Saturday, October 31, 2020
Features Top 2020-21 Winter Tire Suggestions

Top 2020-21 Winter Tire Suggestions

The barrage of winter tire reminders is in full effect – Yes, now is the time to shop and make an appointment


  • Good winter tires are the best safety feature.

  • As we’ve learned in life, you always get what you pay for.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute!


2020 will go down in the history books as one of the most disruptive and anxiety-inducing of all time. If you’ve left your home in the last week or so, you might have noticed that there’s a chill in the air and that the leaves are changing colour. These are tell-tale signs that winter is just around the corner and that it’s time to consider your winter tire options.

As we’ve reported, a number of Canadians (and likely Northern United States dwellers) never switched over to their summer tires last spring due to the COVID outbreak and the lockdown. Those of you who drove all summer with your winter rubbers, don’t think that you’re automatically all set for next winter. Your best and smartest course of action would be a quick tire inspection. Take note of tread depth and condition. In general terms, if the sipes in the tread blocks are barely visible or the wear indicator blocks are flush or nearly with the tread, the tires are done.

tread wheels Winter studded tires snow

If there is tread left, there are a number of ways to get an idea of how much life is left in the tire. The Alberta Motor Association made this brief video five years ago but the general guidelines still apply today. Importantly, this technique needs to be performed on all tires to be absolutely safe.

To cap anxiety, here’s a golden rule when it comes to tires: Only a proper winter tire provides drivers across the country with the necessary traction, handling, and stopping abilities for all-around safer driving conditions.

Now, if you’re in the market for some new winter rubber for your car or crossover, we’ve compiled a shortlist of the best of the best. As always, before you go through the list, do keep in mind that there is a direct correlation between price, performance, longevity, and overall satisfaction with the product. A cheaper “bargain” tire may need to be replaced and suffer diminished performance much sooner.


Here are some suggestions for the best-selling Toyota RAV4 (17-inch tires) listed in alphabetical order:

2020 Toyota RAV4
2020 Toyota RAV4

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 – Quiet, soft compound, great all-round performance

Dunlop Winter Maxx SJ8 – Good bang for the $$, performs well in deep snow and slush 

Michelin X-Ice Snow SUV – Very good road manners – feels like an all-season, good performer but with reduced thread depth

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV – Aggressive tread pattern, excellent snow and ice traction, also behaves like an all-season

Pirelli Winter Ice Zero FR – Reasonably priced, compound resists temperature changes (gets more flexible in the cold, firms up when warmer), good overall traction

Toyo GSi-6 LS – Good durability, deep thread, very good in snow and slush

Yokohama Ice Guard G075 – Good all-round tire, softer compound, quiet


Here are some suggestions for the best-selling Honda Civic (16-inch tires) listed in alphabetical order (individual descriptions from above are nearly identical):

2019 Honda Civic
2019 Honda Civic | Photo: Honda

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Quiet, soft compound, great all-round performance

Dunlop Winter Maxx 2 – Good bang for the $$, performs well in deep snow and slush 

Michelin X-Ice Xi3 – Very good road manners – feels like an all-season, good performer and affordable

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 – Aggressive tread pattern, improved snow traction, generally excellent performance, also behaves like an all-season

Pirelli Winter Ice Zero FR – Reasonably priced, compound resists temperature changes (gets more flexible in the cold, firms up when warmer), good overall traction

Toyo GSi-6 HP – Good durability, deep thread, very good in snow and slush

Yokohama Ice Guard IG53 – Good all-round tire, softer compound, quiet

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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