If you own a Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or another all-wheel-drive model, you are probably asking the question, "Why do I need snow tires if I have all-wheel-drive? Or can I get by with the all-season tires that came on my new car?" It all depends on where you live and how much extreme weather you will experience.
Consumer Reports has recently identified "standout tires and brands with the best cold-weather grip," according to a new report. Check out the highest-rated winter/snow tires from CR (by subscription) below.
What are the best winter tires for a Subaru?
Consumer Reports rates the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 ($131) treads as the best overall winter/snow tires. They score high in icebreaking, snow traction, and hydroplaning. The report says the Michelin X-Ice is another top pick scoring slightly better than the Continental VikingContact 7.
Consumer Reports says, "The Blizzak WS90 has the most consistent scores across our tests and excels in resistance to hydroplaning, giving a slight edge over the Michelin. The Michelin is quieter and has a better rolling resistance rating than the Bridgestone, which aids fuel economy. The Continental has the best ride comfort, noise, and rolling resistance scores of the three."
photo credit: Subaru of New England
The top pick for the Subaru WRX and WRX STI is the Vredestein Wintrac Pro ($196.02) for the performance winter/snow tire.
CR says, "The Vredestein Wintrac Pro has outstanding winter traction, and it strikes a good balance of dry and wet braking and handling. CR rates the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 as a good alternative, although they score lower for snow traction.
What if I do some occasional winter driving?
CR says the best all-around all-season and all-weather SUV tires are the Michelin CrossClimate2 ($169.99-$186.00). For Subaru Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek drivers who experience occasional winter driving conditions, CR says, "This superb performance all-season tire does not need to be swapped for winter/snow tires when seasons change unless you live in an extremely snowy area."
CR says the best all-season SUV tire is the Michelin CrossClimate SUV ($236.96 - $244.07) for snow reaction and hydroplaning. CR says the top-rated CrossClimate SUV "offers impressive snow traction without sacrificing grip on cleared roads." It comes in a variety of sizes to fit the Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek SUVs. "If there's one shortcoming, it's the tire's 40,000 miles of predicted tread life," says CR.
It's followed by the Vredestein HiTrac as a well-rounded tire, "delivering a good balance of all-weather grip and handling, and 55,000 miles of predicted tread life."
When you get new treads for winter, make sure you get four winter/snow tires of the same size and identical category to maintain optimal driving performance. Buying the right winter tires can give you instant "bolt-on" traction, confidence, and control for your 2022 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or another Subaru model.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA