The winter tire market has become very competitive. The Bridgestone Blizzak line raised the bar a few seasons back and now some of the other manufactures have closed the gap a little further based on our latest winter test.
Any of the top three Studless Ice and Snow tires tested would do well and others in different winter / snow performance categoriese are a better option than an all-season tire. The overall best tire in our testing was the Continental ExtremeWinter Contact, but winter is not uniform from Maine to Washington so let's see which tire would work best for your winter driving needs
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
This tire is made to go through snow...and lots of it. They don't like dry roads as much as some of the other Studless Ice and Snow tires, but still managed to stop shorter in dry conditions and are a close second on ice.
The Blizzak WS70 would be my choice for a winter environment that gets lots of snow or roads that develop packed snow and glare ice.
This is the #1-ranked tire in our winter test. It did just was well as the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 in the ice rink testing, but offered a more comfortable and quiet ride during our Real World Road Ride. The Continental ExtremeWinterContact is very capable in all winter conditions.
I would select this tire for a winter environment that may see long times with lots of snow and or ice, but also could see a period of wet, cold and slushy conditions.
Michelin X-Ice Xi2
This tire is also a good option to consider for winter driving. The Michelin X-ice Xi2 matched the Continental ExtremeWinterContact in ride comfort during our Real World Road Rides and in true Michelin fashion, offered additional road comfort and a quieter ride. It placed just a tick behind the Continental and Blizzak during ice rink testing and was the quietest and smoothest riding tire of the group. I found this tire to be good during acceleration and one of the quickest to stop in the wet and on the ice.
Select this tire for a winter environment that could see moderate amounts of snow or for an urban winter driving situation.
Still not sure which is the best for you? Consider price point, availability, and fuel economy as a good tie-breaker.
Full Test Report: Testing Winter Weather Specialists: Studless Ice and Snow Tires