For many parts of the United States, winter snowfalls have been becoming more and more sporadic. This leaves long periods of cold with little to no accumulation of snow on the ground. While an all-season capable tire may be fine for these conditions, they could never hold a candle to the deep snow and ice traction that a dedicated winter / snow tire can provide. Most drivers with snow tires have found themselves doing more "clear road" driving than ever before given recent weather patterns. Which leads to a growing concern of how well snow tires perform even without snow on the ground? We always include dedicated snow tires in our annual Real World Road Rides for a better overall picture of what they can do in all winter conditions.
Our most recent test included the following dedicated winter / snow tires;
- Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
- Continental ExtremeWinterContact
- Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT
- Michelin X-Ice Xi3
By a noticeable margin, the Michelin tire provided less road noise and better handling characteristics with only a small penalty in ride comfort. When it came to ride comfort, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 held a small advantage. It appeared to do a slightly better job of rounding over the sharp edge of most impacts. The X-Ice Xi3 and ExtremeWinterContact did the best job of minimizing compromises, and they felt more like typical all-season tires than the other competitors.
For a complete recap of our test, read "Testing the Newest Studless Ice & Snow Winter Tires."