- 40-000-mile treadwear warranty
- Very comfortable
- Superb aquaplaning resistance
- Excellent performance on snow
- Noise levels increase as the tire heats up
- Dry performance is average
One area of the tire industry that doesn’t get covered as much as it should are winter tires. I know that they are there, and all manufacturers have a few models, but in reality, they are not the most popular ones. The main reason is that winter tires have a very specific application that most people don’t need.
Each tire operates optimally in specific conditions, and the same goes for winter tires. They are designed to work in colder temperatures, deep snow, ice, and everything else a winter can bring. In many cases, winter tires are unnecessary as there are plenty of locations in the world where the winters are mild. In these situations, an all-season tire will do just fine.
For the places with harsher winters, a dedicated winter tire is the best approach. Fitting a set of winter tires ensures that you will have the performance you’re after. The most important thing about it is that you will have a safe driving experience, which is what we all want.
As I said, most tire manufacturers have some winter tires, and today I’ll be taking a look at a premium one. Michelin is one of the most popular premium brands on the market. In its lineup, we have the X-Ice Xi3, a luxury performance winter tire.
So, will the premium price tag be worth it? Let’s find out.
What are the features of the Michelin X-Ice Xi3?
Michelin is known for putting all it can into a tire, meaning that there are plenty of features included in the X-Ice Xi3.
The most important one is the rubber compound, which gives the tire its properties in winter conditions. In this case, the compound is based on silica, so lower temperatures shouldn’t be a problem. The goal of using silica is to ensure that the tire remains firm as it heats up and remains pliable as it cools down.
Next up, we have the tread design, which is a crucial aspect of a winter tire. Michelin developed the X-Ice Xi3 with a directional tread pattern and Cross Z Sipes. The goal of the sipes is to provide grip thanks to their variable angles. As a result, the grip and traction on packed snow, ice, or wet roads should be excellent. As a bonus, the tire features micro-bumps, which are designed to aid with traction additionally.
Another area that the Cross Z Sipes help is stability. As they stabilize the tread blocks, the X-Ice Xi3 should be more stable at higher speeds and provide better responsiveness in the bends.
The circumferential grooves and sipes, along with the directional pattern, are in charge of aquaplaning resistance. Michelin tweaked them to provide excellent water evacuation properties.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
The performance on dry roads is not as impressive as I was expecting from a premium tire. There is enough performance for a safe drive, and that’s about it.
Grip and traction levels are passable and livable, and that is something I can say about some all-season tires. Even though it can be driven in freezing temperatures without any issues, don’t expect plenty of performance on dry roads.
This means that doing things a bit more aggressively won’t result in a very positive experience. If you floor the gas pedal, the tires will spin, which is not a very good experience in a more powerful car. The cornering grip is also not exceptionally high, so don’t expect the X-Ice Xi3 to feel glued to the pavement.
It’s not all negative, though. The stability at higher speeds is excellent, and there is some sharpness to it, as much as a winter tire can provide.
Braking distances fall well within the safe range, but the X-Ice Xi3 remains outperformed by some of its rivals.
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
Wet performance with the X-Ice Xi3 is exceptional, which surprised me, considering how it did on dry.
Michelin delivered on its promises, and the technology it used resulted in a tire that is among the best on wet roads. Traction is excellent, thanks to the Cross Z Sipes and the micro-bumps, as they offer plenty of bite into the road. The same result can be found in the grip compartment as the tire has plenty in the corners.
Performance in terms of braking remained excellent, as the X-Ice Xi3 offers relatively short stopping distances.
Aquaplaning resistance is another area where the tire performs well, thanks to the wide grooves. They can evacuate water to the sides without disrupting stability.
How is it over snow?
Considering that the X-Ice Xi3 is a winter tire, the snow performance is superb.
The silica-based rubber compound does a marvelous job at freezing temperatures, enabling the tire to perform well. Snow-covered roads will not be a problem, and thanks to the tread design, there will be plenty of grip and traction. You can drive on packed or unpacked snow, and the result will be the same.
