Living in an area with harsh winters, your only option for safe travel is the best snow tires for SUVs. Yet, not all options meet this requirement. Models with a good grip on ice and snow usually react poorly on dry roads and vice versa.
After searching and testing, I would like to recommend the top 9 best snow tires for SUV. Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of these outstanding products right in the article below.
- In-Depth Reviews of the Best Snow Tires for SUVs Available in 2023
- Buying Guides: How to Choose the Best Winter Tires for SUV
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In-Depth Reviews of the Best Snow Tires for SUVs Available in 2023
In this section, I will give objective reviews of the best winter tires for SUVs. Each tire comes with its advantages to cater to a variety of needs.
Best Snow Tires for Compact SUVs
1. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
Best for Overall
Compared to great snow tires on the market, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 is a very popular name in the category of winter tires on the market. And it has quickly become my winter tire's favorite because of its impressive performance in low temperatures.
I installed this set of tires before the first snow of the season fell in Idaho, and so the dry pavement was my first experience with this tire.
My first impressions on a dry surface are that grip and handling are very good for a snow tire with ride comfort being excellent. The steering feel is really great and I don't have stress when driving in winter with these tires.
On the wet road, the above advantage is quite obvious. Its braking distance on the wet road is relatively short.
And the wet grip is also quite impressive due to solid traction and handling even at limited speeds. It meets my daily street travel needs quite well.
On the more extreme terrain of ice and snow, which is also the primary operating terrain for studless ice & snow winter tires, the Blizzak WS90 did not disappoint. In tests of traction on snow and ice, Bridgestone tires have achieved very high results.
The tires also provided excellent handling and confidence in braking and cornering in the snow when I was driving at medium speeds on the street.
It has impressive acceleration performance with a reasonably steady 60-feet run. Also, the braking performance on the ice was exceptionally excellent, with the shortest distance to bring my SUV to a complete stop.
I can confirm that the snow and ice performance of the Blizzak WS90 is better than the Nokian snow tires that I have used before.
I know that no tire is perfect, although very reliable in the winter, but there is still one thing I complain about this tire. That's because there's a little growl that I can notice on most surfaces.
Its growl is quite apparent, especially when driving at high speeds. But that's something I can accept with this almost comprehensive set of winter tires, because of their excellent performance on the surface of snow and ice that I have ever used.
- Short stopping distance
- Steady acceleration on ice
- Excellent overall performance in winter
- The tire compound provides plenty of grips
- Handle wet roads quite well
- Works well on dry surfaces
- Comfortable ride
- Noticeable tread growl
2. Continental VikingContact 7
Best Snow Tires for Comfort and Quiet Ride
Equally outstanding as the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 in the compact SUVs range of tires is the Continental VikingContact 7. Unlike its competition, this one offers sporty driving and handling on the road quite well.
The tires have a reasonably balanced steering feel, making for an enjoyable and easy winter driving experience. It is also very quiet when traveling on smooth surfaces, especially when I'm driving on the highway.
Like all winter tires, the VikingContact 7 also emits a growl on the rough road or over bumps. However, the noise is not too flashy, instead quite pleasant.
The Continental VikingContact 7 is more than simply a tire that provides a comfortable and smooth ride. It also handles quite well on slippery, harsh roads.
This model has pretty excellent lateral wet traction. The damp braking distance is quite impressive, a testament to the tire's outstanding balance handling ability.
On dry pavement, the tires perform well enough, and I can say that the handling, traction and cornering are good enough for my day-to-day driving.
On the snow and ice surfaces, it continues to lead quite a few tests in terms of processing performance. In my tests, the tire's snow braking distances at 20-0 mph and 15-0 mph were 41 feet and 35 feet, far less than competitors in the same class.
The Continental VikingContact 7 is reliable for traveling on icy and snowy roads. But, you'll have to accept some of its collision noise drawbacks.
This tire is relatively quiet and comfortable on smooth surfaces. But the aerial experience is maintained on rough roads.
- Excellent handling and acceleration on ice
- Excellent snow traction
- The braking distance on ice and snow is relatively short
- Excellent wet traction and handling
- Fun and easy winter driving experience
- Very quiet, especially on the highway
- Noise on strong impact
Best Studless Snow Tires for SUVs
3. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2
Best for Winter Traction
If you want to use a set of tires without studs and still perform extremely well in snow and ice conditions then the Blizzak DM-V2 is my best recommendation for you.
