2019 - 2020 Passenger Car and Minivan Tire Reviews

Tires in this section are suitable for front-wheel-drive, and four-wheel-drive passenger cars and minivans, and compact SUVs. Owners of rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive performance and luxury cars may prefer performance winter tires. For average driving, with a mix of urban roads and highways, tires in the first three or even four ratings groups will likely be more than satisfactory.

Comparison testing was conducted in 2016-2017 and updated subsequently with results for more recent tires from individual reviews and input from the APA's panel of tire experts. Tires evaluated were in the 205/55R16 size, which is suitable for compact cars like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla. Tires are listed in alphabetical order within each ratings group. The APA has compiled a list of tiremaker rebates applicable with the purchase of a set of four tires; most of these promotions expire in mid-December 2019. 

A small percentage of mostly rural drivers may be looking for studded tires. We have indicated models that are offered with factory European-style shaped studs. These are supposed to run more quietely and grip more effectively than conventional studs installed by the retailer.

Return to the Winter Tire Section

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

 

A : Top Rated (in alphabetical order)
Bridgestone
Blizzak WS90
 

Bridgestone introduced the Blizzak line in the 1990s, the first tire to feature a special rubber compound that dramatically improved performance on ice. New for autumn 2019, the WS 90 is the seventh generation of the Blizzak concept and ranked provisionally this year. Directional tire, optimized for snow and ice. Compared to the WS 80 which this tire superseded, the tread has significantly less tread siping. Bridgestone states that durability and ice traction are improved. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Nokian
Hakkapeliitta R3
 

This tire superseded the Hakka R2, and is Nokian's version of a non-studdable ice tire like the Blizzak WS 90. The tread is a little more aggressive on the R3 to improve performance in snow. Superior ice braking. Confident braking. Despite its low R speed rating, it is a good alternative for drivers of rear-wheel-drive sporty vehicles looking for a good balance of severe weather performance and acceptable handling on pavement. A factory road hazard warranty is included, limited to the first 40% of tire wear. Some sizes are available as runflat tires. Expensive, with a limited distribution network. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

(The Hakkappelitta 9 will likely be more popular in Eastern Canada. A Nordic snow tire for deep snow and poor winter road conditions, coupled with good ice traction. Tire rotation is a important to ensure even wear. Expensive, about 25 percent higher than Toyo or Bridgestone, but it comes standard with a road hazard warranty limited to the first  40% of tire wear. Long wearing. Available with sophisticated factory-installed studs. Negatives are a high price, limited distribution network.)

 
 
B : Very Good (in alphabetical order)
Continental
Winter Contact Si
 

This tire which replaced the ExtremeWinterContact is now being phased out. It offers superior grip in cornering and braking and runs quietly. The tread design is directional. Tread depth is just 10/32" when new which can reduce tire life. Look for low clearance pricing. Prepaid Mastercard gift card when you buy four tires.

Gislaved
Nord*Frost 200
 

Replaced the Nord*Frost 100, with a tread pattern resembling the old Continental ExtremeWinterContact. A good choice for buyers looking for a tire available with European-style diamond-shaped factory studs. Generous 12/32" tread depth when new.

Michelin
X-Ice Xi3
 

Among Consumer Reports’ preferred tires in testing because of its superior performance on wet and dry roads, and ride comfort. Optimized for ice and snow, this tire was among the favorites with tire dealers surveyed. Some consumers using this tire reported that traction in slush was unimpressive, and that the shallow, conservative tread limits its traction in deep snow. Best-in-class performance on pavement. Quiet. Long wearing. Expensive. Tricky mileage warranty requires the tires to be virtual banana peels before you can collect. Mail-in rebate with the purchase of four tires.

Pirelli
Ice Zero FR
 

The Pirelli Ice Zero FR (friction) provided superior snow traction and good steering control. Symmetric tread design with features in treadblocks that improve ice traction; this is the best general purpose passenger vehicle winter tire from Pirelli. Good longevity, traditionally superior to the Bridgestone Blizzak series, makes  this a good choice for heavier vehicles or vehicles that are driven more aggressively when roads are clear. Widely available and well-priced. Made in Russia. Pirelli was acquired by a Chinese conglomerate. Mail-in rebate on a set of four tires.The Ice Zero Studded is a different tire, available with factory studs. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Toyo
Observe GSi 5
 

The GSI 5 is being replaced gradually by the GSI 6. The GSI 5 is optimized for deep snow and ice. One of the better choices even though it is not a distinguished performer on cleared or wet roads and can be noisier than average in some applications. APA's recommended tire retailers have a lot of experience with this tire and received good feedback. Superior treadwear due to the deep tread and long-wearing rubber compound. Well-suited for heavy vehicles. Superior rating from Consumer Reports on ice and snow, but ranked low overall because it performed poorly in their tests on cleared pavement. Mail-in rebate with the purchase of four tires.

