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Recommend Snow-worthy All Season Tires for an AWD SUV?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

We find ourselves in the White Mountains of New Hampshire A LOT in the winter, especially when it snows. This includes driving around hilly neighborhoods, thankfully in one of our two AWD/4WD SUVs.

 

We have a 2011 Honda CR-V AWD with OEM tires on it that are wearing out very fast (Continental Contact 4X4), and will need to replace them by this fall so are starting to research our choice.

 

On our prior Honda CR-V AWD and on our current 2009 Honda Pilot 4WD we have had pretty good luck with the Nokian WR All Season tires and found they worked quite well in snow, rain, and even dry pavement. We really don't like switching between summer and winter tires, having done that for many years with sedans and two sets of wheels. Now with AWD/4WD SUVs we'll accept a little less tire life with an All Season tire like the Nokian WR - that we have found to be decent in the snow. Any others out there that we should consider? 

post #2 of 23

Had to get new tires for my Subaru Outback last winter. Ended up getting four Michelin all season tires. The previous tires were the Bridgestone Potenza all seasons, I believe these were original equipment tires that came on the car. The Bridgestones were not bad, got about 50,000 mi out of them. Were decent on ice and snow, but they gave a fairly harsh ride. I find that the Michelins are a much better riding tire, more plush and quiet. Can't really say about the snow and ice traction, didn't have enough snowy days to really give them a good test. I'll be in the market for a new car fairly soon, and I'm considering going with a dedicated winter tire like the Michelin IceX or the Bridgestone Blizzack. I know it's a pain in the ass to be changing over tires twice a year, but the way I look at it, if I'm going to be buying a new car, I might as well do everything I can to keep it out of a ditch, or worse. Besides, my wife is the one that drives the Subaru 90% of the time, and unlike the car, I have no plans to be trading her in anytime soon, so I want to keep her in good working condition! 

I've also going to have to be buying a new set of tires for my 4x4 pickup in the next couple of months, and that's generally what I use to go up north in, unless it's a family trip, then I bring the Suby. So I need a decent traction tire for that. I've done a lot of research on truck tires, and it seems like the Michelin LTX MS/2 is the hands down winner in that category. They say you get what you pay for, and it seems like that's the case when it comes to tires. And the Michelins are only marginally more expensive than everything else. So in my opinion, it's a no brainer.

post #3 of 23

I think you nailed it already with the Nokians. I have had three sets, most recently the WR G2. Two of the sets were on a Subaru and it was unstoppable except once when it got high centred. I have only seen one other similiar 'all weather' tire and that is the Hankook Optima 4S. Personally I'd stick with Nokians unless there is a huge price difference. 

post #4 of 23

I had a very good experience with General Grabbers.  Easy on the pocketbook and great all season performance from San Francisco to the Sierra.  Check out tirerack.com

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

Had to get new tires for my Subaru Outback last winter. Ended up getting four Michelin all season tires. The previous tires were the Bridgestone Potenza all seasons, I believe these were original equipment tires that came on the car. The Bridgestones were not bad, got about 50,000 mi out of them. Were decent on ice and snow, but they gave a fairly harsh ride. I find that the Michelins are a much better riding tire, more plush and quiet. Can't really say about the snow and ice traction, didn't have enough snowy days to really give them a good test. I'll be in the market for a new car fairly soon, and I'm considering going with a dedicated winter tire like the Michelin IceX or the Bridgestone Blizzack. I know it's a pain in the ass to be changing over tires twice a year, but the way I look at it, if I'm going to be buying a new car, I might as well do everything I can to keep it out of a ditch, or worse. Besides, my wife is the one that drives the Subaru 90% of the time, and unlike the car, I have no plans to be trading her in anytime soon, so I want to keep her in good working condition! 

I've also going to have to be buying a new set of tires for my 4x4 pickup in the next couple of months, and that's generally what I use to go up north in, unless it's a family trip, then I bring the Suby. So I need a decent traction tire for that. I've done a lot of research on truck tires, and it seems like the Michelin LTX MS/2 is the hands down winner in that category. They say you get what you pay for, and it seems like that's the case when it comes to tires. And the Michelins are only marginally more expensive than everything else. So in my opinion, it's a no brainer.

 

IME Michelins All Season tires are quiet and last a really really long time due to using a relatively hard rubber compound and some pretty quiet non-aggressive tread patterns. However, the several sets I had were generally pretty poor performers for winter driving. The Nokian WRs don't last as long but IME are much better in the winter, which is what's important for us owning a ski house in the White Mountains of NH, and less so living in Foster (though the Michelins All Season tires frequently wouldn't make it up my Foster driveway on a 2WD sedan). We do give up tire life in this tradeoff though, since the Nokians don't last nearly as long as the rock hard Michelins.

