This was the second winter for the set of Yokohama M/S tires on my Outback. Last year they did OK, but I was disappointed with the acceleration while turning swerving, blaming it on what I thought was a poorly designed Symmetric AWD system on the Subaru. This winter the tires got truly dangerous on the hard packed snow/ice in our recent storm here in Tahoe. I slid through a stop sign, nearly rear ended a plow at a signal and, when my wife got stuck in the snow and ended up partially imbedded in a snow bank, I ordered a set of steel wheels mounted with these Altimax tires. I had the tires studded to minimize any chance of having further traction issues. The set of wheels/tires arrived promptly, mounted and perfectly balanced. I put them on the Outback, brought the tire pressure up slightly to specs and was amazed on my test drive around town. Great traction!
I suspect the traction is due more to the tread design and rubber softness than the studs. The noise due to having the studs is negligible inside the car at any speed, even on highways/dry pavement.
My faith in Subaru has been restored. I paid $800 delivered for the package and couldn't be happier.