View Full Version : comprehensive winter tire review

10-08-2006, 10:06 AM
this is a post from the legacygt.com boards. it was taken from other boards and as far away as sweden. i have omitted the studded tires as most of us can't run them. they are still in the link though. the reason the best tires here got such a low rating is that the studded tires were included in the test.


Michelin "Maxi Ice" (non-studded)
1/5 Stars

The dense thread is an exciting attempt to make a good stud-less tire while not sacrificing stability on pavement. It almost succeeds. The pavement performance is brilliant. On snow and ice it barely keeps up.

+ Pavement
- Mobility and braking on ice (very crappy), and poor grip on slush

Bridgestone "Blizzak WS-50" (non-studded)

Dangerous! Blizzak is so dangerous on pavement that it is disqualified from the test. The skids during an avoidance manuever are so difficult to stop that it is an outright traffic danger. Blizzak has been one of the big sellers for many years. The winter-abilities (snow, ice and slush) are mediocre at best.

+ Grip on Snow and Ice (for a studless tire)
- Pavement

Bridgestone "Blizzak MZ-01" (7 years old but unused. non-studded)

Blizzak had a very good grip on ice when it was introduced at the end of the 1980's and became an instant big seller. Since then the tire has been developed in cycles. Our seven year old tire is hard to drive on winter-roads. The skids on ice are hopeless, and snow grip is nervous.

+ Nothing
- Poor grip on all surfaces

Pirelli "Icesport" (non-studded)
1/5 Stars

Maybe it is time to copy the northern tire-makers to get a reasonable stud-less tire? Icesport is engineered for middle Europe and is a tire you don't want to have on our winter roads. Ice grip is non-existant, and on pavement you can get treacherous skids.

+ Nothing
- Grip on snow and ice

Continental "Conti Viking Contact 3" (non-studded)
2/5 Stars

Allan Ostrowskis had time to construct two studless winners for Continential before he resigned. On snow the tire goes as if on rails, on ice it is reasonable and the skids, that can come quite unexpectedly, are after all something one can handle.

+ Snowgrip and noise
- Nothing

Gislaved "Soft Frost 2" (non-studded)
2/5 Stars

Better than Viking Contact on snow and ice. Risk of getting treacherous skids on pavement. On snow the skids are easy to control. On ice, the tire can oversteer but is still easy to control. The best studless tire for those who drive mostly on pavement.

+ Grip and performance on snow and ice.
- Easy skidding on pavement

Nokian "Hakkapeliitta Q" (non-studded)
2/5 Stars

The ice grip is excellent for a studless tire. On snow the grip is calm and nice, and the skids almost correct themselves. It is very slippery on wet pavement and skids wildly on dry pavement.

+ Grip on winter surfaces, performance on snow and ice.
- Grip and performance on pavement.

I did not write this nor did I translate this it was taken from here:


there is considerably more information in both links. yes, the Blizzak WS-50 is that bad. i'd rather run summer tires than a set of those in the winter again.

10-08-2006, 10:08 AM
From consumer reports.
note the graphics have been removed and the number on the left is the price per tire in US dollars. Some info is conflicting with the above reports, personally I trust CR.

Consumer Reports
November 2002
Ratings Winter tires


Overall score is based on 14 tests, with braking, emergency handling, hydroplaning, and winter performance weighted most heavily. Snow traction reflects how far the test vehicle had to travel to accelerate from 5 to 20 mph on flat, moderately packed snow. Ice braking is done from 10 mph on an ice rink. Dry braking is done from 60 mph, and wet braking, from 40 mph. Most braking scores shown are with the antilock brake system (ABS) engaged (ABS was disengaged for touring-performance ice braking); instances where turning ABS off significantly affected the score are noted above. Handling includes how well tires did in an avoidance maneuver that involved a swerve to the left, right, then left again, as well as wet and dry cornering performance and steering feel. Hydroplaning reflects the speed tires reached before they began to skim over water on our course. We also judged tire noise and ride comfort on the road, and measured rolling resistance for touring-performance tires with a dynamometer. Price is approximate retail for sizes tested. Most winter tires are Q- and H-rated; others are noted below.

