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Discussion Starter #1
I started running winter tires a few years ago (I live in the Boston area) and have previously used 2 sets of Blizzak WS-80s. I've been reading up on the current "best" winter tire and I want something that does well in slush, which I think rules out some tires. I'm mostly debating between two tires: the WS-90 and the Continental VikingContact 7. Looking at the NAF results (https://www.naf.no/forbrukertester/dekktester/vinterdekktest-2018/, https://www.motor.no/artikler/2018/september/slik-rangeres-dekkene-ulik-foreforhold/), I'd also consider the Pirelli Ice Zero Fr. However, I can't find it in 225/55R18.

I've ruled out the Nokian for a few reasons and I've mostly ruled out the Xi3 due to reports of its performance in slush. The WS-90 is a natural pick given that I liked the WS-80, but I'm hesitant because there aren't any objective reviews right now (there are a couple of subjective reviews). The VikingContact 7 looks interesting, but it only available in XL load for 225/55R18 (I'm not sure how big of an issue this is). I know thoughts on winter tires are varied, but I wanted to get some opinions on what the best option(s) might be.
 

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2019 Forester Touring cvt
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Subscribed because I am also interested in this very subject.
I purchased my 2019 Forester Touring last October and ordered from Tire Rack the Blizzak WS-80 in a minus 2 configuration but the rims did not clear the brake calipers (though they reportedly did on the 2019 Premium). I returned them and road out the winter with the stock tires and was not very happy. Had to be pulled out once leaving in my driveway in deep snow (half-mile uphill). Still have the rear tow hook attached from then. :)

I have used Blizzaks on all our vehicles for over twenty years. I usually get the OEM size on same sized separate rims or more recently have gone minus 1. I thought I'd be adventurous and go minus 2 last winter, but TR does not seem to have that on their configurator this year. I expect I'll go minus one.

Anyway, I am concerned about slush and surface ice/packed snow in the hills on the border of PA and NY. There are very few 'independent' people who legitimately test snow tires back to back. I suggest you view TFL's "Which Snow Tire is Best? We Test Them On America's Steepest Country Road!" at
They only had three sets but it raised some key issues, and I hadn't thought about Cooper in years. I work with a fellow from snowy Canada, and he said he never saw many Blizzaks used up there.

Well, I am interested in what folks chime in. Blizzaks work but are noisy and consistently cut my gas mileage by a good 2 MPG.
krh
 

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2019 Forester Limited CVT
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Last time I checked Tire Rack there are more options available in 225/60 17.
Had Blizzak WS80 on 2005 LGT, still have them on our Saabaru. They were a bit too mushy & noisy for my liking on the LGT, wish I had got a performance winter instead. Roads are plowed fairly quickly around here.

For my 2019 Forester Limited, I'm considering the Pirelli Scorpion winter and the Cooper True North.
The Continental Viking contact 7 replaces the winter contact SI, there's not much info available.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Regarding wheel size, unfortunately it was tough finding 17" OEM wheels (I prefer hub-centric) on eBay, so I went with 18" OEM touring wheels. Once my 17" stock all-seasons are worn, I'll probably swap to using 17" winter wheels and 18" summer.

Similarly, I've pretty much narrowed down to the Cooper Discoverer True North and the VikingContact 7. While True North was the top pick by CR, the VikingContact 7 won quite a few European comparisons (http://autohullut.fi/etusivu/talvirengastestit-2018/). My only hesitation is the XL load rating, but it looks like Continental mostly makes this tire in XL only (including both 225/60R17 and 225/55R18). Also, it's still P-series (it's not going to be nearly as bad as running an LT tire on the Forester).

That said, comparing Tire Rack's performance vs. non-performance winter tire tests (https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=181 and https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=193), it seems like performance may be a better bet. You lose a bit of the ultimate snow performance, but get much better dry and wet performance (which for the northeast, where I live, is probably more important). It's not clear where the VikingContact 7 fits in, though, as it replaces the WinterContact SI.
 

