Some of the best tires on the market today for handling snow and ice are Blizzak tires from Bridgestone and Michelin's X-Ice series of winter / snow tires. I'm a big fan of options from both manufacturers.
Bridgestone was the first to market a soft studless compound winter / snow tire that rivaled or surpassed the snow traction levels of studded tires. Over the years, I've owned almost every generation of Blizzak studless compound tire since the original Bridgestone Blizzak WS15 was introduced in the 1990s. Since that time, we've seen the Blizzak MZ01, Blizzak MZ02, Blizzak WS50, Blizzak Revo 1, Blizzak WS60 and finally the newest addition, the Blizzak WS70.
Approximately two years ago, I purchased a newer car and wanted to use Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires since I had such good experiences with them in the past. There was just one problem though, no Blizzak model was made in the size that my vehicle used. Fortunately for me, the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 tires were made in the size I needed and I decided to give them a try. During my two years of owning the tire, I have been quite pleased. You can read about my experiences with the tire in two of my blog posts, "My Story on Winter Tires" and "Michelin X-Ice Xi2: Second Season Review."
Michelin's X-Ice Xi2 handles much like an all-season tire but performs great in the snow and on the ice. Recently, Michelin introduced the third-generation of the X-Ice tire with the X-Ice Xi3. It's designed to take on ice and snow while providing lasting winter performance. The tire's winter tread rubber compound offers firmness at higher temperatures for wet and dry road stability while it remains flexible at lower temperatures to enhance packed snow and ice traction.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Michelin X-Ice Xi3
Since I get the opportunity to test tires at Tire Rack, I get to see what tires can do on the street and on the ice rink. With many different models of winter / snow tires to test, we really get to see how each tire performs in different environments. Here are the differences I see between the Michelin and Bridgestone tires from my direct experiences:
- The Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 has slightly better packed snow and ice traction between the two when compared to the Michelin X-Ice Xi2.
- Michelin's X-Ice Xi2 has better dry road grip and slightly faster turn in and steering response.
- In deeper snow, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 has a noticeable advantage over the Michelin X-Ice Xi2.
- In recent testing at a local ice rink, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 had better ice cornering. I felt more confident overall on these versus the Michelin X-Ice Xi3.
In conclusion, if you're looking for a winter / snow tire that'll deliver maximum traction and safety when you need it most, I would suggest you lean towards the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70. If you're willing to give up a little ice and snow traction for better dry road grip and handling, look into the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 or X-Ice Xi3. Keep in mind that all three are great options, so you really can't go wrong with any choice.