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Top 10 Winter Tires 2016 (Plus A Few More) [Updated]

September 30, 2016

Car With Winter Tires In The SnowWinter 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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You Got This, Thank You Winter Tires

Best Winter Tires 2016

Tip: Be sure to keep your tires properly inflated at all times for maxmium performace. Keep a digital tire gauge handy in your glove box for easy and quick checkups.

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.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Thanks for the post.

  • Tony

    My insurance company JEVCO will not give me the 5%

  • Pat

    Can anyone recommend the best winter tires for a BMW x3?

  • Earlsy

    Yup, nothing wrong with the Nordics, and as you say, good prices on a set of 4.
    I’m into year 6 with ours.

  • Preston

    Blah,blah, blah. Who needs winter tires? What did you do before they were invented? I have driven since 1967 and never needed them until today. Drive sensibly, carefully and stop speeding up behind vehicles or obstructions ahead of you, and you will be fine. Amazing how many motorists rush like hell even though they see an obstruction ahead and KNOW they will be called upon to stop, then jam on their brakes! They will definitely need these tires, more often brake replacements, and spend more on gas . Not me. Not ever!

  • Common Sense

    Winter tires provide better traction for cornering, starting and stopping. Do you wear winter boots or smooth soled dress shoes in the snow?

  • Bob Joe

    I wish there was proof like a video or something showing how good these tires really are. Not just a website with its opinion.

  • brantford1

    I used to think 4 winter tires were just a bunch of hooey!
    Until I tried them…what a difference..

  • MP

    Obviously you have never driven the 401 in Toronto where every time you leave a safe braking distance, l some idiot jumps in front of you cutting your baking distance to close to nothing.

  • marpin

    more sticking it to the consumer by the government. Why should those who purchased snow tires before 2016 not get a discount????? Makes no sense!!

  • Andrew

    If you are in Ontario, drive safe! Our first snow may be a doozy – dec 28.

  • JC113

    I put 4 Cooper Discoverer A/Tw “All Weather” tires on my truck…called my insurance agent about the discount and apparently these tires don’t qualify as the insurance company stipulates that the tires must be installed in the fall/early winter AND REMOVED in the spring…even though these Coopers carry the mountain/snowflake logo…and get very good reviews….I know I’m impressed with them…

  • Mike Rivera

    I also have Michelin

  • jimmy peter

    If you need a new set of winter tires go to rnrwheels dot com. Their highly knowledgeable staff will set you up with a set of tires that will weather any storm! They offer personalized payment plans, with as little as $20 down, no credit cards necessary.

  • Ron Grant

    Gislaved Nordfrost are no longer the 100 series..they are old tires if you’re buying them now. They were replaced by the Nordfrost 200 series snow tires.

  • Ron Grant

    Sort of points of one of the problems on the road..some people always know better than the proven science. I suppose it comes down to whether ‘alright’ is good enough for you, or you want the best available. There is a difference with good snow tires.

  • RuckusAmsel

    I don’t get it: why does the wording change from “Winter Tires,” to, “Snow Tires” ?
    Is there a clear difference?