Driving on ice is usually the most hazardous road condition that we experience. Road speeds that feel safe and cautious can suddenly feel wildly out of control when trying to stop or turn. Getting started on a moderate incline can even prove next to impossible.
Each year we simulate these challenging conditions by conducting acceleration, braking and cornering tests at a local ice rink. We outfitted each of our four test cars with one of the leading contenders from the Studless Ice & Snow performance category and measured their capabilities of handling icy conditions.
The reigning champion was Bridgestone's Blizzak WS70 and the tire was still impressive in this year's test. However, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 provided a strong challenge. During testing, the X-Ice Xi3 had the best acceleration, while the Blizzak WS70 felt the most stable in cornering. When it came to braking, the Bridgestone winter tire had a slight edge. And finally, Michelin's option exhibited slightly better road manners than the rest of the competitors.
Two other tires were a part of our test, the Continental ExtremeWinterContact and Goodyear's Ultra Grip Ice WRT. Continental's ExtremeWinterContact was a very good performer, but was slightly behind the leaders. When it came to the Goodyear UltraGrip Ice WRT, it lagged slightly behind the group in ice performance, though still offering greatly superior traction to anything you'll find in an all-season tire. Before you make your final decision read "Testing the Newest Studless Ice & Snow Winter Tires" for complete results of our testing.
If you live in an area where you will experience icy conditions, consider a Studless Ice & Snow tire. The level of confidence they provide on ice is unparalleled. Do you still have doubts that options from this category can't compete with a studded tire? Then check out this eye-opening test, I had to experience it to believe it.