ADAC 2021: Winter Tire Test R17

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How the tires will behave on wet and dry pavement, as well as on snow and ice, you can find out only by subjecting them to extensive testing. The experts of the German motoring association ADAC in partnership with other European consumer rights organizations, and in full accordance with precisely defined methodology, tested 18 winter tire sets, purchasing them in small quantities from six different tire dealerships.

The tires were tested using Audi A4.
The tires were tested using Audi A4. Source: ADAC.

The purpose of the test was to determine the safest tire models of 2021 to be used in mild winter conditions inherent to Central Europe.

While in the first winter tire test 2021 the ADAC experts tested the popular passenger-car tire size of 195/65 R15, in the second test they opted for 225/50 R17 with speed index V (up to 240 km/h), which may be used, for example, on such cars as Audi A4 or BMW 3 series.

List of winter models tested:

After the selected winter tires were examined literally under a microscope, the testers were amazed at the wide scatter of the results: while three tire models ended up being rated as «good», two 17-inch models received an «unsatisfactory» verdict. At the same time, in the 195/65 R15 winter tire test, earlier conducted by ADAC, the end results were much more homogeneous, without any significant discrepancies.

The tests on snow were carried out in Ivalo, Finland. Source: ADAC.
The tests on snow were carried out in Ivalo, Finland. Source: ADAC.

Nevertheless, the test group recommended paying close attention to the characteristics of all the tested tires because in some specific cases, considering the predominant weather of the region where you live, you can easily get by with «average» tires that can be just the right thing in certain conditions.

The ADAC winter tire test was conducted in Ivalo, Finland; the test car was an Audi A4.

The top three: perfectly balanced

The Dunlop Winter Sport 5 and Michelin Alpin 6 tires (2.3 points each), which shared the top line in the final standings, and the bronze-winning UltraGrip Performance+ (2.5 points) are recommended without any reservations.

They all demonstrated excellent results by all the main safety criteria because the designers of these tires obviously invested a lot of effort in ensuring well-balanced performance of their creations. Still, however, the ADAC experts recommend taking a look at specific performance indicators because these tires behave differently in different performance areas.

Result summary. ADAC 225/50 R17 Winter Tire Test 2021 (click to enlarge)
Result summary. ADAC 225/50 R17 Winter Tire Test 2021 (click to enlarge)

The Dunlop tire was an unquestionable leader on snow, and, in addition, demonstrated the best fuel saving capabilities amongst the top tire models. The most expensive tire on test, the Michelin Alpin 6, as usual, demonstrated the best resistance to wear, and was good on wet and dry pavement. The well-balanced Goodyear tire with good results in all the performance areas stays in the middle of the tournament bracket, but without any outstanding results.

The dominance of «satisfactory» tires

The fourth line in the final standings is occupied by the inexpensive Kleber Krisalp HP3 (2.7 points), produced by Michelin Group. Its wet performance was slightly worse than that of the leaders but that did not spoil the overall score. Quite as good an option as any other.

Quick Take
81 55

Kleber Krisalp HP3

Handling Comfort Price/Quality
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Kleber Krisalp HP3

The next four tires scored 3.0 points and shared fifth place. Depreciation of the total score of the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 was due to its weak resistance to wear; at the same time, in terms of safety features, there were only minor gripes about its snow grip, while on wet and dry pavement the LM005 was head and shoulders above the others.

Quick Take
90 59

Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

Wet Performance Dry Performance Comfort Handling Snow/Ice Performance Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Bridgestone / Blizzak LM001 Evo
  • Available Sizes in Line: 203
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Audi e-tron [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Volkswagen T-Cross [2019 .. 2022]
    • • Audi A3 8Y [2020 .. 2022]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Br205 [2015 .. 2022]
    • • Volkswagen Caddy V [2020 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

Devaluation of the final ranking of the Continental WinterContact TS 860 had to do with lack of dry grip; otherwise, no complaints came from the testers. Possibly, its successor, the TS870 model, which has already been launched on the market, will be involved in the future ADAC tests, and will perform better in the dry disciplines.

Quick Take
88 61

Continental WinterContact TS 860

Wet Performance Price/Quality Handling Comfort Snow/Ice Performance Dry Performance Treadwear
  • This tire has been replaced by Continental / WinterContact TS 870
  • This tire replaced Continental / ContiWinterContact TS 850
  • This tire has run-flat model:
  • Available Sizes in Line: 77
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Mercedes-Benz A-Class Br177 [2018 .. 2021]
    • • BMW 1 Series III (F40) [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Skoda Octavia 5E Facelift [2017 .. 2021]
    • • Hyundai ix20 JC Facelift [2015 .. 2020]
    • • Hyundai i30 PD [2017 .. 2022]
    • • Hyundai Ioniq AE [2016 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Ka+ [2016 .. 2018]
    • • Ford Ka+ Active [2018 .. 2020]
    • • Ford Fiesta VII [2017 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Puma J2K [2019 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Continental WinterContact TS 860

The Nexen Winguard Sport 2 also forfeited its chance to score a higher line in the tournament bracket because of relatively low wear, and, in addition, its grip on snow, which, as well as wet and dry traction, was only average. Generally speaking, this is probably the least attractive tire from the four ones that scored 3 points, because even the Vredestein Wintrac Pro, which ultimately suffered because of poor resistance to wear, received higher scores for handling performance (except on ice).

