APA’s 2019-2020 Ratings of Winter Tires for Pickups and large SUVs

Michel Poirier-Defoy
Jean-François Guay

The APA teamed up with Quebec's consumer authority on winter tires, Michel Poirier-Defoy and his associate Jean-François Guay, and our panel of expert tire retailers to bring you reviews that combine instrumented testing with real-world experience. Tires in this section are suitable for midsize and 1500 series pickup trucks, and midsize and large SUVs. We have distinguished tires that are a better fit for pickups from tires that are more suitable for luxury SUVs. For average winter driving, with a mix of urban roads and highways, tires in the first three or even four ratings groups will likely be more than satisfactory.

Testing was conducted in 2018 and 2019 using Ford F150 and RAM 1500 pickups. The APA has compiled a list of tiremaker rebates applicable with the purchase of a set of four tires; these promotions expire in mid-December 2019.

A small percentage of mostly rural drivers may be looking for studded tires. We have indicated ties that are studdable. Some tires are available with European-style shaped studs installed at the factory. These are supposed to run more quietly and grip more effectively than conventional studs installed by the retailer.

New December 1st deadline for winter tires in Quebec

Quebec’s ministry of transportation has moved the mandatory date for winter tire installation earlier by two weeks this year, to December 1st. This change essentially removes two weeks from the busiest season and is likely to worsen bottlenecks at tire retailers. If you drive little in heavy winter conditions and wish to avoid the twice a year changeover, an All Weather tire is a possible alternative.

Speed ratings

Lowering the speed rating of your winter tires by one or two classes, particularly if the tires you use in summer are V-rated or higher, may be a good idea. For example, switching out of V-rated tires which are good for sustained speeds of 240 km/h to a lower H-rated tire in winter, rated to run at 210 km/h, will frequently permit you to choose a tire with more grip and longer treadwear. Some large chain stores won’t lower speed ratings, but an experienced tire retailer will be able to provide guidance.

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2019-2020 Winter Tire Ratings - Passenger Cars and Minivans
2019-2020 All-Weather Tire Ratings

P-Metric winter tires for pickups and SUVs

A: Top Rated
Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV

Tire optimized for ice, with superior acceleration, cornering and braking on winter road surfaces. Long wearing and relatively quiet. Some sizes are available as run-flat tires; they’re the best choice among run flats for poor winter conditions. A factory road hazard warranty is included, limited to the first 40% of tire wear. Expensive, with a limited distribution network. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.

(The Hakkappelitta 9 is popular in Quebec. It’s a Nordic snow tire for deep snow and poor winter road conditions that also offers competent ice traction. Long wearing; tire rotation is important to ensure even wear. Available with sophisticated factory-installed studs. Expensive, about 25 percent higher than Toyo or Bridgestone, but it comes standard with a road hazard warranty limited to the first 40% of tire wear. Limited distribution network.)

Blizzak DM V2 

Superior acceleration traction and braking. Soft riding. Deep 13/32 inch tread depth when new contributes to long tire life. Widely available. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.

(For a compact SUV like the Mazda CX-5, and Honda CR-V, the new Bridgestone WS90 is probably the better choice.) 



B: Very Good
Observe GSi-5

Available in more than 100 sizes, this is Toyo’s one-size-fits-all solution for compact vehicles to full-size pickup trucks. Tire optimized for deep snow, ice and slush. One of the better choices even though it is not a distinguished performer on cleared or wet roads and can be noisier than average in some applications. Superior tire life due to the deep tread and long-wearing rubber compound makes the GSi-5 popular with fleets. Well-suited for heavy vehicles. In the H speed rating this tire is a good solution for European SUVs like the BMW X5, X6 and Audi Q5 and Range Rover. Available as a run flat tire. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires. 

Latitude X-Ice Xi2

Introduced more than eight years ago, the X-Ice Xi2 offers best-in-class performance on wet and dry pavement, and excellent ride comfort. Very effective on ice, but the shallow, conservative tread limits traction in deep snow and in slush. This tire is a favorite among tire dealers surveyed. Quiet. Long wearing, but the tricky mileage warranty requires the tires to be virtual banana peels before you can collect. Run flats offered in a limited number of sizes. Expensive. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires. 

