205/55R16

Vi Bilägare 2022: Summer Tire Test R16

The Swedes have conducted another tire test, evaluating, among other things, the performance of the so-called «green» tires.

List of models tested:

One of the things that the climate change has brought about is tougher requirements for cars, which, in accordance with the constantly updated environmental regulations, must be growing more and more eco-friendly — and car makers soon realized that one of the fastest and most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions is using tires that have lower rolling resistance. The tire makers, of course, responded to the needs of their clients, and the general widening of the segment of the so-called «green» tires has become one of the key trends on the tire market in recent years. The catch, however, is that many of tire characteristics conflict with one another — for example, reduced rolling resistance is hard to combine with effective braking performance, which is the cornerstone of ensuring driving safety.

Nevertheless, the «green» tire technologies keep on evolving, and in its next test the Swedish magazine Vi Bilägare decided to assess the capabilities of the new generation of «green» tires, including in the test the following three models: Continental EcoContact 6, Michelin e. Primacy, and Nokian Hakka Green 3. Parallel to that, the experts tested «standard» models from the same manufacturers, as well as the Bridgestone Turanza T005, Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, and the inexpensive Peltas Imperium PT515 and Toyo Proxes Comfort. The tires were tested in the popular size of 205/55 R16, which fits many cars powered by a classic internal combustion engine, and EVs as well, such as Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf and VW e-Golf.

The tires were tested using Volkswagen Golfs
The tires were tested using Volkswagen Golfs. Source: vibilagare.se

The wet tests were conducted at a test facility in Mireval, France, in mid-October at 20 degrees Celsius, and, as the VB experts shared, during the left turn made on the Michelin e. Primacy, the grip on the front wheels suddenly disappeared, and the car kept on moving in a straight line. According to the experts, there are several «critical points» on the track, where the pilot is ready for such tire behavior, but this was the first case in over four years that tires lost grip so abruptly in such a relatively easy turn, made at a relatively low speed (about 100 km/h). The eco tires also made an unpleasant surprise on a circular wet track, where usually no problems occur, but this time the car fitted with the Continental EC6 span around its axis — something that has never happened before. When it came to wet braking, the eco tires again fell significantly behind the regular ones: the braking distance demonstrated by the best «green» tires was a car’s length longer, and by the worst «green» tires almost by two cars — all this considering the fact that the braking was performed from the modest 80 km/h.

«Although car makers do favor tires that have low rolling resistance, after a week of tests, our attitude towards them became pretty skeptical, and we don’t think it’s a good idea to have them installed on your car — the VB experts noted. — The driving safety is critically compromised. If you do care about the environment, you can find economy tires that have a slightly stronger rolling resistance, yet are capable of ensuring an acceptable level of safety. Mind, we were comparing the eco tires against High Performance models, created with a focus on ride comfort, and if we had compared them against UHP tires, the difference would have been even more prominent.»

Test results

The best traction in the wet handling test was demonstrated by the Nokian HB3, followed by Toyo, while the Continental and Bridgestone are good at quick lane changes. The Continental eco tires can easily lose grip on the rear axle, while the car «fitted with the budget Petlas tires, just like with the expensive „green“ Michelin tires, slides on wet pavement like a piece of butter on a hot frying pan.»

Wet handling

Nokian
67.9
Continental
68.1
Bridgestone
68.2
Toyo
68.7
Goodyear
68.9
Michelin
69.1
Nokian Eco
69.1
Continental Eco
71.7
Michelin Eco
72.4
Petlas
72.6

Info! Lap time,sec.


The best wet braking performance was demonstrated by the «standard» Nokian and Continental models that «performed in their own class», and all the eco tires had problems — the only tire that performed even worse was the cheap Petlas.

Wet braking

Nokian
28.6
Continental
29.8
Michelin
31.3
Toyo
31.7
Bridgestone
32.0
Goodyear
33.0
Nokian Eco
33.7
Continental Eco
34.2
Michelin Eco
36.3
Petlas
38.2

Info! Braking in the range of 80–0 km/h, m.


On a circular track covered with a 1-millimeter layer of water, the first place was again scored by the Continental and Nokian, while the Toyo and Bridgestone models also demonstrated good lateral grip. At the same time, the cheap Petlas and the eco-friendly Michelin demonstrated very poor performance, while the Continental EC6 could easily send the car into a skid.