Quick Take
74 40

Nexen WinGuard Sport 2

Dry Performance Snow/Ice Performance Treadwear Handling Comfort Price/Quality Wet Performance
  • This tire replaced Nexen / Winguard Sport
  • Available Sizes in Line: 84
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Volkswagen Golf Mk8 [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Audi A3 8Y [2020 .. 2022]
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, East Asia
Nexen WinGuard Sport 2

The overall ranking of the Esa-Tecar Supergrip Pro, Sava Eskimo HP2 (3.1 points each, 9th place), and Fulda Kristall Control HP2 (3.2 points, 11th place) was lowered due to issues found in wet and dry road conditions. In the case of the Supergrip Pro, which is usually sold in Germany by the Tecar trading company through affiliated car dealerships, one must note that it showed the best results in terms of fuel saving.

Quick Take
N/A 29

ESA-Tecar Supergrip Pro

  • Available Sizes in Line: 45
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe
ESA-Tecar Supergrip Pro

The Eskimo HP2 from the Slovenian company Sava (a subsidiary of Goodyear) turned out to be the noisiest model on test.

Yet another four winter models scoring 3.3 points each and occupying one shared twelfth place came to their average end results by different ways, the Shina Guide expert comments on the situation. The Firestone Winterhawk 4 lost it on dry pavement but scored good points by all the other safety criteria. The Nokian WR Snowproof P was good on dry pavement, but average in the wet; the tire also was nothing special on snow, being at odds with its own name.

Quick Take
63 33
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Sava Eskimo HP2

The Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 handling performance on dry and wet pavement, as well as on ice, this time around was only rated as «satisfactory». The Toyo Observe S944 revealed weaknesses on wet pavement and snow.

Quick Take
80 63

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

Wet Performance Dry Performance Snow/Ice Performance Treadwear Handling Comfort Price/Quality
  • This tire has run-flat model:
  • Available Sizes in Line: 156
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Audi RS6 C7 [2013 .. 2018]
    • • Audi A3 8P [2003 .. 2013]
    • • Audi Q3 8U [2011 .. 2015]
    • • BMW M5 V (F10) [2011 .. 2013]
    • • Jaguar F-Type X152 [2012 .. 2017]
    • • Jaguar XF X250 [2007 .. 2015]
    • • Lamborghini Huracan [2014 .. 2019]
    • • Maserati Quattroporte M156 [2013 .. 2016]
    • • Maserati Ghibli M157 [2013 .. 2021]
    • • McLaren P1 [2013 .. 2016]
    • • Mercedes-Benz S-Class W222 [2014 .. 2021]
    • • Mercedes-Benz S-Class AMG W221 [2006 .. 2013]
    • • Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class AMG R172 [2011 .. 2021]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Br204 [2008 .. 2014]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG Br204 [2008 .. 2011]
    • • Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG Br117 [2013 .. 2019]
    • • Mercedes-Benz A-Class AMG W176 [2013 .. 2018]
    • • Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG X156 [2013 .. 2021]
    • • Volvo S80 P3 [2006 .. 2016]
    • • Volvo V70 P3 [2008 .. 2016]
    • • Volvo V40 Cross Country P1 [2012 .. 2017]
    • • Audi A4 B9 Facelift [2019 .. 2022]
    • • Audi A5 F5 [2016 .. 2022]
    • • Audi A6 C8 [2018 .. 2022]
    • • Audi A7 4K8 [2018 .. 2022]
    • • Audi A8 D5 [2018 .. 2022]
    • • Audi TT RS FV Facelift [2019 .. 2022]
    • • Volvo V60 P3 [2010 .. 2018]
    • • Volvo S60 P3 [2010 .. 2018]
    • • Volkswagen Passat
    • • Jaguar XE X760 [2015 .. 2019]
    • • Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class X156 [2013 .. 2020]
    • • Volkswagen Golf Mk7 [2012 .. 2017]
    • • BMW 5 Series
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2014
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, East Asia
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

The shortcomings of the Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6, occupying the sixteenth line of the final standings, were revealed on snow and ice.

Quick Take
71 46

Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6

  • Available Sizes in Line: 43
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6

Careful! Poor performance!

The ADAC expert team strongly recommends refraining from buying only two of the models they tested. The Chinese Linglong Green-Max Winter UHP and the Goodride Z-507 Zuper Snow turned out to be the real outsiders of the test that brought an unpleasant surprise by total lack of snow grip and wet traction.

Quick Take
N/A 18

Linglong GREEN-Max Winter UHP

  • Available Sizes in Line: 33
  • Year Released: 2014
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Linglong GREEN-Max Winter UHP

The Goodride tire demonstrated the worst braking performance. These tires have big problems when starting off in the snow, where they can only be driven very slowly, and even then inaccurately, which clearly does not meet the strict requirements of the German testers. An example from the test: one circle on a snow-covered track 1.2 km long was covered by the Zuper Snow model in a time about 25 seconds longer than what was needed by the best tires in this discipline. This is nothing but a failure.

Quick Take
N/A 30

Goodride Zuper Snow Z-507

  • Available Sizes in Line: 45
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Goodride Zuper Snow Z-507

The «Achilles heel» of the Linglong tire is extremely weak wet grip. Be that braking, hydroplaning resistance or slalom, the Green-Max Winter UHP model will never score above average. Here is another example from the test: compared to the Japanese tires Bridgestone Blizzak LM005, the stopping distance of the Chinese Linglong from 80 km/h is 11 meters longer. And this means that at the moment when the car on the LM005 tires has already stopped, the speedometer needle of the vehicle equipped with Linglong winter tires will still be showing 40 km/h.

ADAC recommends installing new tires when the tread depth reaches the minimum legal limit of four millimeters. The motorists also need to pay special attention to the three peak mountain snowflake symbol (3PMSF), because in Europe you are only allowed to drive on winter roads on such tires. Also, according to the experts of this motoring association, it is important that all the four tires have the same production date and therefore the same technical standard.

Minimum safety tread depth

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