 

Also, there are around 20 varieties of the Bridgestone Potenza, which made its name on racing circuits (dry pavement in particular) - though I have personally used the Potenza S03 and S02 in a race series as my rain tires on sports cars - when I wasn't using slicks (way faster in the dry than any treaded tire). Some Potenzas are very high performance sports car tires and others are pretty mediocre all season tires taking advantage of the great Potenza name. I had the Potenza G009 as an All Season tire on a 2WD sedan and they were only OK, certainly better than any Michelin All Season tires I ever had.

 

I have also used the Bridgestone Blizzak, which is a great dedicated winter-only tire so long as you don't mind them wearing out in only 1 winter! They wear out particularly fast because of the way they inject air bubbles into the rubber for better grip though more surface area as they wear. I preferred using the Nokian Hakkapilita RSI as a dedicated winter-only tire because they worked every bit as well in the snow and lasted 3 winters. However, that was when I was driving 2WD sedans and now with AWD/4WD I'm trying to pick more snow-worthy All Season tires and not have to have two sets of tires (winter and summer).

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post

I think you nailed it already with the Nokians. I have had three sets, most recently the WR G2. Two of the sets were on a Subaru and it was unstoppable except once when it got high centred. I have only seen one other similiar 'all weather' tire and that is the Hankook Optima 4S. Personally I'd stick with Nokians unless there is a huge price difference. 

 

Had a couple of sets the 1st Generation Nokian WR on our first CR-V, and they were always reliable in snow. Our first CR-V came with OEM Goodrich All Season tires from the factory which were NOT reliable in the snow. Currently have the WR G2 on our Pilot and they are also reliable in the snow, vastly better than the Goodyear Fortera HL OEM All Season tires our Pilot came with. The WR G2 also can be rotated onto both sides of the car. I'll have to check out that Hankook though - Thanks!

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquawBrat View Post

I had a very good experience with General Grabbers.  Easy on the pocketbook and great all season performance from San Francisco to the Sierra.  Check out tirerack.com

 

Will have to check those out! Yes, I always do my tire price referencing on tirerack.com to keep my local dealer honest - but I do prefer to buy locally.

post #8 of 23
I would suggest you take a look at DTD site, aka discounttiredirect.com.. Their packages are outstanding, I mean price wise . Even if you buy only tires, they ship free. Recently I got a price quote on wheel and tire package and it comes only like $350 more if I would have bought tires only from tire rack, also included TPMS sensors. This is a small price to pay and have two sets of wheels and tires...GL
post #9 of 23

If General's Grabber AT2 fits...you might want to check out ProComp's All-Terrain Radial.  A little tougher rubber with more narrow and a little shorter-in-length, diagonal teeth = slightly more space between treadteeth & better in snow/crud/ice/wet.  I've used both, have the Grabber AT2 on my Xterra now = a little cheaper...but imho think the ProComp's slighly more rugged and narrow teeth are a better tire(but you'll pay for it)....great snow/wet/crud/ice performance....but check the sizing...may be a little more than what the Honda's AWD gearing is used to...y/n???

 

$.01


Edited by HaveSkisWillClimb - 6/10/12 at 9:20am
post #10 of 23

Another vote for the Nokian WR.

 

Nokian refers to it as an "All Weather" rather than an "All Season" tire.

 

Th WR has the "Snowflake on Mountain" symbol, which means it meets the standards to be classified as a winter tire in North America. I some parts of Canada, such as Quebec, winter tires are required during the winter months. I'm not sure which other year round tires carry this symbol.I have WRs on my Element. We have Blizzak snow tires on my wife's CR-V.

 

Can't say I've noticed a significant difference in performance on snowy roads between them. I think if they were really put to the test on ice or severe snow conditions, the dedicated snow tire (Blizzak), with its softer composition, would win. But I'm not sure there's another year round tire on the market that can match the Nokian's performance in snow.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

WR_G2_SUV[1].JPG

The Nokian WR G2 pictured here seems to remain in the lead for my upcoming purchase. It just has way more grip sipes (the little razor cuts) for winter driving conditions than everything else I've looked at so far, and is still an All-Season tire (meaning I can use it all four seasons, and still get snow-tire like grip in the winter).