Lateral stability on wet pavement

Continental
20.5
Nokian
20.6
Bridgestone
20.7
Toyo
20.7
Goodyear
20.9
Michelin
21.0
Nokian Eco
21.2
Continental Eco
21.6
Michelin Eco
22.0
Petlas
22.1

Info! Lap time on circular track, sec.


In the straight hydroplaning test, the Michelin tires scored the first and the last place because the e. Primacy lost grip very soon, but the Primacy 4, on the other hand, was particularly good at combating the hydroplaning effect, and had a significant lead over the next pursuer.

Straight hydroplaning resistance

Michelin
84.9
Bridgestone
81.8
Nokian
81.8
Continental
81.2
Toyo
80.7
Goodyear
80.4
Nokian Eco
79.4
Petlas
78.4
Continental Eco
77.7
Michelin Eco
75.2

Info! Rate of grip loss, km/h.


The worst hydroplaning resistance in corners was demonstrated by the «green» Continental and Michelin models, as well as Petlas, the top lines in the tournament bracket being scored by Bridgestone, Michelin P4, and Toyo.

Lateral hydroplaning resistance

Continental
69.8
Nokian
68.9
Bridgestone
68.7
Toyo
67.9
Goodyear
67.3
Michelin
67.3
Nokian Eco
67.0
Continental Eco
66.6
Michelin Eco
65.4
Petlas
64.0

Info! Rate of grip loss, km/h.


On dry pavement, the best handling response, regardless of the situation, was ensured by the Continental CP6, while the Bridgestone model was quick to respond to the driver’s actions. Both Michelin models demonstrated good stability and behaved in a predictable way, while the Goodyear tire showed a good lap time but had a slightly fuzzy handling response; there were also minor gripes about stability during emergency maneuvers. (The rankings were given based on both lap time and the pilots’ subjective evaluations).

Dry handling

Continental
107.1
Bridgestone
107.6
Toyo
107.7
Goodyear
107.8
Michelin
107.8
Continental Eco
108.3
Nokian
108.3
Michelin Eco
108.4
Petlas
108.7
Nokian Eco
109.4

Info! Lap time,sec.


The dry stopping differences were not that significant, the best results being shown by the Continental CP6 and Toyo. The poorest results were shown by Petlas and the Nokian eco tire, while Goodyear and Continental EC6 could only score a «Satisfactory» verdict.

Dry braking

Continental
34.2
Toyo
35.0
Bridgestone
35.1
Nokian
35.1
Michelin
35.3
Michelin Eco
35.6
Goodyear
36.0
Continental Eco
36.3
Nokian Eco
37.5
Petlas
37.9

Info! Braking in the range of 100–0 km/h, m.


In the «fuel consumption» discipline, the measurements were performed on an oval track at a constant speed, and the best results were expectedly shown by the eco tires, yet at the same time the «standard» Goodyear model was able to surpass the Nokian Hakka Green 3.

Environment

Continental Eco
5.07
Michelin Eco
5.13
Goodyear
5.14
Nokian Eco
5.17
Bridgestone
5.24
Continental
5.26
Michelin
5.29
Toyo
5.41
Petlas
5.48
Nokian
5.49

Info! Fuel consumption, L/ 100 km.


The quietest tire on test was the Nokian HG3, which also ensured a smooth and comfortable ride on an uneven surface. The «regular» Nokian and Goodyear models were pretty quiet as well, the latter also being good at absorbing vibrations arising from driving over tarmac joints and other road inequalities. The rolling resistance was measured at a specialized stand, and, since large tread depth tends to increase it, Goodyear’s tread was sawn off down to 6.1 mm (like that of the Michelin e. Primacy), after which the tire almost matched the environmental performance of Continental and Nokian’s.

Other tests
Brand / Model Comfort (subj) Noise (subj) Rolling resistance
Bridgestone Turanza T005 2 2 7.12
Continental PremiumContact 6 2 3 8.46
Continental EcoContact 6 3 4 6.48
Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 4 4 7.15
Michelin Primacy 4 3 2 7.87
Michelin e. Primacy 3 3 5.64
Nokian Hakka Blue 3 3 4 8.23
Nokian Hakka Green 3 4 5 6.29
Petlas Imperium PT515 4 4 8.39
Toyo Proxes Comfort 3 4 8.22

RESULTS

The first place in the final standings was scored by the Continental PremiumContact 6, which demonstrated an impressive braking performance on wet and dry pavement, as well as crisp steering response and full control in emergency situations. On the downside, however, the handling response was improved at the expense of sacrificing ride comfort, and the Continental model delivered a relatively rough ride, making a fair amount of noise, which at the same time did not create any serious inconveniences.

