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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently running the stock 19" Pirelli Scoprion Zeros on our '08 V8 Sport. They don't seem to be in terrible shape (dealer certified the car when we bought it 7k ago and don't have any complaints about performance). But, with a New England winter coming, a steep/narrow driveway and ski trips planned, I'd like to install something a bit more aggressive (this is the wife's daily driver).
Does anyone have any thoughts about sizing down to a 17" wheel with a dedicated snow- Bridgestone Blizzak or going with a new set of 19" all season Continental Cross Contact LX 20's? The Contis look to have Superior/Excellent snow and ice traction (per Tire Rack's surveys).
I suppose the biggest concern is that the Pirelli's on her now don't last as long as I hope, and I end up needing a new set of summer/all seasons in the long run.
Any feedback is appreciated.
 

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Nothing compares to the confidence and added safety of the traction 4 winter tires provide. Even the best all-season tires pale to the ice and snow traction the worst winter tires can provide. And the AWD won't help if the tires can't put the power down.
 

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michelin Xice on a second set of volvo wheels got us through three denver winters with a few trips over the passes. now we are on the second season of a set of xice 2s. the go anywhere ability of the car is a great comfort. i say do it once, do it right. buy some used rims and put dedictated winter tires on the car. the total cost will be cheaper than the deductible if the all seasons dont hold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
RE

Thanks for the feedback...definately think I'll go with the dedicated tire/wheel package and hopefully get a couple more spring/summers out of the Scorpions.
 

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I would also recommend and am interested in a set of snow tires on a second set of wheels. The only thing I would recommend you research is if going down to 17" will work on your Sport - that is will a 17" wheel clear the front calipers on a V8 Sport. If your front calipers are as large as our XC90 R Design's I would have a hard time believing 17" would clear them. With our 19" wheels there is about 1" clearance. While I think 18" should be depending on inside clearance, I don't think 17" would work.

In the meantime, what I did is replaced the original Scorpions on our 90 with the Continental ExtremeContact DWS which have excellent winter handling ratings for all seasons. From riding on the new rubber for a couple of days now, on highway and around town they are impressively smooth and quiet. They seem to be a bit more squirmy than the Pirellis - I think it's from softer sidewalls, but they still have about 200 miles before well worn in.

Anyway, look into the wheel size and clearance you need for the front calipers before you go too small. I've been meaning to try out a friend's set of winter tires/wheels which I think are 17". I've not checked them out yet but my hope is they have 17" for their 2003 and not 16" which for sure wouldn't fit.
 

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We have an 08 V8 Sport too, we replaced the General Grabber in the 19' Vulcanis with Continental ExtremeContact DWS (Ultra High Performance All-Season). and I am very pleased so far. I have the same Conti tire model on my A4 (19" too but low profile) and very pleased too.
For our vehicle use (in town and highway miles) we don't need dedicated snow tires. But I agree that if you do meet snow and in mountain roads, dedicated snow tires and in 17" size is the way to go. You will want 235 size in the base, narrow vs wide for snow contact. (I once played with the idea of getting a dedicated winter set, but I never convinced myself because of where we drive)
 

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I am going to dedicated snow and winter tires.

I went for the chrome S80 18inch Venator wheels with 255/50/18 Nitto Terra Grappler tires on all 4 corners for my winter setup.

http://www.nittotire.com/Tire/terragrappler

http://www.ebay.com/itm/08-09-10-VO...pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr

I currently have the 19inch Vulcanis rims for the summer with Conti LX20 tires only 2000 miles on the tires, I want to move to the Cratus 20 Inch rims for next summer.

If anyone is interested in my 19inch Vulcanis setup with the brand new Conti tires send me a private message. I will post pictures when everything is mounted and completed
 

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Those are NOT winter tires... They offer no true advantage on icy surfaces, are not designed to expel snow and will harden like all other tires when the temps get cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would also recommend and am interested in a set of snow tires on a second set of wheels. The only thing I would recommend you research is if going down to 17" will work on your Sport - that is will a 17" wheel clear the front calipers on a V8 Sport. If your front calipers are as large as our XC90 R Design's I would have a hard time believing 17" would clear them. With our 19" wheels there is about 1" clearance. While I think 18" should be depending on inside clearance, I don't think 17" would work.

In the meantime, what I did is replaced the original Scorpions on our 90 with the Continental ExtremeContact DWS which have excellent winter handling ratings for all seasons. From riding on the new rubber for a couple of days now, on highway and around town they are impressively smooth and quiet. They seem to be a bit more squirmy than the Pirellis - I think it's from softer sidewalls, but they still have about 200 miles before well worn in.

Anyway, look into the wheel size and clearance you need for the front calipers before you go too small. I've been meaning to try out a friend's set of winter tires/wheels which I think are 17". I've not checked them out yet but my hope is they have 17" for their 2003 and not 16" which for sure wouldn't fit.
I pluggd the XC 90 Sport info into Tire Rack's system and it did pop up the 17" as an option, so I didn't think about the caliper size...guess I need to do some more research. Thanks for pointing that out, my wife would kill me if I ordered them and had to send back (I promised her I know what I am doing). I still may go with all season Contis since they seem to be getting good feedback her and on Tire Rack's website.
 

