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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a MY2012 XC70 T6 and I'm wonder what's the best winter tire to switch over to as winter draws ever closer. We live in the PNW area so we don't get too much snow at the lower levels. However, temperatures can drop below 40ºF and we have many months of wet conditions. Sometimes we may even have freezing temps for as long as 1 month. I understand that the stock all season XC70 T6 tires lose significant flexibility when temps fall below 40ºF so I'm thinking 'safety' for our driving.

What winter tires are others considering given the info above ? Thanks. :)
 

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Hey Barry, last fall I bought a set of Michelin Latitude Alpine HP for my MY12 from tirerack.com. They are quiet during day to day use, and offer great winter grip.

I also notice they now have Michelin X-Ice Xi3 for slightly less. I run the older Xi2 on my 09 S80, and they are also great.

While you may not see as much snow as I will (in Ontario), the softer compounds in winter tires give you better low temperature grip. I swear by winter tires now.
 

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I own a MY2012 XC70 T6 and I'm wonder what's the best winter tire to switch over to as winter draws ever closer. We live in the PNW area so we don't get too much snow at the lower levels. However, temperatures can drop below 40ºF and we have many months of wet conditions. Sometimes we may even have freezing temps for as long as 1 month. I understand that the stock all season XC70 T6 tires lose significant flexibility when temps fall below 40ºF so I'm thinking 'safety' for our driving.

What winter tires are others considering given the info above ? Thanks. :)
Barry, I'd give some serious thought to the Nokian WR G2's. Allseason winter rated tire. I ran these year-round on my 2005 XC70. Nokian also has high year winer tires too. IIRC, there is some discussion of the Nokians in the 2005-07 XC70 area.

oz
 

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Hi Barry,

I live in the Portland area and mounted the Michelin Primacy Alpin 3 on my Saab (front-wheel drive) for winter use. No issues with those even in snow and ice. They are kind of a high performance winter tire and I have also run them in Calif warm weather with no issues. They would work well I think, espec with your AWD setup.

On my new to me 2010 V70 R-D I installed the Primacy MXM4 Grand Touring All Season which have an excellent wet weather compound and plan to run them all winter to see how they do. I am recently retired so getting around in bad weather is not quite as critical as it used to be with a territory stretching to Seattle. If we really get dumped on I'll take the old 4WD pickup.. :)

--John

2010 V70 R-Design
 

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John

I see you still have the V70 R-D. What is your impression of the car after so many months?
 

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I own a MY2012 XC70 T6 and I'm wonder what's the best winter tire to switch over to as winter draws ever closer. We live in the PNW area so we don't get too much snow at the lower levels. However, temperatures can drop below 40ºF and we have many months of wet conditions. Sometimes we may even have freezing temps for as long as 1 month. I understand that the stock all season XC70 T6 tires lose significant flexibility when temps fall below 40ºF so I'm thinking 'safety' for our driving.

What winter tires are others considering given the info above ? Thanks. :)
What do you mean by "lose significant flexibility?" The ride gets rougher? Or you lose traction?
That seems really unlikely to me. I run high performance summer tires on my S60R and they are fine down to even 10F temperatures (haven't tried lower) as long as roads are still dry. I don't swap them out for Blizzaks until there is actual snow on the ground, regardless of temperature. I'd be surprised if an all-season tire isn't at least this capable.
 

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What do you mean by "lose significant flexibility?"
There's a trade-off between a tire material's pliability and durability. The more pliable, the less durable. Colder temperatures harden the tire, so winter tires are designed to remain pliable at lower temperatures, but will wear down very quickly in warm weather. Summer tires will harden in cold temperatures to levels that severely compromise grip, but will awesomely glue to the road in the heat. All seasons balance the performance as best they can, and they do an apt job for most people, but enthusiasts that ponder these things on discussion boards are not most people.

You could also think of it as viscosity. Imagine pouring molasses in freezing weather vs. hot weather. Tire material behavior is reminiscent of that.

