You can throw the world’s most advanced traction control systems at the winter driving problem, add a collection of modern vehicle safety features and a professional winter survival pack, but there’s no substitute for true winter tires in extreme winter conditions. The interaction of the tires with the road conditions is the epicenter of traction, and therefore, the primary determiner of winter driving vehicle control and safety. It’s why specifically-engineered winter tires provide such a remarkable performance and safety advantage, more so than any other winter driving variable.
Michelin’s winter tire lineup is absolutely one of the best in the industry. The Michelin Man is well practiced in the art of wintertime traction – in fact, Michelin introduced its first ever winter/snow tire, the “Michelin N,” way back in 1930.
So which Michelin winter tire is right for your vehicle and driving habits? We’ve checked. Turns out the old “N” is no longer available, so let’s take a look at the current options.
“Provides ultimate winter confidence over many miles, enabling you and your loved ones to fully embrace winter even in the harshest conditions.” – MichelinMan.com
What can be said about the X-Ice Xi3 that hasn’t already been said about the abominable snowman? This tire enthusiastically picks a fight with any winter road conditions and wins, period.
In terms of all-round wintertime traction and capability, the X-Ice Xi3 delivers. Building on two previous generations of X-Ice Xi tires, the Xi3 is perhaps Michelin’s most versatile winter tire, and suitable for sedans, coupes, performance cars, minivans, or small crossovers.
Prospective users of the X-Ice Xi3 can expect world-class snow and ice traction, quiet operation (thanks to Michelin’s Comfort Control Technology), excellent grip on wet winter roads and through changing conditions, and even a potential uptick in fuel economy. (The X-Ice Xi3 qualifies for Michelin’s “Green-X” energy efficiency standard.)
We’ve run the X-Ice Xi3 on an Audi performance sedan for a handful of winters with faultless results.
Originally released back in 2012, the X-Ice Xi3 is a proven winter performer and was named one of the seven best winter tires in 2018 by Car & Driver.
The Xi3 is available in numerous sizes ranging from 14-19-inches, with a maximum 40,000-mile treadlife warranty.
The X-Ice Xi2 delivers much the same wintertime traction and performance attributes as the X-Ice Xi3, but with higher load ratings and adjusted construction, it’s specifically aimed at the truck and SUV audience.
Like Xi3, the Latitude X-Ice Xi2 also achieves “10 out of 10” ratings from Michelin for treadwear, fuel efficiency, ice traction, and snow traction.
Latitude X-Ice Xi2 sizes range from 16-20-inch, with OE tire size matches for just about any truck or SUV. The Xi2 is covered by a maximum 40,000-mile treadlife warranty.
Developed for drivers who refuse to garage their sports/performance car for the winter season, the Pilot Alpin PA4 delivers enhanced wintertime traction along with performance tire characteristics. In other words, the Pilot Alpin PA4 is a winter tire that uniquely complements performance vehicle chassis and is capable of keeping up with the driving dynamics of modern performance cars.
“Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tires merge Pilot performance handling with Alpin tire winter capabilities and designed for OE fitments like the Corvette Stingray.” – MichelinMan.com
In exchange for the enhanced performance attributes, the Pilot Alpin PA4 does sacrifice some ultimate winter condition traction. Whereas “Studless Ice & Snow” Michelin options like the X-Ice Xi3 and Latitude X-Ice Xi2 are almost singularly focused on optimizing wintertime traction, the added performance orientation of the Pilot Alpin PA4 means its tread isn’t quite as well-equipped for winter’s harshest conditions. (Michelin scores the Pilot Alpin PA4 “8 out of 10” for snow traction and ice traction.)
But if you want your ‘Vette, Porsche, BMW M car, etc. to maintain its road performance and handling attributes in sub-freezing temperatures and achieve sufficient traction when snow or ice hits, the Pilot Alpin PA4 is your winter tire. The Pilot Alpin PA4’s performance has been tested and approved by Porsche, with similar approvals pending from other ultra-high performance vehicle manufacturers.
The Pilot Alpin PA4 is available in common performance tire sizes from 18-20-inches, and comes with a maximum treadlife warranty of 30,000 miles.
“The Michelin LTX Winter commercial light truck tire provides excellent winter traction and grip through snow, ice, slush, plus dry and wet weather conditions, for safe driving winter after winter.” – MichelinMan.com
Commercial truck drivers who can’t be slowed down by the weather rely on the LTX Winter. Designed for most medium-duty, heavy-duty and commercial vans, pickups, SUVs, shuttles and vehicles using light truck tire sizes.
Featuring new 3-D Active Sipes that include over 1,000 biting edges for improved grip, and Max Touch Construction for long lasting, reliable mobility when the delivery can’t wait. With exceptional performance, even on ice, the state-of-the-art compound delivers optimized braking, grip, acceleration and cornering.
Built with steel belts for puncture-resistant strength, these tires can handle large loads in slush, snow and ice. The LTX Winter proudly meets the industry’s severe snow requirements, represented by the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) symbol.
“Designed for today’s CUVs and SUVs, the Michelin Latitude Alpin LA2 tires provide you with winter safety and mobility, winter after winter.” – MichelinMan.com
With a design orientation similar to the Pilot Alpin PA4, the new Latitude Alpin LA2 is a response to the rapidly developing performance attributes of modern SUVs and CUVs. As these vehicles trend sportier, drivers are increasingly looking to blend satisfactory tire performance and handling attributes with bona fide winter traction.
The Latitude Alpin LA2 features 3-D Stabiligrip Technology, which involves variable geometry sipes and rigid tread block reinforcement that contribute to precise steering feel and vehicle responsiveness.
The Latitude Alpin LA2 also benefits from Michelin’s latest winter tire compound development, dubbed “Helio Compound 3G.” This latest generation formula of full silica-based rubber keeps the Latitude Alpin LA2 pliable and flexible (capable of proper road surface interaction) in even the coldest winter conditions.
Latitude Alpin LA2 sizes range from 18-20-inch, with OE fitments for Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, and other premium brand SUVs and Crossovers. A maximum treadlife warranty of 25,000 miles applies.
Adding Michelin winter tires to any vehicle – large or small, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive – will dramatically improve your wintertime traction and safety. If you’d like some additional help tracking down the right Michelin winter tires for your ride, give us a call at 866-961-8668