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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, its been a while since I posted, so heres a update on wassup.

You may have noticed in some of my comments that I mentioned the new all season tires I bought for my 2016 Corolla Special Edition. White, I might add. The Continental True Contact in 215/45/17 has been a very good tire, I wouldn't brag about it all day, but its the best all season I've ever bought.

Now winter is here though, and after much much thorough research in the last few weeks and heavily questioning myself, I have decided to give them a shot...

I drive over 500 miles a week in the Adirondacks of NY. Arguably some of the worst weather in the country is here. (not the worst, but some of the worst for sure) Driving through some of the past few storms with the Continental A/S I have felt less than safe... they hold well going perfectly straight, but forget it when it comes to stopping or taking a turn any faster than 5mph. I have never had this experience before in a car, and I've always used all seasons. Odd.

Regardless of past experiences, I know that in the last few weeks I have literally felt like I'm riding on four snowboards. Not super comforting, especially when I have a aggressive driving personality and I cannot doodle around behind a row of ten cars going 40 in a 55 in only a couple inches of snow...

So Ive decided to try snow tires and see if that helps at all...
@SuperchargedMR2, I hope you're reading! I am anxious to try out the new tires and see how the perform, and I will be sure to post the result. I am feeling right now that I will most likely owe you an apology - they will probably blow my all seasons out of the water. To be determined.



TO the good stuff:

I surely aint paying $675 for tires on a 215/45/17 size rim. Nope, no way.

TireRack had a package deal, so I took advantage of that. They gave me the correct 15" rims for my corolla, bundled with the Michelin X-ICE Xi3 snow tires in size 195/65/15, mounted and balanced on the rims, with Toyota compatible TPMS sensors (required by Federal and state law, which cost $224 for all four) and shipped for $789. (after a Michelin 70 off a set of 4 rebate)

I intend to swap them with my current set when they arrive at my home, and then drive to the local Toyota dealership for my 20k service in a couple weeks and have them program the sensors correctly and make sure that the tire rack did a good job of mounting and balancing them before shipment. Hoping all goes well.

What do y'all think? Did I make a good choice? Good tire? Its rated either #1 or #2 best winter tire depending which site you go to for stats. Im hoping it performs as well for me as everyone says it does. with over 2.5 million miles recorded, it still holds a 98% approval rating.
 

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Smaller wheels even have advantages for winter (and performance, despite general belief). Winter tires can be tricky, as some are better for snow, other for ice, and sometimes both. Michelin X-Ice have an excellent reputation for ice performance, quietness and good road manners. I've owned a set - but they were first gen X-Ice that were stellar on ice or packed snow, but quite poor in the thinnest layer of snow (newer versions are probably better). Also owned cheap Semperit that were the exact opposite. My current Toyo manage to be a good compromise. Just saying that there is no absolute, it all depends on the road conditions you mainly encounter.
 

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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Smaller wheels even have advantages for winter (and performance, despite general belief). Winter tires can be tricky, as some are better for snow, other for ice, and sometimes both. Michelin X-Ice have an excellent reputation for ice performance, quietness and good road manners. I've owned a set - but they were first gen X-Ice that were stellar on ice or packed snow, but quite poor in the thinnest layer of snow (newer versions are probably better). Also owned cheap Semperit that were the exact opposite. My current Toyo manage to be a good compromise. Just saying that there is no absolute, it all depends on the road conditions you mainly encounter.
Thats what I've read elsewhere, is certain tires might excel in a certain road condition but none masters them all. The blizzak WS80 is the X-ICE Xi3's largest competition right now, and apparently it edges it out in two scenarios - deep snow, and dry braking. The advantage is for them Michelin in light snow, ice or wet braking, cornering, and road handling.

We dont get as much ice here as we do fluffy or packy snow, but I felt that from what I read, the Michelin was the best bet. And I can't help but add that I'm a young guy on a budget (which is pretty much broke, but tires for safety are a necessity) and the michelins were 73 each compared to 123 each for the blizzak, plus Michelin has a 70 off a set of 4 deal right now, where as Bridgestone has none. it was kind of a no brainer for me!
 

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From my experience with previous X-Ice gen, you'll be happy on packy snow. Let's also not forget that winter is not all blizzard... most of our driving is still on dry, but cold, pavement and the X-Ice are also good there. The Blizzak are great, but from my friends experience, they eat rubber as hell and dont remain excellent for such a long time.
 

