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Jerry
Jerry UberDork
9/18/19 1:22 p.m.

First winter for the Crosstrek is coming up, and I heard rumours it's going to be a snowy one here in Ohio.  I'm wondering if the all-terrain's on it now (forget the brand and drove the Abarth today) are up to the task.

Reading the forums and following Instagram, the popular aftermarket tire is the BFG KO2.  I've read I can fit a 215/65-16 without lifting.  Figure a nice Sparco wheel, would look pretty good.  But I know they're great offroad, have not heard much about snow use...

Photo for attention, not mine but similar idea.  Anyone out there?

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
9/18/19 1:31 p.m.

I've got them and have had them in the snow a few times.  I don't know that I'd say they're as good as a dedicated set of snows but they're probably the best all-terrain I've used in snow and they're better than the Michelin Long Trails I used previously in snow.  Biggest downside is they're a very loud tire on pavement (which is a common beef with all terrains).

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
9/18/19 1:33 p.m.

If you need snow tires.. get them.

 

If you need offroad tires get them..

 

If you need a do all, the all terrain's may work, but not be great at anything..

engiekev
engiekev Reader
9/18/19 1:48 p.m.

We have a set on our 2009 XTerra, and I've driven the tires on other vehicles.  It's a great all around A/T tire, and the road noise is subjectively great for the amount of performance they deliver.  Really a crazy amount of grip available on all but deep sand, hardly have to put it in 4x4.

In the snow they're not terrible, probably about comparable with a "good" all season tire but with any amount of hard pack snow or ice the braking distance really suffers.

Another thing to consider, out of the A/T tire category they are one of the heaviest options.  With that comes durability but with a Crosstrek you may notice the added weight.  Think about if you really need A/T tires if you'll be mostly driving on fire-roads or not doing any serious rock crawling or offroad driving.  They're also not very cheap, you may be able to get a set of cheaper A/T tires and a set of snow tires (wheels excluded) for not much more than a set of BFG KO2s.

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/18/19 1:55 p.m.

A/Ts are the best compromise for light off road, light snow, and street.  They don't excel at any one of them, but they are likely better than passenger tires in the snow.

My Ex has a Crosstrek in PIttsburgh.  She asked me about winter tires and I told her to try it one winter without.  She has about 500' of uphill dirt road to get to the house and she doesn't own a snowblower.  Hers has cheap tires in the factory size.  Brand is something like Vanta, or Advanta.

This is the third winter she didn't get snow tires.  Suby does AWD right.

If you want the look of offroad-ish, go for it.  I think it looks neat, but I think you'll find that you need neither snow tires nor A/Ts for a nice, flat, ohio winter.

The KO2 you reference never impressed me.  If you look at ratings, they're always rated pretty high, but there is also a lot of "they're the best!" on the intarwebs without any actual side by side research.  I bought a truck with KOs and when I replaced them with cheap Wranglers, the Goodyears put the KOs to shame.  My uncle worked for Tire Rack before he passed, and in actual apples-apples comparisons the KOs didn't score as well.  The KOs seem to be for "I want to look like I'm a serious off roader, but I don't really care that they haven't changed the tread pattern for 25 years and they don't perform as well as the amazon reviews"

I went with Conti Terrain Contact A/T on my truck.  They were aimed at soccer moms and 4x4 trucks that spend most of their time on pavement.  They don't disappoint.  Whisper quiet, (as in, I have honestly had H/T tires that were louder) great snow and wet, look like a somewhat aggressive A/T, but the smaller treadblocks make it more like a luxo-SUV tire.  The downside is that they aren't the best in mud, but I rarely encounter mud.  I might suggest you at least look them over if you want the benefits and looks of an A/T without putting up with all the drawbacks of a true A/T (noise, tread cupping, dry performance).  I have about 12k on mine and I have loved them every day.

Continental TerrainContact A/T

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
9/18/19 2:12 p.m.

I've had them, and other brands of AT on several vehicles. They aren't great in deep snow (more than 3" the tread tends to pack and not self-clear) and they can be floaty in heavy rain (no circumferential grooves). But they are a good all around tire, and I'm getting another set soon. If you need it for deep snow often, get a mud-terrain or M&S rated tire.

Oh, and I never thought they were noisy at all.

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/18/19 2:25 p.m.

I'd be dubious of adding a bunch of spinning weight to that kind of vehicle too, especially if you don't really need that kind of tire. 

At the current moment i also feel like if i was going to spend top shelf money on good name brand tires id be shopping Continentals. Nothing against anyone else. 

