The tests carried out by ADAC are among the most awaited by drivers. Many years of experience and a well-thought-out methodology make the ratings awarded by this organisation an extremely valuable guidance for those looking for new tyres. We all know that for models designed for winter, when conditions can be really harsh, there is no room for random choices. This year's results should be of particular interest to those using tyres in sizes 205/55 R16 and 235/55 R17.

The recognition for the German ADAC automobile club is not a coincidence. As early as since 1903, the organisation has been conducting activities aimed at increasing road safety. It organises, among other things, tests of cars, child seats and of course tyres. Winter, summer and all-season models are tested on a regular basis.

ADAC winter tyre tests indicate the tyres with the best performance.

How does ADAC evaluate tyres?

The compared tyres represent different price segments, are available to the public and the manufacturers have no direct influence on their selection. Individual items are purchased from several sellers and often at different times, thus ensuring the most reliable results.

During the tests, tyres are evaluated according to seven criteria, and each of them has a different impact on the overall rating. Moreover, if a model fails in one of the categories, it will not get a high final score. Therefore, the best rated tyres must perform well in all of the following categories:

  • performance on wet surfaces (30% of the final score),
  • performance on snow (20% of the final score),
  • performance on dry surfaces (15% of the final score),
  • performance on ice (10% of the final score),
  • lifetime (10% of the final score),
  • fuel consumption (10% of the final score),
  • noise generated (5% of the final score).

ADAC specialists award points on a scale from 0.6 to 5.5 – the lower the score, the better the result. The tyres under evaluation are very good (sehr gut) if they get an average of at least 1.5; good (gut) over 2.5; satisfactory (befriedigend) over 3.5; and sufficient (ausreichend) at least 4.5. A very good overall mark is not granted for the moment, but it is possible that in the near future there will be a model on the market that performs better than the previously known tyres.

Check out which models performed best in the previous year's tests:

ADAC 2020/2021 - 205/55 R16 winter tyre test

The ADAC rated five of the fifteen proposals in size 205/55 R16 as good, seven as satisfactory, and one completed the test with a "sufficient" mark. Additionally, two tyres did not meet expectations, which resulted in the lowest overall scores and lack of recommendation. Here is the full table:

ModelPointsFinal mark
Bridgestone Blizzak LM0052.0good (gut)
Michelin Alpin 62.1good (gut)
Dunlop Winter Sport 52.2good (gut)
Hankook i*cept RS22.2good (gut)
Maxxis Premitra Snow WP62.4good (gut)
Falken Eurowinter HS012.9satisfactory (befriedigend)
Continental WinterContact TS8603.0satisfactory (befriedigend)
Goodyear UltraGrip 9+3.0satisfactory (befriedigend)
Sava Eskimo HP23.1satisfactory (befriedigend)
Toyo Observe S9443.2satisfactory (befriedigend)
Pirelli Cinturato Winter3.3satisfactory (befriedigend)
Giti GitiWinter W13.4satisfactory (befriedigend)
Semperit Speed-Grip 33.7sufficient (ausreichend)
King Meiler Winter Tact WT815.4insufficient (mangelhaft)
Tristar Snowpower HP5.5insufficient (mangelhaft)

Tyres in size 205/55 R16 are fitted in such cars as, among others: Audi A3, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Skoda Superb or Toyota Corolla and VW Passat – depending on the model or accessories.

Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

The highest marks and first place was given to a premium tyre. Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 turned out to be extremely balanced but above all, it excelled in wet conditions and in preventing aquaplaning. A component mark of 1.3 left other competitors far behind!

And it is just the beginning of the story as the model from the Japanese manufacturer was among the best in terms of performance on dry and snow-covered surfaces. The experts from ADAC only indicated that there was some space for improvement in terms of wear resistance, but still it was quite good.

The success in the test was possible thanks to the cutting edge solutions used in the production process, including the new rubber compound called Nano Pro-tech™. We can safely assume that it was thanks to it that such good results were achieved on wet and snow-covered road. The tread also performed outstandingly well, where particular attention should be paid to the 2D and 3D sipes and zigzag grooves, which contribute to the excellent grip of the model in winter weather.

Michelin Alpin 6

The second place is taken by the French tyre Michelin Alpin 6. It turns out that it stands out with its exceptional abrasion resistance, which translates into high mileage. The component mark 1.5 is among the highest in this category.