Continental PremiumContact 6
Continental PremiumContact 6

Silver went to the newcomer of the season — the third-generation Nokian Hakka Blue — about which the experts noted that compared to its predecessor (Hakka Blue 2) it had a better balance of dry and wet performance, first of all thanks to the improvement in dry grip. One way or another, this tire still showed itself to the best advantage on a wet track, where it had the shortest stopping distance on test, logical behavior, and stable grip on the rear axle, even during high-speed cornering. At the same time, the Nokian model lost a few points in the hydroplaning resistance test, and it had a rather high rolling resistance.

Nokian Hakka Blue 3
Nokian Hakka Blue 3

Third-placed was the Bridgestone Turanza T005, which successfully combines good handling performance and low fuel consumption. According to the testers, this tire allows you to perform a sharp detour of an obstacle without significant oversteer, it generally behaves in a very neutral way, and despite the quick response to the driver’s actions, the grip of the rear wheels remains stable even under high loads. The Bridgestone model was quick to stop the car, ensuring excellent stability at highway speeds on dry pavement, while on the wet track it was also one of the best. All of the downsides of this tire had to do with ride comfort — a low-frequency noise appears on uneven pavement, and this Bridgestone tire also feels pretty rough when hitting the joints in the tarmac.

Bridgestone Turanza T005
Bridgestone Turanza T005

The leaders were closely followed by the Toyo Proxes Sport, which came to replace the Toyo Proxes CF2 model, and belongs to a lower price bracket than the tires in the top lines of the tournament bracket. Even though the Toyo tires are less expensive, they often scored top places in independent tests — they have a good braking performance and lateral stability, as well as well-balanced behavior under loads in any conditions, even though some of Toyo tires are better at tackling emergency maneuvers at high speeds. This particular Toyo model had a good hydroplaning resistance, especially in corners; it was very quiet on an even surface, which grew a bit louder on rougher tarmac.

Toyo Proxes Sport
Toyo Proxes Sport

Next was the Michelin Primacy 4, which behaves predictably in any conditions, delivers a crisp steering response, and ensures good overall stability. In addition, the Michelin tire keeps up logical handling performance on the grip threshold, and is good at tackling emergency maneuvers. It also effectively combats the hydroplaning effect. On the downside, this Michelin model is rather loud on uneven surfaces.

Michelin Primacy 4
Michelin Primacy 4

The Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, which in last year’s VB test of 17-inch tires scored second place, came only sixth this time around. According to the experts, this tire’s wet grip was pretty good, but the steering precision had room for improvement, and it was hard to make the car follow the desired trajectory under loads. On dry pavement, the Goodyear tire was not terribly good at tackling emergency maneuvers, and it had a less-than-perfect braking performance. At the same time, the Goodyear model did have its strong points, such as low noise on uneven surfaces, and its environmental performance matched that of eco tires — combined with a much higher level of safety.

Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2
Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2

The Nokian Hakka Green 3, which came seventh, has the deepest tread of all the tested «green» tires, and it surpassed its «eco mates» on wet pavement. Its braking distance was also pretty long, but its handling response and lateral stability turned out to be quite palatable, and the tire’s overall performance seems to be quite well-balanced, with a slight bias to understeer. In addition, the Nokian tire gave good feedback through the steering wheel when on the grip threshold. On dry pavement, the situation got worse, and the Nokian tire demonstrated long braking distances and weak lateral grip. On the upside, however, the Hakka Green 3 was recognized to be the quietest tire on test. The VB experts added that by the «green» standards the Nokian tire’s rolling resistance was not low enough, and in the environmental test it performed worse than «regular» tires.