Slush is a similar story, where the tire will have no problem with traction or grip. Considering the name, it should be good on ice, right? Yes, the X-Ice Xi3 has plenty of traction on ice, but I think that the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 is slightly better.
The braking distances are pretty short in any winter condition, almost reaching the best-in-class models.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Winter tires are generally comfortable tires, and the same goes for the X-Ice Xi3. The ride quality is very soft, and the tire smooths out road imperfections without blinking an eye. If you hit a large hole, you may feel some vibrations inside, but it won’t be as bad as other models. Michelin’s “luxury” tag on the tire is worth it, and in terms of the ride quality, it’s a luxurious as you can get.
Noise is always a weak spot in winter tires, and it’s the same with the X-Ice Xi3. It’s not intrusively loud like some other models, but it is noticeable. Things don’t get too loud at higher speeds, but the noise levels can increase at warmer temperatures.
Is it good for off-roading?
Off-roading isn’t something that I would recommend with the X-Ice Xi3. It’s not that the tire won’t perform well; it’s just not designed for those conditions.
You can drive it on mud or gravel without a problem, and you may even get decent performance. Traction and grip will be good enough but far from any other off-road tire. The problem is that the softer compound can get damaged quite easily in those conditions.
A damaged tire can cause additional problems and lead to uneven wear or inconsistent performance.
Is the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 ideal for sporty driving?
I wouldn’t quite say that it’s a good tire for sporty driving, but you can have a bit of fun, depending on the conditions.
As dry performance isn’t anything particular, I would avoid pushing the tire too much in these conditions. It will let go easily, and you won’t have a good time.
I think that the closest you can get to sporty driving is on wet roads. The grip and traction as the greatest, and you can chug it into a corner a bit harder. My main complaint is that, like all winter tires, responsiveness and feedback are not impressive, so don’t expect too much.
Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Warranty
The area where the X-Ice Xi3 surprises the most is the warranty. The tire comes with a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty, which in this tire category is very rare. Take the Hakkapeliitta R3 I mentioned or Bridgestone’s Blizzak WS90, for example. Both of them don’t come with a treadwear warranty.
Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Pricing: Is it worth the money?
Even though it’s a premium tire and the price is higher, I still believe that the X-Ice Xi3 is worth the money. The prices start from around $80, which is a surprise for a winter tire with this kind of performance. For comparison, the Blizzak WS90 and the Hakkapeliitta R3 start from a little under $100, similar to Michelin’s X-Ice Snow.
Should I buy the Michelin X-Ice Xi3?
Yes, I can recommend the X-Ice Xi3 as an excellent winter tire, but I would advise you to first look at the other options.
The thing that was the most disappointing with the X-Ice Xi3 is the dry performance. It expected more out of a premium tire, something that its competitors are better at. In terms of the other conditions, the tire perfumed marvelously.
Snow performance was excellent, and you won’t feel like you need more under normal driving conditions. Ice can be a struggle in some scenarios, but nothing that the tire won’t handle.
If you’re willing to make some compromises, then get the X-Ice Xi3 for the price. If you’re willing to pay a bit more, go for one of the other models I mentioned, or go for the newer X-Ice Snow.
What Vehicles Will the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Fit?
Here’s a sample list of cars that the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 will fit:
- Audi A3, A4, A6
- BMW 1, 3, 5 Series
- Ford Focus, Mondeo, Taurus
- Honda Civic, Accord
- Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, Genesis, Veloster
- Lexus, IS, ES, GS
- Mazda 2, 3, 6
- Nissan Maxima, Altima, Sentra
- Subaru Impreza, Legacy
- Toyota Camry, Corolla, Prius
- Volkswagen Golf, Passat, Eos, Jetta
Tire Sizes for Michelin X-Ice Xi3
List of Michelin Tire Reviews