In addition to that, the model achieved high scores in driving in snow and ice, and on wet surface (here it is worth paying special attention to braking), which is a guarantee of safety in winter conditions.

No one should be surprised by the high ranking in the test because the solutions used in this tyre are worthy of the premium class. It is for example the Traction Booster Compound of new generation, designed for low temperatures. The layered tread, provided with unique rubber sipes that open during wear of rubber, is equally important. Thanks to this, the initial performance level is maintained for a really long time.

Dunlop Winter Sport 5 and Hankook i*cept RS2

The third place is shared by two tyres that achieved the final rating of 2.2. The first one is Dunlop Winter Sport 5, a premium class representative. The model should be distinguished primarily for very high tread wear resistance. Also its good performance in snow or on wet surfaces should be taken into account. The specialists from ADAC really had nothing to complain about!

The podium was also occupied by a representative of the medium segment, that is Hankook i*cept RS2. It earned its high rank with an impressive aquaplaning resistance and balanced performance in the other categories. Low fuel consumption, which ensures economic travel, also proved to be a great advantage.

The best ones in each category

Despite the fact that not all tyres managed to achieve the highest final marks, many of them can boast excellent results in the individual categories.

Performance on wet surfacesBridgestone Blizzak LM005 (1.3 pt);
Continental WinterContact TS860 (1.8 pt)
Performance on snow-covered surfacesGoodyear UltraGrip 9 + (1.8 pt);
Pirelli Cinturato Winter (1.8 pt); Semperit Speed-Grip3 (1.9 pt)
Performance on dry surfacesMaxxis Premitra Snow WP6 (2.0 pt);
Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 (2.1 pt)
Performance on ice-covered surfacesToyo Observe S944 (2.1 pt);
Michelin Alpin 6 (2.2 pt); Continental WinterContact TS860 (2.2 pt); Pirelli Cinturato Winter (2.2 pt)
LifeKing Meiler Winter Tact WT81 (1.0 pt);
Michelin Alpin 6 (1.5 pt); Dunlop Winter Sport 5 (1.5 pt); Hankook i*cept RS2 (2.0 pt); Falken Eurowinter HS01 (2.0 pt); Sava Eskimo HP2 (2.0 pt); Giti GitiWinter W1 (2.0 pt)
Fuel consumptionDunlop Winter Sport 5 (1.8 pt);
Hankook i*cept RS2 (1.9 pt); Goodyear UltraGrip 9+ (1.9 pt); Sava Eskimo HP2 (1.9 pt); Toyo Observe S944 (1.9 pt)
Generated noiseMaxxis Premitra Snow WP6 (2.5 pt);
Continental WinterContact TS860 (2.5 pt); Toyo Observe S944 (2.5 pt); Pirelli Cinturato Winter (2.5 pt); Semperit Speed Grip3 (2.5 pt); Michelin Alpin 6 (2.6 pt)

Rigorous tests identify tyres with balanced performance that can be reliable not only in winter.

ADAC 2020/2021 - 235/55 R17 winter tyre test

In the second test, ADAC specialists tested tyres for slightly larger vehicles. They analysed the properties of thirteen models, which resulted in only one of them being awarded a good mark. This was thanks to the balanced performance that the other tyres lacked. Nevertheless, as many as eleven of them were considered satisfactory, meaning that they are still worthy of recommendation, although there is much to work on.

ModelPointsFinal mark
Michelin Pilot Alpin 52.1good (gut)
Esa+Tecar SUPERGRIP PRO2.7satisfactory (befriedigend)
Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+2.7satisfactory (befriedigend)
Dunlop Winter Sport 5 SUV2.8satisfactory (befriedigend)
Vredestein Wintrac Pro2.8satisfactory (befriedigend)
Nokian WR Snowproof*2.9satisfactory (befriedigend)
Bridgestone Blizzak LM0053.0satisfactory (befriedigend)
Kleber Krisalp HP33.0satisfactory (befriedigend)
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 33.0satisfactory (befriedigend)
Cooper Discoverer Winter3.1satisfactory (befriedigend)
Fulda Kristall Control SUV3.1satisfactory (befriedigend)
Continental WinterContact TS850 P3.4satisfactory (befriedigend)
Semperit Speed-Grip 3 SUV3.9sufficient (ausreichend)

*with the rubber mixture introduced in January 2020

235/55 R17 is a size you can find in the following cars (depending on the model and accessories): Audi A7, BMW X3, Ford Galaxy, Kia Sportage, Vauxhall Cascada or VW Tiguan.