From the first time driving with this tire, I see that the overall driving feeling of the Blizzak DM-V2 is quite pleasant. It responds to all driver inputs responsively. The tires also handle very well, even when driving at limited speeds.
As proof, I can corner on dry roads with ease and have a excellent grip for safe driving.
On wet roads, the hydroplaning resistance is also excellent, along with the very good traction of the tires making driving on deep puddles or slippery roads no longer difficult with me.
I've driven quite a few times in heavy rain and these tires provide excellent stability for my journeys, even though I'm driving on the highway at 70 mph.
But what I love most about it is its excellent performance on snow and ice. Tires are capable of removing snow from the contact area very well. On the snow surface, traction is excellent. They give a feeling of confidence even in heavy snow conditions.
In addition, the handling and braking distance in the snow were also very impressive to me, making my Lexus GX 460 easy to control in the snow and I have never been stuck in deep snow in the harsh winter conditions in Idaho.
I drove quite a lot on the surface of the ice that was in the process of melting last winter, and I really feel very confident with the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 because its braking distance is very short and the acceleration on ice is very good.
You should know that this tire is not equipped with studs like other winter tires, but its performance is not worse than studded tires on the ice surface.
This specialized model has seen many improvements in performance on snowy and wet winter runways. Unfortunately, it has not yet overcome the common loud noise disadvantage of specialized winter tires. Compared to some competitors from Michelin, the Blizzak DM V2 is still quite a noisy tire.
- Remove snow from the exposed area
- Great handling and traction on both light and deep snow
- Short stopping distances on snow and ice
- Effortless acceleration on ice
- Very good performance on dry surfaces
- Short braking distance on wet surface
- We need to reduce the noise
4. Michelin X-Ice Snow SUV
Best for Durability
Michelin has equipped the X-Ice Snow SUV with a high-tech FleX-Ice 2.0 tire compound and directional tread pattern. The above combination has resulted in a reasonably durable tire.
Michelin offers a tread warranty of up to 40,000 miles, equivalent to about 6 years for this tire model.
I haven't had many miles with the X-Ice Snow SUV to be able to accurately assess its durability. However, after about 3,500 miles that I have traveled with this tire, I have barely seen any wear on the tire.
Tire wear seems to be as I expected, and I feel the tires can go about 30,000 miles more. That is a very impressive number for a set of winter tires compared to other winter tires that I have used before.
Besides long-term durability, the special tire compound and design style also provide impressive handling performance for everyday driving in harsh winters.
It is pretty stable on the highway with good cornering speed and not too long braking distance. Of course, its handling cannot be similar to those specialized for dry road tires. But, compared to in-class winter models, what X-Ice Snow SUV brings is quite impressive.
On wet and slippery roads, Michelin tires continued to perform exceptionally well. It is pretty waterproof and has a reasonably short braking distance. It is one of the few winter tires I can confidently use in heavy rain conditions.
Operating in cold weather is the strong point of the Michelin X-Ice Snow SUV. It grips the road well, even on packed and unpacked snow surfaces. The traction on the thick snow was impressive for me to get out of the way for the long haul.
Even on icy terrain, the tire handles quite well. It has pretty reliable acceleration and braking, and driving on the tarmac is no longer so dangerous for me.
The ride quality is also an advantage I appreciate in X-Ice Snow SUV. Noise or vibration is still not a big problem for this tire model.
Michelin X-Ice Snow SUV is the perfect snow tire for SUVs. However, to experience all the above advantages, you have to spend a large amount of money.
Besides the cost disadvantage, this tire does not have too many options in size. If you need LT-metric tires, this tire will not be the type you can consider.
- Reliable on dry roads
- Outstanding performance in wet conditions
- Quiet and comfortable
- Handle the tape very well
- Reasonable control over the snow
- Impressive grip and traction on heavy snow
- Excellent treadwear warranty
- High price
- Not available in LT-metric sizes
Best Studdable Snow Tires for SUVs
5. General AltiMAX Arctic 12
Best Studdable Snow Tires
Studdable snow tires are always a reliable choice for traveling in harsh winter. And the General AltiMAX Arctic 12 is no exception.
It comes with an awe-inspiring performance on heavy snow and ice, providing really comfortable ride.
