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2021 The 10 best summer tyres in 205 55 R16 by Auto Express

Auto Express has published its latest comparison test of the best summer tyres. For this 2021 tyre test, the 205/55 R16 size, compatible with numerous medium-sized vehicles, was selected. 10 tyres were tested in a somewhat special edition due to Covid-19 restrictions.

2021 Best summer tyres: test and comparison of tyres by Auto Express

© Auto Express

2021 Best summer tyres: an edition like no other

2020 has shaken many lines of business throughout the world, the tyre market is no exception and neither are tyre tests. Depending on the country, the restrictions in place have forced Auto Express to conduct its 2020/2021 comparison test differently. Result: a “same, but different” test, as the magazine rightly says. While track handling tests were carried out by Auto Express to compare the best summer tyres, the braking, aquaplaning and rolling noise measurements were taken by Goodyear staff at its test centres at Mireval, France and in Luxembourg. 

As for the tested tyres, Auto Express selected 10. Although Hankook did not take part in this test, the South Korean group was present with its sub-brand, Laufenn.

2021 best summer tyres: test and comparison of tyres in the Auto Express workshop

© Auto Express

2021 Best summer tyres: no bad ones

The harsh reality of tests and other comparisons means there must be winners and losers in a frozen ranking. It is even crueller when it comes to tyres and their performances which cannot be reduced to “good or bad”, and yet, results can be “misleading” when reading the final ranking. 

The best summer tyres tested by Auto Express are all rated A or B for wet braking on the performance label in the size 205/55 R16; a first guarantee of the safety and quality of these products. The magazine even admitted that it is the closest comparison test it has ever conducted. For overall performance, the lowest rated tyre is only 2% behind the best tyre.

The Pirelli Cinturato P7 C2 and Falken Ziex ZE310 Ecorun are outdistanced by the best summer tyres without being far behind. The gap widens with their slightly longer braking distances, particularly in dry conditions and a relatively high rolling resistance. Nevertheless, they are amongst the best for aquaplaning resistance.

2021 best summer tyres: test and comparison of tyre braking performance by Auto Express

© Auto Express

Likewise, for the Dunlop Sport BluResponse, the oldest tyre in this test since it was first launched in 2013. Sporty in dry conditions, it started to show its weaknesses on a wet track. However, it still has an excellent performance ratio at a price that has become very reasonable over the years.

Although one of the best summer tyres in dry conditions, with short braking distances and sporty handling, in this comparison test, the Continental PremiumContact 6 did not prove to be as well balanced on wet surfaces. Despite delivering the shortest braking distance on this surface, its wet handling was less inspiring, and sometimes lacked responsiveness. Its fuel consumption was also relatively high and results for aquaplaning resistance were average. 

Not as well-known as the other brands in this comparison test, the Laufenn tyre did not leave a lasting impression with Auto Express. Its S Fit EQ+ delivered the shortest dry braking distance and finished third in the wet braking test. Even if its other performances did not prove to as exceptional in handling tests, it still remains a good tyre at a very attractive price. 

In a different style but just as efficient, the Bridgestone Turanza T005 tyre is more focused on driving comfort and economy. Over the long term, its relatively high price is justified by a very low rolling resistance. This bias penalises its wet braking performance where the gap with the best tyres can be felt but without the stopping distance being much longer.

Paradoxically, in this comparison test, its handling is the most efficient on this surface, delivering good grip despite a total lack of sportiness. 

The Maxxis Premitra 5 HP5 has set the focus on handling. It comes close to a podium finish in this test with very good results in dry and wet conditions and a surprising balance. The Taiwanese tyre manufacturer pays for this slant at the pump due to its slightly high rolling resistance.

2021 best summer tyres: test and comparison, fitting tyres by Auto Express

© Auto Express

2021 Best summer tyres: a closely matched top 3

The Nokian Wetproof is what its name says. Although never one of the best summer tyres in a test category, it achieves very good results on wet surfaces. In handling tests it never surprised the Auto Express drivers, delivering constant grip, even when cornering. Just behind in dry conditions, it is by no means a bad tyre but was slightly outpaced by the other tyres. Finally, its consistency and balanced performances are what allows it to rank as highly.

The Michelin Primacy 4 and the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 were neck and neck for first place. Finally, the Goodyear tyre was rated the best summer tyre, according to Auto Express. 

Although the Michelin tyre was more balanced in wet conditions and the top overall performer on this surface, it did not win any of these categories in the comparison test. Its good grip allowed the driver to accelerate well before the other tyres when cornering. It just lacked a bit more performance in dry conditions to win this comparison test.

For the brand new EfficientGrip Performance 2, Goodyear has placed the focus on longevity. Although not rated in this test, it remains a strong argument in the choice of tyres. If this criterion, combined with a low rolling resistance, is often at the expense of performance in wet conditions, the American tyre manufacturer has been able to balance its tyre. 

It managed to deliver a high level of safety, without being the best. It demonstrated all of the brands’ expertise in dry conditions, ranking among the best summer tyres with very short braking distances and the best handling results. Although not as sporty as the Continental tyre on this surface, this can be explained by its fuel consumption which is much lower than the other tyres.

Auto Express:2021 Top 5 best summer tyres

                                +

                 -

1 - Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2

Dry handling, fuel consumption, comfort

Aquaplaning

2 - Michelin Primacy 4

Wet conditions

Dry braking

3 - Nokian Wetproof

Wet conditions

Dry conditions

4 - Maxxis Premitra 5 HP5

Wet handling, aquaplaning, dry surfaces

Fuel consumption, noise

5 - Bridgestone Turanza T005

Wet handling, consumption

Wet braking

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