- Class-leading snow handling
- Plenty of grip and traction in multiple conditions
- Decently refined
- Braking distances can be improved
- A bit of slip is noticeable on snow when pushed hard
The tire industry is constantly evolving, and the constant race between manufacturers is the reason why we have such great models today. Even though, for the most part, the biggest leaps and technology are pushed into high-performance tires, in recent decades, companies have begun to make a lot of effort into improving winter tires.
Everyone knows that the conditions are far from ideal in winter and are constantly changing, leading to a huge obstacle. Making a tire that can cope with the lower temperatures and still perform admirably is not an easy task. On top of that, tires struggle on snow and ice as the surface is slippery, so grip and traction are slightly limited. Manufacturers need to consider everything if they want to produce a good-performing winter tire, and most of them have managed to do so.
Almost all tire manufacturers have at least one winter tire in their lineup, and the one we’ll be looking at today comes from Dunlop. The company falls under the umbrella of Goodyear, meaning that Dunlop is considered a premium tire manufacturer. Among the many tires, the company offers is the Winter Maxx 2.
This is the second version of the Winter Maxx lineup, advertised as a winter tire with “long-lasting performance.” The first version of this tire had a decent performance, but Dunlop claims to have improved it. Will those improvements mean better performance? Let’s find out.
What are the features of the Dunlop Winter Maxx 2?
What I like the most about Dunlop’s advertisement of the Winter Maxx 2 is that it doesn’t make some bold promises that may end up disappointing. Confident traction and durability are the two areas the company promises.
Based on the claims, it seems that Dunlop has managed to improve the already suitable compound on the first version of the Winter Maxx.
Unlike most winter tires you’ll find on the market, this one has an asymmetric tread design, which should help with traction on snow and ice and offer better handling.
Dunlop utilized a technology called Maxx Sharp Edge and features Miura-Ori sipes. They have higher density blades meaning that the blocks should stay more rigid and improve traction in icy conditions. In addition to that, the rubber has a mix of Nano-Fit in the compound. It helps to balance how flexible and rigid the blocks are. This should help with the driving dynamics of the tire.
The wet performance is thanks to the unique tread design. Features plenty of grooves and sipes; the Winter Maxx 2 should have excellent aquaplaning resistance.
Dunlop’s JLB technology is implemented for sturdiness, meaning that it’s not a tire that you can damage easily. The two steel belts with nylon and polyester cord reinforcement mean that the structure of the tire is more or less similar to what
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
The dry tarmac performance is good with the Winter Maxx 2. It behaves pretty well, despite not being the best premium winter tire on the market.
In terms of handling, Dunlop’s technology to stiffen up the blocks made the Winter Maxx 2 surprisingly responsive for a winter tire. Add the reinforcement into the picture, and you get a tire that can offer sporty driving if you lower your expectations.
As for the rest of the performance, I cannot tell that there’s a significant improvement over the previous generation. The tire performs well with plenty of traction and grip on dry roads.
The braking distances area bit of a letdown, though. It’s not the worst of the worst, but in the premium segment, the result of this test is about average.
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
On wet and slippery roads, the Winter Maxx 2 performs excellently, and this is where we start to see some improvements over the previous generation.
Traction and grip levels are great, and the tire feels planted when going into a corner. You can push it quite hard before it starts to loosen up. The best part is that the loss of traction seems progressive, and you can quickly determine the limit of the Winter Maxx 2. It’s confident to drive, and it takes a lot to upset the tire to a point where it will catch you off guard.
The braking distances are safe but not the best in the class. It performs pretty close to the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3, meaning that the above-average braking distances are safe.
Aquaplaning resistance is excellent as well. Even at higher speeds, the tire will remain pretty stable when driving on water. Some of its competitors may feel a bit better in these situations, but not by much.
How is it over snow?
In snowy conditions, the Winter Maxx 2 doesn’t disappoint and performs almost as good as the best winter tires out there.
