Summer is coming, which means that for residents of countries where winter is harsh and snowy, it’s time to prepare your car for the new road conditions, and think about new tires. In this article, we’ll take a look at the new summer tires of 2021, and the latest trends. Among the brands you’ll see below will be both established manufacturers like Goodyear and Michelin, as well as lesser-known Asian companies that are not inferior to the famous brands in many ways.
List of tested tires:
- Michelin Pilot Sport EV
- Kleber Dynaxer SUV
- Bridgestone Potenza S001
- Pirelli Zero Nero GT
- Goodyear EfficientGrip 2 SUV
- Dunlop Econodrive LT
- Continental SportContact 7
- General Grabber GT Plus
- Toyo Tire Proxes Sports A
- Toyo Tire Proxes CR1
- Yokohama Advan Sport V107
- Nokian Hakka Van
- UHP Nokian Nordman SZ2
- Nokian Nordman S2 SUV
- Maxxis Victra Sport 5 SUV
- Apollo Vredestein Ultrac
- Vredestein Comtrac 2
- Nexen N’Fera Sport SUV
- Giti GitiSynergy H2
- GT Radial SportActive 2 SUV
- Kenetica Pro KR210
- Kumho Ecsta V720
- Linglong Comfort Master
- Westlake ZuperEco W018
- Triangle ConneX Van TV701
- Syron Premium Eco
- Davanti Protura Sport
Last year was a tough one for everyone, including tire manufacturers. Most of all the sales of the European companies sank, reaching the mark of 15%. As for the Asian manufacturers, they held up more decently. Taking into account all the latest events, today not many companies are ready to surprise you with new products in the field of tires. Some brands even postponed the presentation of their novelties to 2022 hoping for post-crisis economic recovery.
On the whole, looking at this year’s novelties, two main trends should be mentioned. Firstly, major manufacturers have focused their attention on high performance (UHP) models as the most profitable.
Secondly, there are more and more tires designed for electric cars, which are rapidly gaining popularity. So far, the differences of such models are mostly marketing ones: sometimes tires are simply prefixed with EV in the title and say “suitable for electric cars”. And sometimes such models have clear accents on fuel efficiency and lower noise level in construction and design.
Mass tire manufacturers have started to develop in the premium segment, but it remains to be seen what will come of it.
For the reasons mentioned above, not many new trends emerged this year, so we can return to our original target – a review of new products. Let’s start with the giants.
Michelin / Kleber
In 2021, the renowned Michelin Group is betting on global trends: electric-powered cars and “eco-friendliness.” Under its main brand in Europe, it launched the Pilot Sport EV and e.Primacy models, while in the U.S. a new all-season tire, Michelin CrossClimate 2, was introduced. The updates touched on the subsidiary Kleber brand and the motorcycle tire segment.
Michelin e.Primacy is announced as the most environmentally friendly tire in the history of the brand. The materials and construction used in them “minimize the impact” on the environment throughout their entire life cycle, starting from the initial production stage. The tires are suitable for installation on passenger cars and compact SUVs with both internal combustion engines and hybrid and electric ones.
The second summer novelty for 2021 is the Michelin Pilot Sport EV. It is designed to meet the special requirements of electric sports cars.
When creating it, engineers relied on Michelin’s experience gained in Formula E races. The tires are supposed to provide efficient transmission of high torque of the electric motor and increased autonomy.
In early 2021, Michelin unveiled its new Road Classic tire line in Europe, which was designed for modern and classic motorcycles with 17-19-inch rims. The new line, which combines new technology with a retro design, succeeds the Michelin Pilot Activ.
In the summer of 2020, Michelin presented the second generation of “summer tires with winter features” CrossClimate to North America, stating that they have no competitors in the relevant segment. Perhaps Michelin’s CrossClimate 2, which is an all-season tire, will make its way to the shores of Europe at some point, but it will not be this year.
Under one of its subsidiary brands, Michelin has released Kleber Dynaxer SUV tires. They are sharpened to reduce noise and improve the ride comfort of urban SUVs in everyday use. They are also characterized by long mileage and low rolling resistance. All sizes (16″-20″) have rim protection.
