Take your pick
Yes, it's that time of the year, but no, we're not referring to jingle bells, jingle all the way.
It's time for drivers to swap summer tires with the weather-adequate winter ones. Which leaves them with one tough choice to make: what tire make and model to choose?
We understand that selecting the right set of winter tires is not the simplest task out there, especially when the oversaturated market offers all sorts of sizes, brands, and prices.
For usability reasons, we've split our recommendations into two categories addressing passenger cars and light trucks/SUVs, as detailed below.
Bridgestone, Michelin, and Goodyear lead this section with the Blizzak WS80, X-Ice Xi3, and Ultra Grip Ice WRT tires.
In terms of performance winter/snow tires, the best choices are Pirelli Winter Snowcontrol Serie 3 and Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4.
1. Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 – $80 to $188
The best in category tire comes from Bridgestone under the Blizzak nameplate which is an all-rounder, really. Attractive price/performance ratio, impressive hydroplaning behavior and wet traction are this tire's aces up the sleeve.
2. Michelin X-Ice Xi3 – $66 to $225
Excellent in light snow but also capable when it comes to deep snow traction, this tire also scores high in the ride quality and rolling noise departments.
3. Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT – $83 to $168
Another light snow traction champion, the Ultra Grip Ice WRT tire from Goodyear falls on the noisy side, but makes up with composure on any type of surface, wet or dry.
4. Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 – $86 to $96
One of the best light and deep snow traction capabilities in its class (only the Blizzak WS80 scores better) and equally adequate ice-handling credentials. Its downfalls are noise and the not-so-awesome cornering stability.
5. Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 – $81 to $123
The third Bridgestone Blizzak tire that makes it on our shortlist received excellent would-buy-again reviews. If noise and treadwear are not vital to you, then you'll be more than satisfied with the tire's traction know-how on ice and snow.
Light trucks and SUVs
This territory is shared between by Bridgestone, Yokohama, and Michelin, while the performance section sees Pirelli dominate with Scorpion Winter and Scorpion Ice & Snow.
1. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 – $107 to $229
Again, a tire from the Blizzak family leads the pack. Other than a lowish resistance to treadwear, the DM-V2 is by far the most capable tire in its class, with almost-perfect ratings for snow and dry traction.
2. Yokohama iceGUARD iG51v – $76 to $235
Yokohama's iceGUARD iG51v sacrifices ride quality and steering response but otherwise, you're looking at a treadwear-resistant tire with properties comparable to the Blizzak DM-V2.
3. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 – $112 to $243
Just like its DM-V2 peer, the Blizzak DM-V1 tire does traction like a pro, but it's also easily affected by treadwear. Moreover, it falls a tad behind when it comes to cornering stability, steering response and noise.
4. Michelin LTX Winter – $136 to $231
Impressive ride quality, noise and treadwear credentials, but lower ratings for wet and snow traction mean you'll have to lose some to win some.
5. Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 – $107 to $248
Just like the LTX Winter tire, Michelin's Latitude X-Ice Xi2 offers a comfortable and quiet ride, but its grip credentials are questioned by wet, icy or snowy asphalt. Nonetheless, you're looking at one of the most treadwear-resistant winter tires in the segment.
Data sourced from TireRack.com.