The self-cleaning tires are pretty good, so I don't worry about the snow affecting driving safety during the journey. It also scored well in the performance tests in icy and snowy conditions.
I have been through many areas with snow about 8 to 9 inches deep and have never been stuck. That makes me really confident with this tire in the coming winters.
Besides, the AltiMAX Arctic 12 perfectly meets my daily driving with its impressive wet and dry handling. Very good traction and grip on dry and wet roads are what I am also very impressed with this tire.
I greatly appreciated the AltiMAX Arctic 12's dry and harsh winter driving response. The distinctive design makes the tires feel solid in the center, and the steering response is impressive.
Thanks to the above characteristics, the pressure on the tire surface is distributed quite well. And, the AltiMAX Arctic 12's tire wear seems to be as I expected after the more than 8,000 miles I've traveled. I hope to be able to use it for the next 4 to 5 winters.
I've driven through a lot of winding mountain roads in the north with this tire, and I'm a bit disappointed with this tire's ability to corner on snow and ice surfaces.
Because the lateral grip is not what I expected, the tires can slip slightly in the corners. Of course, if you drive at the allowed speed, it will still ensure your safety during the journey.
Plus, There is a bit of noise during driving. Of course, this noise is not loud enough to affect my driving experience. And indeed, I don't mind the noise of these winter tires.
- Efficient operation in icy and snowy conditions
- Excellent hydroplaning resistance
- Meet daily driving needs on dry and wet surfaces
- Impressive steering response
- Comfortable ride
- Need to improve cornering on the snow surface
- There is a slight noise
6. Cooper Evolution Winter
Best Studdable Snow Tires for Budget
I don't usually trust cheap studdable snow tires. Because these options often do not possess the latest technology, ensuring reliability when traveling in harsh winter conditions. But the Cooper Evolution Winter changed my mind.
Though the Evolution Winter is a budget-friendly tire, Cooper equips specialized winter compound tires, wide shoulder blocks, deep grooves, and angled slots.
I had doubts about the real performance of the tires in extreme winter conditions. However, the results of the tests proved all my doubts wrong.
These studdable snow tires amaze me on dry roads with their handling and traction. Its braking distance is also relatively short, ensuring a safe ride.
On wet and slippery roads, the above safety characteristics remain pretty well. Impressive waterproof tires ensure traction in heavy rain situations. It also has the exact short stopping distances as the higher-priced premium options.
The snow-covered and icy roads also can't make the Evolution Winter difficult. Even if there are no studs attached, it handles safely on deep snow. Even it is pretty stable when moving on slush.
On the ice, it is also a very reliable choice. Although it can't compare to the best winter tires on this list, the Cooper Evolution Winter is also a safe choice.
I haven't had a chance to use the studs on these tires this past winter, so I can't rate anything here yet. But from what I have seen with my old tires (Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter) the snow and ice performance of the tires is much improved with the addition of studs.
The excellent budget tire Evolution Winter delivered an experience far exceeding my expectations.
Another thing that impressed me is that the ride is very comfortable, it seems that the tires have absorbed the bumps very well.
So far, after a winter with this tire, my only complaint is the noise. Of course, this small noise did not affect my driving experience, and you should know that it is a studdable snow tire.
- Excellent hydroplaning resistance
- Reasonable price
- Excellent handling and acceleration on ice
- Excellent traction and short braking distance on snow
- Impressive traction on dry and wet roads
- Comfortable ride
- The noise is not too loud
Best Performance Winter/Snow Tires for SUVs
7. Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 SUV
Best for Sporty SUVs
Want to travel safely in cold weather but still want to satisfy your passion for performance driving? The Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 SUV is the tire for you.
Unlike traditional winter tires, the Pilot Alpin 5 SUV has a high directional tread design with a wide shoulder block and center groove. I am also particularly impressed with the specialized coating that the manufacturer offers.
The above equipment has resulted in a stable cornering model on dry roads with low rolling resistance. If you love driving sports cars, you will surely appreciate these advantages.
Tire responsiveness is maintained reasonably well, even on snow-covered roads. It supports quick control and movement, providing a rather enjoyable winter driving experience.
In addition to being responsive, the Pilot Alpin 5 SUV is a reasonably reliable tire for moving in harsh winter conditions. It has relatively short braking distances and impressive grip even on ice.
