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2014 2.0XT Premium CVT
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi - I've been lurking/reading/searching through the multitude of posts regarding the topic of winter tire selection for our beloved Foresters.

I live in the Denver area, which is known for lots of sunshine, thus sloppy wet slushiness almost immediately after a snow is pretty common. I usually travel to the higher elevations 1-2 weekends a month for skiing. So, I do need a mix of competence in dry, slushy, wet, snowy, and to a lesser extent icy conditions.

The XI3 had been my #1 contender until stumbling on the concerns centered around slushplaning. However, so far, I have only found a couple anecdotal claims of the issue, and only one source with empirical data in a scientific test - the Russian article that's been referenced a couple of times here.

With the assistance of a well known search engine's translation, I was able to decode most of the article, however, the meat of the data is in the graphs showing the relative performance in each category. . and these graphs, being images not text, aren't captured by the the translate algorithm, so I'm unable to tell exactly what they represent, or determine the units of measure.

Also in the running for my top contender is of course the Hakka R2. Wet/dry braking performance is purported to be great in the Russian test linked above. Yet, another review (can't find the article now dang it - will update post if I do) says it's dead last in wet/dry when pitted against the XI3, WS70, among others.

So, let me distill all of this into my key questions!
-is the Russian test-source a trusted one?
-are there any other published credible scientific tests for slushplaning?
-why isn't slushplaning a more common test if it's truly a critical metric?
-what exactly was measured in the Russian slushplaning test, and is it truly a concern that the XI3 measured 22.6 mystery units, while the R2 measured 26.5, a ~17% difference?
-how does the purported "worst" slushplaning performer, the XI3, compare to all-seasons in the same test?
-how related are hydroplaning and slushplaning? and would temperature have much of an influence in this category? It appears all seasons will generally outperform the best ice/snow tires in the hydroplaning category. Interestingly, the R2 comes in last among the tested winter tires according to CR in the article here.

Thanks in advance for your input!!
 

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2005 Forester XT 5MT
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I can't answer any of your questions, but I can give you my real world experience running XI2's, which seem to test very similar to the XI3's.

I also live in Colorado, in Bailey. I commute to Aurora daily. I had installed a new set of XI2's on my winter beater, a 94' AWD Legacy, mid-season last winter. I can say I was nothing but impressed with these tires in all conditions. They performed very well in all of the winter conditions I encountered, which was a lot last winter. I did not notice any ill behaviors under any conditions including slush. In addition, these tires were far superior in dry conditions to the previous winter tires I have used, Yokahama Ice Guard's, Nokian's and Blizzaks, sorry I do not remember the model of previous tires. They seem to wear pretty well too, I just sold the winter beater, the tires had about 6k miles on them, wear was negligible. I believe Michelin puts a 40k miles warranty on these.

In short, I will be purchasing winter tires for my new to me 05' FXT in the coming weeks. XI3's are at the top of my list and it will be hard for somebody to convince me to try something else.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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What a lot of us have debated in the past is exactly how much does temperature play into things. We know for-certain that it makes a huge difference in the efficacy of studded versus "Studless Ice & Snow" winter tires on icy roads, but for virtually every other test, one of the first questions that any of us asks is "what was the testing conditions, including temperature?"

I'm sure that these single tests are indeed valid - I don't think that any of them are corrupted by vested interests, if that's what we're talking about :wink: , and yes, Auto Review is a respected source)...however, I think that without some form of internal control and/or a way to relate on test with others, it's really hard to get truly the full picture. This gets to your question regarding comparative performance versus "All Season" tires, and it is, I think, why that small cross-genre/sub-genre test that the 2009 Car & Driver article that I like so much was such an eye-opener for me. Sadly, I have not seen any such data available.

Aside from testing conditions, the specter of compounding differences (which may not be quite so applicable here with your specific concern, County, but yet nevertheless can significantly impact other aspects of winter tire performance) also has many of us scratching our heads - and there's also the consideration of how different tires may fare when fitted to different vehicles with different drivetrain configurations.