Traction and grip levels are excellent, thanks to the tread design that lets the tire bite into snow. As a winter tire, deeper snow will not be a problem, but you may need to be careful with the acceleration. Going into a corner, you will notice a bit of slip, so don’t try to push it too much.
The braking distances are excellent, and the Winter Maxx 2 can stop just a bit longer than the best winter tires in its class.
As for handling, I believe we have a winner or at least a runner-up. The tire handles marvelously, and if I had to pick, maybe the Pirelli IceZero FR handles slightly better, but not by much.
Is it comfortable and refined?
In terms of comfort and refinement, the Winter Maxx 2 is good, so don’t expect the best in these segments.
While the tire is decently comfortable for longer journeys, some vibrations can be felt in the cabin. These are mostly from bigger potholes, and the tire cannot smooth them out completely. Smaller road imperfections will be fine.
Noise levels are average, which is not surprising for a winter tire. You will hear a bit more noise on the highway, but don’t think that the quietest winter tires are any better. A few dB lower is what you get with them, so the Winter Maxx 2 isn’t terrible in this regard.
Is it good for off-roading?
I cannot recommend the Winter Maxx 2 as a tire that is good for off-roading. You can drive on some dirt roads but should be aware that the tire isn’t designed for that. In other words, the performance and longevity will take a hit. Muddy patches will be fine as the tire will have a decent amount of traction.
Is the Dunlop Winter Maxx 2 ideal for sporty driving?
Surprisingly, the Winter Maxx 2 isn’t too bad for sporty driving. Before you run out to buy it, here’s a disclaimer: it’s a winter tire, and when compared to a summer one, the sporty driving is terrible.
There is a decent amount of responsiveness, and you can get the tire to turn sharply. There isn’t too much sidewall flex, but at the end of the day, this winter tire isn’t ideal for sporty driving.
Dunlop Winter Maxx 2 Warranty
Like most winter tire manufacturers, Dunlop doesn’t offer a treadwear warranty for the Winter Maxx 2. You will have to settle for a single year of uniformity warranty or the first 2/32 inches of wear, whichever comes first. The materials and workmanship come with a 6-year warranty.
Dunlop Winter Maxx 2 Pricing: Is it worth the money?
The Winter Maxx 2 is absolutely worth the money, despite not being the absolute best tire in the winter category. The prices start from around $80 for the smallest sizes. For a winter tire, this is a good bargain.
Should I buy the Dunlop Winter Maxx 2?
Yes, you should, as the Winter Maxx 2 is an excellently performing tire at an affordable price. When you compare it to the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3, which performs similarly in most cases, the Dunlop model is a bit cheaper.
On the performance side of things, you have excellent levels of grip and traction in all conditions, which is what you’d want from a winter tire. Even though the braking distances take a hit, the tire is perfectly safe to drive and even confidence-inspiring in certain situations. The best aspect of it is how it handles on snow, making it one of the best in its class.
For comfort, don’t expect something you’d get with a grand touring summer tire, and you’ll be surprised at how well refined the Winter Maxx 2 is.
With some decent improvements over the first generation, the Winter Maxx 2 is an excellent premium winter tire, available for you at an affordable price.
What Vehicles Will the Dunlop Winter Maxx 2 Fit?
- Audi A3, A4
- BMW 1, 3, 5 series
- Ford Focus, Mondeo, C-Max, Kuga, Escape
- Honda Civic, Accord, Odyssey
- Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, Genesis
- Infiniti G35, G37, Q45
- Lexus ES, IS
- Mazda 2, 3, 6 CX-3
- Mercedes A, B, C Class
- Nissan Altima, Qashqai, Juke
- Suzuki Vitara, SX4, Swift
- Toyota Corolla, Camry, CH-R, Rav4, Yaris
- Volvo 40, 60, 90 series
It’s not the widest size range in the world, but you can fit the Winter Maxx 2 to plenty of hatchbacks, sedans, or crossovers. The list above is just a sample to give you an idea
Tire Sizes for Dunlop Winter Maxx 2