 

Some of the General Grabbers (5 of them are currently shown on TireRack) seem more off-road/mud/aggressive oriented which would probably be noisier on the highway, but none of the 5 I've seen have winter grip siping like the Nokians. They're probably fine for fresh snow but without the siping probably wouldn't be as good in more slippery slushy and icy conditions. Couldn't find that specific Hankook model that was suggested, but most of what I saw in their tire lineup looked more dry pavement performance oriented and very quiet. Very quiet (like Michelins) usually goes hand in hand with low rolling resistance and better fuel economy, which is all good except that it usually comes at the expense of winter grip.

 

I'm looking for the All Season tire that's really most like a snow tire in the winter, but that can be driven in the summer without excessive wear. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

post #12 of 23

I did a little research on the Nokian. They claim it will give you the traction of a dedicated snow tire and the year round performance of an all season tire. The best of both worlds. Trouble is, in the real world, those are mutually exclusive qualities. You can't have it both ways. That's like claiming that there is one ski out there that will be superior in all conditions. My guess is that the tire leans more towards the winter tire performance than most all season radials, but will probably suffer a shortened tread life and some handling aspects because of it. I notice that Nokian does not offer a tread life guarantee on the tire. That's kind of a tip off to me. I've done just fine traction wise with all season tires on my AWD Subaru for the life of the car. But there is no doubt that a dedicated winter tire will stop shorter and handle better in snowy conditions. But there's no one tire that's going to it all. I saw a comparison test of winter tires a while back that claimed that the Michelin IceX had the best combination of winter performance and dry road handling of any winter tire they tested. I'm not a Michelin salesman, I'm just telling you what I know. It sounds to me like you really want the best of both worlds. And the only way you're going to get it is by having two sets of tires for the different seasons. Either that or just except that the Nokians are going to be somewhat of a compromise in most situations. Kind of like an all mountain mid fat ski. People that like them claim they are a good ski in a lot of different conditions. Others that don't like them say that they are not really that good at anything. Sounds to me like you've sold yourself on the Nokians. And in the end, the only one you've really got to please is you. 

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHRISfromRI View Post

We really don't like switching between summer and winter tires, having done that for many years with sedans and two sets of wheels. Now with AWD/4WD SUVs we'll accept a little less tire life with an All Season tire like the Nokian WR - that we have found to be decent in the snow. Any others out there that we should consider? 

The OP doesn't want two sets of tires

I agree that a dedicated set of snow tires on rims is better especially something like a set of Hakka Rs but it It really boils down to money and convenience

 

The following comments are based on real life, actual experience rather then conjecture without personal experience

 Nokian snow performance - they meet Canadian (a snowy place for sure) reguirements to be considered a real McCoy, genuine snow tire. No doubt there are better snow tires but the WR G2 definitely meets the requirements.  I live in middle of the Canadian Rockies 15 minutes from the Continental Divide. We get snow and lots of it. I have driven the Subaru with snow above the rims, door sills, up to the bumpers and didn't spin a wheel.

 Longevity - After having 3 sets of Nokians (2 sets of WRs and one set of WR G2s) in real world all year conditions I get 75 to 85000 Kms on a Subaru and Dodge Grand Caravan respectivley. Yes I might get 100,000 Km on an all season but when you factor in change over cost and hassles they are well worth it.

Handling - I'm pretty confident the Nokians will beat any comparable cost all season tire in wet, slushy or snowy condition. In dry conditions they may not be optimal but we're talking about a Honda CR-V here not a Porsche.

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

Mac: All I'm looking for is a set of All Season tires for my AWD/4WD SUVs, that are pretty close to dedicated snow tire performance in the winter and just don't wear out too fast in the summer like dedicated snow tires would (so I don't need to own 2 sets of tires/wheels per SUV). I don't care a lick about summer tire handling/performance on my SUVs, it will be good enough for me on any rubber. IMO SUVs really don't handle well anyway, but are reliable year-round transportation, so trying to make them into something they'll never be isn't practical. I would just pick another car to drive than an SUV when I am looking for more spirited summer handling/performance, like my S2000 which corners at 1G on street tires and 2G on race rubber - plus it's a convertible.

 

WRT all mountain mid fat skis - I took 1 set of them with me out to Oregon to ski last month and skied a variety of conditions from stormy heavy/sticky powder, to deeper lighter powder, to groomed out powder, and had a blast on everything! I left behind fatter skis at my own ski house across the country that might have been "even better" in the softer snow, and left behind narrower skis that might have been "even better" on the groomed, but I was limited to 1 set traveling - and they rocked in all conditions.

post #15 of 23

I loved my Bridgestone Duelers ... I had about 45K on them when I got a flat, and so I was replacing all 4 and couldn't find any anywhere. I switched to Yokohama Geolandars, which have been just fine, but we didn't have that much snow so I still am not totally sure. They were fine in neighborhood/city driving in snow. My brother lives in the mountains and he puts those Yokohamas on his truck (they have another truck with snows for when they really really need them, but they don't put snows on both trucks). 

