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Looking at winter tires for our '12 OB. We live in MN & we know the Conti's do not hold up in the snow & ice the way we would like (we have a new 16-year-old driver - nuf said.) Going over some of the postings about winter tires & looking through reviews on tirerack.com, we have narrowed it down to the Bridgestone Blizzaks & the Michelin X-Ice tires. I would love to hear input on these (or others if you have a good experience with something else) from fellow OB drivers. We are leaning towards the X-Ice XI2's (don't know enough about the I3's), but have personal friends that swear by the Blizzaks. Thoughts?
 

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Nokian WRG2 will give excellent winter performance and eliminate the TPMS hassle you are going to have if you do seasonal changeovers.
 

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I just bought some General Altimax Arctics for my 2004. I haven't used them yet, but they have awesome reviews on them. I think Brucey has a review up here somewhere. They're consistently rated near the top no matter what list you look at. Plus, the price is excellent--I paid under $100/tire for them.

They look pretty mean, too:

 

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If you are set on the Xi or Bliz, go with whatever you get the better deal on. Both are excellent tires.
 

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I have General Altimax Artics too. They seem to do the job, but NY winters usually aren't like yours. Downsides: they absolutely destroy your fuel economy. I have them mounted on steel rims, so I also have the TPMS problem. I plan on not doing anything about it this year, the light will be yellow all season. Subaru charges $50 to sync it up to the snow tires. So all winter, I'll just have to do what I do anyway: check pressure manually.

I went to 16" steels, with minus size tires. I find the tall thin tires work better in the snow.
 

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Consumer reports scored nokian wrg2 top performance winter tire and 2nd highest performance all season tire
 

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As AWDFTW said, whatever you can get the better deal on. In fact, I've used cheap Hankook snow tires in the past with great results. If you're going to put studs on them, you will greatly improve the snow traction.
 

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Looking at winter tires for our '12 OB. We live in MN & we know the Conti's do not hold up in the snow & ice the way we would like (we have a new 16-year-old driver - nuf said.) Going over some of the postings about winter tires & looking through reviews on tirerack.com, we have narrowed it down to the Bridgestone Blizzaks & the Michelin X-Ice tires. I would love to hear input on these (or others if you have a good experience with something else) from fellow OB drivers. We are leaning towards the X-Ice XI2's (don't know enough about the I3's), but have personal friends that swear by the Blizzaks. Thoughts?
I live next door to you. I was very happy with the Blizzrks on my 2003 Outback. They did an outstanding job!
 

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"x2" on the Xi2. Have them on my car and my wife's car. They are on steel wheels. From Tire Rack. I do the swap when they forecast the first snow fall.
 

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One of the problems with winter tires is that they reduce your gas mileage. This--unfortunately--is unavoidable.

The other problem is rapid tread wear, particularly if you continue to drive on winter tires after the winter is over.

However, the Michelin X-Ice winter tires do have much better tread-wear characteristics than competing winter tires. I have been able to use these tires for as many as 5 winters with no reduction in traction or excessive tread wear.

You would find that the Blizzaks wear much more rapidly than Michelin X-Ice winter tires, thus making the Michelins a much better value for your money.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the great advice! Scoobydoo2, I think that after reading reviews on CR (thank you), we are going to go with the Xi3's. Better gas mileage is always a plus & the deal on TR right now is better than what we can get at Costco (which does not have Xi3's in stock yet, but will any day now), even after adding in shipping and installation costs.

And I have to give a :29: to my neighbor to the east - howdy Hudsoner!

Cheers and thanks for the great advice!

Bring on the snow! (It's supposed to be 92 here tomorrow.)
 

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One of the problems with winter tires is that they reduce your gas mileage. This--unfortunately--is unavoidable.
I agaree! I have been using Goodyear Ultragrip ice and their rolling resistance is horrible. The new winter tires coming out have improved on that...that is one of the catagories in consumer report reviews on tires.

The other thing that kills winter mileage is the cold. That is another reason why you will see a drop in your mileage.

EPA mileage estimates are usually really optimistic and don't take these factors into consideration...at all.
 

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Has anyone considered the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R SUV 225/60R17 ?
It's a studless winter tire . I'm considering pulling the trigger on these at Tiresbuyweb.com.

Marc
 

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I have been in the same boat trying to decide between Blizzak and X-ice, along with an option of the WRG2 year-round. I ended up ordering the X-Ice Xi3 so we'll see how they do. I made my decision based on a few factors:

1. I live in an area with a long potential winter season, but not necessarily always piles of snow on the ground. More common is plowed roads with packed snow/ice on the road for days or weeks at a time. The X-Ice seems better designed to handle that situation than the Blizzak yet still should be sufficient enough in fresh snow.

2. The testing results that suggested that the X-Ice was still darn good in winter conditions even when worn to 4/32. That should allow me to get at least 3 safe winters out of them. Other winter tires don't perform very well once they get that worn and I think the Blizzaks are left with only an all-season compound at that point.

3. The X-Ice has a 40k tread warranty (most winter tires have none) and appears that it would wear better during dry road conditions than many of the other options. It also looks like it should take less of a mileage hit than the Blizzaks.

4. The WRG2 aren't enough of a winter tire to justify the faster summer wear from everything I read. If I drove less, I might have gone that route to save myself from the wheel swapping hassle/storage.


I had the Blizzak DM-V1 on my 2010 Highlander and loved them, so I bet I'd be happy with the WS70 as well for my new Outback. I'm just hoping that the X-Ice is better for my needs.
 

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Has anyone considered the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R SUV 225/60R17 ?
It's a studless winter tire . I'm considering pulling the trigger on these at Tiresbuyweb.com.

Marc
I've had Hakkas and they were awesome. But they had studs. I've had Nokians, Blizzaks, and cheap Hankooks. I've noticed ZERO snow performance among them (I live in a place with ~500" of annual snow). The only thing that made a noticeable difference was the studs.

I say save your cash and buy the cheaper tire.
 

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The last time I bought purpose-built snow tires I recall some did not have the sticky rubber all the way through. I chose one that was not that way but had sipes all the way until worn. They may not have had superior traction of sticky rubber all the way but they lasted much longer with good performance than friends who got Blizzaks.

I don't know if that still holds true but figured I'd point out that I appreciated the longer product life with tires that still were superior (awesome) in snow and ice.
 

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The WRG2 aren't enough of a winter tire to justify the faster summer wear from everything I read. If I drove less, I might have gone that route to save myself from the wheel swapping hassle/storage.
Mine were only down to about half the original tread depth after 50K miles on my '10 when it was totaled.

I've used them for years in New England and always found them to be superb all-year tires, including snow and ice, and they wear like iron. Could do better in the winter with special purpose winter tires, I'm sure, but with their own tradeoffs including worse dry road safety and performance.
 

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...Decision made...I now have 4 brand spankin' new Michelin Xice i2 in my garage just waiting for early November to put them on.
 

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Decision made here as well !

I pulled the trigger on the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R SUV 225/60R17 . This was based on glowing reviews all over the interweb . If my stock Contis were worn I might have gone for the Hakka WRG2 as an all season but I already had a set of rims available so figured I'd go with a dedicated snow . Hope it actually snows this winter !!

Marc
 
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