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2016 Forester 2.5i
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, first post here:

I'm ready for my first replacement tires from OEM at 36 months / 32,000 miles on my '16 Forester 2.5i Premium. This is for year-round local and highway driving in Westchester County NY, back and forth to the train station each day, trips to Manhattan and Long Island on the weekends, and occasional highway driving between Washington and Boston or to upstate NY. I try to avoid driving in the snow, but it's a hilly where I live especially a steep 1.5 miles uphill between home and the train station, and a few times each winter I have no choice to be out in it.

I'm considering the Michelin Defender T+H and the Goodyear Assurance Weatherready which are about the same price, or the Michelin CrossClimate+ which is an extra $100 for the four.

Adding to the confusion is that Consumer Reports rates the CrossClimate+ as the best with the Goodyear far behind, but Tire Rack rates the Goodyear as the best with CrossClimate+ in third place. Both have the Defender T+H in second place as far as I can tell. Which ratings are most reliable?

I would value (1) consistent performance as the treads wear down, (2) decent-enough performance in the snow for the few times that I'm out in the snow.

Any advice or thoughts? Thanks.
PS: this is our first Subaru and we all love it. I spent a lot of time lurking these forums before I bought it. I love it more than even my first car ('85 Celica).
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring CVT
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@Pc16
I am no tire expert but I am in similar situation like you. I come to conclusion that All Weather tires (not just All Season) will work best for what I need.
I narrowed it to 3 choices (from cheapest to most expensive) that will depend mostly on current availability and convenience.

Vredestein Quatrac 5 (Tire Rack + local installation)
Nokian WRG3 or 4 (from Disount Tire)
Goodyear Assurance Weatherready (probably from dealer)

Tire Rack, CR and other reviews are useful but I look more at total picture than at any particular test/review. Tire Rack user reviews are tricky because you need to select reviews with more miles and comparable models. All Weather tires are relatively new in US so you will not find that many reviews comparing to mainstream All Season tires.

CR tested CrossClimate+ very well and they have great review in Europe but I don't see them yet in Forester sizes, maybe I am missing something...
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tire Rack seems to have the CrossClimate+ in 225/60R17, and correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like the Subaru dealers order from Tire Rack too and upcharge for the convenience.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring CVT
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@Pc16
you were right about 225/60R17, I have XT with 18s so they don't have CrossClimate+ in that size

My dealer has low pricing on mounting (comparable to cheap locals) so $10-$15 extra/tire is OK for me (since it saves me time to combine it with regular service)
 

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I'm assuming you are looking to spend as little as possible because honestly all of the options you provided aren't great at all. Michelin's are very hard and last long but preform poorly. Nokian? lol nah never ever. Goodyear... another cheap option. If you want performance you get what you pay for. Look into a nice set of Continental's or Pirelli's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good point, same here as to slightly lower mounting price offsets some of the upcharge, also the convenience factor.
So I'm now leaning between the two Michelins. Trying to synthesize things, it looks like the CrossClimate+ is going to be better in wet/snow/ice, but the Defender T+H is going to be quieter and better tread life?

I can't conceive of getting to 75,000 or 90,000 miles on any set of tires and would be very happy to get 36,000 / 42,000 before hitting 5/32" --while having really safe and dependable performance in all weather until then--.
 

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@Siouxbie
Tires that I listed are far from cheap , they range from average to pricier options in stock size.
When you say that "Michelin's are very hard and last long but preform poorly", which model are you referring to? CrossClimate+ is new on US market so if you not from Europe, I doubt that you have significant experience with that model.
Nokian (and Vredestein) are well respected in Europe but not that common in US.
Goodyear, Continental, Pirelli have good and less good models, some of them will work for this particular vehicle/application, some will not.
Generalizing tires by brands without model consideration doesn't help to make good decision.
 

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@Pc16
Defender T+H is probably better in some areas (tread life, quietness, durability and probably fuel economy) but since I drive less than 7k per year, those are not my priorities. I was looking for best year around grip (in Chicago) as priority.
 

