Auto Bild makes a flying start to the winter tyre testing season. The German magazine has compared 51 tyres in the size 195/65 R15, fitted on many recent compact cars.

By Published On: 7 June 2021Categories: Tyre reviews1244 words6.3 min read
Winter tyre comparison test conducted by Auto Bild magazine
The Auto Bild magazine has tested and compared 51 winter tyres © AutoBild

A pre-selection based on braking distances

In terms of tests, Auto Bild knows what to do. As usual, the German magazine initially selected as many winter tyres as possible in the size 195/65 R15. After a first selection based on wet braking distances from 80 km/h, the following 21 tyres were eliminated:

Tyre Wet braking from 80 km/h
Antares Grip20 49,8m
Maxtrek Trek M7 46,7m
Z-Tire Z8 Winter 45,5 m
Chengshan Montice CSC-901 45,5 m
Momo W1 North Pole 44m
Taurus 601 Winter 43,7 m
Syron Everest 1 plus 43,7 m
Meteor Winter 43,3 m
Laufenn I FIT 43,2 m
Compasal Iceblazer II 43,1 m
Star Performer SPTS Winter AS 42,5 m
Nankang NK Snow SV-2 42,5 m
King-Meiler Winter Tact WT 81 42,5 m
Tristar Snowpower HP 42 m
Minerva Frostrack HP 41,7 m
Fortuna Winter 41,6 m
Kenda Wintergen 2 40,9 m
Dayton DW 510Evo 40,3 m
Tomket Snowroad 3 40,2 m
Lassa Snoways 3 40 m
Imperial Snowdragon HP 39,8 m

10 additional tyres were eliminated after a braking test from 50 km/h on snow:

Tyre Wet braking from 80 km/h Snow braking from 50 km/h
Westlake Snowmaster SW608 39 m 30,6 m
Aoteli Ecosnow 38,9 m 30,6 m
Goodride SW608 37,5 m 31,3 m
Maxxis Arctictrekker WP-05 39,4 m 28,3 m
Toyo Snowprox S943 36,7 m 30,6 m
Cooper Weather-Master SA2+ 37 m 30,1 m
Giti GitiWinter W1 38,9 m 28 m
Kumho Wintercraft WP51 38,8 m 28 m
Apollo Alnac 4G Winter 37,8 m 28,7 m
Nexen Winguard Snow G WH2 36,8 m 29,4 m

The 20 tyres with the shortest cumulative braking distances for the two tests reached the “final” to undergo a series of more rigorous tests (braking, dry handling, wet handling, snow handling, handling, wear and rolling resistance):

Tyre Wet braking from 80 km/h Snow braking from 50 km/h
Gislaved Euro Frost 6 37 m 28,1 m
Firestone Winterhawk 3 38,2 m 27,8m
Matador MP92 Sibir Snow 36,6 m 28,6 m
Vredestein Snowtrac 5 38 m 27,9 m
Barum Polaris 3 36,7 m 27,8 m
Yokohama BluEarth-Winter V905 36,6 m 29,5 m
Bridgestone Blizzak LM 001-Evo 34,3 m 29,8 m
Pirelli Cinturato Winter 35,9 m 27,4 m
Semperit Master-Grip 2 35,9 m 27,4 m
Michelin Alpin 5 37,1 m 28,4 m
Uniroyal MS plus 77 36,1 m 27,9 m
Nokian WR D4 37,3 m 27,6 m
Falken Eurowinter HS01 36,2 m 28 m
Debica Frigo HP2 36,6 m 28,1 m
Goodyear UltraGrip 9 35,5 m 27 m
Hankook Winter i’cept RS2 34,9 m 27,7 m
Fulda Kristall Control HP2 34,8 m 27,6 m
Kleber Krisalp HP 3 35,9 m 27,1 m
Continental WinterContact TS 860 34,5 m 27,6 m
Dunlop Winter Sport 5 34,8 m 28,1 m

2 tyres recommended with reservation

The Gislaved Euro Frost 6 is the first tyre recommended by Auto Bild. Balanced winter performance and quite comfortable, it loses ground with slow wet steering, particularly when cornering. In dry conditions, braking distances are long.

