The biggest test of 2021 conducted by the expert team of the German publication Auto Bild was devoted to winter tires of one of Europe’s most popular sizes, 205/55 R16. The test began with a qualification round, during which the experts evaluated the snow and wet braking performance of 50 models, purchased anonymously in a retail network.
|Place||Brand and Model||Wet Braking, m|
|36||Toyo Observe S944||38.2|
|38||Syron Everest 1||39.9|
|40||Zeetex WH 1000||41.0|
|41||Imperial Snowdragon HP||41.1|
|42||Tourador Winter Pro TS1||41.2|
|43||Hifly Win-Turi 212||41.3|
|45||Platin RP60 Winter||43.1|
|46||Tristar Snowpower HP||43.2|
|47||Sunny Winter-Max A1 NW211||43.6|
|48||Premiorri Via Maggiore Z Plus||44.1|
|49||Superia Bluewin UHP||44.8|
|50||Petlas Snowmaster W651||45.4|
After measuring the snow braking distance, demonstrated by the remaining 35 tires when braking from 50 km/h, the expert team used simple mathematical calculations (adding up the wet and the snow braking distances) to determine the pool of the finalists. Thus, another 15 models did not make it into the final part of the competition.
|Place||Brand and Model||Wet Braking from 80 km/h, m||Snow Braking from 50 km/h, m||Total|
|21||Matador MP92 Sibir Snow||37.4||28.6||66.0|
|22||Cooper Weather-Master SA2 +||35.9||30.2||66.1|
|23||Avon WV 7 Snow||36.4||29.8||66.2|
|24||General Altimax Winter 3||37.7||28.6||66.3|
|25||Radar Dimax Alpine||37.7||28.6||66.3|
|26||Tyfoon Eurosnow II||37.7||28.7||66.4|
|27||Pirelli Cinturato Winter||37.3||29.2||66.5|
|28||Giti Winter W2||38.0||29.1||67.1|
|29||Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6||38.0||29.1||67.1|
|30||Apollo Alnac 4G winter||38.0||29.5||67.5|
|31||Kumho WinterCraft WP51||37.8||29.8||67.6|
|32||CST Medallion Winter WCP1||37.6||30.5||68.1|
|33||Landsail Winter Lander||35.3||37.9||73.2|
|34||Mastersteel Winter plus||36.1||37.2||73.3|
|35||Roadhog Winter +||37.5||40.4||77.9|
The 20 tires with the best braking performance were subjected to 13 extra test disciplines meant to fully explore their capabilities in various weather conditions of the mild European winters.
List of models tested:
- Barum Polaris 5
- BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
- Continental WinterContact TS 870 — a newcomer of the winter season 2021/2022
- Dunlop Winter Sport 5
- Falken Eurowinter HS01
- Firestone Winterhawk 4
- Fulda Kristall Control HP2
- Goodyear UltraGrip 9+
- Hankook Winter i*Cept RS2 W452
- Kleber Krisalp HP3
- Michelin Alpin 6
- Nexen Winguard Snow’G 3
- Nokian WR Snowproof
- Sava Eskimo HP2
- Semperit Speed-Grip 3
- Uniroyal MS Plus 77
- Vredestein Wintrac
- Yokohama BluEarth-Winter V906
- Laufenn i Fit+
We will specifically remind you that parallel to the finalists, the tests also involved standard summer models and low-budget winter tires. From the testers’ report, it is not quite clear how exactly the «control» cheap winter tires were selected, but we have every reason to believe — says the tiresvote technical expert — that this was one of the worst models that was discarded in the elimination round. The reason for testing inexpensive winter tires is obvious: it is to expose their weaknesses against the background of premium tires, in the development of which a lot of time and money is invested. The results of the Auto Bild test confirmed this theory. In almost each of the disciplines, the cheap winter tires performed well below average.
The test was won by the new model of the upcoming winter season, Continental WinterContact TS 870, which, in addition, received the «Eco-Master» title for the best fuel saving performance.
Pros: excellent handling performance in any weather conditions, short stopping distance, crisp steering response, strong hydroplaning resistance, high wear, long mileage.
The second place was scored by the premium-class Michelin Alpin 6, which also demonstrated good grip on all winter surfaces and a long expected mileage.
Pros: well-balanced performance, good handling response, long mileage.
Cons: prone to slight understeer on wet pavement.
The relatively inexpensive Kleber Krisalp HP3 model from one of Michelin’s subsidiaries demonstrated a good winter performance and scored the third place in the final standings.
Pros: dynamic handling performance on snow, strong hydroplaning resistance, low noise.
Cons: prone to slight understeer on wet pavement
The Michelin tires shared the third stair of the winners’ pedestal with the Vredestein Wintrac model, produced by the Indian Apollo Tyres. We will note that this is not the first time that a product from this tire maker scores a rather high place in Auto Bild tests.
Pros: a convincing versatile «talent» with dynamic wet and dry performance, precise steering response, low rolling resistance.
Cons: average mileage.
The fifth line of the final standings was occupied by the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005.
