Tag Archives: Canada

Winter Tire Ratings and Reviews for 2011 – 2012

Last year around this time I did a lot of research on winter tires for my two vehicles and shared my research and my decisions in the following articles: Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 1 and Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 2. Based on the number of page views and comments I have received on each, it seems that research has been useful to others.

Although I won’t be in the market for winter tires again for a few years, I thought it might be helpful to give an update on winter tire choices for the winter of 2011 – 2012. I won’t be calling around looking for options this year so I thought instead I would piggyback on work that others have done and consolidate that information here for you. Below I will show you Winter Tire ratings from a few different websites which along with my articles from last year should help you in your decision making.

APA Winter Tire Ratings 2011 – 2012

You may remember last year I mentioned videos from the Automobile Protection Association which seems to be an automotive consumer protection group. APA has produced winter tire review lists for the past several years. Their rating methodology for this year is described as follows:

This year’s APA winter tire reviews are the most usable and comprehensive available in Canada. We surveyed tire experts and tire dealers for their ratings of winter tires. We then cross-checked the results against APA’s test results archive from previous winters for tires that have not changed. This hybrid system offered several benefits, including the opportunity to rate over 50 tires — a much larger selection that we could normally evaluate in a conventional tire test. The APA places a higher  priority on  performance on uncleared roads over handling on dry payment, which accounts for differences between the APA’s recommendations and published reports from some other sources. The tires listed here include most of the highly rated models on the market.

I am not sure I am loving the methodology they used this year but I still think it is worthwhile to include their rankings here. APA ranks winter tires in tiers rather than sequentially. I will show their top two tiers in each category. For a complete list, go to the APA website.

Passenger Car Winter Tires

Top Rated

  • Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70
  • Michelin X-Ice Xi2
  • Toyo OBSERVE G-02 plus

Very Good

  • BF Goodrich Winter Slalom KSI,
  • Continental ExtremeWinterContact
  • Continental ContiIceContact
  • Dunlop Graspic DS-3
  • General Altimax Arctic
  • Gislaved Nord*Frost 5
  • Yokohama Ice Guard IG20

SUV Winter Tires

Top Rated

  • Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
  • Dunlop Grandtrek SJ6
  • Michelin X-Ice Xi2
  • Toyo OPEN COUNTRY G-02 plus
  • Yokohama Geolander I/T G072

Very Good

  • BF Goodrich Winter Slalom KSI
  • Continental Extreme Winter Contact
  • Dunlop Grandtrek SJ4 and SJ5
  • General Altimax Arctic

Performance Winter Tires

Top Rated

  • Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
  • Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
  • Pirelli Winter Sottozero Series II

Very Good

  • Goodyear Ultra Grip GW3
  • Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
  • Michelin Primacy Alpin and Winter Tire Ratings 2011 – 2012 is a website based out of Quebec that offers automotive information and reviews. Working in conjunction with PMC Tire, a tire and wheel dealer also based in Quebec, to rate 129 different winter tire models. It is significant that two Quebec-based organizations got together to produce this list since it was only a few years ago that Quebec passed a law requiring winter tires on vehicles from December 15th until March 15th – they know winter tires in La Belle Province.

Auto123 / PMC rates the tires on their extensive list based on…

several information sources, including personal and professional road tests, feedback from customers, articles by renowned auto journalists, and a number of consumer reviews from various North American websites and message boards.

The tire rankings are categorized into the four categories listed below. I will include the top 10 tires in each category in the lists below. For more details and complete lists go to the 2011 Winter Tire Review article at

Winter Tires for Cars

  1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded
  2. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5 Studded
  3. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7
  4. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5
  5. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
  6. Michelin X-Ice Xi2
  7. Vredestein Snowtrac3
  8. Vredestein Arctrac
  9. Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70
  10. Continental ExtremeWinterContact

Winter Performance Tires for Cars

  1. Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme
  2. Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
  3. Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
  4. Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3
  5. Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2 RunFlat
  6. Toyo SNOWPROX 952
  7. Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3
  8. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
  9. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D ROF
  10. Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3 DSST

Winter Tires for Light-Duty Trucks / SUV’s

  1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 SUV Studded
  2. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5 SUV Studded
  3. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 SUV
  4. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
  5. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5 SUV
  6. Vredestein Arctrac
  7. Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2
  8. Yokohama Geolander I/T G072
  9. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
  10. Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT

Winter Performance Tires for Light-Duty Trucks / SUV’s

  1. Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme
  2. Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
  3. Michelin Latitude Alpin HP
  4. Michelin Latitude Alpin
  5. Goodyear Ultra Grip SUV
  6. Continental ContiCrossContact Winter
  7. Dunlop Grandtrek WT M2
  8. Dunlop SP Winter Sport
  9. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
  10. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D ROF

Winter Tire Reviews at (as of November, 2011)

You may remember that the winter tire articles I published in the fall of 2010 provided links to consumer reviews posted at 1010Tires is probably the largest Canadian online tire retailer if you exclude Canadian Tire and Costco (I am not sure if those two should be really be considered online retailers anyway). In my opinion is the Canadian equivalent of in the US.

