2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback, WRX STI
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The Best Winter Tires For Your Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, And WRX STI

What are the best winter/snow tires for a Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, WRX STI, and Ascent? Check out the best-rated tires.
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If you own a Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, WRX STI, or Ascent, 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.

If you live in a northern climate, you want the “stickiest” tires on your vehicle to get the Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive power to the ground. They will also give you improved braking and steering. Check out the highest-rated winter/snow tires from Consumer Reports (by subscription) below.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback, WRX STI

Not all tires are best for driving on snow and ice, and you want tires (known as snow or “winter” tires, which better describe their function since they perform better in cold temperatures, not just on snow). Your new Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent models come equipped from the factory with “all-season” tires, but they are not the best for severe conditions.

Just like you wouldn’t wear flip flops when there are snow and ice on the sidewalk, you wear shoes or boots to give you the best footing. It’s the same idea as your tires. If you live in an area where snow and ice regularly accumulate, winter tires will noticeably reduce wheel spin and sliding on slick surfaces.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback, WRX STI

The Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or Ascent will perform admirably with all-season tires in various temperatures and conditions, but take them off and put on a good set of winter tires if you want the best traction, especially if you live in a cold climate. Winter tires combined with Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive are the perfect match.

When shopping for winter rubber, look for an Alpine pictograph (a snowflake inside a mountain) on the tire’s sidewall. When you see this icon, you know it meets more stringent winter traction performance requirements that include snowy, slippery roads, and low temperatures.

What are the best winter tires for a Subaru?

Consumer Reports rates the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 ($127) treads as the best overall winter/snow tires. They score high in icebreaking and snow traction. The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 edges out the Cooper Discoverer True North ($110) and Hankook Winter I*Cept iZ2 ($79) by a small margin, according to the CR report. All three would be good choices for Subaru owners who live in cold climates.

What if I do some occasional winter driving?

CR says the best all-around all-weather SUV tires are the Michelin CrossClimate + ($171). For Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or Ascent owners who experience occasional winter driving conditions, CR recommends the General Altimax RT43 T ($87) all-season tires.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback, WRX STI

What are the best winter/snow performance tires for a Subaru WRX or WRX STI?

Consumer Reports rates the Vredestein Wintry Pro ($180) as the best winter replacement tire for sports cars equipped with high-performance all-season or summer tires. CR says, “The performance winter/snow tires have high levels of snow and ice grip while retaining much of the handling capabilities of regular performance tires.”

Be aware that these tires have softer rubber for maximum sticky grip, so they will wear out quicker when driven on dry pavement. But CR says the Vredestein Wintry Pro “has outstanding winter traction, and it strikes a good balance of dry and wet braking and handling.”

Make sure you get four winter/snow tires that are 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 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or Ascent, WRX, or WRX STI or older Subaru.

You Might Also Like: Top-10 SUVs In Owner Satisfaction - Subaru Outback Scores 3rd, Forester Is 6th Best

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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Comments

All seasons and winter tires are obsolete for most people now. All Weather tires tested better than half the winter tires in snow and ice by Consumer Reports and can be left on all year. Some people buy winter tires that are actually worse. Never again panic to get your tires changed due to an early snowfall. Far cheaper since no ugly rims, storage or changing twice a year. Nokian WR G4 or Toyo Celsius.  They qualify as a winter tire.   All Seasons are obsolete now. Why would you put a tire on that's terrible in the snow so only really 3 seasons? All Weathers are rated to last 100K km and there is no noise like many winter tires. Once OEMs put all weathers on new cars and people find out they are fantastic in the snow and ice most people won't bother with the hassle and huge cost of winter tires. Search YouTube for "Tip of the Week: All Weather Tires". Search YouTube for "New All-Weather Tires Outperform Some Snow Tires | Consumer Reports"  
Those who have never tried All Weather have no idea. Those who have tried them would never go back to the huge cost and hassle of All Seasons and Winter tires.
Nokian Hakka tires are the best. Please do thorough research and testing be putting out false claims based on your lack of knowledge.
I thought that Blizzaks were the best, until I tried a set of Hakka’s. Safety and peace of mind to me are worth the $. Stay safe.
I don't think that Blizzak WS90 makes tires for Subaru Ascent.
I've been using the same set of General Altimax Arctic mounted on aluminum rims since 2011. My wife was driving a lot of miles in bad weather so I spent about a grand on a set I can easily swap out every year without costly mounting and balancing every time. Had the correct size been available I could have spent $200 less by going with steel wheels and 16 inch rims. I had to go to 17 inches that meant higher tire cost and fancy rims as steel didn't come in the 17 inch size. The tires worked wonders in all conditions. I think they outperformed the all season tires when it was really cold on dry pavement by staying flexible.
What do you think of Yokohamas?
Nokian Hakkapalita studded snows beat every other tire for starting and braking on snow and ice packed roads, especially prevalent in the Northeast, where heavy traffic packs the snow into ice before the first plow hits the road. Consumer Reports engineers no longer search out the best but test only the most common.
Nokian Hakkapalita studded snows beat every other tire for starting and braking on snow and ice packed roads, especially prevalent in the Northeast, where heavy traffic packs the snow into ice before the first plow hits the road. Consumer Reports engineers no longer search out the best but test only the most common.
nokian hakkapeliitta for my impreza!
Great story, Denis. As Torque News readers might know from other stories, my personal vehicle is a 2016 Forester 2.5 Premium. I spend a lot of time in the woods at a cabin accessed only by a private dirt road at the bottom of a long, steep hill. In winter, it can be almost impassable to normal cars. I use Bridgestone Blizzaks and they make a HUGE difference when turning and stopping. Frankly, the Forester can go forward on the stock tires OK, but the winter compound and snow tread makes a world of difference overall. I've owned 4 Subarus including Outbacks, Foresters and a Legacy. Snow tires should be on every Subie in my personal opinion.