I took delivery of the Sportwagen in October 2010. The OEM tires were new when they faced their first snowy season in Connecticut. I was constantly checking tire pressures because the handling in the lite snow and dry was terrible. I resigned my self thinking, Be glad with the TDI but the Sportwagen is no handler.
This winter is above average for snowfall in Connecticut and the driving on uncleared roads is mission critical for me; getting my four year-old daughter safely back and forth to school. I decided to get dedicated snows for the winter. I've had Blizzaks, Dunlops even Firestone studded tires on other family cars. I liked what I read about the Michelin X-Ice3's and decided to try them. The Michelin X-Ice3's replaced the OEM all-season Hankooks. What a difference! I keep anticipating a slide or skid, but the X-Ice3's have raised the bar when driving in the snow.
OK, you would expect them to be way better than OEM All-Seasons in snow. But, the real surprise was that the X-Ice3's have better grip than the OEM tires did in both dry and rainy conditions. No more loss of traction when accelerating.
I've changed my mind, the Jetta TDI is a pretty good handling car. I expect the Michelins to wear longer than the Blizzaks I had. Come the spring I intend to treat the Sportwagen to a set of summer-performance tires; probably Michelin's.