By now you should know that dedicated winter tires are better in the snow than summer tires. You should also know that winter tires generally perform better than all-season tires in the snow. With the early onset of winter in many parts of the world this year, it is certainly important to have traction on snowy roads. But how are these snow tires on wet and dry roads?
We turn to tire testing pro Jonathan Benson for more on this. This time around we get a direct comparison of Michelin tires in all conditions. The popular Pilot Sport 4S is the group’s dedicated ultra high performance tire, joined by the AllSeason 4 and CrossClimate high performance all season tires, and the X-Ice dedicated snow tire. A Tesla serves as a test vehicle in multiple locations, providing a proper apples-to-apples comparison in any climate a driver will encounter.
It’s no surprise that the summer-only Pilot Sport 4S is the best in the dry and the worst in the snow. Conversely, the X-Ice is the worst in the dry and the best in the snow. All-season tires hold the middle ground, but the raw data doesn’t quite tell the story. In the snow test, Benson was impressed with both the AllSeason 4 and the CrossClimate, noting that the AllSeason 4 still has a wide range of grip in all situations, but not as much as the CrossClimate. In terms of lap times, the X-Ice is more than twice as fast as the 4S, but only seconds faster than the CrossClimate all season.
This is remarkable because the CrossClimate also handles admirably on wet and dry roads. It’s not as precise a tire as the AllSeason 4, but in terms of lap times, it’s only slightly slower in wet and dry conditions. The AllSeason 4 actually beats the 4S in wet braking, but there’s no denying the Pilot Sport’s supremacy for grip and control in all other metrics.
Oddly enough, even though snow tires offer the slowest lap times, Benson says they’re extremely fun for launching a car on a dry track. The X-Ice offers a very progressive and controllable sideways experience, although you don’t usually win a race by skidding at every turn.
It’s an interesting look at tires for riders in areas where snow isn’t common, or those who just want one set for all situations. Benson offers much more information about this test in the video and on his website at tire-reviews.com.