The Best Winter Tires For Your Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, And WRX STI
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.
Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!
Photo credit: Subaru