The German magazine Auto Bild has tested and compared 53 summer tyres in the very popular size 205/55 R16. After a first round, only the 20 tyres with the shortest braking distances continued the test.

By Published On: 7 June 2021Categories: Tyre reviews869 words4.4 min read
Auto Bild summer tyres test and comparison in size 205/55 R16
© Autobild

53 tyres tested but only 20 compared

Each season, Auto Bild conducts a major tyre test. After testing 51 winter tyres in the size 245/45 R18, the German magazine has decided to do the same with 53 summer tyres. This time, it is the very popular 205/55 R16 size fitted on a Volkswagen Golf, which is at the centre of the comparison test. After a first round measuring the dry and wet braking distances, the 20 best tyres in these categories were compared:

To find the list of all the tyres tested that did not make the Top 20, visit the Auto Bild website (in German).

For the final ranking, it is the balance between performances in dry and wet conditions and the price / quality ratio that takes precedence (longevity, fuel consumption, purchase price).

Auto Bild test: 10 satisfactory tyres

Half of the summer tyres that made the cut following braking tests obtained a correct rating from Auto Bild. This first selection made by the magazine allowed Auto Bild to find the tyres that provide a minimum level of safety with relatively short braking distances.

In comparison tests, the Nexen, Dunlop, Kleber, Fulda, Falken, Toyo and BF Goodrich summer tyres display good characteristics in dry conditions but struggle slightly more in the wet with grip problems, often accompanied with a tendency to understeer on this surface.

The Uniroyal RainSport 5 is quite efficient in the wet but its performances in dry conditions, particularly its driving and cornering behaviour and its high rolling resistance, prevent it from ranking higher in this comparison test.

The Maxxis Premitra 5 HP5 confirms its very good result in the Auto Express test, once again in the size 205/55 R16. Good aquaplaning performance, dynamic handling in both dry and wet conditions, its bias is mainly on performance, at the expense of a low mileage and a relatively high rolling resistance.

Test and comparison of summer tyres: Auto Bild tests braking of the best summer tyres
© Anuscha Sonntag / Auto Bild

5 “good” tyres in the Auto Bild comparison test

The Firestone Roadhawk is precise when driving in dry and wet conditions, and has a good resistance to aquaplaning. Just like the Maxxis tyre, it is its economical performances which suffer with an average mileage potential and fuel consumption.

The new Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 and the Michelin Primacy 4 have a very similar positioning and results. These summer tyres are amongst the best for longevity and rolling resistance with very good safety performances in both dry and wet conditions and good ride comfort. Yet Auto Bild finds them sluggish when driving, with a slow steering response, which prevents them from ranking amongst the best summer tyres of this comparison test.

Delivering the best aquaplaning performance, the Pirelli Cinturato P7 C2 (new P7 version) is also “harmonious” when it comes to handling. A characteristic also found with Hankook and its Ventus Prime 3 which is just as convincing on wet and dry surfaces. While both tyres provide an average mileage, the Hankook tyre is more competitively priced and has the shortest wet braking distance of the comparison test with the Pirelli tyre only 0.1 metres behind.

Auto Bild test: a balanced and exemplary Top 5

Good handling, high grip on dry and wet surfaces, low rolling resistance and short braking distances: the Bridgestone Turanza T005 summer tyre delivers a well-balanced performance. The only drawback, its average ride comfort compared with the best tyres.

The Debica Presto HP2 does better than its parent company, Goodyear. With no real weaknesses and a very affordable price, it provides a high level of summer performances and dynamic handling on dry surfaces. Its high mileage makes it one of the good surprises of this comparison test.

The Semperit Speed-Life 3 positions itself as the wet specialist where it is one of the best tyres with its short braking distances and its high resistance to aquaplaning. It delivers dynamic and sporty handling.

In a similar style, albeit less efficient for aquaplaning, the Continental PremiumContact 6 shares short braking distances in the wet with the Hankook tyre. Its stable and balanced handling in all circumstances, makes it a good choice despite a slightly high price which is compensated by a very good mileage potential.

But, according to Auto Bild, the best 2021 summer tyre in the size 205/55 R16 is not the tyre that was expected. The Kumho Ecsta HS51 outclasses all of its competitors with a very high level of performances. Its dynamic handling and precise steering response makes it an exemplary tyre according to Auto Bild. It also has a very attractive price with a high mileage potential only offset by a slightly high rolling resistance.

Top 5 summer tyres 205 55 R16                       +                –
1 – Kumho Ecsta HS51 Dynamic handling, high mileage Fuel consumption
2 – Continental PremiumContact 6 Wet conditions, safety Average aquaplaning
3 – Semperit Speed-Life 3 Wet conditions, aquaplaning Comfort
4 – Debica Presto HP2 Dry conditions, price, mileage  
5 – Bridgestone Turanza T005 Handling, grip Comfort

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