Nokian Hakka Green 3
Nokian Hakka Green 3

Only eighth place was scored by the Continental EcoContact 6, which had an obviously weak wet traction and was prone to skidding on the rear axle. In addition, the stopping distance when braking from 80 km/h was more than 4 meters longer than that of the PremiumContact 6, the difference growing as the speed increased. With its shallow grooves (6.7 mm) the «green» Continental tire also offers little resistance to hydroplaning, and shows average results on dry pavement (even though it was pretty stable at high speeds). In the fuel consumption test, the «green» Continental tire scored first place. It also offers a smooth and comfortable ride, but these things are not enough to compensate for poor grip, the experts emphasized.

Continental EcoContact 6
Continental EcoContact 6

In the lab tests, the Michelin e. Primacy demonstrated the lowest rolling resistance on test, but in the fuel consumption test it was second to the Continental model. According to the testers, in comparison to the Primacy 4 model, its «green» counterpart had a more precise steering response, and better stability at highway speeds — possibly, this has to do with the fact that this tire was designed for heavier EVs, and it has an uncommonly shallow tread depth of mere 6.1 mm. At the same time, however, the overall dry grip of the e. Primacy model is worse than that of the Primacy 4, while on wet pavement the difference becomes just huge — the «green» tire scored low points due to poor grip in corners, low hydroplaning resistance, and dangerously long stopping distances.

Michelin e.Primacy
Michelin e.Primacy

The «green» Michelin tire would have come last, had it not been successfully «saved» from that prospect by the Turkish Petlas Imperium PT515, which was one of the cheapest tires that the test experts could lay their hands on. At the same time, the testers said that this model could by no means be considered to be an alternative to premium products. «This is just a waste of money!» — the VB experts said, adding that the Petlas wet braking distance when braking from 80 km/h was almost 10 meters longer than that of the best tires. Problems also arose during emergency maneuvers due to the fact that the Petlas tires could not tackle lateral loads, and the car was hard to control; on the wet track, the tire was prone to understeer at the beginning of the maneuver and to oversteer at the end of it. «Budget tires are often installed on old cheap cars with a low level of collision safety, and this combination can be really fatal» — the experts noted.

Result summary. 2022 Vi Bilägare Summer Tire Test — 205/55R16 Places 1–10.
Result summary. 2022 Vi Bilägare Summer Tire Test — 205/55R16 Places 1–10. (click to enlarge)

1st place: Continental / PremiumContact 6

Quick Take
88 73

Continental PremiumContact 6

Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Handling Comfort Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Continental / ContiPremiumContact 5
  • Available Sizes in Line: 264
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Toyota C-HR Facelift [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Br205 [2015 .. 2021]
    • • BMW 3 Series VII (G20/G21) [2018 .. 2023]
    • • BMW 5 Series VII (G30/G31) Facelift [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Mazda CX-5 KF [2016 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Kuga III (CX482) [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Renault Koleos II (HC) [2016 .. 2020]
    • • Subaru Forester SK [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Renault Megane IV (9A) [2016 .. 2022]
    • • Volvo XC40 I [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Skoda Superb III B8 (3V) Facelift [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Volvo V60 Cross Country II [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Mercedes-Benz X-Class D23 [2017 .. 2020]
    • • Audi A6 C8 [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Volvo S60 III [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Renault Alaskan D23 [2016 .. 2020]
    • • Volvo V60 II [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Jaguar I-Pace [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Fiesta VII [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Mustang Mach-E [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Porsche Taycan I [2020 .. 2023]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, Japan, Middle East, Oceania
Continental PremiumContact 6

  • Short braking distance and high lateral stability in any conditions
  • High level of driving safety
  • A slightly reduced ride comfort

2nd place: Nokian / Hakka Blue 3

Quick Take
N/A 22
  • Year Released: 2021
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Nokian Hakka Blue 3

  • Good grip on wet pavement
  • Excellent control on the grip threshold
  • Low noise level on uneven surfaces
  • Relatively high fuel consumption