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/18/19 4:59 p.m.
llysgennad said:

I've had them, and other brands of AT on several vehicles. They aren't great in deep snow (more than 3" the tread tends to pack and not self-clear) and they can be floaty in heavy rain (no circumferential grooves). But they are a good all around tire, and I'm getting another set soon. If you need it for deep snow often, get a mud-terrain or M&S rated tire.

Oh, and I never thought they were noisy at all.

Gotta disagree here.  M&S is found on 80% of passenger tires, so it doesn't mean much.  And M/T tires are the worst possible choice in the snow.  Snow needs more siping and surface area which is accomplished with more/smaller treadblocks.  Snow tires are also designed to stay softer in cold temps.  Mud tires are specifically designed as a harder compound.  They don't need soft compound since it isn't the friction of the rubber itself which moves you through mud.  It is the clawing ability of the large treadblocks.  They also need to be harder so they don't get destroyed by rocks and things in the mud.

Some of the most fun I've had was pulling 4x4s with M/Ts out of the snow with my 2wd Econoline.

 

Compare the two below.  Notice how the Blizzak snow tire has many more treadblocks and how they are close together.  Then look closer and you'll see the millions of little tiny sipes in each treadblock.  Snow tires work by packing snow in the nooks and crannies and using the snow itself to grip the snow under it.  Then look at the M/T.  There is nothing to grab the tiny crystals of snow.  Snow would just slip on it without much more friction than slicks.

Bridgestone Blizzak LT

BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX

buzzboy
buzzboy HalfDork
9/18/19 5:58 p.m.

The two past winters have been pretty good tests for me. One with studded M/Ts and one with proper studded snows. If you have real snow get real snow tires. The studded M/Ts were better than the A/Ts that I started that winter with, but only marginally and only in icy conditions(see: studded). I can go up roads in 2wd with my studded snows that I couldn't make it up in 4wd with studded M/Ts. Even bigger reasoning for me was the braking.

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
9/18/19 6:21 p.m.

I have them on my Suburban. They are loud and seem to get louder as they wear. They look cool and the kids actually like the noise. I will be getting something different next time.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/18/19 7:22 p.m.

I had them and thought they sucked in snow. Good in dirt, not good in anything cold.

I much prefer our Dueller Revo2's (I think it's the Revo3 now) and have had them on my past two SUVs. They're good in snow, decent even in ice, and really good in everything else. 

MrChaos
MrChaos Dork
9/18/19 7:29 p.m.

here is a vid that dyno'd a 18 crosstrek with the stock wheels and the K02/sparco set up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1ULmPulZck

 

here is a pic if you dont want to watch the vid. 

it added 11.6Lbs per wheel of unsprung weight to the car and lost 15hp and 9 ftlbs of torque. at the wheels. Note the crosstrek is rated at 150hp factory.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
9/18/19 8:22 p.m.
Jerry said:

First winter for the Crosstrek is coming up, and I heard rumours it's going to be a snowy one here in Ohio.  I'm wondering if the all-terrain's on it now (forget the brand and drove the Abarth today) are up to the task.

 

NO.  Any kind of truck tire is garbage.  The rubber compound is all wrong, and they don't have any sipes.

 

You know why Blizzaks are so awesome?  They have rubber too soft to be pencil erasers and the tread has lots and lots of fine sipes that will grip ice, which is what snow turns to when under the pressure of a car driving over it.

 

I have gotten stuck on a slight incline on truck tires when there wasn't even any deep snow, just a powder dusting.  Compound means everything and sipes mean everything else.

 

Michelin has/had a tire that looked like a slick, but with very fine sipes.  I was dubious of them until I drove them and they actually work really, really well.   Shows you what the real priorities should be.

Carbon
Carbon UltraDork
9/18/19 8:32 p.m.

I really like my all terrains. 

RealMiniNoMore
RealMiniNoMore PowerDork
9/18/19 8:52 p.m.

I've had Blizzaks, Hakkas and whatever the General Arctic tire is. They're all awesome, in pretty much any winter condition - fresh deep snow, slush, hardpack, cold dry roads, etc. I had BFG K02s for one winter, on my Expedition. They were great in fresh deep snow. But that's about it. Slush, hardpack, cold dry? Meh, not much better than an all-season. 

They were sweet off road, though. 

slowbird
slowbird HalfDork
9/18/19 10:08 p.m.

"Snow tires work by packing snow in the nooks and crannies and using the snow itself to grip the snow under it."

My mind is blown.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
9/19/19 8:09 a.m.

Yup, this is why I didn't just go Tirerack a month ago on KO2's.  I had a feeling they would look cool for the bro's, but actually be terrible for the main reason I was going to buy them (2ndary reason was they look cool.  Obviously.)

