ADAC 2019: Winter Tire Test

Traditionally, at the height of the tire industry’s winter season, Germany’s publication ADAC is announcing the results of its comparative tests. This year, just as always, the readers are in for the results of two winter tests that totally involved 31 winter studless tires in the sizes of 185/65 R15 T and 205/65 R16C T (up to 190 km/h). We will start our review with the first test that covered the tires designed to be installed on compact cars.

During the winter tire test 185/65 R15 (which is currently the bestselling tire size in the segment of compact vehicles) the experts tested and evaluated 16 tire models by ADAC’s typical 18 individual criteria.

It must be noted that three out of the 16 chosen models were discarded very early on by the testers themselves. For example, in 2019, Goodyear UltraGrip 9 was updated by the manufacturer up to UltraGrip 9+, Nokian WR Snowproof replaced the outdated WR D4, and Michelin Alpin A4 still in 2018 got a «grandson» named Michelin Alpin A6.

List of winter models tested:

The takeaway of the ADAC winter tire test 2019 is as follows: only three models are getting a «good» verdict; the performance of ten models is described as «satisfactory», still another model is pronounced «average», and two more are denounced as downright «poor».

Cars that can be fitted with tires of size 185/65 R15
Brand Model
Alfa Romeo  Mito 
Citroen  Berlingo, C3, DS3, Nemo, Xsara Picasso
Dacia  Dokker, Lodgy, Logan, Sandero                    
Fiat  Doblo, Fiorino, Linea, Multipla, Panda, Punto, Qubo 
Hyundai  i20, i30 
Kia                     Cee'd, Pro Cee'd, Rio, Stonic
Mercedes A-Class (type 169)
Opel Adam, Adam Rocks, Astra (H), Combo, Corsa
Peugeot 207, Bipper, Partner
Renault Clio, Kangoo, Zoe
Seat Ibiza
VW Polo

The main reason for the devaluation of most of the final scores earned by most of the tires was their poor performance on wet surface or on snow. However, the test experts also detected a few tires that had other limitations. For example, the achievements of Continental and Hankook were devalued by their weak grip on ice, while Sava lost because of its weak performance on dry pavement.

Test results

185/65 R15 ADAC 2019 Winter Tire Test Summary. Places 1-10
ADAC 2019 Winter Tire Test Summary. Places 1-10. Click to enlarge.


185/65 R15 ADAC 2019 Winter Tire Test Summary. Places 11-15.
ADAC 2019 Winter Tire Test Summary. Places 11-15. Click to enlarge.

The Big Three

The undisputable winner of the fresh ADAC winter tire test 185/65 R15 is Dunlop Winter Response 2. Its biggest advantages are dependable grip on snow and wet pavement, coupled with low fuel consumption.

Dunlop Winter Response 2
Dunlop Winter Response 2

Its two closest pursuers that are breathing down its neck are Kleber Krisalp HP3 and Pirelli Cinturato Winter, whose competitive advantages lie in quite different areas. The former outstrips most of the rivals in the dry, while the strong sides of the latter become apparent on wet pavement and on ice.

Kleber Krisalp HP3
Kleber Krisalp HP3

Neither here nor there

Because of their drawbacks, sometimes insignificant, and sometimes prominent, ten models of winter tires dropped a few lines down in the final standings 2019. For example, Continental WinterContact TS860 and Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452, in spite of their relatively expensive price, scored lower points on ice than the budget models on test.

Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452
Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452

The designers of Michelin Alpin A4 and Goodyear UltraGrip 9 definitely neglected the tires’ grip on snow. We will note here that these two models already have successors: Michelin Alpin 6 and Goodyear UltraGrip 9+.

Falken Eurowinter HS01 not only showed its weak sides on snow and ice but also demonstrated a rather average performance on dry pavement, where just as poorly performed Vredestein Snowtrac 5, the noisiest tires on test.

Falken Eurowinter HS01
Falken Eurowinter HS01

Although Nokian WR D4 did show some class on winter surfaces, it was not half as convincing on either wet or dry pavement. The test experts were also disappointed with its relatively weak resistance to wear. One can only hope that in the case of Nokian WR D4‘s successor, Nokian WR Snowproof, all of these issues have been addressed. Still, though, the last place in the AMS test 2019 is not a hell of a start.

Vredestein Snowtrac 5
Vredestein Snowtrac 5

The product of Gislaved (a subsidiary brand of Continental), the Euro*Frost 6 model, demonstrated its weak sides on snow, in the wet, and in the dry, just as Kumho WinterCraft WP51 tires that in addition had been low resistance to wear.

Viking WinTech
Viking WinTech

Viking WinTech was totally weak on wet pavement alone.

Not quite «outside»

The tires Sava Eskimo S3+ were the only ones on test that got the verdict «average», which, by a certain stretch of the imagination, can be interpreted as «conditionally recommended». Their performance on dry pavement could not convince the test experts in the reverse.

The outsiders

In the ADAC winter tire test 2019, the Toyo Snowprox S943 model disappointed the test experts with its performance on snow, particularly during the cornering.

Davanti Wintoura
Davanti Wintoura

The Davanti Wintoura tires, which recently appeared on the German market, demonstrated a lack of grip on wet pavement (mostly lateral), as well as an extremely weak resistance to hydroplaning.