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SUV-friendly winter



Here is what the manufacturers are proposing for the next cold season, with the latest news as well as well-established products ready to support our SUV’s in winter conditions


Duilio Damiani

All-wheel drive alone, if not supported by suitable tires, may not be not enough to ensure the kind of grip cars need in slippery conditions during the harsh winter season, and this includes SUVs. On snow-covered or slippery roads, typically found in winter months, where a four-season tire is not enough to ensure adequate grip, the best option is a full winter product, the only ones that can ensure safety and suitable performance in the most severe conditions. With the introduction of a renewed labelling system, in force since May 1, 2021 and even more detailed than the previous version, new parameters have been set which, at a glance, make it easier to identify the most suitable winter tire, including the 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snowflake) or the pictogram of grip on ice for products intended for more northern and colder climates. Compulsory as of this year, these new labels may not be present on all tires, and the previous labelling remains valid for older tires, which can still rely on updated information included in the Eprel informative note (European product registry for energy labelling), which can be consulted by anyone through a dedicated Qr code. For a better understanding of the current offer dedicated to SUVs, let us take a look at the most recent winter models produced by some of the top companies in the rubber sector, with pre-sales opening right now.


Bridgestone Blizzak Lm005

In the wide winter range offered by Bridgstone, the Blizzak LM005 represents the reference model with the widest choice of sizes for cars and sport utilities. Featuring a tread pattern with an increased number of grooves on the shoulder, the Blizzak distributes pressure evenly during braking, while the optimized full/empty ratio in the central section expels water effectively and traps snow to guarantee the needed grip on snow. Finally, the combination of centrally located 2D sipes and lateral 3D sipes provides a more secure grip even on completely frozen roads. The Nano Pro-tech compound, with nano-selective technology and high silica content, ensures high grip performance in snowy and wet conditions maintaining the tire’s elasticity even at low temperatures. More than 150 sizes are available, from 14 to 22 inches, to cater for almost all market demands, including reinforced versions for SUVs and crossovers and an option with Driveguard (Rft) run-flat technology.


Continental Winter Contact Ts 870 P Suv

An updated range that, as of this year, boasts a new profile expressly dedicated to SUVs and sports cars. Successor of the TS 850 P, the new WinterContact TS 870 P can rely on two main construction technologies, innovative Hydro Grooves and Cool Chili compound. Separating itself from conventional V-shaped winter designs, Continental went for a stiffer construction with four large circumferential grooves running between the rows of tread blocks. The advantage is represented by faster water expulsion reducing the risks of aquaplaning and braking distances (improved respectively by 8% and 4% compared to the previous TS 850 P). The compound features a blend of special resins with optimized density and high elasticity which improve the tire’s contact with the underlying surface reducing, at the same time, rolling resistance (-2% compared to the TS 850 P) and fuel consumption. Initially made up of 52 sizes, the new range includes tires for rims from 16 to 21 inches, with shoulder ratios of 65 to 35 and widths between 205 and 255 mm.


Dunlop Winter Sport 5 SuvTs 870 P Suv

High resistance to aquaplaning and greater grip when cornering on slippery roads are the strong points of the Winter Sport 5 range, also available in SUV version, which places Dunlop rightfully among the leaders in the winter segment. A full-winter design features elongated Multiblade sipes, which run close to the edges of the blocks, to retain more compressed snow ensuring grip even in critical situations thanks to the use of Dunlop’s Silica-Plus compound derived from motorsports. An optimized weight distribution through the increased stiffness of the blocks on a flatter profile translates into even wear and fuel saving, while the wide and deep central grooves expel water quickly enhancing the footprint in all conditions. A total of 30 sizes are available, from 16 to 20 inches in diameter.


Falken Eurowinter Hs01 SuvSuvTs 870 P Suv

The Sumitomo Group brand presents its SUV version of the Eurowinter HS01 range, the winter model specifically designed to improve grip even in wet and snowy conditions. A tread pattern called Acp (Adaptive Constant Pressure) maximizes performance in terms of braking distance, directional stability and overall tire life, thanks to an even wear of the tire’s footprint. The unidirectional combination of Miura-Ori 3D grooves guarantee the needed traction even on snowy and icy roads, ensuring greater safety and control. This is possible thanks to the adoption of the innovative 4D-Nan Design compound, which ensures high grip in all conditions, lower consumption and longer life. Following the recent expansion of the size range, the Falken Eurowinter HS01 Suv is available in 42 sizes from 16 to 21 inches, aspect ratios from 35 to 70 and speed codes H, V and W.


