Which Snow Tire is Best? We Test Them On America's Steepest County Road!


welcome to TFLs ultimate winter tire

slash snow tire test now we called it

the ultimate snow tire test because we

invited ten tire manufacturers to submit

their snow tires for a real world review

unfortunately only three respondents so

the ultimate tire test became a three

tire test shootout and coming up right

now we're gonna take these three snow

tires we're gonna put them on that

Subaru and we're gonna find out in

real-world testing which one of these is

the best tire for you three two

you're not gonna believe the resolve

before we start with the contestants in

other words the snow tires let's start

with the car we're going to be using two

almost identical Subaru Outback

why the Outback well because it's really

the family truckster of today

it's got symmetric all-wheel drive it

has a tire size that's almost ubiquitous

and we've got two of them at the office

so we felt it was a great car to use for

this test



okay this is gonna be the magic moment

and she's gonna fit


we're driving up to lick skillet road

which wikipedia says is the steepest

country road in America at 14 to 18

percent incline it's really steep and

we're doing it on a cold winter day

right after a snowstorm because we

thought people drive cars to work to

pick up their kids at school and they

don't do it on hockey rinks so if you're

looking for a test where we're testing

snow tires

in apples apples conditions on a hockey

rink this isn't it we do real-world

testing and right now it's really cold

out there about 14 degrees we've got two

almost identical Subarus and we've got

Colorado in our backyard so that's what

we use for our testing also we're not

doing studded tires you can stud snow

tires to give you a better grip on ice

and actually I was at the tire shop when

we were having those tires put onto our

steel wheels I asked them what

percentage of people in Colorado

actually used studded snow tires

versus non studded ones like the ones

were testing it's not free and he said

about 50% people actually use studded

tires and studs are little metal spikes

that go into the tire that give you

better grip on ice he said people who

live up here in the mountains use mainly

studded whereas people who live in

Boulder where we're based use the manaan

studded pure dedicated snow tires and I

think that has to do with the fact that

up here in the mountains you get about

eight months of winter a year and down

where we live you get about eight months

of some right here but hopefully next

year we'll also do some studded snow

tire testing to compare how the two

different types of snow tires do up or

down looks CoolIT Road


let's see how Andres old all ceaseless

do up this I'm worried to see and by the

way these ins do going a two-wheel drive

car would not make it up this no not at

all not even close

also my passenger window broke again I

can't roll it down that has the fourth

time it broke


luckily we brought hey Andre I brought

recovery straps for the truck a little

run up it might be all right up might

need to run at it Andre didn't you run

up oh my god

it's slick it's it's really slick




basically cutting power so there is a

button down here on the dash and I've

just turned it off so you could see it

here and if I floor it I should be able

to get momentum and come around this

corner so let's see if that works



you know I was really worried about how

to show just how steep looks CoolIT

Rhoda's I think thanks to Andrea there

we've just shown that it is indeed steep

and deep and now I'm a little worried

about the downhill test because right

now this truck is really loaded down

with 12 winter tires so I've got really

good grip especially with new

all-terrain tires but even though the

line of Subaru coming down this hill and

hitting the brakes it's gonna be

interesting I just hope we can slow down

before we put it into a snowdrift oh


yeah security and safety always hey

Michael can you change my brakes while

you're at it nope we're gonna set the

torque to

eighty oh that needs a little bit

underneath a little bit alright boys

test number one the control we're using

standard tires that came on the Subaru

I've got some cones set up and we're

gonna do boys is we're gonna well this

is that's ice ice we're gonna do this

we're gonna hit 20 miles an hour right

there by the 20 mile an hour sign I'm

gonna hit my brakes keeping everything

in regular mode so no x-mode no traction

off and we're gonna see how quickly our

Subaru can stop using the standard tires

that came on the car and then we're

gonna use cone number one to mark that

and then we're gonna try the Cooper's

with Andres rig all right Andre I'm the


you are the adjudicator the judge yes

and the and the cone holder and the



Russian cones first test all season

tires M&S now as a sort of a control

we're gonna be using the tires that came

from the manufacturer on the Subaru

these are bridgestone dueler

HP's they are 225 65 s they are mud and

snow rated but they are not snow tires

in other words these are all season

tires the car has about 4,000 miles on

them so they are relatively new and this

is the tire that you would use all year

round if you live in a place like

Colorado if you actually did not switch

to dedicated snow tire so one of the

things we're going to find out is just

how much more grip and traction we're

gonna get with dedicated snow tires

versus these all seasons okay here I go


that's time and here's 20

these are going straight and true still

going down the hill still going down the

hill that was 20 miles now imagine what

that would do on real-life conditions

like when you know there was a car ahead

of you and he didn't emergency stop and

then I had to do the same thing I would

have hit him okay so here's where the

tire is all season I'll put the cone

right here boom

start Andre I'm stuck power

I just measured 115 feet using my feet

I'm heading right for the sign Andre

right for it

test number two with the Cooper Tires

our next contestant is this Cooper

Discoverer TrueNorth and according to

Cooper this tire is ideal for daily

commuters who drive on plowed or treated

roads and deal with slush and black ice

what makes it unique and what makes it a

great snow tire well quiet with superior

grip on ice accorded Cooper with

sawtooth technology which traps snow in

the tread to provide better snow on snow

traction also coupled silica compound

better Griffin ice without the need for

studded tires and of course Cooper says

it has indeed high density sipes

which enhance wet traction yes go for it

Andrew you drive like a pimp

much better

felt like I had a lot more yeah I felt

like I had a lot more control that was

more of a driver than a passenger their

blue mark on the cone for Cooper tire

I'm gonna mark it Center tire is center

of the tire one more time I'm gonna put

it right here so that's a Cooper 48 49

49 and a half that's a big humongous

