Snow Tire Reviews


Winter Tire - Snow Tire Ratings & Reviews


Snow Tires or Winter Tires….it’s all the same


Marathon Automotive has been a Nokian dealer since 1981, longer than anyone else in Michigan. In fact, we have been specializing in winter tires longer than most tire dealers have been in business in Traverse City. Nokian tires are available in more sizes and styles than any other winter tire. We love winter tires, or as we used to call them, snow tires. Although we were the first Nokian dealer in the state, we sell many brands of winter tires. There is no tire store in northern Michigan that has a better selection of brands and sizes of winter tires than us, and if we don’t have it we can get it ASAP. And don’t forget, winter tires are the cheapest life insurance you can buy.


Disclaimer:  The views below are a combination of world wide tests and our personal and biased opinions based on over 40 years of specializing in snow tires.  Not all tires are suitable for all vehicles, talk to the experts at Marathon Automotive to find the right tire for your vehicle and budget. 


Call with questions or for pricing: 231-929-4777 or

request a quote here 


   Please note: We cannot sell or ship tires outside of Michigan


Our Picks:










 #1 Nokian Hakkapellitta R2  
Since 1936, Nokian tires have been the benchmark against which all other winter tires have been judged. The Hakkapeliitta R is a multiple test winner in most European winter/snow tire tests, bested only by Nokian’s own studded Hakkapeliitta 7. Nokian knows that loss of lateral grip is the most dangerous of all winter conditions. Their engineers focus terrific effort into maintaining lateral grip, something that other major tire makers are just starting to pay more attention to. The Nokian Hakkapellitta R lives up to its benchmark status and performs exceptionally in all areas. Nobody builds as many sizes and styles of snow tires as Nokian. The Hakka R has the lowest rolling resistance of any winter tire, and lower than all but a handful of the best summer tires. Not only will you be travelling on the safest tires, this exceptionally low rolling resistance will save you money on gas.
Nobody cares about snow tires like the Finns! 

Check out their article by Tekniikan Maailma to review the Hakkapeliitta!










 #2 Nokian WR G3 and G3 SUV 
How did this “all season” tire make it all the way to the number 2 spot? The WRG3 roots are traced back to a high speed high performance winter tire designed for the high speed roads of Europe. After several revisions this tire made it to the USA as a four season tire. Don’t be fooled by its 4 season moniker, the WR G3's tread compound and design help it outperform all but a few winter tires in the world. There is a reason this tire is our best selling tire--this is the safest all season tire for any vehicle--period. Winter, our seemingly longest and most demanding season for tires, is when the WRG3 shines the brightest. The WRG3 offers excellent control and handling on all driving surfaces, wet, dry, snow-covered and clear. In  2013 Consumer Reports the WRG3 was the #1 rated performance winter tire and for once the European winter tires test agree and also rate the WRG3 at the top of the performance winter tire segment. To be clear the Nokian WR G3 is a performance all season/winter tire. It cannot outperform the high end dedicated winter-only tires, but if you are looking for one tire year round THIS IS IT. 











 #3 Nokian Nordman 4  
This tire draws its strength from Nokian’s 78 year history of building the world’s best winter tires. To help keep this tire cost competitive with other mid-price tires Nokian did two things.   First, this tire is built in their Russian plant where labor costs are lower, and second, it uses slightly less sophisticated rubber compounds than the Finnish built Hakkapeliitta 8 and Hakkapeliitta R2. This tire is still more advanced than all but a handful of premium winter tires and clearly outperforms all other snow tires in its class. It does not outperform the  Hakka R2, Blizzak or the X-ice or other Super Premium winter tires but it is an amazing tire for the price.











 #4 Michelin X-Ice Xi3, X-Ice Xi2 and Latitude X-Ice Xi2
German roads and German drivers are known for speed, and you know they won’t settle for a second rate tire. Michelin may be a French Company but most of the X-ice tires are built in Germany. This tire easily ranks near the top in every winter tire test; however, the price matches the tire's premium status. We prefer the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 for northern Michigan driving. The Hakka R2 is a lot better in slush, (the X-Ice tends to be less directionally stable when driving in slushy conditions.) And we feel that the lateral grip is also better on the Hakka R2. Both are exceptional winter tires witnessed by their top rating in every test worldwide.











 #5 Continental ExtremeWinterContact
A great choice in the mid to upper price winter tire category. This tire placed solidly in the upper third of several European winter tire tests. Continental makes a lot of great winter tires and this is no exception.  The ExtremeWinterContact is only out performed by the higher cost Hakkapeliitta R2, Michelin X-ice 3 and the Blizzak WS70. A solid value in a dedicated winter tire. 











#6 General AltiMAX Arctic 
This is a great choice in a mid-level tire, this tire draws its strength from the Gislaved Nordfrost.  Continental Tire owns General Tire and Gislaved. The AltiMAX Arctic is the same as the award winning Nordfrost 3.











#7 Bridgestone WS60 & WS70 Blizzak
How did this highly rated and great performing winter tire end up in 7th place? This is a great winter tire and probably deserves to be much higher when rated against pure winter tires. The ice traction is phenomenal but the slush performance is just average. The main problem is this tire achieves its performance through use of a multi cell compound (think of a sponge) the top 50% of the tread. The Blizzak wears fast and when the multi cell compound is worn away, the Blizzak performs as an all season tire. There is usually a better choice.












#8 Hankook I Pike W419 
This is the next generation of the Hankook W409 and available in limited sizing for the 2013-2014 season. We really like the changes and expect it to be approaching the performance of the Nordman 4. The W419 represents a nice improvement on the I PIKE W409.











#9 Hankook I Pike W409  
This represents one of the best values in low priced winter tires. It looks like Hankook copied one of Nokian’s winter tire designs. The build quality is good although the tread compounds cannot match the higher end tires.




 #10 Hankook IPike RW11
This is the light truck and SUV version of the W409. This tire is the equal of the 409 in every way. This is the best value in the economy tire range, and is waaaay better than the Cooper ST/2.











#11 Hankook iCept Evo W310 
This Tire is being phased out in the next two years, Hankook defines it a performance winter tire, in our mind it is very similar to our #2 placed Nokian WRG3. We think it make a perfect “all season tire for Traverse City. Prices are great while they last.