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2014 FIAT 500L
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I live in Wisconsin, we get a fair amount of snow, but I got tired of swapping snow tires on and off every year. I have Vredestein Quatrac 5s from the Tire Rack on my current cars. The Quatrac 5s have the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol and are designed to be used year-round. They have been quiet and smooth, and have very good snow and ice performance; certainly far better than all-season tires I've had. When I ran dedicated snows I used Michelin Alpins (okay), various generations of Blizzaks (good), and Nokian Hakkapeliittas (fantastic but noisy and squirmy when the roads were dry). Once my 2020 Forester arrives, I'm thinking either Vredestein Quatrac Pros (the current model) or Geolandar A/T G015s since everyone seems to feel the standard tires are lousy in any weather. I tempted to add a 2" lift - I'm leery of getting high-centered even with 8.7" - but I'll play that by ear for now.
 

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2013 Forester 2.0 Diesel
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I have got VikingContact 6 on mine, and they have been great. Can't imagine VikingContact 7 to be any worse.
 

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19 Forester needing winters for Canadian prairie - found some new (last year inventory) Continental Winter ContactSI in a 225/60/17 size for a bargain and want winter rims. Original equipment is 225/55/18 tires on rims with 48mm offset on the rims. Would I have any issues with an older Outback rim - 5x114.5 but has 55mm offset?
19 Forester has 17 in rim options but they have 48mm offset like the 18in rims.
Thanks in advance for thoughts and advice.
 

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2016 Forester Limited CVT
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While the OP has made his choice, this discussion continues. I've lived in the metro Boston area since 1980 and put snows on everything from Subaru, Audi, Volvo, Saab, Sienna, Corolla and Camry. I put snows on rear wheel domestic cars during the 70's. I've used Continental, Michelin and Blizzak primarily. I had Pirelli once and hated them. I get about 3 years out of tires, before the still-legal worn tread depth begins to impact steering and hydroplaning. Safety has always been #1. I don't drive aggressively or fast and am not very demanding.

In the metro Boston area, you can almost always count on your way being plowed before you hit the road. It's the quality of the rubber and it's ability to grip ice that matters most to me. Most of the roads are dry pavement after 24 hours. I still look at the tread, but I don't live in Vermont and expect to travel before the plows are out. Besides, it seems to rain about every two week then freeze up here in the northeast in the last few years. Only a couple times a year is there 6+" to matter.

My wife does mostly city driving, but the ice accumulations at the city intersections have her sold on snow tires.

My winter tires are on 16" wheels, vs. summer 17"

After having so many Michelin's and Blizzak's I decided to equip my '16 Forester with some General Altima's and have been generally pleased after two winters, primarily commuting to ski areas. I have zero issues with ice traction. They do well on slush, even at speed. My mpg goes down about 4 mpg winter vs. summer. They have worn evenly and handle fine on dry pavement. Have about the same noise level as most winter tires. I may opt for studs this time around.

I was cheap so I said screw the TPMS expense and didn't put them in. So I change my own tires.

So after being a refugee from domestic tires for 39 years, I took the plunge and they seem just fine. Will save enough money to pay for my amp/subwoofer. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
An update: I ended up taking a completely different route. I decided cancel the VikingContact 7 order and try all-weather tires, to avoid having to get new TPMS sensors, a sensor tool, extra wheels, etc. I went with the Vredestein Quatrac 5, which was the top pick fo the 2019 Auto Bild SUV tire test (http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Article/2019-Auto-Bild-SUV-All-Season-Tyre-Test.htm). I'll be interested to see how they do in the winter. I also considered the CrossClimate, which is about a wash when you consider its higher price but longer tread wear.

I'm definitely trading tread life (which is not the Quatrac's strong point) for increase convenience. The other reason for the decision is that a lot of winter driving is in wet and dry conditions, given the road clearing. Looking at the braking distances for winter tires in those conditions, I realized that the tradeoff may not be worth it. We'll see what I think of them once winter is here.
 

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I'm wondering about getting some Blizzak DM-V2 tires, which (AFAICT) are designed for SUV's/trucks, and look like they should perform well. Anyone got opinions on these vs. the WS-80/90's? I live in an area with lots of snow and freezing temperatures most of the winter.
 

