The Blizzak winter tire has been a performance leader for years.
Blizzak is a combination of “blizzard” and “Zacke” for jagged teeth in German.
The WS90 is the latest generation of Bridgestone’s
For as long as I have been writing on and about cars, since 1998, Bridgestone’s Blizzak winter tires have always or nearly been at the top of recommended purchase lists. The Blizzak launched in 1988 in Japan and in little time became a global yardstick for winter driving performance.
Bridgestone launched the latest WS90 generation of the Blizzak in early 2019. The goals for the WS80 replacement, already excellent in many respects, were more durability and improved performance on the ice. While I will not be in a position to determine how long the Blizzaks will last, I intend to explore the tire’s limits on ice especially.
Blizzak winter tires rely on Bridgestone’s patented Multi-Cell technology which proved to be a gamechanger in winter driving performance and safety. The technology consists in drawing water away from the ice’s surface thus drastically increasing traction for more control and, most of all, shorter stopping distances.
Of the many other improvements made to the tires, Bridgestone’s increased the Blizzak’s contact area in order to make more tire work for the driver. As well, the tire now features the company’s new EdgePerformance Technology package. Part of it includes interlocking sipes in the tread’s design which creates a greater number of edges for heightened snow and wet performance. The Blizzak WS90 symmetric tread pattern also features stiffer blocks that are intended to deliver better steering response.
About the tread pattern and design, I was surprised by how aggressive it looks. As I’d only seen pictures up until recently, I thought Bridgestone had accidentally sent me a set of Blizzak DM-V2 tires for SUVs and light trucks.
I’ve now had my new set of P205/50R17 Blizzak WS90 winter tires mounted on the stock 17-inch wheels that came with my 2018 Volkswagen Sportwagen 4MOTION. This time, I’ve checked tire pressures before driving off and I’m happy to report that, so far, on dry cold surfaces, the Blizzaks are reasonably comfortable, tolerably quiet, and far less “mushy” than anticipated.
This winter should deliver another series of big snowfalls, numerous warm periods of thaw followed by bone-chilling cold snaps. The Blizzak is tailor-made for these conditions and I look forward to putting them to the test.
Pricing for Blizzak tires is fairly high. In fact, they’ve long been some of the more expensive winter tires available in Canada and the US. In short, in order to get the best and latest winter tire technology, there is a price to pay. Even so, and as I’ve stated many times, price should not be a principal criterion when shopping for winter tires. The bottom line is that you will get what you pay for.
The thing with the Blizzak WS90 is that, even now after only a few days driving around with the tires, I know they will perform very well this winter. If you’re thinking about purchasing a set for your vehicle now, go ahead.
I will publish an update later this winter about my experience with the tires.