Snowy roads aren’t the ideal scenario for anyone looking to drive to work. Traction is severely compromised in these conditions, and the brakes can sometimes be almost useless due to the lack of friction. Fortunately, winter tires deal with these issues quite effectively — such as the Michelin X-Ice Snow.
The market is filled with fierce competition from countless brands – most recently Bridgestone with their Blizzak WS90 Tire. While it provides the customer with more choice, it also makes it hard to determine which tire you should buy. Some more affordable tires provide impressive braking performance and traction, but their poor wet performance is a massive caveat.
If you want a tire that checks all the boxes with no compromises, you’ll have to look at the premium offerings of the market segment. Speaking of those — say hello to the Michelin X-Ice Snow!
It’s the only winter tire that comes with an extensive treadwear warranty. There are many size choices that fit all sorts of cars, including small/mid-sized/luxury sedans, SUVs, crossover, and sporty coupes.
Not only is the X-Ice Snow advertised to provide lots of snow traction, wet road grip, sharp braking, and lasting tread life. In this review, let’s take an unbiased look at how much weight there is behind Michelin’s praises.
Overview — Michelin X-Ice Snow
Let’s start with some critical numbers. Michelin’s website claims impressive performance gains over its competition regarding hydroplaning resistance, braking distances, and fuel economy. For instance, this is how it is marketed against the competition in its category;
- 9% better fuel economy through minimized rolling resistance
- 9 feet shorter stopping distances on snowy roads
- 7% better slush performance and hydroplaning resistance
The Michelin X-Ice Snow has been designed mainly for improved mobility in rough winter conditions. It aims to maintain ample traction even as the tread wears down with time, though there’s a 4/32-inch minimum tread depth limit for uncompromised safety.
Warranty and Maintenance Indicators
New buyers in the winter tire market segment might take warranties for granted. Still, you’d be surprised to know that no brand besides Michelin offers such extensive warranty terms in this category.
The X-Ice is one of the newest tires coming from Michelin. However, the company still hasn’t broken its maintenance indicator tradition of including Tread Wear Indicators (TWI’s) within the grooves. These help keep an eye out for the tire’s health and let you know when a replacement is due.
Essentially, TWI’s are rubber bars that are narrow enough to fit into the grooves on the tread. Bars remain recessed when the tire is fresh, but as it wears down, more and more of it becomes visible until you see them sitting flush with the tread — and that’s when you need to change tires.
Since worn tires are a serious safety concern on winter roads, Michelin offers an industry-leading treadwear warranty that covers you for a whopping 40,000 miles! That tells you that those TWI’s will stay recessed between the grooves for quite a while.
Michelin’s tires have always been known for durability and lasting tread life, but a 40,000-mile warranty in this category is unheard of. So, hats off to the company for continuing to treat their customers with it.
When it comes to maintenance and treadwear, no other tire comes close. Michelin has set all-new standards with their exceptional warranties, and the industry is still trying to catch up in the winter tire tread-life department.
Like any other tire, dry tarmac is the worst-case scenario for the Michelin X-Ice Snow — and understandably so! Winter tires are made to be flexible and pliable to comfortably deal with snowy situations, which isn’t ideal on dry pavement.
However, it’s more than usable even in these conditions, with sufficient traction for light daily use.
Thankfully, the braking distances and cornering grip are much better than Michelin’s X-Ice Xi3. You even get decent stability on the highway.
However, the tire’s native winter origins are exposed in scorching hot summer days. The tire becomes even softer, which accelerates treadwear and takes a toll on stability.
As a winter tire, the X-Ice Snow is designed to handle slippery situations with ease — and it shows! As long as the weather isn’t too hot, wet surfaces aren’t a problem for the Michelin X-Ice Snow.
Thanks to the aggressive V-shaped pattern on its tread, you get outstanding hydroplaning resistance even in deep water puddles. Overall, you can easily take your car out for a run on a rainy day with these tires installed.
Finally, let’s talk about how it performs in its natural habitat. Snowy roads aren’t easy to handle unless you’ve got some winter tires installed — and the X-Ice Snow is an excellent companion to have in such conditions.
Snow traction doesn’t get much better than the X-Ice Snow’s. If you’re looking for a tire that can get you out of any snowy situation, we’d suggest going with this one.
The tire brings sure-footed handling even on deep snow with record-breaking stopping distances. The same performance can be felt on icy roads. It simply doesn’t feel like you’re driving in freezing conditions; that’s how great these tires are for winter.
The driving experience feels safe throughout the ride, and that’s exactly what you should look for in a winter tire.
The X-Ice Snow’s aggressive tread pattern will urge you to try it out on an off-road track, but we wouldn’t recommend making that mistake. Sure, you’ll find some traction — but the tire’s soft tread compound will get miles worth of damage in a short rocky track.
The Michelin X-Ice Snow easily eats up the road’s bumps even at higher speeds. Generally, tires harden at freezing temperatures which sends strong road vibrations into the cabin — but that’s not the case here.
You won’t be troubled by road noise either, so it’s a great tire to hit the highway in winter.
The only caveat is a bit of a price bump over the competition. However, that’s to be expected with the Michelin brand. For the money, the tire doesn’t fail to provide a genuinely premium experience in all departments.
If you want a winter tire with a lasting tread life, an extended warranty period, and absolutely no performance compromises — the X-Ice Snow is the one for you.