Budget-Friendly Winter Tyres of 2023: Safety Without the Premium Price Tag

It’s not hard to choose a good premium winter tyre – a quick glance at the test results will tell you which tyres are worth it, as we wrote in the last article. But what if we don’t necessarily need a premium tyre? Can we still find models that provide enough safety but also give a break for the wallet? Of course you can, but you have to do a bit more research. We have done for you – we took the winter tyre tests from this and past years, read the reviews, put it all together and evaluated each of the tyre with the current prices. And this is what we found.

Semperit Speed-Grip 5

Semperit is originally an Austrian brand, now part of the Continental group. That in itself should be a guarantee that these are safe tyres, and tests confirm this – the Speed-Grip 5 was introduced relatively recently in 2021, replacing the Speed-Grip 3. Its greatest achievement is 3rd place in the tough competition of last year’s ADAC test in the 185/65 R15 size, where testers were impressed by its durability and low fuel consumption in addition to its balanced handling characteristics.

Autobild’s test was more critical then, citing slightly worse wet grip and longer dry braking distances, but despite this the tyre earned the 2nd best rating – “good.” It finished fifth out of nine in the TyreReviews test, and only better wet performance would have helped it place better. 

Semperit Speed-Grip 5: Tests
RankingOrganizationRatingDimensionYear
19Autobild225/45 R182023
16AutobildSatisfactory225/45 R182023
6ADACSatisfactory225/45 R172023
5Tyre Reviews225/45 R172022
10AutobildGood215/55 R172022
3ADACGood185/65 R152022

Kleber Krisalp HP3

Kleber tyres are the favorite cheaper tyre and it’s no wonder – not only is Kleber a European brand, but it’s also no secret that they’re part of the Michelin group, where they certainly know how to make tyres. While the Krisalp HP3 is an older model, first seen in tests back in 2017, it’s still a relevant model that scores well in current tests with no major flaws.

Kleber Krisalp HP3: Tests
RankingOrganizationRatingDimensionYear
11AutobildSatisfactory225/45 R182023
4Autobild225/45 R182023
10ADACSatisfactory205/60 R162023
8Tyre Reviews225/45 R172022
7ADACSatisfactory215/60 R162022
16Autobild215/55 R172022
11AutobildGood215/55 R172022
4ADACSatisfactory225/50 R172021
11Autobild205/55 R162021
3AutobildExemplary205/55 R162021
7Autobild245/45 R182020
5AutobildExemplary245/45 R182020
8ADACSatisfactory235/55 R172020
15AutobildSatisfactory225/45 R172019
8Autobild225/45 R172019
2ADACHighly recommended185/65 R152019
3SportscarsExemplary245/45 R182018
4ADACSatisfactory205/55 R162018
6Autobild195/65 R152018
3AutobildExemplary195/65 R152018
10Autobild225/50 R172017
9AutobildGood225/50 R172017
3ADACGood195/65 R152017

Its main strength is its performance on snowy roads, where the Krisalp HP3 often scores the best in the test. On the other hand, wet braking distance and understeer are criticised. It is also worth noting that it is also produced under the BFGoodrich G-FORCE WINTER 2 brand within the Michelin Group. For some customers, there is another argument for buying – it’s still made in Europe (Poland, Romania).

Firestone Winterhawk 4

The tyre from the American manufacturer Firestone, now part of the Bridgestone group, is also one of the newer generation tires – it was introduced in 2020. Compared to the two previous models, it performs slightly better in the wet and is again above average in the snow, while the Kleber is still a winner in this field.

On the other hand, testers don’t like the dry braking distance and also the comfort, including the noise. It is also made in Europe – we have seen tires made in Italy. It has another big advantage and that is that the tire is made in wide range of dimensions – we log 100 of them, from R14 up to R20, which can be an ideal candidate for older higher-class vehicles.

Firestone Winterhawk 4: Tests
RankingOrganizationRatingDimensionYear
9AutobildNot recommended225/60 R182023
20AutobildNot recommended225/45 R182023
6Autobild225/45 R182023
7ADACGood205/60 R162023
5AutoMotorSportGood245/45 R192022
16AutobildSatisfactory215/55 R172022
14Autobild215/55 R172022
9ADACSatisfactory185/65 R152022
5AutozeitungHighly recommended235/55 R182021
12ADACSatisfactory225/50 R172021
10AutobildSatisfactory205/55 R162021
5Autobild205/55 R162021
7Használtautó.hu205/55 R162020

Apollo Aspire XP Winter 

Apollo is an Indian tyre company whose group includes the popular Dutch tyre Vredestein. The Aspire XP Winter is a tyre that even managed to win one ADAC test, in 2019 in the 215/60 R17 size. It was recommended in other tests too, mainly due to its great price/performance ratio with no major flaws. In the last test of the larger R18 size, it was criticised for its lateral handling in snow and longer braking distance in wet, but it was still recommended and came a nice 9th out of 20.

The only hitch is the relatively limited number of sizes it comes in, especially compared to the other tyres mentioned. It can be had in 20 sizes, from R16 to R18, but the popular 205/55 R16 is missing. However, if you can find it in your size, it’s definitely a good choice.

Apollo Aspire XP Winter: Tests
RankingOrganizationRatingDimensionYear
30Autobild225/45 R182023
10ADACSatisfactory225/45 R172023
13Autobild245/45 R182020
9AutobildGood245/45 R182020
4AutobildExemplary225/45 R172019
1AutobildExemplary215/60 R172019

Conclusion

These are our universal recommendations, however it is always better to look at the offer in a specific size and for a specific application, as the problem with budget tyres is usually that there are not made in so many dimensions as the premium ones – it is just not worth it for the manufacturers to make the tires in the less-popular dimensions. But you can for sure find hidden gems or even a greatly discounted premium tyre if you have a look into our price comparison for the best deals currently available in your dimension.