 
 
C : Good (in alphabetical order)
Dunlop
Winter Maxx 2
 

This tire is manufactured by tire giant Sumitomo of Japan. Asymmetric tread design. The tread compound is not as sponge-like as the most advanced winter tires, so ice performance does not equal tires in the higher ratings groups. Good performance on snow. Quiet. Superior treadlife. Offered in a large range of sizes. Canadian distribution is handled by Goodyear, which ensures good availability. Competitive price for a tire still made in Japan that features excellent manufacturing quality. Mail-in rebate on a set of four.

Goodyear
Ultra Grip Ice WRT
 

Competent handling on a wide variety of winter road surfaces. Directional tread with open blocks offering good snow and ice traction. Fairly hard riding. Predicted tire durability is good. Expensive. Mail-in rebate with the purchase of four tires. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Vredestein
SnowTrac 5
 

Very limited distribution and currently being phased out.Tire developed in conjunction with Giugiaro, the Italian design house better known for its work on automobiles. Marketed primarily to owners of European prestige automobiles, the SnowTrac 5 is a Euro-style winter tire, optimised for fast running on cleared roads, with good ice braking and cornering. Vredestein was originally a Dutch company but is now part of Apollo Tire, the Indian conglomerate. The SnowTrac 5 is still made in Holland. 

Yokohama
iceGUARD IG52C
 

Clearance priced with a higher rebate this year, this tire is  being replaced by the  IG53. Although in its  final year, this directional winter tire still offers superior traction on ice and in slush and is quiet and smooth riding; traction on wet surfaces was  undistinguished. Average treadlife predicted. Mail-in rebate with the purchase of four tires.

 
 
D : Acceptable (in alphabetical order)
Hankook
Winter i*Pike RS
 

This conventional snow tire has been on market for a few years. Good snow traction, unexceptional in other conditions. The tire will accept studs. The I*Cept IZ 2 performs better and likely would rank with tires in the Good ratings group. Mail-in rebate with the purchase of four tires. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Goodyear
Nordic
 

The Goodyear Nordic has been distributed exclusively through Canadian Tire network; it is similar to a Kelly tire, which is a Goodyear sub-brand. The hard compound rubber tread is long wearing, but performance on ice is unimpressive. Overall grip is not high, and the tire can be unpredictable when it starts to slide at the limit of adhesion. Fairly noisy and imprecise on cleared roads. Well-priced on promotion. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Toyo
Observe G3 ICE
 

Lower-priced entry from Toyo, made in Malaysia. Acceleration and braking were undistinguished, cornering was very predictable. Available with factory-installed studs. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

 
 
E : Budget Tires 

A possible solution if you’re turning in your leased vehicle during its last winter, particularly if it is equipped with large original-equipment tires, where the savings can be substantial. Note that some lessors require a tire of like kind and quality as at delivery (except for tire wear, which can be “normal”), so check beforehand to ensure the tire will pass inspection when you turn the vehicle in.

Acceptable
GT Radial
Champiro Icepro 3
 

Among the tires in this ratings group, the Champiro IcePro 3 is the best value, so we've listed it first. The GT Radial brand belongs to GiTi Tire of Indonesia; they're the 10th-ranked tiremaker in the world, and now have a plant in the United States. Predictable tire, easy to control on snow and ice. Mediocre handling on cleared roads and noisy. The hard rubber compound is long wearing. Very well priced, especially in larger tire sizes. Very large range of tire sizes. Will accept studs. Made in China. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Cooper
WeatherMaster ST-2
 

Clearance tire being phased out. This tire is made in an old-style clamshell mould. Good traction in deep snow but performance on other surfaces lags. Reasonably durable. Pricing is high for the older technology and quality of tire. Studdable. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Below Average
MaxTrek
Trek M7 
 

Mediocre and noisy. Poor control in corners. Available in a large range of sizes. Inexpensive. Made in China by Zhaoqing Junhong Tire. Mail-in rebate when you buy four tires.

Sailun
Ice Blazer WST1
 

The tire looks contemporary, but performance is mediocre. Can accept studs installed by the retailer. Limited availability.

WestLake
SW606
 

Adequate performance on uncleared roads. Poor on ice. Noisy, fairly rapid wear. Will accept studs installed by the retailer. Made in China by Hangzhou Zhongce.

 

 

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Additional rebates for APA Members


Get APA Pricing in Toronto.

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 and installed at Talon Tire in Ville Saint-Laurent.

List of tiremaker rebates applicable with the purchase of a set of four tires