Is this year's winter going to be as bad as last year? Some experts believe so. Whether it's that bad is up for debate, but what's not debatable is the difference winter tires will make for you once winter arrives.
For those of you looking at options in the Studless Ice & Snow performance category, we recently headed to our local ice rink and tested the new Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Yokohama IceGuard iG52c, Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Dunlop Winter Maxx. Both the Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 excelled. The Blizzak WS80 stood out in our subjective lateral grip exercise where we circled the ice rink.
The biggest difference between the Blizzak WS80 and X-Ice Xi3 is off the ice. While we will complete our formal dry road test later this fall, a few of us have driven on the Blizzak WS80 in the dry. The consensus is that the Blizzak WS80's dry road handling has significantly improved compared it's predecessor, the Blizzak WS70, but is still a step behind the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. Also, while not a part of the test mentioned earlier, Continental's ExtremeWinterContact offers similar ice grip to the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and better dry road handling. It provides the best wet grip between the three options.
Which tire should you choose? The Blizzak WS80 is best for drivers who value ice grip over dry road handling. Michelin's X-Ice Xi3 and Continental ExtremeWinterContact are optimal for drivers who want to balance ice grip and dry road handling.
With winter right around the corner, shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.