ok but they're the only ones.
2 sets of wheels!!

I've got 2 sets of wheels for my Multijet Panda...

1. Original steel wheels with Continental WinterContact tyres.
2. Set of 13" 8-spoke Fiat alloys with original Continental EcoContact tyres.

Saw the wee 8-spoke wheels in the showroom when I was buying the car, liked them and bought them when they were on offer to the Northern Ireland Italian Motor Club for £200. :D
Yeah.. I run 2 sets of wheels for all 3 of my current vehicles...
the 4x4 runs "winter" tyres all year on the road and then a set of mudpluggers for offroad events/playing..
botht he 2wd cars have a set of "normal summer" and a set of winter treads..

"conway"???? Colway I think!.. what size are they? I have a couple of local suppliers that have had some crazy tryes in...
Those Colway "hakka's" are good for grass track racing.. so should be good off road.. but a bit crap on the road....
a "winter" tyre would be a better bet... should be loads in 185/65 14
I have a set of Michelin Alpin winter tyres on my Audi and they are really well manered on the road.. seem to grip quite well on wet grass too.. much better than the "summer" tyres...
My previous panda (climbing) came with Pirelli which were really great at least here in Greece.
Very durable in rocky situations and simply amazing in tarmac. One of the best tyres i ever tried. Very good steering, very precise and very progressive after the limit. The only - was a bit on the brakes that you wanted that small extra bit. In order to recee for a rally i borrowed colway gravel rally tyres that were perfect for the purpose but a pain in tarmac.
OK, here's another update since I had a run out to Wolsingham from Sunderland this evening, dry roads on the way out, wet on the way back. Now, this run involves some boring dual carriageway but also some demanding unlit country roads with lots of ups and downs and tricky corners.
The new Hankooks performed really well in both the wet and dry and I felt very safe. Fuel economy, maybe a bit better than with the Bridgestones and performance felt enhanced, bearing out my theory of reduced rolling resistance.
So, only snow performance and wear rate to report on now. Could be a while before that happens.
However, all you boring 4x4 owners refitting Bridgestones when the old ones wear out, get out and try some sexy new rubbers!
Well, mine just came with Pirellis (Pirelli Winter). They roll just fine, feeling safe enough both on dry and wet tarmac..... They seem to be the best fit for the car, so far at least.... I'll be back when they get tested on serious gravel. And mud: that's the big challenge, I believe..

Now, a friend of mine has replaced his old ones with Bridgestone Dueller and and reports almost the same things as you did. Bit noisier and more fuel-thirsty. On the other hand, they are 'tougher' than most brands.
I had the Pirelli snowcontrol as a factory fit and when I replaced them after 35000KM I was very pleased in all situations to put them for another round.
Pirelli were very good in wet and snow-ice, no problem in tarmac, and you had to be careful in rocky roads.
In real mud you have problem since it's not design for it.