The winter season can take its toll even on the most experienced drivers. No wonder that annual tyre tests by ADAC are so popular. The German organization examines a dozen or so models in detail, providing information about their strengths and weaknesses, and thus may certainly advise many drivers on the best choice possible.

Driving long distances in winter season is a daily routine for many drivers.

Most of tests on the automotive market are focused on smaller tyre sizes for the more popular car makes. This year's test dedicated to 205/65 R15 tyres is a treat for drivers of vans and larger passenger cars. This type of tyres is mounted on models such as Volkswagen Transporter, Ford Transit and Renault Traffic.

What are the ADAC tests?

With nearly 20 million members, ADAC organization is considered one of the leading authorities in the field of automotive testing. Tyre testing methods developed over the decades allow us to distinguish models best suited to the winter season.

Tyres are tested in seven categories, each of which has a different weight in the final grade:

Then the results in each category are summarized and the final descriptive note is given to the tyre as follows:

  • 0.5 to 1.5 - very good
  • 1.5 to 2.5 - good
  • 2.5 to 3.5 - satisfactory
  • 3.6 to 4.5 - sufficient
  • above 4.5 - poor

Although the rating scale is five-grade, the highest "very good" score is currently not awarded. It is intended for a tyre that will be created in the future as a result of technological progress.

It is also noteworthy that in order for the tyre to receive the recommendation of German organization, it must obtain a positive opinion in all aspects tested.

Did you know that…

ADAC is not just a tyre testing expert. The German organization deals with monitoring and promoting road transport. This slogan covers numerous areas of activity, from driver education, road safety control, and environmental protection to testing basic elements of vehicle equipment. Tests of child car seats are particularly popular.

Heavier cars require the best tires in winter.Heavier cars require the best tyres in winter.

ADAC 205/65 R16 size winter tyre test*

1.Continental VanContactWintersatisfactory (3,0)
2.Pirelli Carrier Wintersatisfactory (3,3)
3.Michelin Agilis Alpinsatisfactory (3,4)
4.Vredestein Comtrac 2 Wintersufficient (3,7)
5.Goodyear Cargo UltraGrip2sufficient (3,9)
6.Falken Eurowinter Van01sufficient (4,0)
7.Bridgestone Blizzak W810sufficient (4,1)
8.Kumho PorTran CW51sufficient (4,1)
9.Matador MPS 530 Sibir Snow Vansufficient (4,1)
10.Uniroyal Snow Max 2sufficient (4,2)
11.Yokohama WY01sufficient (4,2)
12.Sava Trenta M+Spoor (4,7)
13.BFGoodrich Activan Winterpoor (4,9)
14.Goodride SW 612poor (4,9)
15.Maxxis Vansmart Snow WL2poor (5,0)

*Ratings on a scale from 0.5 to 5.5 where the lower the score, the better. 

Recommended ADAC 205/65 R16 winter tyres

Continental VanContact Winter

The first place in the prestigious ADAC ranking was granted to a model from one of the leading manufacturers of tyres for vans. Although this excellent overall score in the ranking was primarily determined by uniform results in all aspects tested, it scored the best result in two categories, namely:

  • Tyre grip on dry roads (2.3) - winter is not only a period of snowy roads and frequent rainfall. In our climate, the car must also cover dry routes at minus temperatures. The symmetrical tread design with massive shoulders and large blocks allows for a reliable traction even at high loads. This ensures adequate control over the car on any road.
  • Tyre grip on wet road (2.4) - frequent temperature changes, melting snow and rainfall contribute to wet road surface for most of the winter season. Owing to the wide grooves and the system of 3D sipes, the car drives steadily, the tyres quickly drain the residual water and reduce the risk of aquaplaning.

Continental VanContact Winter is definitely a tyre model worth particular attention. In this year's test, ADAC experts highly ranked its performance in all road conditions during winter season. Only the result of driving on icy surfaces (2.8) was not ranked at the top of the category, although the model has gained overall experts' recommendation.

Pirelli Carrier Winter

Although the Italian brand Pirelli is primarily associated with tyres for fast, sporty driving, its catalogue includes also many high-quality products for other market segments. An excellent example is the Carrier Winter model for vans and its high score for 205/65 R16 size in this year's test edition.

