Even for the most experienced driver, winter weather travel can be incredibly stressful. Ice, sleet, slush, snow, and lower temperatures often make it difficult for tires to consistently grip the road.
Fortunately, winter tires are built to combat these elements, and many of the world’s leading tire manufacturers make excellent winter tires to help drivers of coupes, sedans, minivans, CUVs, SUVs, and light trucks through these conditions.
But which winter tires are right for you? Do you need studded, studdable, or studless tires? How much should you pay for winter tires? Let’s take a look at two of the best tires for winter on the market right now: the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 and the Hankook Winter iPike (RW11).
Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
Bridgestone is one of the top tire manufacturers in the world, and their Blizzak line of tires are regarded as some of the absolute best winter tires on the market. Their latest entry into the winter tire market is the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90, which is a studless winter tire for drivers of coupes, sedans, minivans, CUVs, and SUVs.
The Blizzak WS90 replaced the popular WS80 tire line and utilizes 15% more block edges than its predecessor for shorter stopping distances on ice and 30% stiffer blocks that improve steering response and promote a longer tread life.
A new and improved rubber compound and large contact area strengthen performance on icy roads, and the Blizzak WS90 includes Bridgestone’s patented MultiCell Technology for excellent grip on slippery roads. All of this is to say that the Blizzak WS90 performs at a high level for the vast majority of drivers.
Hankook Winter iPike (RW11)
A studdable winter tire, the Winter iPike (RW11) from Hankook is built for use on CUVs, SUVs, and light trucks that drive on and off road. A wide tread design puts more rubber on the road for strong braking performance on icy, and snowy roads, and the Winter iPike (RW11)’s center block further increases traction on icy and snowy roads by creating additional biting edges.
The Winter iPike (RW11)’s shoulder grooves drain water, slush, and melting snow out of the tire to reduce the risk of hydroplaning and can be pinned with up to six rows of legal studs so that drivers receive extra traction on icy and snowy roads.
So, what’s the difference?
Winter tires, like all tires, vary from brand to brand and line to line.Here are some of the key differences between the Blizzak WS90 and Winter iPike (RW11):
The Blizzak WS90 is specifically designed for use on coupes, sedans, minivans, CUVs, and SUVs and really isn’t meant for use on light trucks. The Winter iPike (RW11), on the other hand, is built for CUVs, SUVs, and light trucks, and should not be used on coupes, sedans, and minivans.
- If you have a coupe, sedan, or minivan, then the Blizzak WS90 makes sense for you.
- If you have a light truck, go with the Winter iPike (RW11).
- If you have a CUV or SUV, though, you’ll need to consider a few other things.
Since it’s built for CUVs, SUVs, and light trucks, the Winter iPike (RW11) can be used on and off road, and functions like a winter, all-terrain tire. The Blizzak WS90 is primarily meant for use on paved roads, and the tire’s tread pattern really isn’t ideal for use off road.
So, if you only stay on paved roads then the Blizzak WS90 is for you. If you drive a CUV, SUVs, and light truck that needs traction and performance on and off road in the winter months, the Winter iPike (RW11) is the better choice for your driving needs.
Studless vs studdable
A stud is a piece of metal or rubber that’s embedded into a tire for extra traction and better performance in ice and snow. Winter tires come in three varieties when it comes to studs: studless, studdable, and studded.
The Blizzak WS90 is a studless tire, so drivers aren’t to stud this for extra traction in difficult winter weather. The Winter iPike (RW11) can be pinned with studs though, so if you live in an area that’s prone to heavy snow and ice then you want that extra traction.
SimpleTip Studs are not legal in all 50 States, as they can damage roadways. Please consult your state and local laws to determine if you can even use studs in your winter tires.
This is the biggest one, right? At the end of the day, consumers don’t have an endless budget, so they need to make sure that the tires they purchase for their car meet their needs without breaking the bank.
The Blizzzak WS90 starts at just over $80 per tire for coupe sizes and can cost up to $230 per tire for SUV sizes.
The Winter iPike (RW11) starts around $94 per tire for CUV sizes and tops out close to $265 per tire for larger light truck sizes.
Remember, tire pricing varies by size so you’re (unfortunately) likely to pay a bit more for a set of tires if you have a larger vehicle. For example, the tire size 225/65R16, which is a CUV specific size, the Blizzak WS90 costs about $115 per tire, while the Winter iPike (RW11) is around $110.
Picking the tire that’s right for you
Whenever you’re buying a new set of tires, there are three really important things to consider: what you drive, how you drive, and where you drive. Yes, price, warranty, and special offers are great, but you need to answer the “what,” “how,” and “where” before you dig into those details.
If you drive a coupe, sedan, minivan, CUV, or SUV that stays on paved roads and doesn’t need studs for extra traction on icy and snowy roads then the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 makes more sense than the Winter iPike (RW11) does.
If you drive a light truck, then the Hankook Winter iPike (RW11) makes more sense for you than the Blizzak WS90 since this tire can be used on light trucks. For drivers of CUVs and SUVs, it’s important to think back to the “what,” “how,” and “where” we just covered.
Do you live in an area that gets snow, but not a ton, and you drive on paved roads the vast majority of the time? If you answered yes to that then the Blizzak WS90 is your best bet.
Do you take your CUV or SUV off road from time to time, or need a little extra traction because you get a lot of ice and snow? If that’s the case, go with the Hankook Winter iPike (RW11).
At the end of the day, finding a tire that meets your driving needs is critical. While this process may seem scary, we’re here to help with a large selection of products at different price points so that you can easily find the tire that’s right for you.
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