Goodyear Ultragrip Performance+ Suv SuvSuvTs 870 P Suv
The Ultragrip Performance+ Suv tires, the latest Sport Utility version available from mid-2021, represents a technological upgrade of the Goodyear winter range. Improved grip and longer mileage are the result of the Tractio Project, which makes use of a new compound with a high resin content that improves the tire's ability to flex and recover the original shape during rotation. The greater elasticity obtained from this new mix of compounds guarantees Winter Grip whether driving on snow or ice, while the Mileage Plus system protects the structure from damage and the accidental detachment of parts of the tread caused by aggressive road surfaces, perhaps during an off-road excursion. At this early stage, the Goodyear Ultragrip Performance+ Suv will be available in sizes ranging from 16 to 20 inches.


Hankook Winter i*cept Evo 3 X

The latest winter evolution from the Korean company Hankook is the Winter i*cept Evo3 X, the sport utility and 4x4 tire that offers grip and control in wet and dry winter conditions. The unidirectional tread pattern in gull-wing shape acts to expel water as quickly as possible while the wide lateral grooves and a central tread blocks design ensure high grip and reduced braking distances in snowy conditions. A high silica compound ensures flexibility over a wide range of temperatures, while the reinforced casing structure, with a Dual layer fibre stiffener is able to tackle uneven terrain ensuring longer tire life. Driving precision and grip at high speeds comes from the use of an extra high tensile bead wire that is able to ensure optimal adherence between the tire and the rim, reducing the risk of deformation or bead breakage. Hankook's winter tires are available in a range of sizes from 215/65 R17 V to 315/35 R21W.


Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 Suv - Latitude Alpin La2

The current winter range intended for sport utilities by the French group features a marked improvement in both traction and braking ability on snow not to mention extended mileage. This is due not only to a symmetrical and directional design, studied for high grip in snow together with a wide central groove to prevent hydroplaning, but also to a new compound made with a new polymer that is more effective at low temperatures. In line with the need to sustain greater loads, the structure of the casing and sidewalls also benefit from a high degree of stiffness, while from an aesthetic point of view, the "velvet" effect of the design on the shoulders enhances the wheel, giving it a touch of style. A total of 68 sizes are currently available, with a range of sizes from 17 to 22 inches, ranging from 225/65 R17 H to 295/35 R22 W.


Nokian Wr Suv 4

The WR Suv 4 by Nokian is a well-known tire and a popular protagonist in the winter high-performance SUV range. At the heart of the project is the Climate Grip Concept, an ensemble of systems designed to cope with the most adverse weather conditions. The unidirectional design features a dense network of lateral sipes, with a rigid central rib to enhance performance even at high speeds. The Nokian winter compound ensures flexibility and grip at lower temperatures, while maintaining high wear resistance even in mild climates. Structurally designed to withstand higher loads than a standard tire, the casing made with Aramid Sidewall technology contains reinforced fibres on the shoulder for greater resistance to shocks and cuts as well as to guarantee a longer life. Numerous applications are possible thanks to a size range from 215/70 R16H to 315/40 R21W.


Pirelli Scorpion Winter - Cinturato Winter 2

Pirelli's Scorpion Winter is a well-established workhorse commonly found on UHP SUVs and maxi SUVs. The directional design features wide V-shaped grooves and longitudinal grooves all around, which offer easy handling and reduced braking distances on wet roads, while the special profile of the tread blocks guarantees excellent grip even on dry roads. Performance worthy of modern sport utilities, including the most powerful hybrid or electrically driven. Currently more than 80 references are available, ranging from 16 to 22 inches, in speed codes from T to W, also in run-flat versions. The veteran Scorpion is now flanked by the new Cinturato Winter 2 (presented this June), a winter tire designed for sedans, crossovers and mid-range SUVs. Thanks to the use of the latest technologies, both in terms of structure and compounds applied to the sidewalls and tread, compared to the previous version, the second generation Cinturato Winter 2 offers greater control in winter conditions, maintaining high grip and handling even on dry roads, with lower noise levels and greater fuel savings. At present, the range will consist of 36 sizes between 16 and 20 inches, in series from 65 to 40, with H, T and V codes.


Yokohama Bluearth Winter V905

Bluheart V905 is the Japanese manufacturer’s proven range, a winter profile that benefits from Bluheart technology, for reduced environmental impact in favour of performance and technology. Three innovations have been introduced on this profile: the tread design, developed to improve the "edge" effect and maximize grip on snow and ice; the even more elastic compound, enriched with end-locked silica to increase the performance range over a wider climatic spectrum and  improve energetic efficiency through reduced rolling resistance; the type of construction, which results in increased structural stiffness to improve stability and grip under the pressure of lateral forces. Most of the 123 sizes available, from 185/55 R15 to 295/30 R22, are reinforced and marked XL (extra load) for use on the heaviest SUVs.

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