Earlier this winter I bought a 4 pack of snow tires for my car. My recent trip to Quebec was the longest ammount of winter driving I had done. Given the conditions we encountered, I think it was a good test for the wheels and they passed with flying colors.
I used to drive a toyota 4x4 pickup (with regualr tires) and my new Suzuki Aerio with the snows did better that the truck ever did. The conditions I experienced were 100+ miles of wet / icy roads between harrisburg and scranton and 120 more miles of snowcovered highway (3" snow)) on I-88 from Binghampton to Albany on the way up. In Quebec there was assorted snow, slop, slush, and wet roads. We met more snow on the way back through NY state and PA.
You can literally feel the tires slicing through the hump between lanes when you need to pass a slower car on the snow covered highway. Braking was superb in fresh snow. Road noise was actually lower than the stock tires that came with the car.
I bought 4 snows for my Prizm and they got a good test today in downtown DC. I had no problems climbing the "big" hills of NW, but I saw many cars (mostly BMWs with rear wheel drive) having a heck of a time climbing the most modest vert. My little Prizm even outperformed some of the SUVs on the road. Bottom line: SNOW TIRES RULE!
Snow tires are a must! Had them for years and its amazing how well they perform.
Yesterday (Jan 19) during the snow I saw a Mercedes (real wheel drive) trying (and failing miserably) to make it up 13th St in DC - he was spinning his tires for all he was worth. I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony when I saw his vanity license-plate. It read: IPANEMA.
I am putting on a new (slightly used) set of all weather tires before heading to the springs this weekend. While I don't expect huge things of those I do have a set of brand spanking new chains in the trunk. If it comes to it and I have to use I'll let you know how they were, ease to put on, adjust etc.