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Do you need good winter tires for the forester???? My first car with AWD and i've had blizzacks and icex on my old fwd suv which were amazing. I know a few guys who run all seasons on their awd suv(rouge and cherroke). Curious if its even necessary to buy blizzacks or ice-x's anymore???
 

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2018 Forester Manual
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Do you need good winter tires for the forester???? My first car with AWD and i've had blizzacks and icex on my old fwd suv which were amazing. I know a few guys who run all seasons on their awd suv(rouge and cherroke). Curious if its even necessary to buy blizzacks or ice-x's anymore???
2 wheel drive (front or rear) just won't move in the snow and it's harder to get them going to a speed you can't control them on all seasons.

AWD vehicles have no problem getting moving in the snow. That is a problem, because it's extremely easy to get yourself going fast enough that you are out driving your tires for the conditions.

AWD doesn't help you stop or turn - but it does give you a lot of extra confidence. That's why AWD vehicles are always the first off the road in snow
 

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Do you need good winter tires for the forester???? My first car with AWD and i've had blizzacks and icex on my old fwd suv which were amazing. I know a few guys who run all seasons on their awd suv(rouge and cherroke). Curious if its even necessary to buy blizzacks or ice-x's anymore???
If you're driving in snow or ice, yes you need them. AWD doesn't make a bit of difference when you're trying to brake. Do a youtube search or two, I remember seeing several videos testing different tires on the same cars (including AWD), and see the difference in handling and breaking.
 

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2 wheel drive (front or rear) just won't move in the snow and it's harder to get them going to a speed you can't control them on all seasons.

AWD vehicles have no problem getting moving in the snow. That is a problem, because it's extremely easy to get yourself going fast enough that you are out driving your tires for the conditions.

AWD doesn't help you stop or turn - but it does give you a lot of extra confidence. That's why AWD vehicles are always the first off the road in snow
I see... curious if its necessary to spend $1000 on a set of blizzaks or ice-x or will some $600/$700 firestones or chinese brands be good enough? Will the cheap brand tires +AWD be better than Ice-x/Blizzaks + FWD?
 

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I see... curious if its necessary to spend $1000 on a set of blizzaks or ice-x or will some $600/$700 firestones or chinese brands be good enough? Will the cheap brand tires +AWD be better than Ice-x/Blizzaks + FWD?
Remember the most important metric is stopping distance and all vehicles have 4 wheel brakes. The AWD vs FWD is moot.
 

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I never buy winter only tires, but use quality all-weather tires instead. I have lived in NH for almost 25 years and before that in VT. My thought is that if the roads are so bad that I can't get around with AWD & good all season tires I should not drive the car. No matter what they show in the Subaru ads the Forester is not a snocat, but is fine with 8-10" of snow or less. If you really need to be able to move in very heavy snow, get a truck/jeep or similar. I have a Tacoma with 4wd and have driven in very bad conditions, but do not recommend the Forester for same
 

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Do you need good winter tires for the forester???? My first car with AWD and i've had blizzacks and icex on my old fwd suv which were amazing. I know a few guys who run all seasons on their awd suv(rouge and cherroke). Curious if its even necessary to buy blizzacks or ice-x's anymore???
Depends where you live. I live in the heart of the Rockies in a valley between two 11,000+' highpoints along the interstate, and snow storms are not anything to laugh about, hitting this area with snowfall between October through May. I run dedicated snow tires, typically Nokians (Had Blizzacks for a spell; nice, but I prefer Nokian). Then I swap them out for my summer tires.
 

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I see... curious if its necessary to spend $1000 on a set of blizzaks or ice-x or will some $600/$700 firestones or chinese brands be good enough? Will the cheap brand tires +AWD be better than Ice-x/Blizzaks + FWD?
As the previous post said, depends on where you live.
General Altimax Artic are the best of the cheap winter tires, Cooper Discoverer True North are only a few dollars more.
I wouldn't trust any cheap off brand tires.

I'm leaning towards the Coopers, we don't usually get enough snow to need more expensive winter tires like the XI3 or Nokians.
 
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