So far as I know (and that's not a lot - I'm only a hobbyist when it comes to this stuff, I'm afraid :embarrassed:), this year's Auto Review slushplaning test has been the only one of its kind - as to why, if this is indeed important (and I would think it is, given the kinds of wintry conditions I see, too), it doesn't see more testing, I think (1) it may get picked up more in the future (North American resources tend to lag behind a bit, here) and (2) it may be a hard metric to control for (take, for example, the difficulties that Michelin put forward regarding ice testing in the 2009 Car & Driver article, as well as the heated debate regarding Tire Rack's ice-rink testing, c. fall/winter of 2010, on NASIOC).

FWIW, even prior to the Auto Review results, we saw in the community many subjective reports from seasoned winter tire users that the performance of the Xi3 in the slush left much to be desired as compared to its cohorts. Given this, plus the Auto Review results, if I were in your shoes - and if I ranked slushplaning concerns anywhere in the top three of my purchase criteria - I'd probably put that in as a vote *against* the Xi3.

With the assistance of a well known search engine's translation, I was able to decode most of the article, however, the meat of the data is in the graphs showing the relative performance in each category. . and these graphs, being images not text, aren't captured by the the translate algorithm, so I'm unable to tell exactly what they represent, or determine the units of measure.

...

-what exactly was measured in the Russian slushplaning test, and is it truly a concern that the XI3 measured 22.6 mystery units, while the R2 measured 26.5, a ~17% difference?
And that's my question, too. Without being a native speaker, I'm afraid that all I can do is to be at the mercy of Google Translate - and to also see what other interpretations fellow enthusiasts may have put forward. :embarrassed: I think that, to-date, all that anyone has made of this data is just the ranking of these tires.

-how related are hydroplaning and slushplaning? and would temperature have much of an influence in this category? It appears all seasons will generally outperform the best ice/snow tires in the hydroplaning category. Interestingly, the R2 comes in last among the tested winter tires according to CR in the article Ultra-high-performance tires show glaring differences on ice .
And that's indeed the rub - there's no tire, even with the current advances in technology - that's able to do it all.

While many consumers are now recognizing the advantages of using "winter tires" in the winter months, I think that most still do not inherently understand that there are still compromises.

When it comes to temperature and its influence, I think that the 2009 Car & Driver article did a great job showing such effects, and also served well to overturn popular misconceptions about the "switch" temperature in a very quantitative manner. Unfortunately, I don't think that any tests have made any effort to directly compare slushplaning and hydroplaning. The Auto Review article, as you are aware, did test both slushplaning as well as wet-asphalt braking performance, but I'm not really seeing any patterns.....

More questions than answers, I know. :embarrassed:
 

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aka DMax in Alaska
'06 Mini Cooper S JCW 6MT
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No matter the tire you choose, if you're driving to the point that you're hydroplaning, you're driving too fast. New tires with adequate channeling will likely allow higher speeds whereas worn tires or tires with a less favorable design will require slower speeds to maintain control in any given situation.

Pro Winter Driving Tip #198274 - Slow down to the point where you have adequate control and stay there until conditions improve. This should be applied to any tire whether it's rain, snow, slush or ice.

There really is no other way to state it. Some tires are better than others and not every tire works best in all conditions.

For what it's worth, I ran the XIce2 for the last 4 winters - well over 40K miles on them. They work great in most conditions except where there is water on ice such as what is found at many intersections.

This year I am running Hankook iPike W409 studded. After the icy conditions that resulted in several roll-over accidents and many more fender benders that we experienced around Anchorage yesterday, I feel very good about my choice. The sipped design and the added traction with the studs worked quite well.
 

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No matter the tire you choose, if you're driving to the point that you're hydroplaning, you're driving too fast. New tires with adequate channeling will likely allow higher speeds whereas worn tires or tires with a less favorable design will require slower speeds to maintain control in any given situation.