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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
From my experience with previous X-Ice gen, you'll be happy on packy snow. Let's also not forget that winter is not all blizzard... most of our driving is still on dry, but cold, pavement and the X-Ice are also good there. The Blizzak are great, but from my friends experience, they eat rubber as hell and dont remain excellent for such a long time.
Thats another thing I read as well - the Michelin XICE has 60% more or 2x longer tread life than anything in the competition. It even has a 40k mile warranty on my specific tire size. Good to hear you have the same info as I found.
 

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Glad to hear you're trying out winter tires. I was the same as you years ago, never thought I would use them. But instantly you'll notice how stable they make your car in the cold. My father has the X-Ice 2 on a 13 Rolla and he never has a problem.

One piece of advice, take your car to an empty lot or open space on a snowy day and find out what the limits of your car and tires are. Accelerate and brake, do turns at speed, do a slalom so you can gauge how far you can push before you get yourself into trouble. Knowing these limits will help you become more confident and safer in winter driving.
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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Thats another thing I read as well - the Michelin XICE has 60% more or 2x longer tread life than anything in the competition. It even has a 40k mile warranty on my specific tire size. Good to hear you have the same info as I found.
I have 3 sets of them on my various cars. I have the same 195/65R15 size on my 10 Prius. I have a 205/50R17 on my 09 Corolla and a 185/60R15 on my daughters 08 Yaris. They do a great job for me. I was out last week in the snow in my 10 Prius and it was flawless, never slide once. It doesn't help me get up my street after an ice storm as the grade of my street is steep, too steep to over come the lack of traction on ice. On other roads, even on ice they do well unless the grade is too steep.
 

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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
thanks for the comments and info guys!

Today was my first day trying them out on a 1 hr drive over 45 miles. They came via UPS Saturday and I installed them right away.

So far, I have nothing bad to say about them, Road noise is a minimum, vibration is almost nonexistent, comfort is very good, wheel feedback minimal.

I haven't gotten to get a good feel yet obviously, and will need a lot more than 1 hour behind the wheel on these new kicks to figure out just how much of a difference they are making for me, but so far it feels like taking a blindfold off in a nascar race.

Did hit some frozen slush in the center lines as I passed someone today, and it was little scary - I didnt think it would pull that much until I realized it had frozen a bit and was very heavy. Other than that, passing wasn't a issue, braking wasn't an issue (actually very good) and overall grip felt very confidence instilling. I love them so far.

Thanks to @SuperchargedMR2 for coaxing me to look into It and give it a go. Yeah it sucks to be out $800 in wheels and tires, but I think id rather *Gore Alert* swallow that than my own blood in car accident that I could've prevented.
 

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I personally know that ice tires are more for slightly warmer climates with lower snow amounts and that tend to have more problems with freezing rain and freeze thaw conditions from day to night. I personally prefer a snow tire like my General Tire Altimax Arctics. Quiet, cheap, GREAT in the snow and ice and ride very well.


I found the X-Ice to be quite expensive and was more of a deterent than the performance.
 

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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I personally know that ice tires are more for slightly warmer climates with lower snow amounts and that tend to have more problems with freezing rain and freeze thaw conditions from day to night. I personally prefer a snow tire like my General Tire Altimax Arctics. Quiet, cheap, GREAT in the snow and ice and ride very well.


I found the X-Ice to be quite expensive and was more of a deterent than the performance.

Well, the name implies a concentration on ICE performance, but the stats and tests show pretty darn good snow performance too, barely edged out by the Blizzak in deep snow. As far as I know, the Blizzak is the standard for any and all winter environments across the board. Sure theres probably a random Yokohama that beats it in slush or something, but overall the blizzak is well known and accepted as the go to snow tire. To have the X Ice show up in second place to it really impressed me.

Expensive? What size are you shopping for? I got 195/65/15 for $73 a piece, mounted and balanced on $53 steels. How is that expensive? Blizzaks and everything halfway decent were over $115 a piece.
 

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Up here in Canada, prices are different than yours. X-Ices' can be close to twice the price.

With such a tight tread pattern, in deep heavy snow these tires will struggle to get a decent bite. Nothing against your choice, they will more than likely serve you well. There has been reports of them performing poorly in slush. This more than like is due to the tighter tread pattern.
 

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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ah I see, interesting on the price difference, I know Canada is more expensive for a lot of stuff like this but didn't realize that apparently Canadian Tire couldn't price match.... haha

I hit quite a bit of slush this morning and it did OK, I have never ridden in a car where slush didn't get its way to some extent. Is there a tire that is actually impervious to slush? Given theres no such thing as a slush tire, I'm very impressed with the X-ICE performance in the heavy snow, light snow, packed snow, ice, black ice, slush, and rain that I have experienced so far. Yes theres that much of a difference in road conditions on my commute every day! Living in the mountains gives a lot of variety in road conditions.
 

