Michelin X-Ice Snow Review
The next-generation of Michelin winter tire keeps everything that was good about its predecessor and adds more grip on snow-covered surfaces.
- Long life
- Industry best grip on ice
- Big improvements in snow grip
You might often think of a winter tire as being a snow tire, but that’s not necessarily the case. And it really wasn’t with past X-Ice tires, which gripped amazingly well on ice-covered surfaces or clear, cold roads. That’s not to say they didn’t grip on snow, but not quite to the level you’d expect for what you pay. Those who live in climates that get plenty of snow each winter tended to trust a Michelin tire to deliver top level winter grip, but few were impressed. In other words, there weren’t a lot of repeat buyers.
This new compound and tread design aims to significantly improve the tire’s snow grip. For starters the FleX-Ice 2.0 compound creates additional friction with the ground at a very fine level. It makes use of small particles in the rubber that pull out of the tread over time allowing for additional microscopic biting edges. Think of them as tiny beads that, when removed, leave a dimple in the rubber to give added friction. Combined with the high-silica content in the compound, the tire resists freezing in brutally cold temperatures, allowing it to maintain maximum grip.
Most noticeably different from past X-Ice tires, the X-Ice Snow uses a V-shaped tread pattern. This serves multiple purposes. For starters it’s designed to help with water and slush evacuation and to prevent hydroplaning. The v-shape design, borrowed from rivals like the Bridgestone Blizzak, also allows for better stability and handling on snow-covered roads, an area the X-Ice tires always lacked in before. This is a much appreciated improvement.
Each tread block is heavily siped, though upon closer inspection you can see two different types of sipes being used. Notched sipes and variable thickness sipes work together to deliver grip on ice as well as on snow where they grip the snow-packed surface and use that snow as a friction surface against itself.
The sipes are also full-depth, meaning that as the tire wears down, it’s capability won’t. Michelin is pushing hard to ensure all of its tires out-perform the competition, not just when new, but after years on the road.
Having said that, we’re incredibly impressed to see this is a winter tire that comes with a mileage warranty. While these sorts of mileage warranties are less of a guarantee and more of a recommendation for owners of how long they should get out of a set, Michelin does claim 40,000 miles and that you should be able to eke out one more season on these tires than their rivals.
In addition to all these benefits, Michelin also claims the tire is roughly 10 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor, helping eliminate some of the drag that’s common amongst winter tires.
With all these improvements, Michelin’s own testing still shows the tire is the champ on ice, where it stops 8.85 feet shorter than its main rivals. And with significantly improved snow performance, there’s now a Michelin winter tire built for those in the snow belt.
Who Should Consider This Tire?
We’d recommend this tire for anyone who lives in a climate that gets true winter and regular snow. It’s built to tackle regular driving on cold roads with impressive stopping power, plus it now offers great grip on snow packed roads, so it doesn’t matter if that means an almost daily drive in the Colorado mountains or that twice-per-winter morning commute on a Detroit highway. The pricing is steep and we often don’t insist on the very best winter tires (because even ok winter tires make a huge difference) but with the promise of an extra season that price is more than justified.
Michelin X-Ice Snow Price
Pricing for the Michelin X-Ice Snow ranges from roughly $100 for a 14-inch size to almost $400 for a 20-inch fitment. For pricing specific to the X-Ice Snow SUV, click here.
Michelin X-Ice Snow Warranty
Unlike almost every other winter tire on the market, Michelin backs the X-Ice Snow with a mileage warranty, specifically of 40,000 miles.
Michelin X-Ice Snow Sizes