Tires made for such cars as Seat Ibiza or VW Polo rarely attract the attention of the independent industry media, which is a pity. Tires of the mass-market sizes, such as 195/55 R16, must ensure a high degree of driving safety just as surely as tires with larger fitting diameters. Otherwise, even the best onboard electronics will not be able to control their behavior in emergency situations.
The expert team of the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport decided to remedy this situation by conducting a test of summer tires 2021 in size 195/55 R16.
The market offers a huge selection of tires, particularly in this popular size. Regretfully, no single expert team will ever be able to test all of them, and the choice will become even more difficult if you decide to cover every price bracket.
Nevertheless, the choice was made, and the test ultimately involved six premium models, four models from the medium price segment, and one budget development, which resulted in a 70% difference between prices for the most expensive model and the most affordable one (111 and 65 Euro per tire respectively).
By the way, this is already a third publication (after ADAC and Auto Bild), which in 2021, after a series of tests of tires of bigger sizes has finally paid close attention to the mass-market sizes of summer tires with a 16-inch fitting diameter.
List of models tested:
- BFGoodrich Advantage
- Bridgestone Turanza T005
- Continental ContiPremiumContact 5
- Falken Ziex ZE310 Ecorun
- Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2
- Hankook K435 Kinergy Eco 2
- Michelin Primacy 4
- Nokian Wetproof
- Pirelli Cinturato P1 Verde
- Toyo Proxes Comfort
All of the test disciplines were conducted at the Contidrom test facility. The test cars were the already mentioned Seat Ibiza and VW Polo.
As a rule, a lot of importance is attached to wet braking performance of summer tires, and here the Michelin Primacy 4 turned out to be head and shoulders above the competition because it demonstrated the best braking performance not only in the wet, but in the dry as well.
In addition, it has good fuel saving capabilities, and ensures great handling response and driving safety even at high speeds. «The best on test» was the verdict returned by the experts, even in spite of some minor issues with hydroplaning resistance. The product definitely stands out against the competition.
There is a catch, though, and that is the tire’s high price. For example, for the 2.5% difference in wet braking efficiency you will have to pay 65% more in comparison with the Maxxis tire, which came second in this discipline with a gap of 0.9m.
The Bridgestone Turanza T005 model became number two in the AMS test, and was described as a «precise, stable, and safe even during cornering, fuel-efficient universal tire».
Just as the leader, this tire had issues with hydroplaning resistance: the experts emphasized that the Bridgestone T005 is scared of deep water, and driving on these tires in the rain must be avoided. Yet another limitation that this tire has in common with the Michelin model is the second-highest price on test.
To perform up to its name, the Nokian Wetproof was supposed to demonstrate exemplary performance in all of the wet disciplines. Alas, the wet braking test turned out to be an embarrassment. This, however, did not stop this tire from getting a good overall wet score thanks to its adequate handling performance and good hydroplaning resistance. The Wetproof’s dry grip turned out to be a little bit weaker. Also, this model demonstrated average ride comfort and increased rolling resistance.
One way or another, the Nokian and Bridgestone models shared second place, scoring the «very good» verdict together with the Michelin tire.
Six summer tires at once scored a «good» verdict. The leadership in this subgroup was captured by the model with a long name of Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2. It delivers good riding comfort and ensures crisp steering response. The only «average» problem with this tire is its braking performance. «Slightly increased braking distances on wet and dry roads» — says the test report.
Great results on wet pavement were shown by the Continental ContiPremiumContact 5, where it demonstrated an exceptionally balanced performance. However, due to average ride comfort combined with less-than-perfect dry handling and dry braking, this model only scored fifth place. But then again, on the other hand, the very fact that this model is still available retail is pretty strange because its replacement — the Continental PremiumContact 6 — was launched five years ago.
The sixth line of the ranking of 195/55 R16 summer tires 2021 was shared by the cheapest tires on test, the Maxxis Premitra 5 and the BFGoodrich Advantage. The former was able to avoid serious mistakes, even though the experts did note a relatively long braking distance and the fact that this tire was prone to oversteer, otherwise providing accurate handling response on wet pavement.
As for the BFGoodrich Advantage, the test experts somehow limited themselves to reporting «well-balanced overall performance».
The low noise emission and high fuel efficiency of the Hankook Kinergy Eco 2 K435 tire were clearly achieved at the price of compromising traction, especially on wet surfaces. Hence, nobody was surprised at its eighth place.
The ninth line in the final standings was occupied by the Falken Ziex ZE310 Ecorun. This tire completed the «good» bracket, even though, if we take a look at its achievements in each of the disciplines, we will see that this tire could be more adequately rated as just above satisfactory, note the technical expert of tiresvote.com. At the same time, its straight and lateral hydroplaning resistance is a highlight. None of its premium-class rivals could match the achievements of the ZE310 in this area.
At the bottom of the 195/55 R16 summer tire ranking
The Pirelli Cinturato P1 Verde tire ended up almost at the very bottom of the tournament bracket, which, without any doubt, will disappoint fans of this famous brand. However, considering the poor overall braking performance of this model, the verdict «Satisfactory» sounds for it almost like praise. Consistently poor results in all of the disciplines without a single exception. Tenth place.
The weakest braking results on test, and poor overall wet performance (for the sole exception of lateral stability) account for the last place scored by the Toyo Proxes Comfort model. The list of its issues also includes increased rolling resistance, delayed steering response on dry pavement, and average ride comfort. Still, all of these things did not turn out to be enough to completely disappoint the test team, who said that the tire’s performance was «still acceptable».
Although the Auto Motor und Sport test experts did not denounce any of the tires as «bad», we should still remember that the best of the 11 tested sets belonged to the premium segment. For small cars, they offer the highest level of safety, even if with some compromises, as is the case with the Goodyear and Continental tire models.