When I agreed to try out cold weather tyres on the Mondeo, I had anticipated the weather would play a practical joke and give us an unusually mild winter.
Those fears were dispelled a couple of weeks ago as snow fell in parts of the UK.
I’ve already written about the benefits of cold weather tyres (calling them winter tyres implies they are only effective in wintry conditions) from evidence provided by the tyre companies, but here were some real-life challenging condition to see how well they work.
The Mondeo is currently wearing a set of Michelin Pilot Alpin tyres supplied by ATS Euromaster.
A set of tyres on the Mondeo Titanium X Sport – it needs 235/40 R18 tyres – are not cheap, but when taken as one of the sets of tyres the car will use in its life on a fleet, the costs are not prohibitive.
To get used to how the tyres performed, I tried some braking tests in an empty section of our car park.
It became evident very quickly in the soft snow that these tyres offered superior traction and grip compared with standard tyres.
Braking firmly from about 15-20mph resulted in retardation similar to that in a car on standard tyres in normal conditions.
Past experience tells me that if I’d done the same in a car on standard tyres the ABS would have taken control in an instant, while the car ploughed on. Here, the ABS cut in only for the last couple of metres before stopping.
Cold weather tyres are meant to deliver benefits in all cold weather conditions, whether dry or wet, but so far I haven’t had to carry out any emergency manoeuvres that would give the superior performance of the tyres some context.
Otherwise the Mondeo is proving an ideal winter companion with almost 11,000 miles on the clock since June.
Heated seats and Quickclear screen are providing sterling service in the harsh frosts, while the six-speed Powershift automatic transmission is happy to pull away in second gear where first gear would prove tricky.