Another legendary manufacturer pleases us with new products this year. Bridgestone decided to update its product range with the high-performance tires of the Potenza line and a couple of new models of motor tires.
Bridgestone Potenza Sport – a new flagship model, which came to replace the not unknown UHP-development Potenza S001. Even before its appearance in retail, it has already been used for supercars Maserati MS20, Lamborghini Huracan STO, and BMW 8 Series.
Motorcycle owners may be interested in two new models presented in the middle of last summer season: the sporty Battlax Hypersport S22 with excellent dry grip and handling and the Battlax Sport Touring T31, designed to increase safety riding even in adverse conditions such as rain or changing road surfaces.
For its home Japanese market, Bridgestone has created a premium crossover model, the Alenza LX100, representing the “comfort” class.
It is impossible not to note the new line of another world-famous manufacturer. Italian Pirelli presented Powergy – a new line of “urban” tires, designed for summer conditions, where the emphasis is made on safety, comfort, and energy efficiency. The Pirelli Powergy size range (13″-18″) covers midsize and large sedans as well as crossovers and SUVs. The new tires replace the P Zero Nero GT in the lineup.
Goodyear / Dunlop
This year, Goodyear added two models to its main brand in Europe, and three new models of the Wrangler family in the US. The manufacturer did not forget about his daughter brand Dunlop, its portfolio increased by one novelty.
Passenger model Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, released on the market in 2020, served as a donor of the pattern for the new tire EfficientGrip 2 SUV (16″-20″), which was an updated assortment of the company for owners of urban SUVs.
The most significant difference between the EfficientGrip 2 SUV and the pioneering tires is the 25 percent longer mileage.
Another light-duty model, this time from a subsidiary brand, is available on the European market simultaneously with Dunlop Econodrive tires designed for rims with larger planting diameters. The Dunlop Econodrive LT (14C – 16C) premium commercial summer tires with an optimized design, a wear-resistant rubber compound, and a solid carcass promise longevity, fuel efficiency, and confident behavior on wet and dry roads.
At the same time, at home Goodyear presented three more tire models: Wrangler Workhorse HT, AT, and RT, which, no matter what the weather or road conditions, will fit perfectly into the everyday life of Americans with their pickups and SUVs.
Continental / General
German manufacturer does not hurry with the release of new models. Appearance on the market of the next summer sports novelty from Continental AG is expected in 2022, and so far the renewal of EcoContact 6 and one model of affiliated brand General is presented.
At the beginning of the year, there was unofficial information about the supposed release of summer sports tires Continental SportContact 7. However, it also became known that the tires Sport Contact 7 in some sizes are already homologated by several car manufacturers, and even from this spring, they are supplied for the initial equipment.
By 2021 there is an improved version of the model Grabber GT for SUVs. The new General Grabber GT Plus (17″-20″), produced by one of Continental’s subsidiary brands, features improved fuel economy (12% reduced rolling resistance).
The developers also managed to improve the performance of tires with a plus in the name in different weather conditions. In particular, the handling and braking properties became better on dry asphalt, and the Grabber GT Plus got an “A” rating for wet grip in all available sizes.
Toyo Tire Company introduced several new products: Proxes Comfort, high-performance Proxes Sports A, and also Proxes CR1 and Proxes CR1 SUV premium tires for Asian and Pacific countries.
Toyo Proxes Comfort tires (14″-20″) have been designed by Toyo engineers to provide “the highest level of safety and comfort for relaxed and enjoyable everyday driving. They offer good stability at speed, confident handling, and effective braking.
Toyo Proxes Sports A is the latest development to date with ultra-high performance in the Proxes line. Compared to the Proxes Sport model, it provides better handling at high speeds and a better grip on wet surfaces, to satisfy the most demanding drivers. The tires with the letter “A” in their name are available with a speed index Y for wheels 17-20 inches in diameter.
Toyo has refreshed its summer product range for the Asia-Pacific region with the Proxes CR1 and Proxes CR1 SUV premium tires.
