No doubt the X-ice Xi3 is a superb tire, but publishing results that appear to put the Xi3 leagues ahead of the competition at a glance like this based solely on dry road handling makes it harder for me to take TireRack results seriously and not view their test results as just another attempt to peddle a particular product that they get higher profit margins from.
I don't have a clue about profit margins. But there would be no reason for an online tire vendor to test tires that they do not sell, and they only stock those tires that they sell in decent quantities to keep them making a profit. Sure I would like to see them test a Nokian or even a Vredestein..... but they don't sell those brands.
The on-ice performance of all the tires (on the hockey rink) was very similar. Look at the braking and acceleration chart figures on the text page. So ranking them by that aspect would not accomplish much. They are ALL good. Unless you install studs or chains, you can't improve a whole lot here.....
Since they can't test them on snow yet (unless they haul their cars down to West Virginia), all that is left is "Real World" driving - clear pavement road handling and NVH. I don't think they are being deceptive. They specifically said that they waited for cool temperatures to simulate early season driving before the roads got covered. If you want different testing, check Consumer Reports or use Google for online tests and consumer reviews.
I've used tires with "3D siping" before (Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D) on an Audi quattro. I bought them for their superior handling on clear pavement. They were just OK on snow and ice, but excelled the rest of the time. That is a feature I look for on a tire for a good handling car.
Depending on what you drive (an OB vs a Legacy GT for example), you need to look at different aspects when choosing a tire. For my location and my Acura TL SH-AWD, which is indeed Super Handling, my priorities were good lateral grip on clear and snow covered roads (cornering) and acceptable performance on glaze ice. So any studless ice tire would work fine, but the X-Ice 3 has notably better handling that any other tire, so that is what I ordered last week. But I checked a lot of other resources first, before deciding.
Another thing that is important to check is how long you can run them before wear makes them unsafe on snow and ice. For many tires this comes at 50% tread depth, at which point you must buy another set of tires for winter use. Other tires can be run longer, so they are better choices for folks who drive a bunch of miles in winter.
The Nokians come with cool tread wear indicators that show percent remaining, and when they get past 40% and the winter snow flake wears away, you need to change them. Cool.
Anyway, you can't trust what you read online, especially this post
, so you have to do some research, maybe narrow the choices to two, then flip a coin...
Spokane WA USA