Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Tire Second Season Review

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

Last year we spent our first solid winter on Michelin’s X-Ice Xi3 winter tire.

After 3,100 miles, we were impressed by the performance, comfort and quietness of this premium winter rubber. Our only concern was that after relatively few miles, tread wear was down from the original 11/32nds to just over 9/32nds in the front and 10/32nds in the rear. This seemed a bit excessive.

Well, after a second full season on the tires, our wear concerns are alleviated. This winter we put on more miles, 5,626 of them to be exact, for a grand total of 8,726 miles now driven on the X-Ice Xi3 tires. We obviously rotated the tires before this season and by the end of the year recorded just over 9/32nds tread left on the front tires and 9/32nds tread left on the rear tires. That puts the tires much more in line with Michelin’s, 36,000-mile limited warranty for the X-Ice Xi3 tires.

A Recap

As a quick refresher, the Xi3 is a premium winter tire designed to combine performance, comfort and durability. Like any modern winter tire, the X-Ice uses a rubber silica-based compound that Michelin refers to as “FleX-Ice.” Using four technologies in its tread block design, the X-Ice Xi3 incorporates what Michelin calls a Cross Z sipe. This feature helps in wet conditions to stabilize handling. The tire’s sidewall edge is a block-design, for more grip on snow and ice. Essentially, it claws into the surface and provides ‘bite’ in very slippery situations.

SEE ALSO: Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Tire Review

And when the weather is a bit warmer and extremely wet instead of icy, there are “Micro-Pumps” that absorb water and expel it as the tire rotates. For the months of December and January, temperatures were mostly above freezing and instead of snow, we received a lot of cold rain.

Rainy, Then Cold Winter

The X-Ice tires had no issues in these conditions and never felt squirmy or squishy when the temperatures hovered higher than the optimal point for the Xi3’s winter silica compound. When winter finally did hit, it hit hard. Unusually cold temperatures were the norm, deep into the -25F range. Snow fall after snow fall and icy roads dominated the months of February and March.

But, like we found last year, the X-Ice tires were more than up to the task. Even fitted to a front-wheel drive 2008 Suzuki SX4 sedan that lacks traction or stability control, there was never an issue. My wife, the primary driver of the SX4, actually commented after a horrid, snowy commute home that the X-Ice tires are the best winter tires she has ever driven on. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

SEE ALSO: AutoGuide.com Tire Reviews

The X-Ice Xi3’s main competitors are the Pirelli Winter Carving Edge, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and Dunlop Winter Sport. Pricing will vary for the tire depending on rim size, sidewall height and retail outlet. But pricing for a 195/65R15 tire has actually dropped this year to $83 each on tirerack.com.

The Verdict

The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is available in 33 sizes, ranging from 14 to 18 inch rim diameters and is available at several retail stores and online sites. Our two biggest complaints last year were tire wear and price. Both have been improved this year, leaving us without much to complain about regarding the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tires. Other than the tires needing a balance at the start of the year, they’ve been worry free and fantastic.

Fast Facts:

  • The new Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tire combines four technologies in its tread block design for optimal winter weather performance
  • The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is available in 33 sizes, ranging from 14 to 18 inch rim diameters.
  • The tread depth measured at 9/32nds after 8,700 miles of winter driving.
  • The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 comes with a 36,000 mile limited tread wear warranty.


  • Snow performance
  • Ice performance
  • Comfort
  • Warmer weather performance


  • Tires required balancing
Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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