The Firestone Winterhawk 3 is one of the cheapest tyres. Very good on snow, this performance is not confirmed on other surfaces. Long braking distances and low grip in dry and wet conditions does not allow it to rank higher in this comparison test.

10 tyres considered satisfactory

The Matador MP92 Sibir Snow provides good comfort and safe handling on snow. All of this at a low price. Auto Bild finds that it lacks grip in certain situations on wet and dry roads and dry braking distances are a little too long. It is also limited in terms of wear.

The Vredestein Snowtrac 5 manages to deliver a safe balanced performance in snow and on dry surfaces. Auto Bild regrets a slight lack of grip in wet conditions and its high price, despite a low rolling resistance.

The Barum Polaris 3 delivers short wet braking distances unlike its long dry braking distance, where it takes to time to stop. Low priced, it offers high grip and good driving dynamics in snow. Auto Bild noted a slight tendency to understeer in the wet and poor wear.

The Yokohama BluEarth-Winter V905 is the best tyre in the comparison test for dry braking and offers good ride comfort. It is also good in wet conditions but lacks grip on snow.

The Bridgestone Blizzak LM 001 Evo is one of the best tyres in wet conditions with short braking distances and a good resistance to aquaplaning. It also has a low rolling resistance. Drawbacks noted by Auto Bild concern its poor snow performance where braking distances are a little too long.

The Pirelli Cinturato Winter impressed Auto Bild with its sporty handling. Not surprising for the Italian tyre manufacturer whose tyre offers good steering precision and dynamic handling in wet and snowy conditions. Its limited mileage and average dry performance prevents it from ranking higher.

The Semperit Master-Grip 2 is well balanced in the snow and wet. It offers good lateral support and a quiet ride. But its performance in dry conditions remains below that of its competitors with longer braking distances.

Although Michelin has recently launched its replacement, the Alpin 5 performs well. Long lasting and delivering good performance in wet and dry conditions, it also offers good ride comfort. However, its snow performance remains average, a point that has been corrected on the Alpin 6 according to Michelin.

The Uniroyal MS Plus 77 provides excellent performance in wet and snow conditions and good ride comfort at a reasonable price. It is unable to break away from the pack due to its poor performance in dry conditions, especially with a slow response on this surface and long braking distances.

The Nokian WR D4 is undoubtedly the best tyre on snow and ice. It also offers a good price / performance ratio and the lowest rolling resistance of the comparison test. Unfortunately, it is unable to match the other tyres in wet conditions, and has low aquaplaning performance.

4 tyres considered good

The Falken Eurowinter HS01 offers a good balance between safety and handling, which is above average on snow and dry roads at a very reasonable price. This tyre also has the best aquaplaning performance despite a few reserves expressed by Auto Bild with regards wet cornering.

The Debica Frigo HP2 is one of the cheapest tyres in this comparison test and is by no means the worst. It impressed Auto Bild with its short braking distances in all weather conditions. Offering good handling, it lacks lateral grip when cornering.

The Goodyear UltraGrip 9 is a well-balanced tyre according to Auto Bild tests. The only drawback, dry braking distances are a little too long. But it has good steering precision on snow covered and wet roads. It also has a good resistance to aquaplaning.

The Hankook Winter i*cept RS2, despite its price and premium positioning, it delivers excellent performances and good handling in all driving conditions. Its high mileage finally gives it one of the best price / performance ratios despite a slightly high rolling resistance and a low resistance to aquaplaning, especially when cornering.

4 tyres considered exemplary

The Fulda Kristall Control HP2 is one of the winter specialists according to Auto Bild. Well balanced with short braking distances on all surfaces, it impressed the magazine with the absence of any real faults. With a high resistance to aquaplaning, quiet and good fuel efficiency, it also has one of the lowest rolling resistances.

The Kleber Krisalp HP 3 is quite cheap, especially given its qualities. It offers the best handling on snow and ice. Braking distances are short in all conditions, particularly on snow where it is the best.

The Continental Winter Contact TS 860 convinced as a good all-rounder for winter. With high steering precision and dynamic handling on snow and in the wet and good ride comfort, Auto Bild did not note any drawbacks for this tyre.

The Dunlop Winter Sport 5 completely won over Auto Bild testers. Stable handling in all driving conditions, it also has a good steering response. It is the most efficient tyre thanks to its low rolling resistance.

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