There Is a Tie for Best Winter Passenger Tire; One Is a Michelin

Bob Ulrich
Posted on October 30, 2017

Which tire manufacturer offers the best winter tire? There are so many variables to take into consideration that choosing “the best” is impossible.

But Consumer Reports (CR) gave it a try in its November issue. Its engineers tested a number of winter tires in three categories for the following:

Three season driving: dry braking, wet braking, handling, hydroplaning.

Winter driving: snow traction, ice braking.

Comfort: ride, noise.

In addition, CR tested comparatively for rolling resistance.

And the overall winner? Michelin North America Inc. But a Michelin brand did not lead all categories.

In the Winter/Snow Car Tires category, the Michelin X-Ice X13 (that’s a lot of X’s!) tied the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 for first with 70 points. I’m not sure why, however, because the two tires scored exactly the same in all the testing segments except for low noise -- with Michelin finishing one rating better than the Nokian. Also, the Michelin tire retailed at $117, while the Nokian retailed at $135.

There must be a range in each rating that would lead to that result.

There were a dozen different tires tested in this category, with 62 points being the lowest. In third place, with 66 points, was the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80. CR recommended each of these tires to its audience.

As an aside, the only two tires rated "Excellent" in the low rolling resistance segment were the Michelin and the Nokian.

Although they did not reach recommendation status, the Continental WinterContact SI and the Dunlop Winter Maxx were rated "Excellent" in both winter driving categories.

In the Performance Winter/Snow Car Tires category, the clear winner with 70 points was the Yokohama W.drive V905. Michelin was runner-up with its Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 (66 points).

In addition, the Yokohama tire cost $180 compared to the Michelin, which retailed at $200. CR recommended only these tires out of the five tire lines tested.

In the Winter/Snow Truck Tires category, the Michelin Latitude X-Ice X12 was the clear winner with 74 points. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV and the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 tied for second with 68 points each. Out of the 12 tire lines tested, those were the only tires recommended by CR.

For more information on performance winter tires, check out the “Performance winter tires or studless ice and snow tires?” story in Modern Tire Dealer’s November issue.

Related Topics: Bridgestone Blizzak, Consumer Reports, Michelin Pilo Alpin, Michelin X-Ice, Nokian Hakkapeliitta, winter tires, Yokohama W.drive

Bob Ulrich Editor
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