Pro Winter Driving Tip #198274 - Slow down to the point where you have adequate control and stay there until conditions improve. This should be applied to any tire whether it's rain, snow, slush or ice.
Should actually be bumped up to Pro Winter Driving Tip #1. :biggrin:

It cannot be overstated just how important this very simple factor is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks All, for your replies!

ScoobieRoo - Always goood to hear from other locals, and I appreciate the XI2 testimonial in the Denver Metro/Foothills.

And TSi+WRX thanks for the input. I didn't know about the '09 Car/Driver cross genre article - a great read!! Slush, sometimes DEEP slush, can be a real problem here with the Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde weather patterns. Slush performance is definitely in my top-3. I think a conclusion is emerging and it's leading me to the Hakka R2. Of course, I'm just now realizing that my target tire size 215/65/17 is only available in R2 SUV, so I'm about to reenter analysis paralysis in looking into how the R2 and R2SUV differ, lol.
 

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To resurrect this thread, County, which tires did you end up choosing?

I wished I had read this before purchasing my set of XI3s this past winter, and have a couple thoughts below:

- Michelin X-Ice XI3 225/55/17 - KMs driven: 6000 km PSI: - 34/32 front/rear

Pros:
- Dry and wet handling, noise and fuel economy is similar to the OEM Geolandars on my '12 XT, which is good for a non-performance oriented winter tire
- Relatively quiet and sidewalls actually squirm slightly less than the Geolandars under cornering
- Decent performance in packed snow
- Adequate performance in icy conditions with the aid of ABS during braking, but did not test to the limits here
- No noticeable treadwear so far

Cons:
- Its performance in slushy/mixed conditions is very underwhelming and not mentioned in reviews (i.e. TireRack, Consumer Reports, etc.)
- I would agree that the narrow spacing between the edges does not give an opportunity to clear the slush from the tire, resulting in slushplanning
- Does not instill confidence during highway driving in slushy conditions, and down right scary during lane changes and highway on/off-ramps due to slushplanning on top of the slushy ruts

Prior to purchasing it, I thought that the decent dry/wet winter performance of the XI3 for the majority of my driving would offset its lesser capabilities during severe winter conditions, which would have served me well in a moderate climate. However, I did not realize that with a moderate climate, slush would have such a negative affect on my confidence driving in those conditions. Prior to this purchase, I was driving the original X-Ices on my Impreza, which were terrible on dry and wet, but with larger edge spacing cleared slush and deep snow without issues. For my next set of winter tires, I would willingly sacrifice a little dry/wet traction for a true dedicated winter tire with better slush performance, such as the Nokian R2 or its successor.

Nevertheless, to try to optimize the XI3's peformance, I want to ask: Would increasing or decreasing my tire pressure within the recommend ranges have any marginal affect on its slush performance on highways, and if so, which pressures would you suggest?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jonharp I did go with the Hakka R2 SUVs. I'm on my third season with them, and have 8-9/32" of tread remaining. I've been very happy with them. Will let others weigh in re: your tire pressure question, sorry I have no input.
 

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The michelin xice xi3 tires are great. You dont get a super mushy tire and it handles like a regular standard touring tire (not UHP or anything of course)

They have great ice traction. The deep snow traction is good but not anything amazing.
However with our AWD you dont really need the best in deep snow traction.

There are better tires for extreme snow and ice but for a excellent tire that is easy to live with in all conditions, returns great MPG and low noise.. with good ride comfort.. they are winners.

The worst condition for our cars is stopping on ice and packed snow and these tires are great on ice and packed snow.

They arent a tire for getting through 2ft of snow daily.. They would work but not the best tire for that.. need something with bigger tread voids.

The whole slushplaning thing is largly a function of tread void size(and tread pattern). So yes these wont have the most resistance to slush planing esp when half worn. However its pretty easy to slow down for that condition and these tires have a very progressive breakaway feeling. its not like an all season where you get loose and swap ends or do a 360. Even when slipping they still maintain a good amount of lateral traction.
 
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