Pros: the best snow performance on test, a good hydroplaning safety margin, a short wet braking distance, quiet ride.
Cons: expected mileage below average.
The sixth to cross the finish line was the Hankook Winter i*Cept RS2 W452.
Pros: excellent snow and wet performance, very good hydroplaning resistance, short wet braking distance, affordable price.
Cons: prone to understeer on dry pavement.
The Goodyear UltraGrip 9+ model scored only the seventh line in the final standings.
Pros: convincing performance and stable handling response on snow and wet pavement, smooth ride, good value for the money.
Cons: prone to understeer on dry pavement.
The Dunlop Winter Sport 5 model occupied the eighth line of the tournament bracket.
Pros: dynamic performance and efficient braking on wet and snow-covered surfaces, good ride comfort.
Cons: delayed steering response, limited mileage.
The ninth place was scored by the Speed-Grip 3 tire of the Semperit brand, owned, as is known, by the German tire giant Continental.
Pros: short braking distance on snow, dynamic handling performance on dry pavement, quiet ride, long mileage.
Cons: average snow grip, increased dry braking distance.
The tenth place in the tournament bracket was occupied by the Firestone Winterhawk 4 (a product from a Bridgestone subsidiary).
Pros: very good overall winter performance, short stopping distance on snow and wet pavement, long expected mileage, affordable price.
Cons: understeer and increased stopping distance on dry pavement.
The next ten of the final twenty is topped by the BFGoodrich G-Force Winter 2. That’s an interesting result, particularly in view of the fact that it is a full analogue of the Kleber Krisalp HP3 model. Looks like we’ve got a few questions to ask the Michelin designers!
Pros: convincing ice and snow performance, consistent handling response on wet pavement, good hydroplaning resistance.
Cons: delayed steering response on dry pavement.
We are congratulating the Uniroyal MS Plus 77 tire with the twelfth place in the final standings. This model can be arguably considered to be the esteemed veteran of the tire industry, but it’s definitely not going to make way for the young to make way. That’s the spirit! Maximum respect for the designers!
Pros: stable handling response on wet and dry pavement, good hydroplaning resistance, long expected mileage.
Cons: only moderate grip on winter surfaces with a clear tendency for understeer, relatively long wet braking distance.
The Falken Eurowinter HS01 crowded the Uniroyal model in the twelfth position.
Pros: consistent performance on dry and wet surfaces, long expected mileage, good hydroplaning resistance.
Cons: relatively weak snow traction, poor lateral grip and long braking distance on wet pavement.
The fourteenth overall result was demonstrated by the Yokohama BluEarth*Winter V906.
Pros: short braking distance on snow, dynamic handling response in the dry, smooth ride, affordable price.
Cons: prone to understeer on snow, a slightly increased wet braking distance, limited mileage.
The budget Barum Polaris 5 (another Continental subsidiary) scored the fifteenth line of the tournament bracket.
Pros: inexpensive winter profile offering good snow performance, long mileage, low rolling resistance.
Cons: limited safety margin in terms of hydroplaning resistance; increased stopping distance on dry and wet pavement alike.
The sixteenth place was scored by a Goodyear product, the Fulda Kristall Control HP2 model.
Pros: good traction and short braking distance on snow, very good mileage, low price.
Cons: fuzzy handling response, weak lateral stability and a long braking distance on dry and wet pavement alike.
One of the most budget-friendly tires on test, Sava Eskimo HP2, just as Fulda tires, is produced at the European facilities owned by Goodyear. This time around, it scored the seventeenth line in the final standings.
Pros: good traction and a short braking distance on snow, long expected mileage, affordable price.
Cons: average traction, prone to understeer on wet pavement, long braking distance on dry and wet pavement alike.
Although this may come as a surprise, the WR Snowproof tire made by Nokian, priced almost the same as the bronze-winning model, could only land the eighteenth line in the tournament bracket.
Pros: well-balanced dry performance, long expected mileage, low rolling resistance.
Cons: poor lateral grip on snow and wet surfaces, relatively weak hydroplaning resistance.
One of the cheapest tires on test (along with the Barum model), the Nexen Winguard Snow G3, came nineteenth.
Pros: short braking distance on snow, smooth and quiet ride, low price.
Cons: prone to fuzzy handling response, short mileage, poor hydroplaning resistance, strong rolling resistance.
The Laufenn i-Fit+, which demonstrated only average performance in the ADAC test in size 195/65 R15, scored the last place in the Auto Bild comparative test, and was «conditionally recommended» by the experts, which essentially means that it can indeed be used in certain weather conditions and with a play-it-safe driving style. The tire is manufactured by Hankook.
Pros: convincing snow grip, dynamic handling response in the dry, low price.
Cons: poor resistance to lateral hydroplaning, average lateral stability on wet pavement, short mileage.
We will remind you that the results achieved by the upgraded version of this model in last year’s Auto Bild test in size 245/45 R18 were a little bit better. In that test, i Fit Plus, came sixteenth, surpassing the Nokian WR A4 and Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3.