Subaru WRX gets new winter boots – Michelin X-Ice Xi3s

Our 2015 Subaru WRX gets Michelin X-Ice Xi3 winter rubber and 5-spoke wheels

Michelin X-Ice Xi3

235/45R17 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 on 2015 Subaru WRX

We’re now ready for winter!

After a Kal-Tire foul-up resulting in late delivery and installation more than a week after our first snowfall, we have a new set of 235/45R17 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 winter tires mounted on 5-spoke matte black Core Racing Lizea alloy rims.  Our 2015 Subaru WRX and is now ready for battling winter.

I did considerable research before selecting the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 winter tires and chose them over the ‘premium’ brand competition, namely Bridgestone Blizzaks, Continental Extreme Winter Contact and Nokian Hakkepeliitas.

Any of the alternate choices would have been excellent, but I’m a repeat Michelin customer.  I’ve been very pleased with the performance of older versions of the Michelin X-Ice (Xi2s on our 2000 Mercedes E430 4Matic and the original X-Ice tire on our 1992 Subaru Turbo Legacy), so I chose the Michelins for third consecutive set of winter tires.

Winter tire and wheel package for 2015 Subaru WRX

Winter tire and wheel package for 2015 Subaru WRX

Driving Impressions

Do your homework and find winter tire tests by companies such as Tire Rack in the United States and the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is consistently top-rated.  The X-Ice Xi3s replaced the sticky (in summer) OEM high performance Dunlop Sportmaxx TTs which were horrifically treacherous on snow and ice covered roads.  Even exercising extreme caution on Edmonton’s first snowfall, I slid helplessly through a red light with the Subie’s ABS pumping away madly to no avail.  Luckily, this incident happened early in the morning and there was no cross traffic.

By comparison, the Michelin winter tires provide plenty of grip.  Certainly, turn-in is a little slower than the stiff sidewalled summer Dunlops, but when most roads are ice-covered, that loss of quickness is hardly noticeable.  Traction for acceleration and braking is, in short, outstanding.  The WRX feels secure and planted on ice and snow and they contribute immensely to helping the full time AWD Subaru maximize its rally-bred roots.

I’ve found most winter tires increase road noise, but these Michelins seem remarkably quiet, and around town, I can’t detect an increase in cabin noise.  That’s great.

But the biggest surprise is how well the X-Ice Xi3s ride.  The Michelins soften the WRX’s hard ride noticeably.  I regularly describe the WRX as a stiff-legged bulldog of a car, but the Michelin winter tires have increased the suspension’s compliance noticeably.  I’m really impressed with that, and it makes me want to keep the winter tires on car well into the Spring.

2 Comments

  1. Cory says:

    How have the Core rims held up? Any issues with leaks, bends or paint finish? They seem to be a Kal Tire exclusive.

    Thx

    • ty says:

      Cory,

      The Core rims from Kal Tire have held up very well, considering they were used as ‘winter only’ rims. The simple, 5-spoke design is good for not trapping snow. Some of the matte black paint (especially on the lip of the rims) has worn off, but it is very minor. I suspect this very minor paint ‘wear’ is due to abrasion against ice and hard packed snow when driving through deeper stuff.

      This paint ‘wear’ has only shown up in a couple of spots.

      I’d buy these Core Racing aftermarket wheels again for winter tires.

      Hope this helps.

      Tim

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