Having sorted out the 15 tire sets in size 205/55 R16, the ADAC expert team switched its focus to tires of a larger diameter. The second summer tire test of the 2021 season involved 17 tire models in size 225/50 R17, which can be fitted on middle-class cars, from Audi A4 to VW Passat.
|Audi||A4, A5, TT|
|BMW||3, 4, X1|
|Mercedes||B and C class|
|Opel||Astra, Zafira Tourer|
|Peugeot||3008, 5008, 508|
The German experts had a positive general impression of the tested tire models, even though in some of the disciplines the tires showed a wide scatter in their results, and one model even ended up with a «not recommended» verdict, more of which later.
List of summer models tested:
- Barum Bravuris 5HM
- Bridgestone Turanza T005
- Continental PremiumContact 6
- Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2
- Esa+Tecar Spirit Pro
- Falken Azenis FK510
- Firestone Roadhawk
- Giti GitiPremium H1
- Kleber Dynaxer HP4
- Kumho Ecsta PS71
- Laufenn S Fit EQ+
- Michelin Primacy 4
- Nexen N’Fera Sport
- Pirelli Cinturato P7C2
- Sava Intensa UHP 2
- Semperit Speed-Life 3
- Viking ProTech NewGen
Four models at once scored the honorable «highly recommended» verdict. First and foremost, we must mention the winner of the test, the Falken Azenis FK510 (2.1 points), which demonstrated exceptionally balanced performance both on wet and dry pavements.
Info!In 2021, this representative of the mid-price segment outperformed all the premium models, even though in last year’s ADAC 225/40 R18 summer tire test it only came eighth due to poor dry traction. It turns out that depending on the size of the tire, one and the same model can demonstrate strikingly different results. Either that or the Falken engineers really did their homework for 2021.
Remarkably, under high temperatures the Falken Azenis FK510 performance stays virtually the same. A particular highlight was its handling response on wet pavement, where you cannot do extreme cornering in order to stay on track. Yet another strong side of this tire is a smooth and quiet ride. There was, however, a minor issue with the tire’s environmental performance: it looks like the engineers decided to sacrifice some of it in favor of the other capabilities — compared to the competitors, the fuel consumption was slightly higher.
The Continental PremiumContact 6 (2.2 points), which scored first place last year, did not have any prominent issues, its strong sides being crisp steering response in the wet and excellent dry braking. On the whole, this tire offers a wide safety margin in any summer weather. Low rolling resistance. The well-deserved second place.
The Kumho Ecsta PS71 tire, which occupied the third line in the final standings (2.3 points), delivered exemplary hydroplaning resistance, both straight and lateral. In other wet disciplines, it also demonstrated a quite decent performance, but its dry grip was a little weaker than that of the other «good» summer tires. The tire’s braking performance, however, was still up to the level.
Wet braking distance: almost 10 meters’ difference
Info! Wet braking in the range of 80–0 km/h.
With the Bridgestone Turanza T005 (2.5 points), everything was the other way around — it quickly brings the car to a standstill, provides crisp steering response, and demonstrate confident cornering on dry pavement, while its wet performance is nothing but average, including handling response and hydroplaning resistance. Surprisingly, the Turanza T005 turned out to be the noisiest tire on test. Another of its weak sides is the high wear.
The least expensive of these «big four» is the Kumho tire. Its average retail price in size 225/50 R17 is 108 Euro (in Germany as of the beginning of 2021), while the Continental tires are priced at 148 Euro. Thus, if you opt for the tires of this Korean brand, you may save up to 160 Euro per set.
Price-wise, the Michelin Primacy 4 (2.7 points) can hardly be considered to be much of a bargain because this is the most expensive model on test, priced at 154 Euros. On the other hand, this is one of the most wear-resistant tires, which, in addition, can be deservedly called the dry master. Without a doubt, Primacy 4 is the king of dry braking. However, in terms of handling response and hydroplaning resistance this tire showed average results, which cost it the place in the ranking. This tire occupied only the fifth line in the final standings.
Several models at once crossed the finish line with the sixth overall result: the Dunlop SportMaxx RT2, the Nexen N’Fera Sport, and the Pirelli Cinturato P7C2 (2.8 points each). Curiously, they all have something in common with the Michelin model: despite the great dry performance, their issues popped up in the wet, which ultimately devalued their total scores. At the same time, the experts mentioned the low resistance to wear of the Dunlop and the Nexen tires. The Nexen tire also turned out to be the most «fuel-hungry» one on test.
The fourth model, which scored 2.8 points, is the budget Esa+Tecar Spirit Pro. Its weak side is its dry performance, comments the tiresvote.com technical expert. Fitted with the Spirit Pro tires, the test car could not ensure any accuracy of steering response whatsoever. The rear wheels gave a delayed response, and the rear part of the car kept pushing forward during lane switching. The issues became even more prominent as the temperature of the tires increased. On wet pavement, the Esa+Tecar tire caused no complaints.
In terms of resistance to wear, the Spirit Pro was the leader.
The bottom part of the ADAC summer tire ranking 2021 largely includes tires that major manufacturers produce under subsidiary brands, having a goal to keep the clients, for whom the price of the tire is a vital consideration.
For example, Semperit, Barum, and Viking are all owned by Continental; Kleber is a subsidiary brand of Michelin’s, Sava is a Goodyear brand, and Laufenn is a Hankook subsidiary. For the sole exception of the Semperit model, which «lost it» on dry pavement, all the other models demonstrated relatively weak wet performance, but on the whole were considered to be «satisfactory».
The tenth line of the tournament bracket was scored by the above-mentioned Semperit Speed-Life 3 (2.9 points). As was already said, it definitely falls short of its rivals on dry pavement, but totally redeems itself in the wet, particularly when it comes to braking performance and handling response. An extra advantage of the Semperit Speed-Life 3 is its high resistance to wear.
The Kleber Dynaxer HP4 and the Sava Intensa UHP 2 (3.1 points each, 11th place), as well as the Giti GitiPremium H1, Laufenn S Fit EQ+ LK01 (3.3 points each, 13th place), the Barum Bravuris 5HM (3.4 points, 14th place), and the Viking ProTech NewGen (3.5 points, 16th place) have one common «headache» — poor handling response in the wet.
At the same time, if we are to examine these tires in detail, we will see that with Barum and Viking the overall picture is further spoiled by average overall results on dry pavement. The Kleber model has low fuel consumption, but just as low resistance to wear. Sava also has high wear but it’s relatively quiet. Giti and Laufenn were also punished for extra high wear. The Viking model in size 225/50 R17 turned out to be the most wear-resistant.
The outsider of the ADAC test 2021 was the Firestone Roadhawk (4.9 points). The performance of this model, produced by a Bridgestone subsidiary, could only be described as «satisfactory». As the tire heats, it instantly loses grip. On wet pavement, the grip is below average, and large cornering angles are required for effective maneuvering. To make things still worse, oftentimes when it was necessary to accelerate or brake during cornering, the tires would lose grip altogether. The low scores for handling on wet pavement ultimately undermined the overall score of the Firestone model. The tire’s low resistance to wear also wasn’t something to get excited about. The verdict returned by the ADAC testers: not recommended.