Michelin X-Ice Xi3 snow tires: Just how good are they?



This zoomed-out picture actually puts it more into perspective, and shows more clearly the staggering difference of what ended up being nearly a football field!


 Mazda MPV MinivanDogde Ram 1500 V8 HemiMazda MPV Minivan 
TIRE:Michelin X-Ice Xi3Goodyear All-SeasonsWorn All-Seasons
0-40mph, seconds:15.0 sec16.2 sec18.2 sec
0-40mph, feet:258.9 ft519.1 ft579.5 ft
Difference:n/a+1.2 sec+3.2 sec
40-0mph, seconds:4.8 sec5.9 sec11.7 sec
40-0mph, feet:150.8 ft172.1 ft343.7 ft
Difference: n/a+1.1 sec, +21.3 ft+6.9 sec, +192.9 ft
0-40-0mph, feet:409.7 ft691.2 ft923.2 ft
0-40-0mph, seconds:19.8 sec22.1 sec29.9 sec
Difference:n/a+281.5 ft, 2.3 sec+10.1 sec, 513.5 ft
As you can see, while the weighted-down 2WD Ram gets up and goes a little more quickly than the MPV initially, once the MPV gets going it takes very little space to get up to 40mph.  Equipped with the previous, worn-out all-seasons, however, the MPV was downright dangerous!

But consider that, even though the Ram gets by in the snow, staying within a second to the MPV in the 0-40mph test, it still takes a second longer, as well as over a car length, to slow down from 40mph.  And this is where the danger lies from not having snow tires.  Also, had the MPV been rear-wheel drive, we probably could have gotten off the line a little better. 


The biggest visual difference in a winter tire over an all-season is the soft, squiggly-shaped sipes.  The edges produce higher peak pressures so the tire further penetrate into the snow, and the sipes produce a sheering effect on the snow itself.  On ice, sipes create frictional heat, melting the surface and creating more friction that way as well.  In general, winter-specific tires are also engineered to stay soft during subfreezing temperatures.


Siping provides hundreds of little fingers to grab snow.  Killing two birds with one stone, having many sipes not only accentuates this ability, but it also loosens the tire, which is necessary for optimal performance on snow and ice.


We showed our snow tire-equipped minivan will run circles around a two-wheel drive truck, but what about one with all-wheel drive?  Enter Mark’s AWD Ford F-150 in Round #2.


Note: the test with the two trucks had to happen on different days and locations because the snow at our first test site had melted away by the time we got the second truck.  We actually were able to test on the only two snow days we had between receiving the tires from Michelin, and having this article due for publishing, and one of the days included a family-from-out-of-town-filled holiday—ah, the things we do for our readers!


This F-150 is also equipped with all-season tires, this time from Firestone.  Mark relies on this truck when the streets get snow packed as well.


We saw the MPV do surprisingly well against a rear-whel-drive pick-up truck, but how will it do against a similar one with all-wheel-drive?  Next page, please…

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