One of the things I like most about the is the fact that they provide a place for consumers to review the tires they have used based on a number of criteria. That feature is used frequently enough by 1010Tires customers and others to make the reviews useful in decision making. Although consumer rankings and reviews can be easily faked by someone who wants to waste their time, I thought it would still be worthwhile to include the top reviewed winter tires from in this article.

I will list the top 10 tires in each category as they were in November, 2011. For the most up to date list, go to the Tire Reviews section at

Light Trucks and SUV’s – Winter

  1. Toyo OBSERVE GSi-5
  2. Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT
  3. Yokohama Geolander I/T G072
  4. Hankook RW-11 i-Pike
  5. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-Z3
  6. Bridgestone Blizzak W965
  7. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
  8. Toyo OPEN COUNTRY G-02 plus
  9. Michelin Latitude Alpin
  10. Goodyear Ultra Grip SUV

Passenger Cars – Winter

  1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
  2. Toyo SNOWPROX 952
  3. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5
  4. Hankook W409 Winter i-Pike
  5. Pirelli Winter 210 Sottozero
  6. Pirelli Winter Carving
  7. General Altimax Arctic
  8. Pirelli Winter Carving Edge
  9. Continental ExtremeWinterContact
  10. Pirelli Winter 210 Snowsport

Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Automotive


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Website Review –

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while, or know me personally, are likely aware that I am an information junkie. I love to do research. Usually that research is on practical things, like research on a new product or service I want to purchase. Although it is fair to say that I sometimes go overboard on the quantity of research I do, the reason for doing the research is usually based on a need, rather than a desire to simply do research.

Yes, usually my research activities are pretty logical exercises, but not always. In certain areas, I do research just because I am interested in the topic and want to stay informed. For example, my family owns two vehicles right now – one is a 2008 and one is a 2011. Although we are not likely to trade either one of them in on something new for a few years, I still look at car ads on,, and various dealer and manufacturer sites fairly often. That might seem like a waste of time to some people, but I enjoy it. Some people do needle point for fun, some play video games, I sometimes like to do endless research on things I have no intention of doing anything about for some time.

In addition to cars, the other topic I never tire of researching is real estate. We have lived in the same house now for 11 years. During that entire time I probably haven’t gone more than a couple of weeks without researching homes and/or land in my immediate area, the Halifax area as a whole, or other areas of Nova Scotia and Canada. Stop shaking your head and rolling your eyes – it’s fun…really.

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Web Site Reviews


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Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 2

I recently posted an article titled Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 1. In that post I discussed the fact that I was looking for winter tires for both of my vehicles. The stock sizes I was looking for were 205/55 R16 and 235/60 R17 (for the second vehicle I was also considering tires in 225/65 R17 to give me more options to choose from). I have now made both of my purchases and I thought I should update you on what I bought, why I made that selection, and what the cost was. As I mentioned in my previous post, the prices I will quote do not include the mandatory tire recycling fee of $3 the Nova Scotia government requires on each new tire purchase, the installation and balancing charges of approximately $10 to $20 depending on the shop, or Nova Scotia’s Harmonized Sales Tax of 15%. Yeah…I shake my head every time I write all of that down.

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Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Automotive


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Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 1

As I write this, winter will soon be upon us up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and this is the time that the thoughts of many drivers turn to winter tires. Winter tire technology has changed a lot over the past several years. Gone are the days when your only choices were loud luggy winters with poor handling characteristics which used the same hard rubber compounds found in “all season” tires. Today’s winter tires come in a variety of tread patterns with new rubber compounds that stay soft an pliable in the cold weather to grip the snow and ice better.

I put the “all season” in quotes above because those tires are not really built for ALL seasons. I call them “All Season But Winter” tires. If you live in a place where the roads get occasionally covered in snow and ice, running all seasons in winter is a big gamble. All seasons are constructed of harder rubber compounds with tread patterns which maximize dry and/or wet road performance as well as tread life. If you are running that type of tire on snow or ice, you are essentially asking for traction from a set of bumpy skis. If you are still not convinced that all seasons aren’t a good choice for winter driving, have a look at the series of Winter Tire Test videos produced by the Automobile Protection Agency out of Toronto.

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Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Automotive


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Service Review – Taxi or Limo Services – Toronto Limousine Services and Ambassador Limo

Recently my family took trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls. Because the trip included extended family, we contracted a stretch limousine for the trip to Niagara Falls with a return trip to Toronto included a few days later. The cost was actually a bit less than taking two taxis each way so we decided to go the limo route.

The company we dealt with was Toronto Limousine Services (416-854-7900). At the time, their website indicated that their limousine services were subcontracted to Ambassador Limo (905-781-1500).