So Barry is looking for general cold-weather performance rather than snow performance. I think the Nokian WR2 is a very good option for this, since it's designed as a winter tire that does a decent job all season (as opposed to an all season that does a decent job in the winter). This will be good for warmer days in the winter season and during the shoulder season—you won't feel like you have to pop them off as soon as you hit 60 degrees or whatever, only to have the temperature dip again.

If you're really going to do this, though, I'd look at getting the Nokians or one of the other winter recommendations on your current wheels, then get another set of plus-sized wheels and run summer tires on them, or maybe performance-biased all-seasons. Then you'll be getting the most out of the trouble and expense of running summers and winters. I considered this myself, but my winters are just too mild to justify the hassle and expense. And for you, there are not many cost-effective tire choices in the 19" size to make this attractive. But it would be an awesome setup.

Honestly, given your description, you will probably be fine with high-quality all-seasons. The venerable Continental DWS have favorable winter performance for an all season high performance tire, and the new Serenity Plus has enhanced its winter performance in the grand touring category, too. I'm sure John's Primacys will do real well, too.
 

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Actually, you could minus size to 17" wheels and put winters on those, then put summers or high performance all season or whatever on the stock wheels. That frees up your selection considerably. Again, probably overkill for your modest winter needs, but probably awesome optimization of tire & wheel performance on your XC70.
 

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I run high performance summer tires on my S60R and they are fine down to even 10F temperatures
Just read your post again. Clearly you've got some experience with different setups and conditions, and normally I'd defer to that over theory, but running summer tires in 10-degree weather defies all prudent wisdom. Maybe they do O.K. once you've got them warmed up, but I gotta believe they "grip" like plastic lawnmower wheels when you first roll them out that cold. Do you really not notice any loss in grip?

I buy into the viscosity/pliability performance of summer vs. all-season vs. winter tires, so that there's logic to running winters even without much snow if you got cold. But I'm first to admit that it is hard to pin down, empirically, just what you gain and lose in routine cold conditions on generally clear and occasionally sloppy winter roads by not having winter tires, so that it's hard to assess just when it's a favorable proposition to go that route. We just get vague assertions from manufacturers that it's better to run winter tires in winter. Actually, this article suggest that, even in the cold, all-season performance tires outperform winter performance tires on dry/wet pavement (but not actual snow). Although, this test only went down to 23 degrees.
 

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I just bought Nokian WR G2 SUV for my xc90, which will replace the earlier version Nokians that are now done. Fantastic in the snow. More than adequate the rest of the year. And I live in the SFBay Area with even milder winters than Portland/Seattle.
 

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John
I see you still have the V70 R-D. What is your impression of the car after so many months?
Hi Russ, quite satisfied with the car overall, especially the comfort on road trips. The seat comfort, noise isolation, and ergos are better than any of my prior cars, even my prior Saabs, which were also good road cars, though a bit more sporty. The steering and lane tracking on the highway are also very good though not of German car levels. I drove up from Sacramento the other day (600 mi), leaving at noon and arrived in Portland at 9:30pm completely refreshed. On the trip down I barely missed a deer that jumped out just after completing a high-speed pass on a dark two laner in Central Oregon. Whew! - needless to say the car handles well and has excellent brakes.

My only concern of any consequence is that I am hard pressed to achieve better than 25 mpg over a full tank of gas, in "real world" highway conditions that involve hills and/or headwinds, probably due to the weight and blocky tail end. Driving 70 mph I can see 27 on level highway but that doesn't last long around here before you're into hills or mountains. But all in all it's a great car - super comfortable, very well put together, looks great (imho) and the Safe & Sound program covers all maintenance, including oil changes. Really I couldn't ask for more. I recently retired (last month) and it's probably more car than I need at this point but its a good one for sure.

Feel free to PM or email me if you have any other questions so we don't take the thread off track. Cheers...
 

