APA's 2021-2022 ratings of winter tires for compact SUVs and cars, and intermediate sedans

Michel Poirier-DefoyJean-François Guay

Testing was conducted by Michel Poirier-Defoy and Jean-François Guay in the Laurentian and Outaouais regions outside Montreal, Quebec. A Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V were used as test vehicles. The test team has conducted about 30 tire tests cumulatively since 2005.

Tires were tested in the 225/65R17 size, which is the most popular size on the North American market. Tests covered traction when accelerating, braking and cornering. Tire noise was rated using a sonometer. Tests were conducted on a variety of surfaces including hardpack, loose snow, ice, and clear and wet pavement on secondary roads and highways. Subjective observations ot ride comfort completed each tire evaluation. 

Tires are listed from best to poorest in ratings groups. Tires in the first three groups are sound choices that will meet the requirements of most drivers. Tire supply and pricing have been impacted by supply chain disruptions, and the high cost of shipping has contributed to significant price increases. Sanctions against trading with Russia could impact the supply of tires from tiremakers with large assembly operations in that country including Nokian and Pirelli. 

2019-2020 Winter Tire Ratings - Pickups and Midsize and Large SUVs
2019-2020 All-Weather Tire Ratings



Testing was conducted in January-March 2020 and February-March 2021.
Tire size : 225/65R17

A : Best
1. Nokian
Hakkapeliitta 10 et 10 SUV

Tread compound updated from the Hakka 9. Impeccable on ice and snow. Very good lateral grip. Available with sophisticated factory-installed studs. The SUV version has stiffer sidewalls and is rated for heavier loads. Expensive.

2. Nokian
Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV

Top performing studless winter tire. Braking distances were shorter on snow and ice than some studded tires. Expensive.

3. Bridgestone
Blizzak WS90

Latest model in the Blizzak line. Excellent snow and ice braking, soft riding. Less responsive cornering than the Nokian tires. Average tire life. Available at Costco.

4. Toyo
Observe GSi6 / GSi6 HP / GSi6 LS

Very good all-rounder offered in a wide range of tire sizes. This tire replaced both the GSi-5 and Garit in Toyo's line up.

4. Michelin
X-Ice Snow

Superior acceleration and braking on ice. The quietest tire tested, soft riding.

B : Very good
6. Continental
Viking Contact 7

Directional tire that performed very well in snow, slush and on icy surfaces. Cornering response on dry roads could be crisper. Quiet, comfortable. Well-priced. 

7. Bridgestone

Now in its seventh year, the DMV-2 is still a very good value with contemporary performance. A good choice for heavier and powerful SUVs.

8. Yokohama
iceGuard G075
Good all-rounder. Long wearing.
9. Nordman
Offshoot of the old Hakkapeliitta 7. Superior in deep snow. Available with factory-installed studs. Fairly noisy. Long wearing.
9. Pirelli
Ice Zero FR

Good cornering and braking, and predictable. Long wearing. Well-priced for the performance provided. 
11. Goodyear
WinterCommand Ultra

Overall performance slightly below the old Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT.
C : Good
12. General Tire
Altimax Arctic 12

Offshoot of the Gislaved NordFrost 100. Long wearing. 

13. Toyo
Observe G3 ICE

Toyo's entry level winter tire. A good choice for buyers looking for a winter tire with factory studs.


14. Dunlop
WinterMaxx SJ8
A consistent performer, this tire has been on the market for several years and is likely due for replacement in the next season or two. Made in Japan to superior standards.
D : Acceptable
15. Motomaster
Winter Edge

Decent all-round performance and long wearing. Made by Cooper for the Canadian Tire inhouse brand.

16. Nitto

Nitto is Toyo's second-line brand. The SN2 offers good performance for the price. Limited distribution.
17. Falken Espia

A good design made in Japon by Sumitomo. Nearing the end of its product life cycle. Limited distribution.

18. GT Radial
IcePro 3

The best of the budget-brand tires made in China for the Canadian market.

19. BF Goodrich
Winter T/A Ksi

Contemporary-looking tread design but overall performance is undistinguished. Made in China for BF Goodrich by Nankang Rubber Tire.

20. Hankook

Predictable cornering but traction for acceleration and braking were undistinguished.

21. Kelly
Winter Access

Goodyear's second-line brand. A basic tire that offers basic performance               .

22. Uniroyal
Ice & Snow 3

Basic performance.Made in China for BF Goodrich, Michelin's second-line brand.

23. GT Radial
Winter Pro 2

Low-priced entry-level tire from GiTi.

E : Below Average

Most of the tires below are sold through a limited distribution network and could be difficult to match in the event you require just one tire after a flat. Tires in this ratings group do not meet the standard required in some lease conracts if you turn your vehicle in with winter tires installed. Tires in this group tend to wear out quickly.

24. Sailun
Ice Blazer WST-1

Handsome design but performance was disappointing. Rapid wear..

25. Starfire
RS W 5.0

A Cooper sub-brand. Made in China

26. Vanderbilt
Arctic Claw
  Dated tire offering dated performance.                       
27. Infiniti
Eskay Winter


Inferior performance.

28. West Lake

Inferior performance, cheap.

29. Maxtrek
Trek M7

Undistinguished on snow, worse on ice.

30. Laufenn
I-Fit Ice


Hankook sub-brand. Disappointing.

F : Avoid
31. EcoVision


Avoid, performance was not acceptable..


Return to top | Return to the Winter Tire homepage

APA Members in the Montreal area are eligible for a 5% pre-tax discount or a $30 after-tax rebate on any set of four tires purchased at Talon Tire in Ville Saint-Laurent.