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Top 2015-16 Utility Winter Tires

There’s a better-than-average chance that if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you’re shopping for a vehicle that will need a winter tire from the following list in only a few weeks. 

Be it a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson or a Ford Escape, we’ve got you covered. Many of us don’t realize that although compact, many of these vehicles are equipped with 17”, 18” or even 19” wheels and tires. In order to help you along with your shopping, I’ve devised another “best bang for the buck” line-up of tire suggestions. For a more specific list of tire suggestions for your car, click here.

The following list was compiled with the help of Talon Tire, located in Ville St-Laurent, part of the UniPneu group. 

Here are the top 2015-‘16 CUV/minivan/small SUV winter tire choices: 

Best tire in the $125-$175 range (P225/65R17)

  • Champiro IcePro (studdable) and WinterPro -- Decent overall winter tire, excellent bang for buck (arguably the best Chinese winter tire); 
  • Goodyear Ultra Grip winter -- Performs well in deep snow and slush, studdable.

Best tire in the $175-$225 range

  • Toyo GSi5 -- Microbit compound, good durability, deep tread, very good in snow and slush;
  • Yokohama Ice Guard IG51V -- Yoko’s version of the Blizzak: aggressive design, deep tread, good all-round tire *most positive reviews from consumers*;
  • Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 -- Everything we like about the Blizzak but for a CUV; quiet, soft compound, great all-round performance, remains a benchmark, deep tread, brand new but expected to do well;
  •  Dunlop GrandTrek SJ8 -- Deep tread, good bang for the $$, good deep snow and slush, decent on ice. 

Best tire: $225+ 

  • Nokkian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV / 8 SUV -- Aggressive tread pattern, excellent snow and slush traction; 
  • Pirelli Scorpion Winter -- Aggressive tread design, decent tread depth, improved over last generation, pricier;
  • Michelin Lattitude X-Ice2 -- Very good road manners; feels like an all-season, good performer, but with reduced tread depth.

Studdable tires

  • There are a few questions that need to be asked in order to decide whether or not studded tires are the best choice for you. Consider the following:
  • The first thing to know is that the metal studs do generate a considerable amount of road noise;
  • Ice traction and grip increases exponentially on icy roads. No current non-studded winter tire can match studs on this level; 
  • Studs do little on dry and snow-covered roads. Their reason for being is to “stab” the ice, maximizing traction. 

Runflat winter tires 
These tires, required for a number of BMW/MINI/Mercedes owners, start at over $200 a unit. Depending on size and various applications, consider the Bridgestone LM-32, Dunlop, Michelin or Nokian Hakkapeliitta.