In my experience, most tires with good grip and control are pretty noisy. However, the Pilot Alpin 5 SUV is an exception. It's not the quietest option, but it never disappoints me in terms of noise.
Besides the commendable advantages, the Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 SUV still has some problems worth complaining about. The tires, for example, performed reliably on icy roads but weren't excellent enough to surprise me.
Also, the tire’s price is not too easy to reach. Considering its durability, 30,000-mile warranty, and other outstanding advantages, the Pilot Alpin 5 SUV is still a good choice.
- Balanced handling on snow
- Sporty driving feeling
- Handling on dry roads is very good
- Excellent braking performance on wet and slippery
- Very responsive and linear steering
- Reasonably quiet
- Impressive tire life and 30,000-mile warranty
- High price
- Performance on ice isn't as good as the other picks on this list
8. Vredestein Wintrac Pro
Best for Wet and Dry Traction
The Vredestein Wintrac Pro balances wet and dry performance well with rough terrain handling. It earns my absolute trust in everyday driving. In particular, this one handles confidently on dry roads with quite an impressive grip.
I immensely love the cornering experience that the tire brings. Thanks to unique fenders, the Wintrac Pro is stable when cornering. At high speeds, the tires control pretty well and ensure a safe ride.
Vredestein is also quite excellent when moving on wet roads. Thanks to the tread curve, it removes water from the surface very well.
Its damp braking performance is also very good. As a result, I had no trouble accelerating on wet roads or crossing deep puddles.
As a winter tire model, the Vredestein Wintrac Pro has excellent performance on ice and snow in addition to handling wet and dry roads.
The flexible tire compound allows it to manage performance in low-temperature conditions. The particular shoulder design improves handling in icy conditions.
This tire is a strong contender in the class of winter performance tires. However, it still has some problems that need improvement, such as operating noise. The noise became more pronounced when I was driving on the highway at over 65 mph.
In addition, the long braking distance on ice is what disappointed me with this tire. However, it is still a lot better than all-weather tires when used on ice surfaces.
- Excellent handling and traction on dry roads
- Outstanding wet traction
- Quickly accelerate on slippery terrain
- Stable when cornering
- Good traction and handling in snow and ice conditions
- Good ride quality
- Noisy on the highway
- Need to improve braking distance on ice
9. Pirelli Scorpion Winter
Best for Low Rolling Resistance
The Pirelli Scorpion Winter comes with a special Ecoimpact certified compound that optimizes traction, compact weight, and fuel consumption.
But in addition to being an ideal choice for fuel economy, this tire model also impresses with its excellent performance on various terrains.
On wet roads, it has robust brake control and good drainage. Even when traveling in heavy rain conditions at high speed, the Scorpion Winter is reliable.
I used to test drive Pirelli tires on dry roads. Surprisingly, an excellent winter tire like the Pirelli has impressive dry performance. It retains responsive and reliable handling on this type of terrain. In dry and cold weather, traction is excellent, even in corners.
Finally, snow performance is very good for a performance tire with excellent traction on light and deep snow and a short braking distance.
Last winter, while driving on the highway, I was able to navigate through 12 inches of snow without any problems, with very good straight-line tracking.
The interesting thing is that the tire feels very comfortable and quiet, if you often travel long distances this tire will definitely be for you.
However, the performance on ice is not as good as on the snow surface. Because cornering on ice is not as stable as I expected.
I found that the front tire had reduced grip when cornering, which caused the front end of the car to push to the outside of the corner, making it more difficult for me to control the car into the corner correctly.
In terms of tire wear, after my first winter with the Scorpion Winter I have about 7,000 miles and I haven't noticed any signs of wear so far. Tire wear in my opinion is very good, and I hope it can be used for the next 3 to 4 winters.
- Good hydroplaning resistance
- Excellent wet performance
- Excellent traction and handling on dry surfaces
- Excellent traction and handling on snow-covered roads
- Short braking distance on snow
- Very comfortable and quiet for a winter tire
- Energy saving
- Good tire durability
- Need to improve cornering on ice
Buying Guides: How to Choose the Best Winter Tires for SUV
While searching for the right snow tires for SUVs, I have gathered valuable experiences. If you want to pick a suitable tire, refer to the instructions below.