3rd place: Bridgestone / Turanza T005

Quick Take
83 65

Bridgestone Turanza T005

Price/Quality Dry Performance Handling Wet Performance Comfort Treadwear
  • This tire has run-flat model:
  • Available Sizes in Line: 238
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Audi A7 4K8 [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Volkswagen Tiguan
    • • Volkswagen Caddy V [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Skoda Superb
    • • Volkswagen Transporter
    • • Jeep Renegade
    • • Renault Captur
    • • Nissan Juke
    • • Ford Kuga
    • • Nissan Micra
    • • Volkswagen T-Roc I (A11/AC7) [2017 .. 2023]
    • • BMW 1 Series
    • • BMW 3 Series
    • • BMW 8 Series
    • • MINI Clubman
    • • Audi A6
    • • Audi A3
    • • Audi SQ2 GA [2019 .. 2020]
    • • Audi A1
    • • Audi A4
    • • Audi A5
    • • Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz A-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz B-Class
    • • Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    • • MINI Countryman
    • • BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer
    • • Lexus LC Z100 [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Lexus LS
    • • Lexus ES
    • • Mazda Mazda6
    • • Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
    • • Toyota Camry
    • • Volkswagen Polo
    • • Volkswagen Golf
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: North America, Central & South America, Europe, Russia+, China, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, Oceania
Bridgestone Turanza T005

  • Crisp steering response (brings lots of driving pleasure)
  • Rough ride on uneven surfaces
  • High noise emission

4th place: Toyo / Proxes Comfort

Quick Take
74 46
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Toyo Proxes Comfort

  • Excellent grip in any conditions
  • High lateral hydroplaning resistance
  • Relatively high fuel consumption

5th place: Michelin / Primacy 4

Quick Take
85 63
Comfort Dry Performance Wet Performance Price/Quality Handling Treadwear
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Regions for sale: Mexico, Central & South America, Europe, Russia+, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Oceania
Michelin Primacy 4

  • Logical behavior and easy handling response
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Insufficient grip on wet pavement
  • Low noise emission

6th place: Goodyear / EfficientGrip Performance 2

Quick Take
87 65

Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2

Price/Quality Wet Performance Comfort Dry Performance Handling Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Goodyear / EfficientGrip Performance
  • Available Sizes in Line: 63
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Toyota Yaris Cross XP210 [2020 .. 2023]
    • • BMW iX [2021 .. 2023]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+, China, Southeast Asia, Middle East
Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2

  • Great riding comfort
  • Low rolling resistance
  • Attractive price
  • Fuzzy steering response

7th place: Nokian / Hakka Green 3

Quick Take
N/A 30

Nokian Hakka Green 3

Handling Treadwear Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Nokian Hakka Green 3

  • Quiet
  • Good wet grip by «green» tire standards
  • Long braking distance on wet and dry pavements
  • High price

8th place: Continental / EcoContact 6

Quick Take
69 59

Continental EcoContact 6

Dry Performance Comfort Price/Quality Handling Wet Performance Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire has been replaced by Continental / EcoContact 6Q
  • This tire replaced Continental / ContiEcoContact 5
  • Available Sizes in Line: 175
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Volvo XC40 I [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Volkswagen Passat Variant B8 Facelift [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Jaguar XE X760 Facelift [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Volvo V60 II [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Fiesta VII [2017 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Focus IV (C519) [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Focus Active IV [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Puma II (J2K) [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Ford Kuga III (CX482) [2019 .. 2023]
    • • BMW 4 Series G22/G23/G26 [2020 .. 2023]
    • • Peugeot 2008 II (P24) [2019 .. 2023]
    • • Opel Mokka II [2020 .. 2023]
    • • DS DS 3 Crossback EMP1 [2018 .. 2023]
    • • Nio ET7 [2021 .. 2023]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, East Asia, Middle East, South Africa, Oceania
Continental EcoContact 6

  • Low fuel consumption
  • Great riding comfort
  • Weak grip on wet pavement
  • Long braking distance on wet and dry pavements
  • Handling response not good enough

9th place: Michelin / e.Primacy

Quick Take
N/A 39
Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Handling Treadwear Comfort
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+, Japan, Oceania
Michelin e.Primacy

  • Low rolling resistance
  • Good road holding ability
  • Good steering response
  • Dangerously weak grip and a long braking distance on wet pavement

10th place: Petlas / Imperium PT515

Quick Take
64 19

Petlas Imperium PT515

Dry Performance Treadwear Handling Price/Quality Comfort Wet Performance
  • Available Sizes in Line: 37
  • Year Released: 2012
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Petlas Imperium PT515

  • Good vibration absorption and low noise emission on uneven surfaces
  • Insufficient handling response in emergency situations
  • Long braking distance on wet and dry pavements
  • Not recommended

Price