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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,

I'm curious what type of winter tires you are selecting for your S/V90's.

The dealer packages seem to go with the Michelin X-ice, but I'm not convinced I am completely sold on them.

Where I live in the Boston area we usually have plowed and salted roads, so I rarely drive on untreated or icy roads. Because of this, I used to always select Alpine style "performance winter" tires, You know, softer tread and larger sipes than so called all-seasons, without the noise and poor handling characteristics in the dry like you get with traditional winter tires.

Lately though it seems like the traditional non-studded winter tires have started performing better in this regard, with less of a noise and handling penalty than in the past.

Because of this I am going back and forth between a traditional and well reviewed set of Continental Vikingcontact 7's, and a "performance winter" set of Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4's.

What are everyone thoughts on this subject on here?
 

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2019 S60 R Design, Fusion Red, Fully Loaded
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I am using the Michelin X Ice on my V90CC, had them previously on a Lexus NX and quite liked them.

My V60CC had Gislaved tires, they were fine but a bit jumpy at times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I am using the Michelin X Ice on my V90CC, had them previously on a Lexus NX and quite liked them.

My V60CC had Gislaved tires, they were fine but a bit jumpy at times.
Thanks.

What do you mean by "jumpy"?

I had a pair of Hakkapeliitta RSi's years ago on one of my Saabs. Best snow and ice traction I have ever had, but the noise and performance on wet and dry road was a huge letdown. After that experience I've always gone with the "Alpine" "performance" winters. They seem to be less common this time than when I bought my last set 4 years ago. It makes me wonder if the standard nonb-studded winters have improved in comfort/noise and dry/wet performance to the point where they are no longer needed.

How is the road noise with those X-Ice tires?
 

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I switched to the Nokian hakkapeliitta r2 during winter time here in New York. I’ve had it for the past two years and these tires are amazing during the winter times. Drives through snow like butter, the traction is unbelievable in those conditions. Highly recommended.

I believe Nokian came out with a new version called the R3. Might want to check that out.
 

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I drive mountain highway roads at relatively high speed, there were times when the Gislaved tires couldn't maintain traction at highway speed and thus you felt a loss of grip especially on the downhill sections, any bump would cause movement far greater than it would normally allow on dry roads and using my word, caused the car to "jump". Did not like that sensation. The Michelin's seem to hold the line and keep the car planted much better.

I think it depends though on what winter looks like in your area, snow accumulation and whether the snow is dry, hard and powdery or wet and slushy (like where I am).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, I made the decision to go with the new Continental ContiVikingContact 7's, in 225/50R-18.

My thought process:

1.)I've always read that narrower is better for winter tires. The 225/50R18 size strikes a balance between being reasonably similar in rolling diameter to the stock size, while being the narrowest tires that will fit on Volvo's stock 18" wheels.

2.)I've had very good experiences with Continental in the past

3.) The ContiVikingContact 7's have received very favorable reviews, replacing both the hardcore Scandinavian winter ContiViking Contact 6's in Europe, yet quiet and comfortable enough to also replace their less aggressive previous U.S. winter tires.

So, I can't speak to snow/ice traction as of yet, as I haven't had any of the cold stuff here yet, but they do live up to expectations for being reasonably quiet and comfotable. They don't feel like running on aggressive winter Tires like Hakkapeliitta RSI's or anything like that, where they really shine in the snow and ice, but are squirrely and noisy dry roads.

On cold dry and wet (but not snowy or icy) roads these feel just as comfortable and confident as a good st of seasons. Around town I can't pick up any noise difference. On the highway they may be slightly noisier than the factory Pirelli's they replaced, but not enough to be bothersome.

If these are indeed as capable in the snow and ice as Norwegian and Swedish reviews suggest, I'll be thrilled. A tire that is great in ice and snow, without the nasty side effects of noise and poor dry and wet performance is the holy grail. I will certainly report back once I've had some snow/ice experience.

As for what I'll do in the spring? I'm leaning towards a set of 19" BBS wheels with a set of Continental ExtremeContact DWS06's in 255/40R19, because these are quite simply the best all season tires I've ever experienced. Since I switch wheels for the cold seasons I used to run Summers in the summer, and Winters in the Winter, but as I've gotten older and no longer identify as a "performance driver" I am happy with a great set of All seasons, especially since it makes things more flexible around wheel switching season. There is less worrying about if the temperatures are right to switch yet.
 

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Let us know how the Vikings perform? I've been happy with the Conti WinterContact Si's the past two winters..
 

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So, I made the decision to go with the new Continental ContiVikingContact 7's, in 225/50R-18.
I just put a set of these on my P3 XC60 this morning - 235/60R-18. The Tirerack deal was too good to pass up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We got our first snow yesterday.

I took this as an opportunity to test the Continental VikingContact 7's.

First I drove the S90 T6 over a snowy patch of road, and gunned it. The car launched without a hint of wheel spin.

Then I took the 2000 V70 (same tires, different size) for an extended drive in the white stuff. It behaved very well for a FWD car.

I think I hvae found a winner in the VikingContact 7's. They were surprisingly affordable on Tirerack too!
 

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Nokian Hakkas all the way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just took another drive, not in the S90, but in my 20 year old front-wheel drive V70.

These Continental ContiVikingContact 7's are amazing.

I went up and down as many unplowed hilly back roads I could find, and did plenty to try to provoke the car into a slide, and just couldn't.

Very impressed. These are probably the best winter tires I've ever used. Who needs studs anyway?
 
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