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2021 ADAC TCS summer tyres test: the best tyres in size 205/55 R16

The German ADAC and the Swiss Touring Club have compared 15 summer tyres in the very popular 205/55 R16 size for city, compact and small passenger cars. Three tyres stand out, although it’s a pity that Michelin did not take part in the test.

Test of summer tyres in 205/55 R16: comparison of the best 2021 summer tyres

© ADAC

15 summer tyres compared

With the good weather set to return, it will soon be time to fit summer tyres. With their 2021 test and comparison, ADAC and the Swiss Touring Club (TCS) will help you choose your new summer tyres. The two automobile associations chose the size 205/55 R16, one of the most popular sizes on the market, for cars such as the Audi A3, BMW 1, 2 and 3 Series, Citroën C3; C4, Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, VW Golf, and many more.

14 standard tyres were selected for this test as well as a retreaded tyre. Strangely, ADAC and TCS did not include the Michelin Primacy 4 in this comparison test. The reason seems to be that they received a special version of the tyre that was not representative of the regular Primacy 4 performances. A pity, as it would have been a serious contender in the best summer tyres race. The following products were selected: 

Summer tyres test in 205/55 16: fitting tyres for the comparison test

© ADAC

Retreaded tyres included in the summer tyre test

Retreading is an economical option which extends the service life of a tyre and offers a satisfactory alternative. The King Meiler Sport 1, a retreaded tyre selected in the size 205/55 R16 for this test, is however not on a par with the other tyres. It only obtains the “adequate” rating. In dry conditions, it has the second longest braking distance. When driving on dry surfaces, the King Meiler tyre has a slow response and is imprecise when cornering. The same problem arises on wet surfaces where it has a low resistance to aquaplaning.

11 “satisfactory” summer tyres

The Petlas Imperium PT515 does the job, particularly with regard to longevity, estimated to be about 42,000 kilometres, and its low fuel consumption. Yet, it does not manage to convince ADAC and TCS with its performances in terms of safety, whether in wet or dry conditions. It is downgraded in the test due to its low grip and braking distances which are too long on all surfaces.

Still in the size 205/55 R16, the Maxxis Premitra 5, Nokian Wetproof, Uniroyal RainSport 5 and Pirelli Cinturato P7 C2 summer tyres deliver balanced performances whether in dry or wet conditions. They only obtain the “satisfactory” rating due to their longevity which is below average. All of these tyres reach the wear limit in less than 25,000 kilometres, which is less than half of the best tyre of the comparison test in this category.

Summer tyre test 205/55 R16: wet braking

© ADAC

Note that in this test, the Maxxis Premitra 5 is the tyre that delivers the best performances on dry roads while offering satisfactory performances in wet conditions. The same goes for the Nokian and Pirelli summer tyres which are perfectly suitable for low mileage drivers.

Due to some weaknesses on wet surfaces, the Apollo Alnac 4G, Hankook Ventus Prime 3 K125, Fulda EcoControl HP2 and BF Goodrich Advantage summer tyres in the size 205/55 R16 are downgraded. The latter three provide good performances in dry conditions. This is particularly true for the Hankook tyre, ranked just behind the Maxxis tyre on this surface, which offers good steering precision and grip.

Summer tyres test in 205/55 R16: comparison of handling performances

© ADAC

Good on wet surfaces, the Kumho Ecsta HS51 and the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 are the best summer tyres amongst those considered to be “satisfactory”. They are only a whisker away from moving up a category. Their drawbacks can be found in dry conditions where handling is sometimes imprecise on this surface. Note that the Goodyear tyre has the highest longevity, estimated at more than 55,000 km for the 205/55 R16 size. That is 12,000 kilometres more than the second-best tyre in the category!

A top 3 with well-balanced summer tyres

The 3 best summer tyres of this test are very similar, offering a well-balanced performance and a wear life of 33,000 kilometres. The Bridgestone Turanza T005 is impressive on wet and dry roads with short braking distances and a low rolling resistance. But it is the Continental and Semperit (part of the Continental group) duo which are the best summer tyres of this 2021 comparison test for the size 205/55 R16. Both offer very balanced performances, particularly on wet roads. Although the Continental PremiumContact 6 is slightly ahead on this surface, its fuel consumption is higher than the Semperit Speed-Life 3, which also has a more attractive price.

Details of the scores can be found on the ADAC website (in German).

Top 5 summer tyres in the size 205 55 R16

                           +

                   -

1= Continental PremiumContact 6

The best on wet roads

Fuel consumption

1= Semperit Speed-Life 3

Attractive price, balanced performances

3 - Bridgestone Turanza T005

Well-balanced, low fuel consumption

Noise

4= Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2

Very high longevity, good in the wet

Dry handling

4= Kumho Ecsta HS51

Fuel consumption, good in the wet

Dry handling

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