IceGuard G075

Predictable performance on snow and ice, and soft riding on pavement. Projected tire life is good, superior to the Bridgestone DM-V2 and lower than the Toyo GSi-5. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.

(The older Yokohama IceGuard iG51v performs well on ice and in slush. Good quality tire offered with a large $90 rebate on a set of four while it is being phased out.) 

Winter Maxx SJ8

The Winter Maxx SJ8 is manufactured by tire giant Sumitomo of Japan and distributed by Goodyear in North America. Predictable performer with good acceleration and cornering grip on ice and snow. Braking distances on pavement were on the long side. Deep 14/32 inch tread depth when new ensures long tire life, but the tire can become noisy as it wears. Made in Japan in a plant with high quality control. Well-priced. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires. 



C : Good
Scorpion Winter

Formally an Italian company, Pirelli was acquired by a Chinese conglomerate. Lively performer on pavement. Good control on ice, but undistinguished in deep snow. Quiet. A good choice for European SUVs because of its superior handling on paved roads, and availability of run flats. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.

Ultra Grip Ice WRT

Goodyear’s best winter tire, the WRT (Winter Reactive Tire) performs nicely on a wide variety of winter road surfaces. Expensive. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires. 

Grabber Arctic XL

General Tire belongs to Continental Tire; the Grabber Arctic superseded the widely sold Altimax Arctic. This is a pickup, and domestic truck-based SUV tire that performs predictably on snow and ice. Can accept studs installed by the retailer. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.



D: Acceptable
Winterforce 2 UV

This tire for pickups and truck-based SUVs replaced the long-running Firestone Winterforce in 2018. Good snow traction; undistinguished on cleared or wet roads. Can accept studs. Some sizes are made in Quebec. Well priced. No autumn rebate.

Winter T/A KSI

Good traction at low speeds but the tire reached its limit of adhesion fairly early when cornering and braking on uncleared roads at speed. Made by the Nankang Rubber Tire Company of Taiwan. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.

GT Radial
Champiro Icepro SUV

The GT Radial brand belongs to GiTi Tire of Indonesia. They're the 10th-ranked tiremaker in the world, and now have a plant in the United States. The Ice Pro SUV is made in China. Predictable tire that is easy to control on snow. Mediocre on ice and cleared roads, and noisy. The hard rubber compound is long wearing. Will accept studs. Widely distributed for a second-tier tire brand. Available in a wide range of sizes and very well priced, especially in larger tire sizes, this is one of the better choices in a budget tire. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.

Discoverer M + S

Conventional winter tire design optimized for snow traction. Unimpressive on ice. Cornering was relatively imprecise. Braking distances on snow and cleared roads were longer than average. Can accept studs. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires.

i*Pike RW 11

Predictable handling but traction was lower than average and braking distances long. Good tire life. Can accept studs. Rebate available with the purchase of four tires. 



Below Average
Avalanche X-Treme SUV

Hercules is an independent tire brand that contracts out its research and development. Tires are sourced from manufacturers located in China, the United States and Europe, and compete mainly at the lower end of the market. Dated, noisy tire best suiting to working trucks. Its strong suit is snow traction. Can accept studs.

Polar Trax WPS

Ironman is a Hercules sub-brand that sources its tires in China. Good traction in loose snow. Poor on ice and packed snow, and mediocre on cleared roads. Can accept studs.

Trek M7

Maxtrek tires are made in China by the Zhaoqing Junhong Corporation, founded in 2006. The hard rubber compound is mediocre in winter on cleared and uncleared roads. Inexpensive.



CH W2003

Although it carries the mountain and snowflake symbol that indicates this tire meets the industry performance standard for winter, you’re better off looking elsewhere. A run-flat version is available in some sizes. Inexpensive. 


Additional rebates for APA Members

Get APA Pricing in Toronto.

APA Members in the Montreal area are eligible for a 5% pre-tax discount or a $30 after-tax rebate on any set of four tires purchased and installed at Talon Tire in Ville Saint-Laurent.

List of tiremaker rebates applicable with the purchase of a set of four tires

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