The new yardstick?
As with car makers, tire manufacturers do their darnedest to cater to what consumers want and ask for. Michelin is to tires what Toyota is to hybrid technology; they are at the forefront, leading the way and by example.
What example is that? Setting standards by which all other tire brands will be measured. Michelin is not simply content with offering a good tire that will perform well in Canadian winters. There are other manufacturers that do exactly this but Michelin throws in peace of mind. Lots of it.
Michelin is a rare tire maker that actually rates the life expectancy of their winter tires and also gives you a tread life warranty. You read that right. The all-new Michelin X-Ice 3 winter tire has a 60,000 km warranty and this, in either the T or H speed ratings.
Peace of mind comes in many shapes. Another such point comes in the form of trust. Consumers want a winter tire that will last 3 or 4 seasons but unfortunately, come winter #3, the vast majority of winter tires will have lost a large part of their properties, especially where ice traction is concerned.
The Michelin X-Ice 3 is designed to perform in all conditions even when worn down to a tread depth of only 4/32. As you can see in the picture gallery, some of the Xi3's competitors’ tread blocks actually melt away into solid bands of rubber or their all-important sipes all but disappear. The Xi3's sipes and blocks are still quite visible and therefore, functional.
Oh, and if you're not happy with your Michelin tires, you have a 30-day exchange satisfaction warranty. That's right; Michelin will trade your tires for whatever you want in the same size. As well, with every set, the buyer gets 3 years of roadside assistance.
When new, the Xi3 comes with 10.5/32 of tread depth. Compared to many of its competitors that will offer up to 13/32 of tread, 10.5 doesn't seem like much. Like cheeseburgers, not all are equal. A Five Guys burger is not tantamount to a Big Mac but they are referred to as same. They are not. Tread depth is not the be-all end-all of how to measure a tire's worth. The quality of the actual materials and tire make a huge difference.