Maybe I'll hold off this year and see how the factory tires fair in the winter, then decide for later.  Or if it gets really bad I can have Tirerack send mounted wheels/tires to my work within two days.  Continentals or see what I put on the WRX.

spandak
spandak Reader
9/19/19 9:13 a.m.

Hopefully this isn’t a thread jack, as it might be relevant. 

I was hoping to put KO2s on our Crosstrek when it needed tires, mostly for the look though we do occasionally take it out into the sticks. It’s main purpose is my wife’s DD and she has a 40 minute commute. Reading his thread has me reconsidering as I think the downsides of adding that much weight are substantial. Is there a tire that would give the look and some performance without weighing a ton? 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/19/19 9:19 a.m.

Seems to me that the fact that your wife drives this thing for nearly an hour and a half every day on normal roads means that you should get real snow tires and give up on the look. You'll have to compromise the car a bunch to do that, and you can get surprisingly far into the sticks without massive rubber.

This thing was on $30 snow tires in the stock size. No low range and no power, so basically a Crosstrek :)

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/19/19 9:21 a.m.

Probably not.  Tires these days are bloody heavy because the trend has been for taller/wider rubber.  There is so little demand for pizza cutters except in duallys, so if you want a thin, large diameter tire, you're looking at E range which weigh almost double.

There are tons of 265-335mm truck rubber choices... also heavy.

When I was buying my Conti Terrains, what I really wanted was 215/85-16.  I had my choice of 30 tires... all of them E-range.  The skinniest tire I could get was a 245mm, and then I got the C-range I needed.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/19/19 9:25 a.m.

Truck tires also tend to be heavy for a given size because they have a lot of reinforcement in the sidewalls to get the necessary load ratings. Offroad tires even more so.

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
9/19/19 12:26 p.m.
Curtis said:
llysgennad said:

I've had them, and other brands of AT on several vehicles. They aren't great in deep snow (more than 3" the tread tends to pack and not self-clear) and they can be floaty in heavy rain (no circumferential grooves). But they are a good all around tire, and I'm getting another set soon. If you need it for deep snow often, get a mud-terrain or M&S rated tire.

Oh, and I never thought they were noisy at all.

Gotta disagree here.

Imagine that.

FYI, the Blizzak you picked is a M&S tire like I suggested.

 

It is also branded with the 3PMSF designation for winter use. AS IS THE BFG A/T KO2. If you're comparing worn KO's on a heavy truck to the current 4th gen KO2, that's not even close. The KO2's have a deserved great reputation.

And for DEEP snow, like I said, any of these are not the best choice. Like the Krawler you compared it to, most modern MUD tires use a soft compound to grip rocks. From Tirerack where you grabbed the picture:  "The Krawler T/A KX features a soft tread compound based on BFGoodrich's years of off-road experience molded into an extra deep tread design with a tread pattern that combines deep, aggressive independent blocks with solid sidewall lugs." Most dedicated winter tires are a similar soft compound and wear pretty fast. Deep blocks let the tire dig and pull in DEEP snow and mud. They don't generally work great for commuter vehicles. I've had them, and it's not a big deal to me, but I have low standards for comfort.

Best tire choice for a given vehicle is very subjective, and depends on a lot of factors; driving style, vehicle weight, FWD/AWD/4WD, road surface, etc. What works (and looks) good for one may not work for another.

And I've pulled a lot of vehicles out too. Tires are rarely, if ever, the reason they were stuck.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/19/19 12:55 p.m.

There's a real difference between tire design for ice and tire design for snow. Ice is like pavement, it's mostly conpound. Snow and mud are almost opposites in terms of ideal design. Mud tires want to clear, snow tires want to hang on to the snow. You can have a tire that's good in snow, not great on ice and wears like iron.

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
9/19/19 1:13 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

There's a real difference between tire design for ice and tire design for snow. Ice is like pavement, it's mostly conpound. Snow and mud are almost opposites in terms of ideal design. Mud tires want to clear, snow tires want to hang on to the snow. You can have a tire that's good in snow, not great on ice and wears like iron.

this ^^^^

excatly this

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
9/19/19 1:45 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

This thing was on $30 snow tires in the stock size. No low range and no power, so basically a Crosstrek :)

Please don't take this wrong. That looks fun, but not particularly difficult IMO. I've seen a stock Crown Vic police cruiser go into much worse terrain with no problem. We took a stock Tercel way further into the boonies off-road than we thought possible. The last picture, that is better than the roads we commute on every day in a Fusion. A Crosstrek on any tires with air should be capable of nearly anything sane people do.

Keith, I need to stop and say Hi next time I go though your area. The last time, we left Moab about 8pm and tried to make it to KS.

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