Auto Bild 2021: Winter Tire Test R16 (The Final)

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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.

Models disqualified after the measurements of the wet braking distance
Place Brand and Model Wet Braking, m
36 Toyo Observe S944 38.2
37 Kormoran Snow 39.1
38 Syron Everest 1 39.9
39 Goodride SW608 40.8
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
44 Nordexx Wintersafe 42.8
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.

Tires that were tested on snow, yet left overboard
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:

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.

Test Results

Snow

 

Wet

 

Dry

 

«Exemplary»

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.

Quick Take
N/A 52

Continental WinterContact TS 870

  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Continental WinterContact TS 870

Pros: excellent handling performance in any weather conditions, short stopping distance, crisp steering response, strong hydroplaning resistance, high wear, long mileage.

205/55 R16 winter tire test summary Auto Bild, 2021. Places 1–10. Click to enlarge.
205/55 R16 winter tire test summary Auto Bild, 2021. Places 1–10. Click to enlarge.

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.

Quick Take
86 59
Price/Quality Wet Performance Comfort Dry Performance Handling Snow/Ice Performance Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Michelin / Alpin 5
  • Available Sizes in Line: 70
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Ford Puma J2K [2019 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, Japan
Michelin Alpin 6

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.

Quick Take
81 55

Kleber Krisalp HP3

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

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.

Quick Take
N/A 29
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada
Vredestein Wintrac

Pros: a convincing versatile «talent» with dynamic wet and dry performance, precise steering response, low rolling resistance.
Cons: average mileage.

«Good»

The fifth line of the final standings was occupied by the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005.

Quick Take
89 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: 200
  • 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

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.

Quick Take
82 39

Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452

Treadwear Dry Performance Wet Performance Price/Quality Snow/Ice Performance Handling Comfort
  • Available Sizes in Line: 66
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Hyundai i10 LA [2019 .. 2022]
    • • Hyundai i20 GB Facelift [2018 .. 2020]
    • • 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]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2015
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
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.

Quick Take
86 54

Goodyear UltraGrip 9+

  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Goodyear UltraGrip 9+

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.

Quick Take
82 61
Price/Quality Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Handling Comfort Treadwear Dry Performance
  • This tire replaced Dunlop / SP Winter Sport 4D
  • Available Sizes in Line: 106
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Hyundai i30 N PD [2017 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2015
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Dunlop Winter Sport 5

Pros: dynamic performance and efficient braking on wet and snow-covered surfaces, good ride comfort.
Cons: delayed steering response, limited mileage.

«Satisfactory»

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.

Quick Take
71 43
Comfort Wet Performance Treadwear Dry Performance Handling
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Semperit Speed-Grip 3

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).

Quick Take
N/A 36

Firestone Winterhawk 4

Handling Price/Quality
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Firestone Winterhawk 4

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.

[Results]

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!

Quick Take
81 42

BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2

Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Dry Performance Treadwear Comfort Price/Quality Handling
  • This tire replaced BFGoodrich / g-Force Winter
  • Available Sizes in Line: 101
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Ford Fiesta VII [2017 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2

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!

Quick Take
80 32
Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Dry Performance Comfort Handling Price/Quality Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2013
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Uniroyal MS Plus 77

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.

Quick Take
74 43

Falken Eurowinter HS01

Price/Quality Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Handling Dry Performance Treadwear Comfort
  • Available Sizes in Line: 303
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Falken Eurowinter HS01

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.

Quick Take
N/A 28

Yokohama BluEarth*Winter V906

  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe
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.

Quick Take
62 36
Comfort Wet Performance Dry Performance Snow/Ice Performance Handling Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Barum Polaris 5

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.

Quick Take
71 40

Fulda Kristall Control HP2

Dry Performance Comfort Price/Quality Handling Wet Performance Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire replaced Fulda / Kristall Control HP
  • Available Sizes in Line: 70
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Ford Focus IV [2018 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Tourneo [2016 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Transit Connect II Facelift [2018 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Fulda Kristall Control HP2

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.

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

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.

Quick Take
69 48

Nokian WR Snowproof

Comfort Handling Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Available Sizes in Line: 57
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Ford Puma J2K [2019 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Focus IV [2018 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Focus Active IV [2018 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Nokian WR Snowproof

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.

Quick Take
N/A 32

Nexen Winguard Snow G 3

  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Nexen Winguard Snow G 3

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.

«Conditionally recommended»

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.

Quick Take
55 41
Handling Price/Quality Dry Performance
  • This tire replaced ⛔ Laufenn / I Fit
  • Available Sizes in Line: 73
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Laufenn I FIT+

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.


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