Yokohama Rubber introduced a new sporty high-performance model, the Yokohama Advan Sport V107, perhaps as an answer to fellow countrymen from Bridgestone Samurai. For now, it is only available in the primary segment, for example for Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC + crossovers.
As the company representatives explain, the Advan Sport V107 model has improved the already excellent driving characteristics (necessary for premium cars) of its predecessor Advan Sport V105. Safety and comfort of summer UHP novelty remained at the level of V105.
In addition to its winter studded tires, Nokian Tires has launched four new summer tires for 2021: the Nokian Hakka Green 3, the lightweight Hakka Van, and the two budget models Nordman SZ2 and Nordman S2 SUV.
Of particular note is the Hakka Green model, which, like its predecessor, Hakka Green 2, is aimed primarily at markets in Eastern Europe because of their climate. But for the Western European market, Nokian Tyres has created other summer models: the Powerproof and Wetproof.
The Nokian Hakka Green 3 has an improved rubber compound and an optimized tread pattern with enlarged blocks compared to its predecessor. According to the company, the most important difference between the Hakka Green 3 and the Hakka Green 2 is the service life which has been increased by more than a third.
For owners of light trucks and campers, the Nokian Hakka Van (14C – 18C) will be offered in the summer season of 2021, focusing on lower fuel consumption and longer use.
The Nokian Nordman SZ2 (16″-20″) passenger UHP tires offer precise handling and good feedback, as well as easy control even at high speeds. Within its price range, of course.
The Nokian Nordman S2 SUV is a summer tire for urban SUVs, replacing the Nordman S SUV in the lineup. Improvements for them have been achieved on several fronts: from traction properties in different summer weather to fuel efficiency and ride comfort.
The Nordman S2 SUVs belong to the Highway Performance class, i.e. they are de-signed primarily for road use, but they can also be driven occasionally on light off-road terrain.
After the release of the 2018 Maxxis Victra Sport 5 passenger car, the appearance of Maxxis Victra Sport 5 SUV tires for urban SUVs was a matter of time.
These SUV tires with a “bionic” design immediately attracted attention, quite confidently performing in a comparison test conducted by the specialized German publication Auto Bild Allrad. Coming on the heels of premium developments of competitors, they eclipsed the rivals in traction on sand and resistance to cross-country aquaplaning.
Apollo / Vredestein
Indian Apollo, which owns the Vredestein brand, is showing significant success in independent tire tests. Six new models will roll off the assembly line in 2021, five of which will be in demand in Europe: Vredestein Ultrac, Apollo Amazer XP, high-performance Vredestein Ultrac Vorti+, Vredestein Ultrac Vorti R+, commercial Vredestein Comtrac 2, and Apollo Altrust+.
The Vredestein Ultrac summer tires, already available on the market, apply to many compact and family cars. They provide not only fuel economy and excellent wet and dry handling but also acoustic comfort. Available in sizes with seating diameters from 15 to 18 inches.
Also, Vredestein Ultrac Vorti+ UHP-tires are produced under the daughter brand of Indian Apollo. They got the tread pattern of its predecessor, but with an increase by 13% side area, which in conjunction with the new generation of rubber compound caused the improvement of its performance properties. It is noteworthy that the model is included in the factory equipment of the original Breadvan Hommage supercars, based on the Ferrari 550 Maranello.
There is one more “plus” model Vredestein Ultrac Vorti R+ in the nearest future.
Commercial tires Vredestein Comtrac 2 (15C-17C) came to replace Comtrac 10 years after the start of its mass production. By several key parameters, the predecessor is considerably inferior to the novelty.
Model Apollo Altrust+ (R15C-R16C) for light trucks and minivans got the same design of tires of previous generation Altrust, but due to an innovative rubber compound, their fuel efficiency, runability, and stability during braking were increased.
In the APMEA region, Apollo unveiled the fuel-efficient Amazer XP, which was de-veloped by the company’s R&D centers in Europe and India. The novelty is charac-terized by extremely low rolling resistance and meets the standard BS-VI, the Indian equivalent of Euro 6. It is perfectly suitable for electric cars.