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I pluggd the XC 90 Sport info into Tire Rack's system and it did pop up the 17" as an option, so I didn't think about the caliper size...guess I need to do some more research. Thanks for pointing that out, my wife would kill me if I ordered them and had to send back (I promised her I know what I am doing). I still may go with all season Contis since they seem to be getting good feedback her and on Tire Rack's website.
in XC90
winter tires + FWD >> all season(plug any brand in) + AWD
 

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I have the LX20's on right now in 255/55/18 on my V8. Drove them up to Colorado for a ski trip. They worked very well in the snow. Side-to-side directional stability wasn't as good as good because they are very wide tires (you want as skinny as possible for snow tires) but acceleration and braking grip was very very good. I was highly impressed that I got this much out of an "all season" tire.

The long treadwear warranty is a big plus too - so far with 20k miles on it, tread still looks brand new.
 

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in XC90
winter tires + FWD >> all season(plug any brand in) + AWD
This used to be true many years ago, but all-season tires have made some real advances in the last 5-10 years. Nokian WR (G1 & G2) + AWD > many other brand winter tires + AWD > all other brand winter tires + FWD For a number of years Nokian pretty much had a lock on all-season tires that actually had any snow/ice traction, but these days some other manufacturers may have caught up. I just put a set of Continental Extreme Contact DWS on the E320 4-matic (replacing the Nokian WR G2s) because we'll be doing less winter driving this year (and probably next) than normal. We'll see how they do in snow/ice, but thus far I'm liking their D & W performance in cool weather. And they're almost $100/tire LESS than the Nokians. As of now, they're pretty high on the list to replace the garbage Alenzas when their time is up (soon). ___
 

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Nokian WR G2

+1 for the Nokian WR G2 tire. Just starting our third set (2 on the first XC90 and now a set on the new XC90), running 12 months a year in the Pacific Northwest. Good dry and wet weather performance -much better than the Pirelli & Michelins originally equipped - superb in the snow, and MUCH quieter riding on pavement is a very nice added bonus.

Tread life for year round use in our moderate climate seems to be about 40,000 miles, but as someone mentioned earlier, the price for new tires (even the Nokians at $200 +/- depending on size) is likely less than most people's insurance deductible to say nothing of the hassle of an accident with injury and/or repairs at worst, or being stuck in snow at best.

New Volvo Guy - please keep us updated on your Conti DWS experience. Hopefully you can get some snow exposure somewhere to let us know if it could be an acceptable substitute for the sometimes hard to get Nokians.

Drive safe and happy new year to all!


This used to be true many years ago, but all-season tires have made some real advances in the last 5-10 years. Nokian WR (G1 & G2) + AWD > many other brand winter tires + AWD > all other brand winter tires + FWD For a number of years Nokian pretty much had a lock on all-season tires that actually had any snow/ice traction, but these days some other manufacturers may have caught up. I just put a set of Continental Extreme Contact DWS on the E320 4-matic (replacing the Nokian WR G2s) because we'll be doing less winter driving this year (and probably next) than normal. We'll see how they do in snow/ice, but thus far I'm liking their D & W performance in cool weather. And they're almost $100/tire LESS than the Nokians. As of now, they're pretty high on the list to replace the garbage Alenzas when their time is up (soon). ___
 

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@seattlexc90: Where did you buy your Nokians? I'm looking for a set for mine (in WA) and the lowest price I can find is $1050 installed, after taxes.
 

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Call Gaven, Manager of Discount Tire in Bellevue and he can help you get them to your closest Discount Tire in Vancouver (or Portland, if in Vancouver, WA?) That is close to what we paid earlier this year - limited availability and small quantity made in the relatively rare (?) 19" wheel size that we have. Prices for other sizes were quite a bit less when I checked around just to compare.

The Nordstrom of tire dealers - they have gone above and beyond for my cars & daughters' cars over the years. (Do get the road hazard policy for full replacement of damaged tires & pro-rata of other 1 or 3 as needed for AWD vehicles)
 

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Lots of good info - thank you very much! :D I'll give the guy a call and see if he can beat that price for the set of eighteens I need.

It's in fact Vancouver, BC - luckily, there are a few Discount Tires near the border.
 

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This used to be true many years ago, but all-season tires have made some real advances in the last 5-10 years. Nokian WR (G1 & G2) + AWD > many other brand winter tires + AWD > all other brand winter tires + FWD For a number of years Nokian pretty much had a lock on all-season tires that actually had any snow/ice traction, but these days some other manufacturers may have caught up. I just put a set of Continental Extreme Contact DWS on the E320 4-matic (replacing the Nokian WR G2s) because we'll be doing less winter driving this year (and probably next) than normal. We'll see how they do in snow/ice, but thus far I'm liking their D & W performance in cool weather. And they're almost $100/tire LESS than the Nokians. As of now, they're pretty high on the list to replace the garbage Alenzas when their time is up (soon). ___
I have the DWS installed on an 08 STi. Traction in the snow was less than optimal, and it didn't work well in deeper snow but it is an excellent tire for dry and wet weather in warmer climates.
 
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