205/55R16

Auto Zeitung: Winter Tire Test R16

The experts from the German magazine tested 14 winter tire models, including a retreaded one.

List of models tested:

Preparing for the new winter tire test, the Auto Zeitung experts found more than 300 models available in size 205/55 R16 on major online platforms, so the selection was truly huge. In order to find out, which tires are worthy of your attention, and which should be avoided, the publication performed a test of 14 winter models from reputed brands, also including in the lineup the cheap Trazano model from the Chinese tire giant ZC Rubber, known for such brands as Goodride and Westlake, and a set of King-Meiler retreaded tires. The snow tests were conducted in the north of Sweden; the dry and wet tests (at relatively low temperatures) were conducted in Germany. The tires were purchased by the magazine itself and not received from the manufacturers.

Snow

 

In the snow braking tests, the tires demonstrated virtually identical performance, the difference between the worst and the best results being mere 1.6 meters. The Dunlop model turned out to be the best, while the last place was shared by the Toyo and Trazano tires, but even they were pretty fast to bring the test VW Golf to a standstill on a snow-covered track. In the traction test, the differences between the results again were insignificant, but the handling test, where not only longitudinal but also lateral grip is important, gave quite a different picture. In this discipline, first place was scored by the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 — a model that made a clean sweep of this season’s European tests — which ensured the highest level of traction. It was followed by the Continental WinterContact TS 860 and the Goodyear UltraGrip 9+, which also demonstrated quite stable performance but fell short of the Bridgestone model in terms of side slip resistance on the rear wheels. The Dunlop, Pirelli, Michelin, and Hankook models also showed quite good results, the Maxxis tire falling slightly behind, due to its relatively weak lateral stability and delayed steering response. But then again, the tires that demonstrated really poor performance were the King-Meiler and Trazano, the curious fact being that the retreaded tires provide better steering response and better traction while curving than the new tires from the Chinese brand.

Wet Surface

 

The Bridgestone tire turned out to be the only one in the test lineup that boasted the A grade for wet traction in accordance with the EU label, and its performance proved that it is fully entitled to such a high ranking. When braking from 100 km/h, these tires stopped the car after 50.9 meters, which AZ called an impressive achievement. Even the stopping distance demonstrated by the tires that came second and third — the Continental and the Michelin respectively — was almost a car’s length longer, while the retreaded King-Meiler tires needed another 14,6 meters to fully stop the car, meaning that their residual speed equaled 49,4 km/h. The retreaded tire model demonstrated poor overall wet traction, and the experts said that one should drive on such tires with extreme caution, including because of a high risk of hydroplaning.

The Bridgestone tire again dominated in this part of the test, but the Continental model also demonstrated excellent wet traction. In addition, the Goodyear, Hankook, and Michelin models also passed the tests without any issues, while the Falken and Pirelli tires did not get high scores because of disappointingly long stopping distances. The Maxxis model demonstrated an average result at best, while the Nexen, Toyo, and Trazano tires could not ensure reliable wet traction.

When tested for rolling resistance, the Fulda model brought up the classic conflict between wet traction and fuel saving performance. Yes, this specific Fulda model may help you cut down your fuel expenses, but its wet performance is relatively poor, and at the same time one must note that the Dunlop model from the same manufacturer successfully combines fuel-saving capabilities and driving safety in wet conditions.

Dry Surface

 

The best tire on dry pavement turned out to be the Toyo model, but its rigid sidewalls, which are indeed useful while cornering, at the same time compromise ride comfort. As for the retreaded King-Meiler model, the experts noted that it will not bring you any big unpleasant surprises, but it requires extra weights for balancing the wheels, and ultimately the palm of victory on dry pavement was snatched by the Bridgestone model that behaved with absolute confidence. In terms of steering response rate, this tire was almost as good as the Toyo model; it also demonstrated smooth ride, low rolling resistance, and a short braking distance. At the same time, the tire that demonstrated the shortest braking distance was the Hankook Winter i*cept RS2, which ultimately scored second place in the dry test. The Continental, Dunlop, Falken, Goodyear, Michelin, and Nexen models also perform quite effectively in such conditions, while the results by the Fulda, Pirelli, and Trazano were significantly weaker, nevertheless ensuring an acceptable level of driving safety.

Result summary

Winter tire test summary Auto Zeitung, 2020. Places 1–14
Winter tire test summary Auto Zeitung, 2020. Places 1–14. Click to enlarge.