Types of snow tires
Currently, four types of tires can perform well on harsh snow terrain:
- Studless snow tires
These tires usually have a tread pattern for good handling on slippery terrain without studs. Powerful details and dedicated winter compound.
This type works well on snow-covered surfaces. It also maintains safety throughout your rough terrain.
- Studdable snow tires
Studdable snow tires have a unique design when possessing small holes in the tire surface. If you need to move on slippery icy terrain, you can add studs to the tread to increase traction.
Due to regulations, these products are still a safe choice if you don't want to use riveted tires. It still provides stable traction on snow, ice, slopes, and other extreme weather conditions.
- Studded snow tires
Rugged winter tires get their name thanks to the small metal studs added to the tread area. Studs are to enhance grip and impact and provide additional winter traction. They dig deep into the snow and ice to enhance winter driving safety.
Yet, studded tires can be dangerous when the roads are not covered with snow.
Their penetration can damage both the road surface and tire balance. So, many states regulate and restrict the use of studded tires on their roads.
- Performance Winter/Snow tires
If you love performance driving, this tire is for you. It doesn't have excellent icy handling. In return, it gives you the sporty, responsive handling you've wanted.
What is the difference between snow tires and winter tires?
Snow tires and winter tires are both designed to provide improved traction in cold weather conditions, particularly on snow and ice.
However, snow tires are the ideal choice for conquering heavy snow and ice, especially in areas with heavy snowfall for a long time. This is because snow tires are often designed with a more aggressive tread pattern and softer rubber compounds to provide better traction and grip in deep snow.
Meanwhile, winter tires are designed for all winter conditions, including slush, wet, ice, and snow-covered roads. They offer improved handling and traction compared to all-season tires, but may not perform as well in deep snow as snow tires.
In general, snow tires are the best choice for extremely cold conditions, with snow and ice for long periods of time. Besides, winter tires are a more versatile choice for the typical winter weather seen in many areas.
With more than 20 years of driving experience, with 3 different cars that I have ridden, in addition to the snow tires listed in this article, I have experienced with quite a few other winter tires such as Pirelli Winter SottoZero 3, Dunlop Winter Maxx, Continental WinterContact TS 860, Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In addition to different styles and features, there are quite a few key things to consider when choosing snow tires for SUVs. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic.
- When should I install my snow tires and when should I take them off?
You should install winter tires when the temperature drops below 45 degrees F for an extended period. When the snow melts and the weather warms up, you can replace your winter tires with all-season tires.
- Do I need snow tires on my AWD/4WD vehicle?
Yes, while All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicles provide improved traction than a 2WD, you should still use snow tires in extreme winter conditions.
Snow tires are designed to provide better grip in snow and on icy roads compared to all-season tires, so even if you have an AWD/4WD vehicle, it's a good idea to consider snow tires.
- How often should I rotate my snow tires?
- Are snow tires noisy?
After years of experience with different types of snow tires, I've found that snow tires can be a bit noisier than all-season tires due to their more aggressive tread pattern.
However, the increase in noise is not significant, especially when I use snow tires from premium brands like Continental, and Michelin. And of course, to improve grip and traction as well as safety in winter conditions, I can totally accept those small noises.
- Should I use all-weather tires instead of snow tires?
All-weather tires only work well in light snow conditions, areas with mild winter conditions. This tire cannot replace specialized snow tires on heavy snow and ice.
- Do snow tires help on black ice?
Snow tires can handle harsh conditions well in winter, especially black ice. But in this case, you should use studded snow tires to ensure the best grip, and your safety because the road surface with black ice is very slippery and dangerous.
In general, when encountering black ice on the road, I usually drive slowly, carefully and to be prepared for unexpected slippery situations.
The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 is reliable on snow and ice and maintains good ride quality. It's one of the best snow tires I've been using for a long time.
I also introduce the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 and Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 SUV to maintain stable traction on various terrains to meet your varied driving needs.
Besides, you can also find the others in the top 9 best snow tires for SUVs.
What is your final choice? Does this article satisfy you? Don't forget to share with me your choice and your thoughts and experiences with other users!
Thank you for reading!
I’m Ivo Gievski, the content writer for Tireer. We built our website with over 15 years of experience and extensive research in the automotive and technology sectors. My dedication to delivering high-quality content is unwavering, and I strive to continuously hone my skills to stay ahead of industry trends and provide readers with informative, engaging, and valuable insights.