difference that's like three car lengths

for acceleration test we've come to the

steepest part of lick skillet Road which

is actually where Andre initially got

stuck with his old all-season tires down

there and we're gonna do is we're gonna

time the cars Andre come on over here

you got the cones

I got the baby cones to demarcate the

finish line okay all right so what I'll

do is up drive the Subaru to the bottom

of the hill okay I'll stop at the very

steep part of that turn yes you tell me

when to go on the radio on the radio and

I'll floor it coming up and then when I

get past the cones you stop me all time

you and you tie me and we'll see what

the times are so okay obviously the

faster the time the better the traction

the slower the time the worst attraction

but here's a question are you using

traction control everything is set in

normal mode okay no x-mode no traction

of pull on just the way it is yes I

think what we're gonna get is the

traction control kicking in especially

trying to come around their discretion

on the all-season time yeah all right

let's do this I'm using this tree here

to mark the finish line and we're gonna

be starting down there

uphill acceleration test you've got the

all season manufacturer tires on the

silver Subaru and Andre I am good to go

so start me please sir

three two large I'm floored Andre I'm


I'm not moving finally finally a moving

here we go it's 15 you did the 20 how

long was that 15 point for two seconds

fourteen point four two I think I got up

to about 18 miles an hour when I cross

the line deep

I really wonder what's gonna happen with

a snow tire do the Cooper next Andres

car test number two acceleration run

Cooper Tires Cooper Tires going up the

hill acceleration testing I understand

it's a different car but the drive

trains are identical horsepower is

identical symmetrical all-wheel drive

this identical it's all the same except

that our car is a little bit newer and

this is all right dude I'm ready to go

whenever you're ready okay so first

winter tire it's the Cooper Roman ready

three two


no way well guess what my Lightspeed

finger recorded 11 second flat I tell

you I'm impressed by how well the

Cooper's did yeah I mean you know

dedicated snow tire versus and all

season no contest no but now the real

test begins that's right now we've got

the real apples-to-apples testing so

we're gonna see which of these three

dedicated snow tires is the winner of

our very first annual epic what if the

result is like a matter of inches and

milliseconds it's still a result okay

all right okay let's put the

Continentals on our long turn Subaru and

the Dunlop's on your white Subaru are

the good

see these are directional tires these

Dunlop's and Continentals so we have to

make sure


check it out clear look at the chains on

the front of this old Ranger the tire is

bald but the chains still help let out

crazy all right this is test downhill

test number three

Andre Subaru with the gun locks we have

this the dunlop winner max sj8 according

to dunlop

this helps conquer winter conditions on

snowy and icy roads and how does it do

that well dunlop says it's got max sharp

edge sipes which help keep the tread

more rigid for thread to ice contact

finally nano fit rubber combines

flexibility and rigidity to help the

tread adhere to icy surfaces okay we're

rolling cameras once again 20 miles an

hour and then just stomp on it like I'm

stomping in an office

oh my oh my Andre that was interesting


okay let's mark it I think it's about

the car lengths

actually so here's the mark for the

Dunlop tire alright well 13 14 almost 14

feet the Cooper tire did 14 feet better

than the down-low this is downhill test

number four Continentals on long-term

silver Subaru we've got the continental

winter contact si now I've got my cheat

sheet here because we decided to find

out what makes these tires special and

on their website continental says that

this is the ultimate winter tire with

powerful grip in the rain snow and even

ice end quote and how does it do that

well it uses something called polar plus

technology which Continental says it

claims to increase grip in the rain and

snow so conditions with special traction

grooves with multi angle tread pattern

that's what sets this tire apart all

right are you ready yes I'm not doing

much for this one here we go

well we certainly have a result there

Andre I can't tell if this tyre is even

with the previous tire mark this right

there all right Andre let's show them

the results so you're down there with

the standard tire that came on the

Subaru the all season so congratulations

to Cooper you guys are number one or the

shortest stopping distance on the

braking test and I think now we have to

see which of these tires does best on

the grip test when you're accelerating

versus braking so shall we run up the

mountain go for it all right

acceleration test number three with the

Dunlop's using Andres wife's car so test

number three accelerating up the hill



here I go 15 miles an hour 17 i exceeded

the speed limit by two miles an hour

boys well Roman I gotta say so I got

some bad news what's the bad news

you have 12 point seven nine twelve

point seven nine oh my 12 point seven

nine so right now

Cooper's out of the snow tires are still

in the lead


it doesn't matter what snow tire you buy

but get some dedicated snow tires going

up like skillet right now is just so

much more confidence inspiring and much

less scarier knowing that I have grip

it's like night and day between these

and the all seasons definitely go out

and get yourself some snow tires because

it makes a world of difference

all right test number four Continentals

in the house with the long-term TfL

Subaru all right Andre count me down 11

seconds is the time to beat



24 that time I got to tell you guys that

felt the best out of all of them I had

very little slippage you're not gonna

believe the results and the Cooper the

traction control kick in this time there

was no traction control it just took off

like it was stuck to glue it's pretty

good I'll just I'll just let you read em

and weep Wow

eleven point zero five it's almost

identical to the Cooper oh this is five

one hundredths of a second

this is with inhuman air this is within

a blink of an eye that's interesting

I want to thank Cooper continental and

Dunlop for providing tires for TFS very

first and hopefully annual ultimate

winter tire test now of course the

results speak for themselves and

congratulations to Cooper that edged out

the other two tires I think the biggest

takeaway from this year's testing is

that if you're gonna drive in winter

conditions definitely get yourself some

dedicated winter tires because the all


they're pretty terrifying as always this

is rhomin reporting for the fast lane

car check out TfL car comm for more news

views and real-world reviews hey and all

you other guys that didn't participate

this year we're open for business next

year see you guys next time ciao