Do you want to know what tire is best for every day, real world driving? In this test we take eleven of the very best 205/55 R16 tires on the market, plus a well regarded budget tire, to see exactly what tire performs best in the dry, wet, comfort, noise and rolling resistance tests!
|Best Dry Braking:||Continental Premium Contact 6|
|Best Dry Handling:||Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2|
|Best Subj. Dry Handling:||Continental Premium Contact 6|
|Best Wet Braking:||Falken ZIEX ZE310 EcoRun|
|Best Wet Handling:||Maxxis Premitra HP5|
|Best Subj. Wet Handling:||Pirelli Cinturato P7 C2|
|Best Straight Aqua:||Uniroyal RainSport 5|
|Best Subj. Comfort:||BFGoodrich Advantage|
|Best Noise:||BFGoodrich Advantage|
|Best Tire Weight:||Nokian WetProof|
|Best Price:||Goodride RP28|
|Best Rolling Resistance:||Bridgestone Turanza T005|
In this test we have twelve of the most popular tires on the market, including the multiple test winning Continental PremiumContact 6 and Michelin Primacy 4, going up against the new Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, Pirelli Cinturato P7 C2, Uniroyal RainSport 5 and BFGoodrich Advantage, with the usual tires from Falken, Nokian, Bridgestone, Maxxis, Hankook and Goodride.
All twelve tires will be tested in dry and wet handling, dry and wet braking, aquaplaning, internal cabin noise and fuel use, and have subjective grades given to their dry and wet handling, and most importantly for this type of tire, their comfort levels.
The overall score will be weighted as 35% dry (35% lap time, 10% subjective, 55% braking), 50% wet (35% lap time, 5% subjective, 55% braking, 5% aquaplaning), 7.5% NVH (50% internal noise, 50% comfort) and 7.5% value (80% rolling resistance, 20% price), however if you prefer qualities such as subjective dry handling over wet braking, all the data will be below to allow you to make your own purchase decision.
As always, any questions, please ask below!
You might not think the dry performance of a 16" tire is important, but dry braking and handling show you exactly how much grip each tire will have in an emergency situation, where you lean on the tire more than normal.
For dry braking, the Continental had the advantage over a very close group, with the Pirelli, Falken, and Nokian joint second! Uniroyal, Hankook and Goodride all had longer than ideal dry stopping distances.
The new Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 was the fastest tire round dry handling, with the joint second placed Continental and Maxxis both having the best subjective handling feel.
Wet braking had three tires significantly ahead of the rest, with Falken, Continental And Uniroyal all having over 2 meters to the next best tire on test. Again, Hankook and Goodride struggled with grip levels.
With a couple of deeper parts of water on track, the wet handling test favoured the tires with higher levels of aquaplaning resistance, meaning the Continental couldn't match its excellent wet braking result.
Only the budget Goodride had worse aquaplaning resistance than the two premium Continental and Goodyear tires, with the Uniroyal RainSport 5 once again proving its unique tread pattern was the best way to clear water.
Comfort is an important quality for a 16" tire, and the BFGoodrich and Michelin pair had a significant advantage over the bumps and road imperfections.
We tested internal noise levels rather than external, averaging the noise from two different road surfaces at two different speeds, giving you a true picture of how loud a tire is to the driver. Again, the BFGoodrich had a clear advantage.
The Bridgestone Turanza T005 once again aced the rolling resistance test, finishing top, but the new Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 was a close second.
At the time of test, the budget Goodride was the cheapest tire to buy, and the Michelin the most expensive.
Sadly, we couldn't test wear, however there are plenty of other tests on Tire Reviews, along with user reviews, showing the wear rates of most of these tires.
Excellent dry grip with sporty handling and the shortest dry braking distances. Very short wet braking distances.
Low aquaplaning resistance, average comfort, relatively high noise levels, high price.
Once again the braking advantage of the Premium Contact 6 secures it a test win, however it was very close at the top. If you prefer driving dynamics over comfort, this is the tire to pick.
Read Reviews Buy from £68.99
The new EfficientGrip Performance 2 is a very well rounded tire with excellent grip in the dry and wet, low levels of noise, high levels of comfort, very low rolling resistance and well priced.
Low aquaplaning resistance and slightly long braking distances in the dry and wet cost it victory.
An extremely well rounded tire with no major weaknesses, other than aquaplaning. Good levels of comfort and low fuel use make this an excellent tire for real world driving.
Read Reviews Buy from £56.59
Excellent, balanced results in the dry, with the shortest wet braking distances on test and good aquaplaning resistance. Low noise levels and well priced.
Low subjective comfort and the highest rolling resistance on test.
A very strong performance for the Falken ZIEX ZE310, with good grip in the dry and wet.
Read Reviews Buy from £49.69
4th: Uniroyal RainSport 5
Highest resistance to aquaplaning, very short wet braking, good comfort, well priced.
Low grip in dry handling, extended dry braking, poor subjective handling, average rolling resistance.
The new RainSport 5 remains a tire that prioritises wet performance above all else, and is a great choice if you live in a climate with a lot of rainfall.
Read Reviews Buy from £49.99
5th: Nokian WetProof
Good dry braking, excellent handling in the wet, high levels of comfort, well priced.
Average wet braking, high noise levels, average rolling resistance.
The Nokian Wetproof is a well priced, balanced tire.
Read Reviews Buy from £53.40
Good grip in the dry, both handling and braking, good wet handling, low noise, lowest rolling resistance on test.
Long wet braking, average aquaplaning resistance.
The T005 is a well rounded tire with excellent low fuel use.
Read Reviews Buy from £57.19
7th: Michelin Primacy 4
High levels of comfort and low noise, very low rolling resistance, high aquaplaning resistance.
Most expensive tire on test, relatively slow dry and wet handling laps.
The Primacy 4 is a great all round tire, and while it doesn't excel in any category, it has relatively few flaws.
Read Reviews Buy from £69.69
8th: Maxxis Premitra HP5
Excellent dry and wet handling with a sporty feel and high levels of grip. Good aquaplaning resistance and well priced.
Long dry and wet braking, high noise levels, high rolling resistance, average comfort levels.
A very well priced sporty feeling tire, perfect for those who enjoy driving enjoyment with a smaller wheel.
Read Reviews Buy from £56.39
9th: BFGoodrich Advantage
The quietest and most comfortable tire on test, low rolling resistance.
Low grip in the dry and wet with understeer behaviour, average aquaplaning resistance.
The new BF Goodrich Advantage is aimed at those who prioritise comfort over handling.
Read Reviews Buy from £67.49
10th: Pirelli Cinturato P7 C2
Excellent dry braking, low noise levels, good subjective handling in the dry and wet.
Average dry and wet handling and long wet braking, average comfort and high rolling resistance.
The new P7 C2 is a great update to the P7, with an excellent dry grip and sporty handling. If the wet performance was a little better it would have been near the very top of the test.
Read Reviews Buy from £72.49
Good grip in dry handling, good levels of comfort, well priced.
Long dry braking, poor wet grip, high rolling resistance.
If price is important to you, this might be a good option, but the Prime 3 is soon to be replaced by a much improved version, so we recommend waiting for that.
Read Reviews Buy from £52.39
12th: Goodride RP28
Low price, reasonable levels of comfort.
Longest dry and wet braking, slowest dry and wet handling, average rolling resistance.
Not the worst budget tire ever tested, however it was still a long way behind the 11th placed tire, and not that much cheaper.
Read Reviews Buy from £50.99