If you own a Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or another all-wheel-drive model, you are probably asking, "Why do I need snow tires if I have all-wheel-drive? Or can I get by with the all-season tires on my new car?" It all depends on where you live and how much extreme weather you will experience.
Consumer Reports identified "standout tires and brands with the best cold-weather grip," according to an updated ranking. Check out the highest-rated winter/snow tires from CR (by subscription) below. Click on each red tire link to get more information.
What are the best winter tires for a Subaru or other all-wheel-drive vehicle?
Consumer Reports rates the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 (price $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 Snow 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."
What is the best performance snow tire?
The top performance tire pick for the Subaru WRX, STI, and BRZ is the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 (price $278). CR says, "It excels in hydroplaning resistance, snow traction, and ice braking—the very reasons you should consider this category. It's also above average for dry braking; a characteristic often compromised in this category."
Tying it is the less expensive Hankook Winter I*cept Evo 3. CR says it matches the hydroplaning resistance, snow traction, and ice braking ratings but trails the Bridgestone in other measures. The Vredestein Wintrac Pro and Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 follow those tires closely, conceding just one point in CR's overall score. All four tires are CR-recommended.
What if I do some occasional winter driving?
CR says the best all-around all-season and all-weather SUV tires are the Michelin CrossClimate SUV (price $205.50). For Subaru Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek drivers who experience occasional winter driving conditions, CR says, "Many all-season SUV tires performed well overall in our tests, but the top tire is the Michelin CrossClimate SUV. It offers impressive snow traction without sacrificing grip on cleared roads. It comes in a variety of sizes to fit many popular SUVs. If there's one shortcoming, it's the tire's 40,000 miles of predicted tread life."
The Vredestein HiTrac follows the Michelin CrossClimate SUV. CR says, "the Vredestein HiTrac is a well-rounded tire, "delivering a good balance of all-weather grip and handling and 55,000 miles of predicted tread life."
What if I keep my tires on year-round?
If you don't want to change your tires next spring, CR recommends the General Altimax RT43 (price $130.99) for Subaru SUVs. CR says, "The General Altimax RT43 delivers excellent snow traction, resistance to hydroplaning, and ice braking performance."
When you get new treads for winter, you should 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 2023 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or another Subaru model year or vehicle.
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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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