German experts recognised the advantages of the Italian tyres for special purposes, particularly in two areas:

  • Turning resistance / fuel consumption (1.9) - one of the highest scores in the ranking in terms of impact on fuel consumption. Owing to the modern rubber compound with perfectly matched proportions, the tyre reduces the car's energy consumption and limits carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. This means that a car can be driven not only much more economically, but also more ecologically.
  • Tyre grip on a dry road surface (2.4) - a trademark of the Pirelli brand. Tyres of the  Italian manufacturer are known primarily for their excellent performance on dry surface. In the case of tyres designed for van cars, the precision of grip and manoeuvring is complemented with extended useful life while driving with extra load. The second highest score in this ranking category is the result of the improved tyre profile that allows comfortable driving.

ADAC experts highly rated the tyre's abrasion resistance. Long life and regular, balanced operation derive not only from a properly selected rubber compound, but also from the perfect arrangement of tread blocks. Pressure during the tyre's rolling is distributed over its entire surface, owing to which it wears much more slowly.

Michelin Agilis Alpin

The French group regularly proves that its place at the forefront of the global tyre market is not a coincidence. As one of the most innovative tyre manufacturers on the market, it offers products that score the highest in expert rankings almost every season. This year's ADAC test was no surprise - Michelin was unparalleled in the following categories:

  • Tyre grip on snowy surfaces (2.5) - certainly one of the most important categories for vans which are also driven in the winter season. Snow on the road can often cause problematic acceleration or braking, or even lead to very troublesome wheel locking. Bearing in mind such situations, Michelin created Agilis Alpin tread which perfectly copes with typical winter conditions.
  • Tyre grip on an icy road (2.4) - this category raises exceptional emotions. Regardless of the type of tyres, reckless driving on icy surfaces almost always ends in slipping, but owing to the massive tread blocks and numerous grooves, the Agilis Alpin tyres help keep stability on slippery surfaces and consequently - significantly increase the safety of a driver and passengers during reasonable and prudent drive.

The winter season tyre performance categories listed above are not the properties of Italian tyres that scored highest ratings in ADAC test. German experts awarded the model 2.0 points for impact on fuel consumption and rubber wear. Michelin Agilis Alpin is therefore not only a safe tyre in winter conditions, but also very economical.

Not only top rated tyres - check the best models in each category

Tyre grip on dry

Continental VanContact Winter (2,3)
Pirelli Carrier Winter (2,4)

Tyre grip on wet surfaces

Continental VanContact Winter (2,4)
Vredestein Comtrac 2 Winter (2,6)

Tyre grip on snowy surfaces

Uniroyal Snow Max 2 (2,2)
Michelin Agilis Alpin (2,5)

Tyre grip on icy surfaces

Falken Eurowinter Van01 (2,3)
Michelin Agilis Alpin (2,5)

Impact on fuel consumption (fuel efficiency)

Goodride SW 612 (1,6)*
BFGoodrich Activan Winter (1,7)*
Falken Eurowinter Van01 (1,8)

Useful life (wear resistance)

Michelin Agilis Alpin (2,0)
Falken Eurowinter Van01 (2,0)

Noise emission and driving comfort

Yokohama WY01 (2,5)
Falken Eurowinter Van01 (2,6)

*the following models did not receive the final ADAC recommendation, despite the high result in fuel efficiency category.

Snow tires are a must in some countries during the winter season.Snow tyres are a must in some countries during the winter season.

Choosing tyres is always a challenge

The multitude of models on the market available even within single class only, can be a real headache. If we want to choose the best tyres from the available options, it is worth seeking advice from good and reliable sources. Tests conducted by industry magazines or automotive organizations - ADAC, AutoZeitung, Autobild, Promobile or Auto Motor and Sport - can be considered as such. Drivers’ opinions about individual tyre models that are collected on our portal are also worth attention.

Tyre markings will also be useful. There are two symbols M + S and 3PMSF used on the market. The first is the manufacturer's declaration that every care has been taken to make the tyre work in difficult winter conditions. This marking can, however, be misleading because it is also placed on other types of tyres and it cannot be verified by any test. The 3PMSF symbol, i.e. a logo of a snowflake with three peaks in the background can be relied on. This is a sign of assurance that the tyre underwent rigorous testing in winter conditions and meets the requirements of the European Union in that respect.