Winter driving can be tricky, and often lists of winter driving safety tips include recommending that you install winter tires.
Winter tires can increase traction and keep you on the road safely during the cold, snowy months. Choosing the right winter tires for your car, minivan or compact SUV can be confusing, but this list—adapted from the Automobile Protection Association—of the top 10 (plus a few more) winter tires on the market can help you narrow down your choices.
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- Related Video: When To Install Winter Tires
- Related Read: Ontario Winter Tire Discount On Car Insurance Now Mandatory
Best Winter Tires 2016
Top Rated Winter Tires for Cars, Minivans and Compact SUVs (in alphabetical order)
- Bridgestone Blizzak WS 80 The Blizzak line, introduced back in the ‘90s, was the first tire to feature a special rubber compound that dramatically improved performance on ice. Optimized for snow and ice, the tread is a bit shallower and less aggressive, and the tires provide improved braking on ice and better dry road performance. Soft riding, these tires offer up a very good overall performance making them a good choice for severe conditions.The APA notes that Bridgestone reduced their prices in Canada last year, so if you thought they were previously too expensive you may now find them more affordable.
- Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 Nokian’s version of a non-studdable ice tire, these tires are the ice braking champion in European tire tests. Although expensive, these tires are a good alternative for drivers of rear-wheel-drive sporty vehicles who are looking for a balance between severe weather performance and decent pavement handling.
Very Good Winter Tires (in alphabetical order)
- Continental WinterContact SI With superior grip in cornering and braking, these tires are widely available and are offered in 33 tire sizes ensuring that most passenger cars and SUVs can be fitted with them. With a tread depth of 10/32” the life of the tire may be not as long. Additionally, given the new design (the treads are now directional), if the tires wear unevenly the options for rotating them may be limited.
- Gislaved Nord*Frost 100 A division of Continental Tire, the Gislaved Nord*Frost 100 are very good in snow and good on ice. The tires can be noisy as they wear, but is a good choice for buyers looking for a tire available with European-style diamond-shaped factory studs.
- Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Listed as one of Consumer Reports’ preferred tires in testing because of their superior performance on wet and dry roads, and for ride comfort, these tires are optimized for ice and snow. Considered to have best-in-class performance on pavement, these tires are quiet and long wearing.
- Pirelli Ice Zero FR Offering superior snow traction and good steering control, these tires are widely available and well-priced.
- Toyo Observe GSi5 These tires are optimized for deep snow and ice, and are considered one of the better choices despite the fact that they are not the best performer out there on cleared or wet roads. These tires, in some instances, can also be noisier than the average winter tire. Well suited for heavier vehicles, these winter tires offer superior durability as a result of their deep tread and long-wearing rubber compound.
Good Snow Tires (in alphabetical order)
- Dunlop Graspic WinterMaxx Overall this tire has a good traction performance on snow and ice. The tires are long wearing. As for pricing, these tires are competitively priced and are offered in a large range of sizes.
- General Altimax Arctic These tires are considered to be very good in deep snow, and are competent in overall performance while being competitively priced. They have slightly less grip on ice than the top-rated tires. They are long wearing, but tire noise can become noticeable long term.
- Hercules Avalanche RG-2 The RG-2 offers good snow traction and decent ice traction. The tires feature predictable handling on cleared roads, and given that it is a budget tire, offers better durability than most at this price point. Good value at the low selling price.
- Nokian Nordman 5 These tires can come studded or without studs, and offer up superior performance on uncleared roads. They are long wearing. On ice, their performance is acceptable. They also offer the driver predictable cornering and braking.
- Vredestein SnowTrac These tires have a limited distribution, so may be hard to come by. The tires are optimized for fast driving on cleared roads, with good ice braking and cornering. The tires are marketed to owners of prestigious European autos.
- Yokohama Ice Guard IG52c This winter tire offers superior traction on ice and in slush. These tires offer a quiet, smooth ride, and it’s predicted they’ll have an average tread life.
Winter Tire Round-Up
So there you have it. The best winter tires as selected and reviewed by the APA for the 2016-2017 winter season. Be sure to do a new car insurance quote and check the ‘winter tires’ option for the best insurance discounts. Safe travels.