Best Winter Tires for SUV

Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Vs Bridgestone Blizzak Ws80

SUV Tires Tires VS Winter Tires

Two of the best tire manufacturers in the world will collide in this article: Michelin and Bridgestone. They have some of the best winter tires you can buy for your car, SUV, Truck, Commercial vehicle, and so on.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Bridgestone Blizzak Ws80
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Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-ice xi3 are some of the best winter tires for SUV that you can buy. Both of them have a lot of qualities and perform very good in the snow but which one is the best?

Blizzak is a name used by Bridgestone since 1993 on their winter tires and is synonymous with quality, and winter traction. So, two decades of evolution guarantees that this tire is even better thus Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is one of the best studless Ice & Snow tire available on the market. It was designed to provide even better control and traction on snowy, slushy, wet or ice-covered roads.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is a multicell compound tire. The first area is designed to increase traction on ice and in the snow. The main problem in the winter is the formation of a thin layer of water between the tire and the road/ice/snow, even if the temperature is negative. That thin layer of water makes the car lose traction and thus you won’t be able to control your vehicle.

The new Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 deals with this challenge in several ways. First, the tread rubber has tiny air pockets, something like swiss cheese. These mini air pockets help by wicking away some of that tiny layer of water. Thus, your tires will have better contact with the road and thus better traction.

At the same time, Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 has some tiny particles in the rubber compound that act similarly with studs. This way the tires make tiny scratches on the ice increasing traction. Also, the tread compound is even more elastic and this makes the tire more pliable in freezing temperatures compared with the previous model.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 has 10% more traction in the snow, compared with the older WS70, due to its re-designed sipes and interlocking tread pattern.

Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Michelin x-ice xi3
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This is the latest winter tire for SUVs, Cars, Trucks and commercial vehicles from Michelin. As they like to say, it is one winter tire to rule them all


Michelin x-ice xi3 comes with a lot of new technologies compared with the old Michelin x-ice xi2. This include more tread blocks, self-lock siping pattern, caterpillar drive feature and tread blocks at different variable angles.
Making more tread blocks means more grooves and channels which make the tire better at evacuating water and snow.

Cross Z Sipes

Michelin x-ice xi3 has a new sipping pattern called Cross Z Sipe which is a 3dimensional self-locking technology. The zig-zag biting edge pattern with the inner topology allows the tread block to flex to open the sipes. This way the tire gets more traction on the surface. In the same way, it locks the tread block together to prevent over flex which would lead to faster wear and squishy dry-road performance.

Micro Pump Sipes

Similar to the Bridgestone blizzak WS80, the Michelin x-ice xi3 has some tiny air holes in the compound that will vacuum the water that forms that thin layer between the tire and the road.

Caterpillar Drive

The small raised blocks found on the central channel of Michelin X-ice xi3 are called caterpillar drive. They are designed to provide a better grip in deep snow.

Blizzak vs x-ice: on the ice

On the ice, both tires performed pretty well. The test is a demonstration: the driver accelerates from a standstill then, after a while, it will stop the car. This way it will force the tires on different situations.

Both tires performed quite well, but the car equipped with Michelin x-ice xi3 needed a longer time to move the care on ice, compared with the care equipped with Bridgestone blizzak ws80. Both cars were identical and both had traction control active. The average terminal speed was 1.5 mph faster on the car equipped with Bridgestone Blizzak WS80. This may not seem a lot, but the average speed at the terminal was 10mph and 1.5 mph is around 15% which is a noticeable difference.

On the ice, starting is one thing but stopping is something new. The test is designed to simulate a full panic stop. The driver will brake hard to engage the ABS. Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 needed less distance to stop while Michelin x-ice xi3 needed a long-distance, around 20% longer.

Blizzak vs x-ice: In the Snow

The test was a set of serpentine courses covered in snow, rolling terrain and ups and downs the hill to provide a variety of corners and situations. This way the driver will simulate different situations and will see how the tires respond in somehow everyday life driving.

Even if this test is purely subjective most of the drivers considered that Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 provided a better response when braking in corners. On a straight line, both tires performed quite identical. Also, both tires had no problems climbing up snowy hills either.

Michelin x-ice xi3 provided better traction on light snow but in deep snow, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 was the absolute ruler.

Blizzak vs x-ice: Pros and Cons

Michelin x-ice xi3:

  • Excellent rolling resistance.
  • Great steering feel and handling characteristics.
  • Very quiet.
  • Excellent treadwear
  • Excellent performance on cold dry pavement and glare ice.
  • Very good performance in light snow and deep snow.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80:

  • A little higher rolling resistance than Michelin x-ice Xi3
  • Does not handle as well as the Xi3
  • Not as quiet as the Xi3
  • Treadwear is decent
  • Great performance on dry road and glare ice
  • Unmatched deep snow traction
  • Blizzak vs x-ice: Summary

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

This tire has amazing snow and ice traction and is a good improvement of a great winter tire, the WS70. It is a tire that will make its job: keeping you on the road. For us, is one of the best winter tires for SUVs, sedans, trucks or commercial vehicles.

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Michelin X-Ice Xi3

In snow or on ice Michelin X-ice xi3 had poorer performances compared with the Blizzak but were better on acceleration. Also, it was behind Blizzak on ice traction and ice navigations. The tire felt a bit more similar to all-season tire than to a regular winter tire.

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So, if you live in the city but you get occasional trips on snow road then the Michelin x-ice xi3 is the best choice for you. Michelin provides better handling and superior performance on dry roads. If you live in a rural area where you find constant snowy roads and icy ones then go with the Bridgestone. If you want to read more about Winter Tires check out our Best Winter Tires for SUVs.

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