Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Review

cs-product-header
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Review
Bottom Line

Experts and users say that the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is the best all-around winter tire. It gets strong feedback for performance under all types of winter driving condition. Its traction on ice and snow is especially superb, and, while it doesn't have the absolute shortest braking distances, any compromises are modest in exchange for its sure-footed grip in winter weather.

ProsSuperior grip on ice and snow, Good dry road traction and handling, Comfortable rideConsBraking on wet, dry pavement is only okay

Breaking it down

Performance

Terrific for severe ice and snow. Expect outstanding grip on ice and snow: The Blizzak WS80 outclasses all rivals on winter roads in professional tests. We did see some mixed feedback on performance on wet and dry surfaces. One independent reviewer complains of relatively long wet and dry stops, and only fair handling, but others have a very different take. In a four-tire test that also included the well-regarded Michelin X-Ice Xi3 (Est. $85 and up), TireRack.com reports that "The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 provided the best traction in the dry and wet 50-0 mph panic stop test, and also in dry cornering." User feedback is also exemplary. Still, if you usually drive on cleared roads, consider a mild-winter performance tire like the very well regarded, but pricey Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 (Est. $210 and up) or the harder to find but more modestly priced Nokian WR G3.

Comfort

Easy-riding. Ride comfort is a strong point with the WS80. It earns good user feedback in that regard from owners posting at TireRack.com -- the highest of any winter tire. In the four-tire comparative test that the site conducts, the Blizzak finishes on top: "The Blizzak WS80 led the group for ride comfort, by a small margin," editors say. The Automotive Protection Association describes the ride as "soft." However, while user feedback isn't terrible when it comes to noise, other tires, such as the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 rate better. One expert reviewer opines that ride noise is only fair.

Durability

Limited warranty. The Blizzak WS80's warranty is typical for snow tires -- in other words, it's not very comprehensive. The tire is covered for defects in workmanship or materials for five years, but that's prorated, and there's no free replacement period. There's also no warranty for treadwear at all, but that's typical of most snow tires, aside from those offered by Michelin. User feedback on treadwear at TireRack.com is middling. Its treadwear rating is surpassed by some tires, including the X-Ice Xi3, but is, in turn, better than most other competing tires

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 tire , Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

Editors of ConsumerReports.org test winter tires for passenger cars, including the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80. They judge each tire's snow traction; braking on icy, dry and wet roads; handling; hydroplaning; ride comfort; noise and more. Editors rank the tires from best to worst in a handy chart.

2. Tire Rack

Studless Ice & Snow Winter Tires: Finding Which is Best When Winter Weather is at its Worst, Editors of TireRack.com, Not Dated

Experts at this retail site conduct their winter tire shootout on ice (at a hockey rink), on snow (at a dedicated testing facility in Sweden) and on 6-mile loop of public roads (expressway, state highway and country roads). The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 finishes on top, just ahead of the also well-rated Michelin X-Ice Xi3.

3. Tire Rack

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Contributors to TireRack.com, As of October 2015

The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 earns mostly 4- or 5-star reviews from more than 125 owners here -- and this site isn't shy about posting bad reviews. It's the favorite winter tire of owners here, with an impressive 100 percent saying that it is the best snow tire currently available.

4. Automobile Protection Association

2015 - 2016 Passenger Car, Minivan and Compact SUV Winter Tire Reviews, Editors of the Automobile Protection Association, Oct. 28, 2015

The APA includes the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 in its category of top-rated winter tires for 2015-2016. Though testing does not appear to have been done, the APA says that these tires have "very good overall performance and predictability," and add that they are "a good choice for severe conditions."

5. About.com

Review: Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Sean Phillips, Not Dated

About.com's Sean Phillips tests the Blizzak WS80 and reports that this latest generation has made the already excellent Blizzak tire even better. "The most obvious, in-your-face improvement is in lateral snow grip, which is quite simply superlative," he says. He rates the tires at 4.5 stars and calls it "among the very best of winter tires."