 

That said, I live in Colorado, and the winter weather we get here is generally "dry." We don't get a lot of plain old ice. It happens, but overall things are different from the East Coast.

post #16 of 23

My Ford Focus wagon, purchased used, came with Pirelli P4 Four Seasons tires -- also advertised as a true all-year tire. They aren't bad at all. Great in the wet, just fine on dry pavement, and better than your average all-season tire in the snow. I still use our other vehicle, shod with real winter tires, if heavy snow is in the forecast. But the Pirellis would be a good pick if you really don't want two sets of wheels and tires.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHRISfromRI View Post

 

WRT all mountain mid fat skis - I took 1 set of them with me out to Oregon to ski last month and skied a variety of conditions from stormy heavy/sticky powder, to deeper lighter powder, to groomed out powder, and had a blast on everything! I left behind fatter skis at my own ski house across the country that might have been "even better" in the softer snow, and left behind narrower skis that might have been "even better" on the groomed, but I was limited to 1 set traveling - and they rocked in all conditions.

 

Lol, I was in Oregon at the end of April, came home the first day of May. Skied Mt Hood Meadows one day, skied Bachelor for three days. From the sound of things, we encountered pretty much the same conditions. I too brought a pair of midfats (Head Peak 84's), and never felt I was out of my element in any conditions we came across. Ideal skis to bring when you can only bring one pair. I never said I didn't like midfats, it's just like tires, some are better suited to specific jobs than others. I could be very happy skiing those Peak 84's as an everyday ski, but it's always fun to have the option of different skis for different conditions. Or just to swap from one pair to another at lunchtime just to keep from getting bored. Not so easy to do with tires, unfortunately.

post #18 of 23

Those Nokians with the sipes look like a good tire. The other one I've used that had great snow grip was the Michelin Cross Terrain. Similarly well siped tire. It works great in winter up until maybe 30K miles. After that, the winter performance tails off rapidly.

 

Me? I have two sets of wheels - one with summer tires and one with winter tires. When the winter ones near the end of their useful life, I leave them on for the summer and that pretty much kills them. But I have a garage with room in the corner for a stack of four tires. Right now I'm running my second set of Michelin X-Ice on my Honda Pilot. Previously I've had Dunlop and Blizzak winter tires. All have been good, but the X-Ices seem to hold up the longest.

post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

Lol, I was in Oregon at the end of April, came home the first day of May. Skied Mt Hood Meadows one day, skied Bachelor for three days. From the sound of things, we encountered pretty much the same conditions. I too brought a pair of midfats (Head Peak 84's), and never felt I was out of my element in any conditions we came across. Ideal skis to bring when you can only bring one pair. I never said I didn't like midfats, it's just like tires, some are better suited to specific jobs than others. I could be very happy skiing those Peak 84's as an everyday ski, but it's always fun to have the option of different skis for different conditions. Or just to swap from one pair to another at lunchtime just to keep from getting bored. Not so easy to do with tires, unfortunately.

Great Call.

We were in Bend and skied Bachelor during the first week of May, including Cinqo de Mayo! I took a set of the Nordica 2012 Sidecountry Burner 84 wides, and my wife took a set of Dynastar Legend 3800 (75 wide). We had fun in all conditions we encountered.
post #20 of 23

We usually close out the season with a trip to Colorado, but this year, it wasn't worth it, so we went to Oregon instead. We stayed in Bend for the time we were out there. Great town, great mountain. Too bad it's such a haul to get there. We flew in and out of Portland, and skied at MHM on the way out. Redmond airport would definitely be a better bet, if you can plan far enough in advance to get a decent airfare.

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 

We ended up going with the Nokian WR G2 for our CR-V. The cost installed was $650.

 

These replaced OEM Continental Contact 4X4 tires, which were worn out at 34K miles.

 

Now we have the Nokian WR G2 on both our CR-V and our Pilot. Just need snow...

post #22 of 23

Great decision. Did you mentioned way back in an earlier post that the Nokians could be switched side to side or was that someone else? They are directional and can only go back and forth unless you remount them. Last Fall I made the mistake of putting some Hakka Rs on the wrong way and could certainly tell they did not like it at all.

post #23 of 23

I recently put a set of Hankook Optimo H727 on my wife's car. Haven't tried them in snow yet obviously but they are great on wet roads. They were a great value as well.

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