European motoring clubs ADAC, TCS and ÖAMTC have evaluated 16 winter tyres in size 205/60 R16, a dimension primarily worn by smaller SUVs. The test team fitted the tyres to a VW T-Roc and appraised their performance in dry, wet and wintry conditions as well as for environmental and sustainability-related factors such as noise, wear and rolling resistance.
In its report of this test, Germany’s ADAC awards seven tyres a ‘good’ rating – none of the tested tyres gain the highest rating of ‘very good’ – and rates a further seven as ‘satisfactory’. ADAC also considers two tyres ‘deficient’ and advises against these.
The test team considered seven tyres to be “very balanced” in both driving safety (which contributed 70% towards the final score) and environmental impact (30%) and recommends these “without reservation.” Each of the tyres has slightly differing strengths, and ADAC stresses that “depending on your personal driving profile, this can be crucial when choosing tyres.”
For example, drivers who frequently travel on motorways might prioritise comfort on dry roads, and the testers only gave two of the seven tyres a good rating for performance in dry conditions. These are the Dunlop Winter Sport 5 and Michelin Alpin 6, which are also joint winners of this 205/60 R16 test. Both provide the driver with good feedback, are composed in a straight line and handle changes in direction stably and predictably. In addition, these two achieve the highest mileage potential among the seven tyres.
In the wet, the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 sets the standard with the shortest braking distance, closely followed by the Firestone Winterhawk 4 and Goodyear UltraGrip 9+.
Should winter driving involve more than the occasional snowy or icy road, ADAC considers the Hankook Winter i*cept RS3 to be “the perfect choice.” The association adds that the Continental TS 870 P is “balanced somewhere in the middle” with good performance in all disciplines, but no category-topping results.
Mick Jagger famously sang that he couldn’t get no satisfaction, but in this test of size 205/60 R16 winter tyres there are no less than seven products that could have scratched his itch. Five of these tyres actually achieved a ‘good’ rating for environmental performance but were bumped down a grade due to their results in the driving safety tests.
According to the ADAC, the Kleber Krisalp HP3, Barum Polaris 5, Vredestein Wintrac and Uniroyal WinterExpert display shortcomings on dry roads.
The BFGoodrich G-Force Winter 2, the Fulda Kristall Control HP2, the Kleber, the Barum and the Uniroyal were weaker in the wet – especially in winter. Their wet handling was not on par with most tested tyres and resulted in issues such as understeer or oversteer, an earlier loss of grip when accelerating and slightly longer braking distances.
On winter roads, the Falken Eurowinter HS02 and the Barum Polaris failed to shing and did not achieve more than a satisfactory result.
When it comes to mileage, the Fulda tyre delivered the best result (56,000 kilometres) while the Uniroyal offered the lowest predicted mileage amongst the seven satisfactory tyres (37,000 kilometres).
In its German-language test coverage, ADAC names two tyres as ‘mangelhaft’. We translated this as deficient, but unsatisfactory or inadequate were amongst the recommended alternatives. Whichever word we choose, the implication isn’t good – and the motoring association makes this explicit by stating that “the ADAC engineers expressly advise against purchasing two models due to their weaknesses when it comes to driving safety.”
These tyres are the Lassa Snoways 4 and Austone Athena SP-901. Although ADAC rates the Lassa Snoways good on dry and wet roads, its handling performance on snow-covered roads is poor compared to its competitors.
Conversely, the Austone tyre secured the best score on snow-covered roads but did not get beyond adequate on dry roads and gained a deficient rating on wet roads. This low score in the wet is mainly due to poor handling properties, but the Athena SP-901 also had the longest wet braking distances and worst aquaplaning properties. ADAC shares that by the time the top-performing Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 had come to a complete stop from 80km/h in the wet, the Austone tyre was still travelling at just under 40km/h. “One can only hope that no kindergarten group is crossing the street at that moment,” comments ADAC.