Snow, ice, wet or dry pavement… not every winter tire can handle such a «package deal». The new test conducted by the German motoring association ADAC throws some light on which of winter tires are safer to drive upon. For the winter season 2021/2022, a total of 34 tire sets were tested: 16 sets in size 195/65 R15, and 18 sets in size 225/50 R17.
The ADAC winter tire test 2021, about which we are writing in this article, was not conducted in size 195/65 R15 by chance. This is still one of the best-selling sizes in Germany. This tire size fits compact passenger cars, such as Opel Astra and VW Golf. The latter, incidentally, was used as a test car. The actual disciplines were conducted at a test facility in Ivalo, Finland.
List of winter models tested:
- Barum Polaris 5
- BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
- Continental WinterContact TS 860
- Dunlop Winter Response 2
- Falken Eurowinter HS01
- General Altimax Winter 3
- Goodyear UltraGrip 9+
- GT Radial Winterpro 2
- Kumho WinterCraft WP51
- Laufenn i FIT+ LW31+
- Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6
- Michelin Alpin 6
- Nokian WR Snowproof
- Vredestein Wintrac
- Yokohama BluEarth*Winter V906
In the whole, the results of testing the 15-inch tires left the ADAC expert team satisfied: only one model scored a «Conditionally recommended» verdict, the others being divided into two camps of «good» and «satisfactory».
The testers are stressing once again that you should not be scared of mid-class tires (usually coming at less expensive prices than the premium brands). These tires may also be recommended for operation, the difference being that you need to make a smart choice, taking into account the weather specifics of the region where you are most likely to be driving.
Virtually none of the members of the test showed poor performance either on ice or on snow. Based on these criteria, all of the tires scored high points, just as they did in the fuel efficiency test. There were minor gripes about wet and dry performance, but again, nothing critical.
The average expected mileage of all the tested models turned out to be not very high — about 27,300 km. The best result was shown by the Michelin tire (34,400 km), and the worst by Maxxis (21,800 km).
Four leaders with an excellently balanced performance
Four winter models in size 195/65 R15 received a «Good» verdict from ADAC. These are the Goodyear UltraGrip 9+ and Dunlop Winter Response 2 (2.2 points each), which shared the first place, and the Vredestein Wintrac and Michelin Alpin 6 (2.3 points each), which both became the bronze prize winners. The high points scored by these tires are due to the perfectly balanced performance by all the major criteria. Nevertheless, it is worth your while to take a look at the detailed scores because they may focus your attention on some rather important details.
With an equally good performance of the two leaders on ice, the Dunlop tires are better on dry pavement, and are better fuel savers, while the Goodyear tires are great on wet surfaces.
As always, the Michelin tires showed themselves to the best advantage in terms of resistance to wear, at the same time demonstrating the best overall result on dry pavement. If you are one of those drivers who care about the economic/environmental performance of your rubber, make sure to check out Vredestein tires. The Vredestein model had the lowest fuel consumption on test, combined with high resistance to wear.
Tires with a satisfactory performance
The BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2 (2.6 points) and the Continental WinterContact TS 860 (2.7 points) «propped up» the winner pedestal. They both fell short of receiving a good overall score because of devaluation in one of the main criteria. Both demonstrated good results in wear resistance tests, and both were good on ice and snow.
On dry and wet pavement, however, they behave in diametrically opposite ways: while the BFGoodrich model is quite impressive on dry pavement thanks to its high precision and a good handling response on the verge of losing grip, its wet performance was just not good enough for getting a high ranking. Fifth place.
- Year Released: 2016
- Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
At the same time, the Continental model, in spite of the best overall score on wet pavement, had minor issues in the dry: the driver will lack steering response and feedback through the wheel. A well-deserved sixth line in the final ranking.
In the future ADAC test, the German tire giant already has quite a specific task of proving that the «belated newcomer» WinterContact TS 870, which has already been launched on the market, these issues have been addressed. And, getting ahead of our story, we will tell you at once that in the first independent tests of the 2021/2022 season this model still did not become an absolute leader.
The next four tires in the tournament bracket have one thing in common, says the tiresvote technical expert: only average results in the wear resistance test, even though the test group had no complaints whatsoever about their performance by the main criteria. They all scored 3.0 points each, and shared the seventh line in the final standings.
The Blizzak LM005 offers rather good dry performance, at the same time having the best result in the dry. However, in addition to low wear, their snow performance also did not provide any grounds for high scores.
The Falken Eurowinter HS01 demonstrated an adequate dry performance, and was good on snow and ice, but on wet pavement it looked weaker than the competition.
The Laufenn i FIT+ LW31+ model (a subsidiary of Hankook) was nothing special on dry pavement, but things really improved in the wet, and the tire showed itself to the best advantage on snow and ice.
The Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6 can boast good results not just on dry pavement but also on wet and icy roads. On snow, however, the performance of this model was not enough to earn it a good overall score in the test.
For the remaining five «satisfactory» tires, the devaluation of the overall score was due to their individual issues in handling performance. The Yokohama BluEarth*Winter V906, which scored the 11th place (3.1 points) is quite impressive on dry pavement, snow and ice, yet, at the same time it is quite obvious that its wet performance and resistance to wear have room for improvement.
The Barum Polaris (3.2 points, twelfth place) did show good snow and ice performance, but on tarmac (wet and dry alike) this tire was nothing above average.
In the case of the Nokian WR Snowproof (3.3 points) with good results by all major criteria, issues were found on wet pavement. Number thirteen.
The overall scores of the General Tire Altimax Winter 3 and GT Radial Winterpro 2 (3.5 scores each) were devalued due to weak wet grip. And this is only fair: their overall score is on the verge of the «satisfactory» range. The fourteenth and fifteenth lines in the tournament bracket respectively.
Not bad, but average
Due to a relatively poor dry performance, the Kumho Wintercraft WP51 model (3.6 points), the only one on test, was rated as «average». The outsiders of the test.
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.