South Korea’s Nexen Tire has developed an SUV version of the N’Fera Sport model for summer driving conditions, which has been on the market since 2018. Nexen N’Fera Sport SUV tires are positioned as a replacement for the N’Fera RU1. Their unique tread pattern with stepped sipes on the central rib provides better directional stability and safety when performing various kinds of maneuvers.
Nexen pleased the Chinese car owners who prefer dynamic driving, with the new N’Fera Primus QX sport tires, the target audience of which are the owners of powerful premium-class cars.
Giti / GT Radial
Singapore-based Giti Tire introduced six new models over the past year, both under its main brand Giti and its subsidiary GT Radial.
Since March 2021, the Giti GitiSynergy H2 for passenger cars and light trucks has been available, which received the highest “A/A” rating according to the marking system adopted in Europe, reflecting the highest level of wet grip and fuel efficiency of the model.
The new product, which replaces two 2016 Giti models at once, the GitiSynergy E1 and the GitiPremium H1, is already available in two sizes as basic equipment for the popular Volkswagen Caddy 5 compact van.
Giti Tire’s new GT Radial SportActive 2 (16″-19″) UHP tires offer 15% better-wet braking and 10% better handling and aquaplaning resistance than the first generation tires, and have already made their way to the European market.
The model is also available for vehicles with a high center of gravity and is appropriately named GT Radial SportActive 2 SUV (19″-20″).
High performance at a very reasonable price offers two more brand new products for passenger cars and compact SUVs: GT Radial Champiro FE2 (15″-18″) and GT Radial Champiro FE2 SUV (16″-18″).
Traction properties of all four novelties GT Radial on wet surfaces according to the European classification correspond to the level “A”, at least such information is specified on the European site of the company.
Taiwan’s Kenda for Europe in 2021 has launched the new Kenetica Pro KR210 high-performance summer tires for small to medium-sized cars (13″-16″). They are an extension of the Emera A1 KR41 range of tires, which are designed for more powerful vehicles (16″-20″).
While Kumho is in no hurry to update its European range in the U.S. market, the high-performance Kumho Ecsta V730 model debuted, designed to inspire drivers both on and off the track. The new model in the lineup will replace the successful Kumho Ecsta V720 tires.
Chinese brand Linglong started actively promoting its updated European range. The company presented products of Master line, which includes summer tires Linglong Comfort Master (HP class), Linglong Sports Master (UHP class), and Linglong Grip Master C/S (for off-road vehicles).
ZC Rubber’s Chaoyang Arisun 1, Westlake Superide 1, Trezzano Transtorm 1, and Goodride Solmax 1, initially introduced only in the domestic Chinese market, will go on to take other countries by storm.
The new Westlake ZuperEco W018 eco tires were also introduced at ZC Rubber’s home market. Their reduced rolling resistance will help car owners optimize fuel consumption.
The Triangle ConneX Van TV701 light-duty summer tire surpasses its Mileage Plus TR652 predecessor in terms of safety. The TV701 has 13.8% better-wet braking performance than the TR652, 10.3% better-aquaplaning resistance, and 2.1% better handling. Braking performance on dry surfaces was improved by 1.7%.
Syron, a small European brand specializing in tires in the affordable segment, has introduced two new models: eco-friendly wear-resistant tire Premium Eco and sporty Race 1X, which inherited the design of Race 1 Plus.
Another small European brand Davanti presented Davanti Protura Sport (18″) UHP-tires. Thanks to innovations in tread design and a modern rubber compound, the novelty 2021 Protura Sport summer tires provide optimal performance for powerful sports cars.
Despite such an impressive total number of new products in the auto and motorcycle tire sector, the number of truly mainstream summer models that will appear on the international market in 2021 is small. Even the winter range of manufacturers has been updated more thoroughly this year.
There are several reasons for this lull: mass inexpensive models have low margins and therefore low profits, so manufacturers have concentrated their attention on high-performance and premium models. On top of this came the crisis year of 2020, the fall in sales and profits – a situation from which the manufacturers are trying hard to find a way out. Let’s hope they succeed.