Michelin Pilot Alpin 5

This time a laurel wreath for the first place goes to Michelin, for its Pilot Alpin 5. This model is the only one with the "good" mark, and it certainly deserved it as it outclassed the competition in terms of performance on dry and snow-covered surfaces.

This success was sealed by slow tread wear, high driving comfort and low fuel consumption. The observations from the tests prove the properties promised by the manufacturer when it released the new product on the market. Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 is reliable and provides incredible traction in winter.

The only remark from ADAC specialists was that only cornering on wet road would be worth improving. However, it is still a tyre that offers safety and precision of driving.


The second place was taken by Esa+Tecar SUPERGRIP PRO. This was due to the spectacular thread wear resistance (0.8 pt!) and performance on snow or ice, which compensate for poorer performance on dry surfaces and high noise levels.

Goodyear UltraGrip Performance +

The last place on the podium was awarded to the premium class tyres - Goodyear UltraGrip Performance +, which received high scores for performance on wet and snow-covered roads.

It should also be mentioned that it was one of the most economical in use and wear-resistant tyres included in the ranking. The final rating could have been higher if not for the less precise driving on dry surfaces.

The key to the model's success could be the Winter Grip and Traction Protect technologies. They provide excellent traction and effective braking at low temperatures as well as in snow and ice. Furthermore, directional thread is a reliable solution for limiting the risk of aquaplaning. Water and dirt are effectively removed from underneath the front of the tyre, allowing precise steering.

The best ones in each category

The test of tyres in size 235/55 R17 perfectly shows that final marks depend on balanced results. Therefore, it is also worth looking at the component marks, based on which you can determine whether a given model fits your driving style and needs.

Performance on wet surfacesBridgestone Blizzak LM005 (1.5 pt);
Continental WinterContact TS850 P (1.9 pt);
Performance on snow-covered surfacesMichelin Pilot Alpin 5 (1.8 pt);
Kleber Krisalp HP3 (2.0 pt)
Performance on dry surfacesMichelin Pilot Alpin 5 (1.9 pt);
Dunlop Winter Sport 5 SUV (2.2 pt); Vredestein Wintrac Pro (2.2 pt)
Performance on ice-covered surfacesEsa+Tecar SUPERGRIP PRO (2.3 pt);
Semperit Speed Grip 3 SUV (2.3 pt); Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 (2.4 pt); Goodyear UltraGrip Performance + (2.4 pt); Vredestein Wintrac Pro (2.4 pkt); Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 (2.4 pt); Kleber Krisalp HP3 (2.4 pt); Cooper Discoverer Winter (2.4 pt); Fulda Kristall Control SUV (2.4 pt)
LifeEsa+Tecar SUPERGRIP PRO (0.8 pt);
Semperit Speed Grip 3 SUV (0.8 pt); Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 (1.5 pt); Goodyear UltraGrip Performance + (1.5 pt); Dunlop Winter Sport 5 SUV (1.5 pt); Continental WinterContact TS850 P (1.5 pt);
Fuel consumptionGoodyear UltraGrip Performance + (1.8 pt);
Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 (1.8 pt); Cooper Discoverer Winter (1.9 pt); Semperit Speed-Grip 3 SUV (1.9 pt)
Generated noiseFulda Kristall Control SUV (2.6 pt);
Nokian WR Snowproof (2.7 pt)

Not all tyres perform well on roads covered with snow, water or ice.

Selecting winter tyres – what to consider?

Choosing decent winter tyres is extremely important for our safety. Short braking distances or precise steering in harsh, winter conditions are the features ensuring that we always get from point A to point B.

New winter tyres must fit both your car and your individual expectations. That is why you should start by specifying their size, which can be facilitated by our configurator. Next, we should consider how many miles we cover each year, in which areas we mainly drive (city/ highway/byways) and what is our driving style (calm/dynamic). This allows us to distinguish the features that perfectly matched tyres should have.

After the initial selection of models, it is worth checking the feedback from other drivers. They had the opportunity to test the tyres in various situations, so they know exactly what to expect from them. Equally valuable are the results of tests carried out not only by the ADAC, but also by other organisations or the automotive press. In their case, we are dealing with a reliable comparison of the properties we are interested in.