Test Results

1st place: Bridgestone / Blizzak LM005

Quick Take
92 57

Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

Wet Performance Dry Performance Comfort Handling Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire replaced Bridgestone / Blizzak LM001 Evo
  • Available Sizes in Line: 196
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Volkswagen T-Cross
    • • Audi e-tron [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Audi A3
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    • • Volkswagen Caddy
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

  • Excellent performance and high traction in any conditions
  • Exemplary/Winner of the test

2nd place: Continental / WinterContact TS 860

Quick Take
87 64

Continental WinterContact TS 860

Wet Performance Dry Performance Handling Comfort Price/Quality Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire will be replaced by Continental / WinterContact TS 870
  • This tire replaced Continental / ContiWinterContact TS 850
  • Available Sizes in Line: 78
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Mercedes-Benz A-Class Br177 [2018 .. 2021]
    • • BMW 1 Series III (F40) [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Skoda Octavia 5E Facelift [2017 .. 2021]
    • • 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]
    • • Ford Fiesta VII [2017 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Puma J2K [2019 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Continental WinterContact TS 860

  • Well-balanced performance
  • Very good grip on wet pavement
  • Highly recommended

3rd place: Goodyear / UltraGrip 9+

Quick Take
89 43
Treadwear Comfort Dry Performance Wet Performance Handling Snow/Ice Performance
  • Available Sizes in Line: 53
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Goodyear UltraGrip 9+

  • Invariably good results in all of the disciplines
  • Great riding comfort
  • Highly recommended

4th place: Hankook / Winter i*cept RS2 W452

Quick Take
79 36

Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452

Treadwear Wet Performance Dry Performance Handling Comfort Price/Quality Snow/Ice Performance
  • 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, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Hankook Winter i*cept RS2 W452

  • Good handling response on all types of surfaces
  • Good price/quality ratio
  • Highly recommended

5th place: Michelin / Alpin 6

Quick Take
85 56
Price/Quality Wet Performance Comfort Handling Dry Performance Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire replaced Michelin / Alpin 5
  • Available Sizes in Line: 64
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Ford Puma J2K [2019 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Michelin Alpin 6

  • Good results on snow and wet pavement
  • Great riding comfort
  • Relatively weak results on dry pavement
  • High price
  • Highly recommended

6th place: Dunlop / Winter Sport 5

Quick Take
81 59
Wet Performance Handling Price/Quality Dry Performance Treadwear Comfort
  • This tire replaced Dunlop / SP Winter Sport 4D
  • Available Sizes in Line: 88
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Hyundai i30 N PD [2017 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2015
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Dunlop Winter Sport 5

  • The tire combines low rolling resistance, which affects fuel consumption, with excellent wet traction.
  • No prominent issues found
  • Highly recommended

7th place: Pirelli / Cinturato Winter

Quick Take
76 52

Pirelli Cinturato Winter

Wet Performance Price/Quality Handling Dry Performance Comfort Treadwear
  • This tire replaced ⛔ Pirelli / Winter Snow Control Series 3
  • Available Sizes in Line: 39
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Pirelli Cinturato Winter

  • Good snow performance
  • Long braking distance on wet pavement

8th place: Falken / Eurowinter HS01

Quick Take
75 43
Wet Performance Price/Quality Dry Performance Handling Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance Comfort
  • Available Sizes in Line: 300
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Falken Eurowinter HS01

  • Good results on dry pavement
  • Long braking distance on wet pavement

9th place: Maxxis / Premitra Snow WP6

Quick Take
73 40

Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6

  • Available Sizes in Line: 31
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6

  • No prominent issues found

10th place: Fulda / Kristall Control HP2

Quick Take
73 35
Dry Performance Comfort Price/Quality Handling Wet Performance Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire replaced Fulda / Kristall Control HP
  • Available Sizes in Line: 67
  • 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, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Fulda Kristall Control HP2

  • Relatively weak results on wet and dry pavement

11th place: Nexen / Winguard Snow G 3

Quick Take
N/A 29
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Nexen Winguard Snow G 3

  • Poor results on wet pavement

12th place: Toyo / Snowprox S954

Quick Take
71 33
Dry Performance Comfort Handling Treadwear Wet Performance
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Toyo Snowprox S954

  • Good results on dry pavement
  • Poor results on snow and wet pavement

13th place: Trazano SW608

  • Downright bad snow performance
  • Only average results on dry and wet pavement
  • Could not show good results in any of the disciplines

14th place: King-Meiler / Winter Tact WT81

Quick Take
N/A 5

King-Meiler Winter Tact WT81

  • Year Released: unknown
  • Regions for sale: Europe
King-Meiler Winter Tact WT81

  • Acceptable results on dry pavement
  • Very affordable price
  • Poor results on snow and wet pavement
  • Saving money on this is clearly not worth it.

Price