Winter tires
By type, in performance order

H-RATED WINTER TIRES Designed for speeds of up to 130 mph--and better performance at lower speeds.
Click to see photos
Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip GW-2
An excellent all-around choice. Best dry and wet braking among H-rated tires. Best ice braking without ABS.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport M2
An excellent all-around choice, with responsive handling.

Pirelli Winter 210 SnowSport
An excellent all-around choice, but pricey. Best dry cornering.

Bridgestone Blizzak LM-22
An excellent all-around choice. Best emergency handling.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta NRW
A fine choice for snow, though not ideal for wet weather. Least capable in wet cornering.

Michelin Pilot Alpin
Best suited to areas where snow is less severe. Quiet ride.

Q-RATED WINTER TIRES Designed for speeds of up to 99 mph; test group includes tires rated S (112 mph) and T (118 mph).
Click to see photos
Kumho I'zen Stud KW-11
An excellent choice where snow is less severe. Best dry and wet braking among this group. Studdable. T-rated in size tested.

Michelin Arctic Alpin
An excellent choice where snow is less severe. Excellent cornering.

Dunlop Graspic
A top winter performer, although only fair emergency handling.

Gislaved NordFrost II
A very good choice where snow is less severe. Studdable.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta Q
A very good all-around tire.

BFGoodrich Winter Slalom
A very good all-around tire, though slightly less capable than the Nokian in winter driving. Studdable.

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice
A fine choice for snow and wet weather, but only fair handling.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS-50
A very good all-around tire, though less capable in emergency handling than top-rated models. Stiff ride.

Yokohama Guardex F720
Most susceptible to hydroplaning.

Firestone Winterfire
Unimpressive ice braking compromises an otherwise fine, economical choice. Studdable.
S-rated in size tested.

Cooper Weather-Master XGR
Long dry stops and only fair emergency handling.

10-08-2006, 10:09 AM
Full ABS braking on smooth ice. From 50km/h to stop.

1st place - Goodyear UG500
Distance - 38,5 meters.

16th place - Blizzak WS-50
Distance - 61 meters.

Acceleration on smooth ice. From 5-30km/h, full throttle, letting the traction control deal with the slippage.

1st place - Nokian Hakka 4.
Time - 8,9 seconds.

15th place - Blizzak WS-50.
Time - 13,5 seconds.

A circle with 60 meters in diameter, with rough ice, driving as fast as one can (like a skidpad).

1st place - Goodyear UG500
Laptime - 20,1 seconds.

15th place - Blizzak WS-50
Laptime - 23,4 seconds.

Ice-circuit, different turns and straights, going as fast as the tires allow.

1st place - Nokian Hakka 4.
Laptime - 80,1 seconds.

13th place - Blizzak WS-50.
Laptime - 91,5 seconds.

ABS-braking on snow. Unspecified.

1st - Pirelli UG500.
Distance - 49,5 meters.

6th place - Blizzak WS-50.
Distance - 53,5 meters.

ABS-braking from 60km/h on wet pavement.

1st place - Michelin 240 (the old one!)
Distance - 21,5 meters.

12t place - Blizzak WS-50
Distance - 23,5 meters.

Acceleration on snow. 5-30km/h.

1st place - Pirelli Icesport.
Time - 4,1 seconds.

8th place - Blizzak WS-50.
Time - 4,4 seconds.

Snow-circuit, with compact snow.

1st place - Gislaved Soft Frost 2.
Time - 84,5 seconds.

9th place - Blizzak WS-50.
Time - 86,2 seconds.

Slushplanning. Paved road covered with slush. Measures speed when it starts to slushplan.

1st place - Gislaved Nord Frost 3.
Speed - 50km/h

12th place - Blizzak WS-50
Speed - 48km/h

In the point scoring, Blizzak fell most short on ice and scored the entire tests worst score on "Stability on pavement" - the elk test, with a 4/10. The test winner Nokian Hakka 4, scored 7 in the elk test.

The difference is that the Blizzaks don't seem to have much stability and lateral grip on pavement compared to any new or old tire. Even the 7 year old blizzaks performed better - with a 5/10, on the elk test.

10-08-2006, 11:56 AM
thanks Jim - clearly we needed some good info on the subject. Save this info on your computer in case there is another attach someday... kind of a backup of sorts.

10-08-2006, 04:24 PM
Nice writeup. I have Nokian Hakka NRW's. But there worn so much that they look like an all season tire now lol.