With the winter season coming up, it’s a good idea to invest in a set of good winter tires. This investment usually lasts for a couple of seasons and pays for itself in the long run by lowering maintenance costs associated with improper tire selection, increased performance over summer tires in bad weather and increased driver confidence and suspension feel.
Not every tire is created equal and winter tires are no different. Here we break down some of the best winter tires you can get heading into the 2016 season.
1.Michelin X-Ice Xi3
The third generation of Michelin’s X-Ice tires are equipped with many features to benefit the driver this winter season. Most winter tires introduce more overall road noise into the cabin due to their deeper treads and intricate groove patterns. Michelin gives you all of these benefits while conforming to their Green X standard, making for low rolling resistance which in turn decreases fuel consumption and emissions. The proprietary FleX-Ice rubber compound gives you the best of both worlds in both wet and dry conditions thanks to it’s firmness in warmer temperatures and being able to remain flexible in cold weather. Advanced tread patterns and independent tread blocks help maintain traction in icy and snow conditions while also increasing the stiffness and overall life of the tires. Michelin X-Ice Xi3 winter / snow tires meet the industry’s severe snow service requirements and are branded with the mountain/snowflake symbol and are ready to keep you rolling this winter.
2.NOKIAN HAKKAPELIITTA R2
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 tires provides a new take on the studless winter tire. What makes these tires special is the use of a special rubber compound embedded with microscopic crystal-like particles that bite into and grip the road like studded tires would. This technology has been applied all throughout the tire treads so as the tire wears, new crystals will become exposed to grip the road as the others wear off. Along with a very versatile rubber compound this tire stays soft in the coldest conditions to provide an excellent driving feel in snow and ice. This tire has also been approved for road use in winter conditions by the RMA and RAC.
3.BRIDGESTONE BLIZZAK WS80
Bridgestone introduced the Blizzak WS80 tire featuring a new hydrophillic tire compound designed to handle wet and icy conditions with ease. Bridgestone combines the Multicell compound along with microscopic bite particles in the tire to deliver superior grip in wet and slippery conditions.
Cooper Tire introduces some new technologies into the Weather-Master WSC this year such as a studdable option, directional tread design and a high silica compound to keep the tire soft in colder temperatures. Having the ability to add studs gives you peace of mind and flexibility to adapt in case road conditions worsen and require a studded tire. The directional tread design not only improves tire performance during acceleration and braking but also sipes away water and slush faster to maintain a sure contact patch with the road. As with all tires on this list, the Weather-Master meets the industry safety standard for winter tires and carries the mountain/snowflake symbol.
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 is arguably the best studded tire you can buy this year. Combining Nokian’s proprietary tire compound with new and improved stud design this tire reduces notorious road noise and fuel consumption while increasing performance all around. New stud design and placement in the treads improves braking and acceleration in snow and icy conditions while specially designed rubber stays soft in the cold to grip the road. Meeting and exceeding the industry safety standards, this tire carries the mountain/snowflake symbol to certify it for winter conditions.
Any of the tires on this list would make a great winter driving choice for the reader. The choice comes down to your driving conditions and habits along with which features would suit you best. Whatever choice you make this year, make sure your tire is certified for winter use.