Extreme Winter Tire Test Compares Studless Ice Tires In All Conditions

It won’t be long before 2022 gives way to 2023. For those in the northern latitudes, that means your daily commute will soon become snowy and slippery. And that means it’s time to start thinking about the best tires to keep you on the road instead of stuck in a ditch next to it.

For that, we turn to our friend Jonathan Benson at Tyre Reviews for a look a seven winter tires designed for extreme snow/ice conditions. Moreover, these are studless winter tires because studs aren’t allowed in many locations. As per usual, the testing is extremely thorough with evaluations on snow, ice, wet roads, and dry conditions. Handling and braking performance is considered, and to give the results a bit more context, a leading studded snow tire and a moderate winter tire are tossed in for good measure.

The tires used in the test include the Continental VikingContact 7, Cooper Weathermaster S100, Federal Himalaya ICEO, Michelin X-Ice Snow, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5, Pirelli Ice Zero FR, and the Yokohama Iceguard IG53. The reference tires are the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 with studs, and the Continental WinterContact TS870, a studless winter tire not specifically designed for ice.

The general takeaway from the test is that all the brands handle snow and ice well, but some certainly do the job better than others. On rough ice, the Federal was the slowest while the Continental delivered the fastest time. However, Benson noted that the Continental was more prone to sudden loss of grip, leading him to prefer the Michelin for overall grip and confidence. Surprisingly, on rough ice (yes, Benson tests on multiple ice surfaces) the studded tire had a similar performance to the studless. On smoother ice, however, nothing compares to tires with studs.

In snow, all the tires were very similar in performance. The top four tires had results within one percent of each other, but the Nokian was the fastest of the bunch. Yokohama tires yielded the slowest results, but we’re talking about a difference of approximately three seconds from worst to first. And as we’ve seen in previous tests, snow tires vastly outperform all-season tires.

The video walks us step-by-step through the comprehensive testing procedures, which even includes wet performance in cold temperatures to simulate a winter day just above the freezing point. There are too many details for us to mention here, but Benson highlights the Nokian, Continental, and Michelin brands as being top choices. Check out the video and tire-reviews.com for a thorough rundown of all the categories and results.

Source: Tyre Reviews via YouTube

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