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Just read your post again. Clearly you've got some experience with different setups and conditions, and normally I'd defer to that over theory, but running summer tires in 10-degree weather defies all prudent wisdom. Maybe they do O.K. once you've got them warmed up, but I gotta believe they "grip" like plastic lawnmower wheels when you first roll them out that cold. Do you really not notice any loss in grip?
There is a sweeping freeway onramp that I can quite easily test the lateral grip near my house, so not much time for the tires to warm up.
Having driven this on my Blizzaks in varying winter temperatures and on my summer Bridgestones in varying temperatures (10F up to 90F) I can tell you that even at 10F the summer tires have just as much grip in the dry as the winter tires. Of course the summer tires at 10F have a lot less grip than at 90F but certainly not dangerously so.
 

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Do you have the Pirelli Scorpion tires? They should be all-seasons.

On my Saab, it came with 19" wheels with summer tires. So instead of replacing them with all seasons, I purchased a second set of 18" wheels with winter performance tires. I selected the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme tires. They're pretty good on dry pavement in normal conditions and super on snow, especially when paired with Saab's XWD with eLSD.

BTW, I'm in Northern Virginia by Dulles Airport. Last season we had a total of 3" of snow, in 2009/2010 we had close to 80" of snow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks to all who responded to my OP. The weather forecast for the PNW Seattle area is for a mild winter. I'm going to stay with my stock Scorpion 18" tires this winter unless we frequently stray into the North Cascade mountain areas which always get snow & ice conditions. Therefore unless I venture into the mountainous areas this will allow me to see just how well the stock all season tires do in my local area during winter time.

I'm a life-long fan of Michelin tires and kind of lean toward the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tire phlegm mentioned. At tire rack.com the 17" list for $141 while the 18" ones list at $211 each... quite a price hike going from 17" to 18"...

Again, thanks for the discussion and advice on winter tires.

BTW... AAA+ for Polestar on this XC70... it's just a dream car for me... and more so when I engage manual mode. The T6 is a wonderful engine in its own right and the Polestar just adds that special extra when needed.
 

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BTW... AAA+ for Polestar on this XC70... it's just a dream car for me... and more so when I engage manual mode. The T6 is a wonderful engine in its own right and the Polestar just adds that special extra when needed.
I can't image the power of the PoleStar tune, even in stock form I call our XC70 T6 "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" because of the animalistic acceleration when its in manumatic mode. The T6 motor is an absolute beast - far stronger then GM's 2.8T. No wonder the folks at PoleStar didn't bother with the Yamaha V8 for their S60 prototype, the T6 is strong enough!
 

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Thanks to all who responded to my OP. The weather forecast for the PNW Seattle area is for a mild winter. I'm going to stay with my stock Scorpion 18" tires this winter unless we frequently stray into the North Cascade mountain areas which always get snow & ice conditions. Therefore unless I venture into the mountainous areas this will allow me to see just how well the stock all season tires do in my local area during winter time.

I'm a life-long fan of Michelin tires and kind of lean toward the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tire phlegm mentioned. At tire rack.com the 17" list for $141 while the 18" ones list at $211 each... quite a price hike going from 17" to 18"...

Again, thanks for the discussion and advice on winter tires.

BTW... AAA+ for Polestar on this XC70... it's just a dream car for me... and more so when I engage manual mode. The T6 is a wonderful engine in its own right and the Polestar just adds that special extra when needed.
All: Is there any Michelin tire that is superior to any similarly-purposed Nokian tyre?

I'm not criticizing your decision. As you note, you likely don't need a "winter" tire.

I know the Nokians are expensive, but it seems like tires are the right place to throw a few extra $$.
 

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All: Is there any Michelin tire that is superior to any similarly-purposed Nokian tyre?

I'm not criticizing your decision. As you note, you likely don't need a "winter" tire.

I know the Nokians are expensive, but it seems like tires are the right place to throw a few extra $$.
I'm not married to a particular brand, but do endorse winter tires strongly, especially where snow and ice is in the mix.

Re, the Nokians, (and to pretty much reverse your question) are there any studies/comparisons showing their performance against other brands? Reason I ask is that the Nokians are usually much more expensive, but I haven't seen anything that suggests the price premium is worth it.
 
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