For the trip to Niagara Falls, the limo was 15 to 20 minutes late with the pick-up, which was disappointing but not a big deal. The drive to Niagara Falls went fairly well. Unfortunately, the pick-up in Niagara Falls at 11:00 AM a few days later for the return to Toronto went VERY badly. Here is what happened:

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Posted by on September 26, 2010 in Service Reviews


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Product Review – Mobile Phone – Samsung Impact / Highlight (SGH-T746 / SGH-T749)

A few months ago I posted about my decision making process around the purchase of two new cell phones (Post 1, Post 2). I decided to go with cell phones rather than a smart phones to save on my monthly cell phone bills. I figure by going with that approach I am saving at least 30 dollars a month per phone – that’s over 2 grand in savings over three years, not including the savings on the original phone purchases.

The savings are nice, but admittedly a regular cell phone can’t offer the same level of convenience and utility that a smartphone offers. My goal was to find a cell phone with a pretty rich feature set that made it somewhat smartphone-like. I decided to go with the Samsung Impact (model number SGH-T746) through Bell Mobility – it is now also offered through Bell’s value carrier Virgin Mobile. From what I can discern from the specs and pictures of both models, the Impact is essentially the same phone as the Samsung Highlight (model number SGH-T749) offered by T-Mobile in the United States. With some reservations around differences in network performance etc., I believe this review would also be useful for people who are considering the Highlight.

We have had the Impacts for a few months now so I thought it was time to offer up a review of the device based on my experience with it.

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Posted by on August 15, 2010 in Consumer Electronics


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Westjet Announces Value Awards

I just got back from a trip to “The Big Smoke” (that’s Toronto for all you non-Canadians out there), so I thought a travel related post or two might be in order.

I flew Westjet on this trip, which I must say was a welcome change. It was a markedly better customer service experience than I remember receiving from “Canada’s national airline”. At any rate, perhaps I’ll post about that at a later date. This post is about something else.

On my way home, I looked through Westjet’s in-flight magazine UP!. In there was an article announcing their “Value Awards 2010 – The best-value travel experiences in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean.” Since this blog is about value, it seemed like perfect thing to share with you.

For the past three years Westjet has been asking their customers to share their opinions of the travel related locations that they feel offer the best value. People vote at for the best values in a number of categories.

This year’s list of winners will include some places that won’t surprise you much, and many that you may never have heard of at all. You will notice the heavy Western leaning to the winners and runners-up in several categories. I can’t help but feel that the results are skewed by the fact that Westjet has a much larger customer base in Western Canada than it does in the East.

Despite that reservation, I did find the list interesting and I hope you will as well. Remember to keep in mind that these are the locations that received the most votes for best value, rather than the best at any price.
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Posted by on July 7, 2010 in Travel


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Which automobile manufacturers are taking you for a ride?

Now that the Canadian dollar is hovering around par with the US greenback again, we will likely be hearing plenty of complaints about the fact that things still cost more here in Canada than they do in the US, even though our dollar is worth the same or even more.

It seems to me that nothing illustrates that complaint better than comparing the cost of  the same automobile on both sides of the border. Canadian consumers have been suffering for a number of years from new car prices that seem to ignore the comparative value of our dollar. As a result, used car dealerships and individual consumers have been importing vehicles from the US in record numbers over the past few years as the Canadian dollar has continued to strengthen.
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Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Automotive


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Canadian Black Book Announces Retained Value Awards

Canadian Black Book, the company that publishes the Canadian automotive industry’s used car value “bible”, announced their fifth annual retained value awards yesterday. These awards recognize the 2006 vehicles in 17 categories that experienced the lowest average depreciation in the first four years of ownership. Black Book indicates in their press release that past performance is not a guarantee of future results, but I think we can all agree that its better than not winning.

Not suprisingly, Japanese brands dominated these awards with 13 of the 23 winners (including ties). Despite their recent troubles, Toyota took home the most awards of any brand with 6. Honda was second with 3 winners.

German nameplates had the second large block of winners with 8 of the 23 winners (including ties). BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen each had two winners.

The only American company on the list was Chrysler, with the Dodge Sprinter. I’m afraid I can’t really call this vehicle American since it is built by Mercedes-Benz and is a left over from the failed marriage of Daimler-Chrysler.

The Mini Cooper seems to stand out as the only vehicle from a brand that isn’t Japanese or German. That said, BMW owns the Mini brand and the new Mini’s have significant BMW engineering influences. Although final assembly is still done in the UK, I’m calling this one a German car too.

So that’s 13 wins for Japan, 10 wins for Germany, and 0 wins for every other country. Very interesting.

Here are the winners by category…

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Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Automotive


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Purchase Decision – Mobile Phone – Part 2

In my last post on this subject, I decided that I was going to go with a regular cell phone rather than a smartphone. In that post I listed my requirements, and I came up with a list of cell phones that I thought should meet my needs. In this post we are going to dig a little deeper and narrow the field of candidate phones, and then make a final selection.

What carrier should I go with?

One way to narrow the group down in a hurry is to make a decision on the network I want to be on. This criteria may not make a lot of sense to someone living in one of Canada’s largest cities, but anyone who lives in Atlantic Canada and spends any time outside the major centers knows that the network really does matter.

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Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Consumer Electronics


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