Nobody likes driving in the winter. Unfortunately for most of us, it’s a necessity. When the weather gets cold, rain turns into snow, snow turns into ice, and ice turns into a royal nightmare for anybody unlucky enough to be driving on it. That’s what makes the tires on your vehicle the most important investment you can make. After all the bells and whistles of traction control, stability control, navigation systems, anti-lock brakes, and collision warning detection systems, your tires are the only part of your vehicle that will ever be touching the road. If you want that extra sense of security and the feel of better handling in the worst of snowy conditions, you’re going to need the best winter tires. Luckily for you, we’ve listed them below.
1. Michelin Xice Xi2
For the past three years, the Michelin Xice Xi2s have been the best performing snow tire in the industry. They range in size from 175/70R13 to 245/45R19. Prices vary on the Xice from dealer to dealer, but the low end is typically around $75 apiece for the smallest size and climbs up around $190 each for the largest. They are a directional tire, which means you cannot criss-cross them when rotating. They utilize cross-Z siping to provide a stiffness that enhances traction in icy conditions. The interior structure features twin steel belts reinforced with spirally-wound nylon. They have a 5-year/40,000-mile treadlife warranty and a six year warranty on workmanship and materials.
Works best on: Coupes, Larger Sedans, Minivans, Crossover SUVs
2. General Altimax Arctic
The Altimax Arctic has consistently performed nearly as well as the Michelin Xice. It is also a directional tire that utilizes 270 degrees of high-density siping to enhance snow traction when accelerating, cornering, or braking. Its internal structure features twin steel belts on top of a polyester carcass featuring General’s Tire Reactive Contour Technology. It ranges in size from 175/70R13 to 285/70R17. It does not feature a treadlife warranty but does offer a six-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects in materials and workmanship with free replacement in the first year. They are available to stud, but do not come with studs equipped.
Works best on: Luxury sedans, Sports cars, Coupes, Vans, Crossover SUVs
3. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
The Blizzak DM-V1 is a light truck tire designed for use in the muck and slush of winter driving. It is studless and designed for light trucks (up to 1/2-ton) and SUVs. It utilizes Bridgestone’s Multicell Z compound which features microscopic bubbles and tubes that absorb the thin film of water that forms as tires run over packed areas of ice and snow. It’s a directional tire that has a low void which increases the amount of contact area on the road. It ranges in size from 215/70R15 to 285/45R22. There is no treadlife warranty but it does have a five-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects in materials and workmanship
Works best on: Compact trucks, Midsize trucks, ½-ton trucks, SUVs, 4WD pickups
4. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R features “Pump Sipes” similar to that of the Goodyear Aquatred’s. There are roughly 900 of these sipes spanning the circumference of the tire. It has Nokia’s single-wire bead structure which has sharp shoulders and a center rib that improves driving stability and promotes even wear and heat distribution. It has the lowest rolling resistance of any tire in the Nokia line. Its sizes range from 175/70R13 to 255/35R20 XL. As with most snow tires it carries no mileage warranty, but does offer a five-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
Works best on: Coupes, All Sedans, Crossover SUVs, Sports cars, Minivans