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Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT 2015
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Two independend car & tech magazines tested winter tires again here in Finland. They test all the new tires against the best from previous year to see if there's any improvement and which performs the best. Firstly, again the worst studded tire did better than the best without studs. Remember that they'll give points mainly from the good performance (steering, braking, accelerating) on snow and do not care that much how they work on dry or wet tarmac.
Again Hakkapeliittas were the best. Studded Hakkapeliitta 8 was overall best on both magazines. Second was Continental ContiIce Contact, third some Hankook studded tire. Cant remember the rest. Best studless was Hakkapeliitta R2.
Both Hakka's were not so good on wet tarmac were others did a lot better. But on ice, packed snow & slush they did best.

On our previous OB we had Michelins first and then Conti's. Both studded. Michelin sucked. They were poor on wet ice. Really poor. Conti's were really good.
This time I wanted to go on Hakka's again. I know they're noisy and not good for road surface. But to be honest, if I have to choose between the safety of my family or the road surface..I don't give rats a** about the road. It can be renewed.

So here's what I drive in northern Finland from now on:
 

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2013 Outback Limited 2.5I CVT
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273 Posts
Here in WA. state, may not get the amount of snow you do, but in my experience with winter tires, Blizzacks have done me well. So, Blizzacks, drive slow, best choice IMO.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5i Premium w/nav/eye
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366 Posts
^^^^yeah...found that out....always something....
 

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2015 limited outback 2.5 , Nav, moon roof, trailer hitch, Window Tint, Sheepskin seat covers. Cargo Tray , Etc
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166 Posts
personally I bought the blizzak ws 80 last year and have about 14000 on them , and they did fantastic, I drove through many long ice storms and never felt the car slip or the tractions control come on. they still have most of there tired left even after driving around this last spring on bare warm roads, ill be putting them on again come November/December.
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited Tungsten Metallic
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46 Posts
Discussion Starter #25
Thanks to everyone who offered advice on winter tires for my 2015 2.5i Limited. As several posters have mentioned, studded tires are not allowed here in Ontario.

I was out tire shopping again on Saturday, and picked up some additional "information". The local KalTire got me thinking about Nokian WRG3 All-Weather tires, even though I went in to price out Michelin X-Ice2 (or 3). Mounted on new 17" steelies, four X-Ice2 was around Can $1700. The guy suggested the WRG3 were a good winter solution and mounted on my stock wheels, it was around $1000 out the door. As well as saving $700 up front, I would avoid twice-yearly tire changes and storage fees (I don't have room at home), so I was intrigued. He even offered to buy my stock Bridgestone Dueler tires from me at $85 each (robbery with only 6200 kilometers on them). He also claimed the RCMP have adopted the WRG3 in western Canada. That could be on one cruiser for all I know.

I have found some pretty positive Nkian WRG3 reviews, including at TireRack, but I wonder if:

a) the Ride Quality and Handling in the summer months will be inferior and perhaps less safe? We can be up in the 90F range at times during the summer.
b) Will they last if used in all 4 seasons?
c) I would be falling for the cheaper option, not the better option. All Weather tires simply aren't the same as winter tires?

Too good to be true?

Also, the KalTire guy said that they've seen the price for Steelies shoot up by 30% in recent years. Which got me thinking about spending a little more and getting some winter alloy wheels, if such a thing exist? But he said the bolt pattern or hub design on the Outback made it necessary to get some sort of adapter kit for each alloy wheel. I didn't quite understand his explanation. But it makes me wonder if using this "adapter kit" approach is a good idea. Thoughts?

I also stopped at my Subaru dealer, and they are selling lots of Blizzak WS80 packages mounted on factory hubs, and lots of Toyo Observe GSi5 as well. Apparently these Toyo tires are well regarded in Canada, but not that well known in the US. I couldn't get prices from the dealer on Saturday -- need the Parts guy for that.

I do recall some of you saying that you can't really go wrong with the top sellers (Blizzak WS80, X-Ice2 or X-Ice3), so maybe I am just over-thinking this purchase.

All advice welcome ... again.
Jimbo
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R ruby red, 2017 Outback 3.6R Premier Crystal Black Silica
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157 Posts
Just some food for thought - this is a study that was done on studded vs. non-studded tires. The message in a nutshell: "Studs are most effective on ice at or near 32 degrees F and lose their efficacy as temperatures drop and the ice becomes too hard for the studs to grip or when temperatures rise and ice melts to slush or wet pavement”

Considering that, I'm going to stick with non-studded.

Link:

AN OVERVIEW OF STUDDED AND STUDLESS TIRE TRACTION AND SAFETY
 

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2017 3.6 Touring
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I’ve been very happy with my new Nokian WRG4’s installed last month in upstate NY $800US at local shop


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