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@Siouxbie
Tires that I listed are far from cheap , they range from average to pricier options in stock size.
When you say that "Michelin's are very hard and last long but preform poorly", which model are you referring to? CrossClimate+ is new on US market so if you not from Europe, I doubt that you have significant experience with that model.
Nokian (and Vredestein) are well respected in Europe but not that common in US.
Goodyear, Continental, Pirelli have good and less good models, some of them will work for this particular vehicle/application, some will not.
Generalizing tires by brands without model consideration doesn't help to make good decision.
Any all season Michelin will be very hard. Michelin all seasons focus specifically on tread life and not on performance, this is very well known. So yes I'm saying any Michelin will be an inferior option. Literally any all season Continental or Pirelli makes will perform better. I didn't mention Goodyear by the way and do not recommend them either. If you really want specific models i guess i can provide that but it starts with picking a quality brand. I grew up in ND winters and have now lived in the CO rockies for many years. I have very good real world experience in the worst driving conditions you could find.
 

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@Siouxbie

When you say that "Michelin's are very hard and last long but preform poorly", which model are you referring to? CrossClimate+ is new on US market so if you not from Europe, I doubt that you have significant experience with that model.
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I think whar Siouxbe means is that the tread compounds and all that goes into a Michelin tire are hard [firm] and less pliable [soft]. This helps the tires last longer. But is not as good for handling, when you need softer for grip.

I had a set of Michelin tires on an old Dodge convertible [turbo 600ES] that lasted damn near forever. I think I'd had them on for 60k miles + before we sold the car and the still showed useable tread life.

The Goodyear Eagle [stock] only lated about 20k miles before needing to be replaced. Mind you, this was 1989 or so.

But the GY Eagle held the road impressively and never chirped or squealed once. The Michelin? They just about shrieked when getting of the freeway cloverleaf and on the [then new to Vegas] roundabouts....
 

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2018 Forester 2.5i
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So I also "agonized" over picking my tires when I realized I didn't like the OE tires my 2018 came with. In the end I chose the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady tires due to the year round use and mountain snowflake designation they came with and they have been fantastic so far for the short time I've had them.

Pretty much every tire listed in your original post will be better than those you're replacing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you. I too have spent too much time agonizing over this, and have decided on the CrossClimate+, which I'll order from the Subaru dealer and have them put on when in for my inspection and interval service.
 

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I personally have the contenental TrueContact since I replaced the originals at about 24k. I now have 88k on them (replaced once at 55k because of a stupid screwdriver in the tire) and still love them. They also have the snow flake and are rated very highly on tirerack.
 

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Consumer Reports says that their recommendations need to be studied by the consumer to refine what characteristics fits your needs. So specifically in what areas that any of these tires are rated are meaningful to you. Don't just look at the top rated but look at in which categories they were rated and decide if that characteristic is important to you. Then make up your mind.
 

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I would seriously look at Pirelli P7. This is an excellent all-around tire. In most parts of USA you care about wet traction as much or more than snow and ice. P7 is great for wet traction and good in snow.

If you are more concerned about snow than about wet traction then the Hankook Optimo H727 is an excellent tire that also happens to have amazing tread life, especially if a lot of your driving is on the highway. Best snow performance you can find in an all-season radial.

I have many miles on both of these tires on various autos and they have served me well. Good traction, good tread life, good fuel economy on the highway. I have a lot of winter driving experience in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, etc.

Of course no all-season radial will do as well on snow and ice as a dedicated winter tire. But that winter tire will have poor tread life and fuel economy because of the softer compounds that give you the ice traction. And it will not do nearly as well in wet traction as a good all-season tire. Not to mention that my comments apply to tires used primarily on paved roads, whereas many factory supplied tires on SUVs are intended to be more robust off-road. There is no perfect tire for all conditions.
 

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I think the CrossClimate will be a very good choice for you. I believe, It also has expanding groves as the tire wears helping to avoid hydroplaning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I reviewed the CR ratings, the Tire Rack ratings, the Tire Rack reviews, and a half dozen other sites, and concluded that there were probably no bad choices. I had the Altimax and Altimax Arctic on my Camry which lived for a few years in the Finger Lakes where there was enough snow to warrant having winter tires. For my expected Westchester usage I expect that the CrossClimate+ will be fine and will be vastly better than the OEM Geolanders in all driving conditions.
 

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For what it's worth, CR tests using experts whereas TireRack relies on user reviews, who aren't experts and aren't in a position to comparison test.
 

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