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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update:

Its been about five days now driving with the new tires. Ive encountered temperatures from 40 down to the lowest so far today at 8 degrees. Ive been in "deep" snow (over 6") on unplowed roads, and light snow as well. Ive been in many miles of slush, freezing rain, ice, and salted/sanded slush and snow. Today I drove in about 2" of unplowed packed snow which is so packy that its basically ice now.

All in all, in the last 500 miles, I've gotten to see how these tires handle almost whatever my winters throw at them. Im very very impressed. I can corner a whole lot tighter and at an actually reasonable speed rather than crawling in the all seasons. Passing is a breeze, no major worries about the slush line between lanes (thats always risky though regardless of tire). Braking is very good, overall handling grip is surprisingly good - I messed around some on a back road a couple days ago and on a layer of packed snow on the road, doing 55, I couldn't break traction unless I swung the car from lane into the other very aggressively, and even then, recovery was very easy. Im quite impressed.

Highly recommend these to anyone on the edge or due for a tire purchase. You won't regret it!

Also, road noise is pretty much absent unless on packed snow, in which case it whistles and rumbles a little bit. Nothing annoying or bothersome however, especially knowing that you are gripped right onto that surface by the tires+snow packed in the tread pattern.

Im so happy with them that I just want to drive all day. #kidthoughts lol
 

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I personally know that ice tires are more for slightly warmer climates with lower snow amounts and that tend to have more problems with freezing rain and freeze thaw conditions from day to night. I personally prefer a snow tire like my General Tire Altimax Arctics. Quiet, cheap, GREAT in the snow and ice and ride very well.


I found the X-Ice to be quite expensive and was more of a deterent than the performance.
I had General Tire Altimax on a Stratus and they were a disaster. I wanted to sue Tirerack, they were so bad. The stratus became "wobbly". Whenever you made a turn at over 55mph, the car would oscillate around its cental vertical axis. These tires were the same size as the OEMs. Its like they had no sidewall.

They were so loud, I could not use the after market hands free phone equipment that I had put in the car.

I would run like hell from General Tire Artic Max (These tires used to be made by Firestone, but General bought the plans and tooling).

But after everything I said, they had excellent traction and were studded.
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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I've had excellent results with the Michelin X-Ice3 tires in all conditions. I've had no complaints with them. When I bought them they were rated #1 even over the Bridgestone. The newest Bridgestone WS80 scores a little better but in other direct comparisons I've seen the X-Ice3 rated higher in auto mags. Either way all the winter tires on TR scored in the good to excellent range in every category making them a better choice then any A/S tire. :grin:
 

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I had General Tire Altimax on a Stratus and they were a disaster. I wanted to sue Tirerack, they were so bad. The stratus became "wobbly". Whenever you made a turn at over 55mph, the car would oscillate around its cental vertical axis. These tires were the same size as the OEMs. Its like they had no sidewall.

They were so loud, I could not use the after market hands free phone equipment that I had put in the car.

I would run like hell from General Tire Artic Max (These tires used to be made by Firestone, but General bought the plans and tooling).

But after everything I said, they had excellent traction and were studded.


Weird, I have them on three vehicles and all of them are dead quiet and handle great. My winter tires on my 2015 Corolla S are quieter than my stock 17 inch Firestones.


Also, the Altimax Arctic are made in Germany by Continental which owns General Tire.
 

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Christianjrab
2016 Corolla S.E.
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460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good feedback from everyone - glad to hear I made a good choice. It felt spur of the moment but we had a huge storm coming and I wanted it done.

As it turned out, the storm hit two days after the tires came and I installed them. So thankful that they came quickly.

Its now been a little more time and I have more milage under them. We had quite a storm Saturday and honestly, I was a little discouraged at first until I realized that it wasn't just me - nobody was getting anywhere. We had a few inches of snow so tightly packed down and ice over, plus a few more inches of fresh overnight snow that was somewhat slushy and thick. Any turn over 5mph was a slide, and braking was a lot of ABS chatter. I had to park on a intersection on a massive hill, and trying to take off afterward was gut splitting. didn't roll back, but it took a lot of wiggling to get through the intersection. Turns out as I looked around, nobody was getting anywhere, we were all struggling no matter what we had. Made me feel a little better as I had worried it was the tires at first.

Normal driving though, the X-ICE held really well on straightaways and even gradual turns. Even when I did lose traction and get some slide, it was easily recoverable and much less frightening than in the A/S where it felt completely uncontrollable.
 

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