Five Best-Rated Winter Tires for Canadian Roads
When the snow flies winter tires become essential for driving safety.
We’ll talk until we turn blue about the need for winter tires in just about every part of Canada, but there’s more to the story. There are hundreds of different models of snow tires and many that wear the mountain peak logo that tells you they’re winter rated. How do you know which ones are the best? We’re here with our picks for the five best-rated winter tires for Canadian roads.
Michelin X-Ice Snow
The latest in the Michelin X-Ice line of winter tires is the X-Ice Snow. Sure, it’s a strange name, but there’s more to a winter tire than words. The latest generation uses a new V-shaped tread for traction improvements on snow and ice, as well as better performance in slush. The new rubber compound and full-depth sipes are designed to maintain winter grip for the entire life of the tire, Michelin says they’re better from new to 2 mm of tread. Maybe most importantly, 85 per cent of X-Ice Snow tires sold in North America are made in Nova Scotia.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
Tops of Bridgestone’s Blizzak line is the WS90 winter tire. It’s designed with an all-new tread compound versus the WS80, and Bridgestone claims improved stopping on ice up to 14 per cent shorter than leading competitors. The tread uses a new EdgePerformance package of interlocking sipes giving more edges to stick to slippery surfaces. The blocks have been stiffened to help reduce some of the squishy handlings that can come with winter rubber and Bridgestone claims a season’s longer life than before.
Toyo Observe GSi-6
Toyo might not be as well known among consumers, but the brand is well known with enthusiasts both for summer performance and for the latest winter-rated GSi, the Observe GSi-6. Toyo uses what it calls Microbit studless technology, meaning actual crushed walnut shells embedded into the tread. They grip like thousands of tiny studs, only they won’t fly out or make extra noise, and the edge is constantly renewed as the tire wears. Large shoulder blocks grab into deep snow while a serrated but continuous center rib adds stability. Tapered grooves move water and slush helping reduce the risks of hydroplaning and the unique 360 degree spiral sipes are designed to improve traction when accelerating, cornering, and braking.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9
While today’s studless winter tires do an amazing job of gripping ice, we understand many of you live somewhere that they’re not enough. You need a tire that gives you those sharp pieces of metal that can dig into the ice, especially wet ice, helping to make sure you stop, start, and turn. Nokian’s Hakkapeliitta 9 in car or truck/SUV lets you add studs while not relying on them alone. The rubber compound is loaded with sipes and sharp edges to grip snow and channel water and slush with a tread support network that adds stability when the tread is deeper but reveals more grooves and sipes as it wears. The compound is designed to be more durable and reduce noise and the Hakkapeliitta 9 has sidewalls that are extra strong to resist impacts and cuts from winter roads. The tread surface has a moulded-in depth gauge to spot tire wear.
Yokohama IceGuard G075
Yokohama’s IceGuard G075 is an SUV and truck winter tire that offers a good value for the larger sizes those vehicles use. It’s the latest in Yokohama’s IceGuard line and adds lower rolling resistance to its ice and snow traction for a quieter ride and fuel savings. The high-density tread compound means more road contact and more even wear, while triple 3D sipes enhance stability. The directional tread pattern works to add grip on snow and ice-covered roads.