The Firestone Winterforce is inexpensive and durable. Critics say it's a decent budget snow tire, especially if you're looking for something studdable, and it's especially adept at carving through deep snow, experts and owners report. However, a newer studdable tire on the market -- the General Altimax Arctic (*Est. $80) -- now beats the Winterforce in nearly every category, and owners say it works fine even without studs. If you're looking for the ultimate studded ice-traction tire, experts recommend the markedly pricier Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 (*Est. $165).
ConsumerReports.org has the most recent, thorough head-to-head test of the Firestone Winterforce, comparing it with 16 other winter tires. Canada's Automobile Protection Association (APA) also conducts unbiased tests and ranks the Winterforce against more than two dozen other tires, but it gives far fewer details. Experts at TireRack.com recommend the Winterforce among studdable tires, but customers there prefer another brand.
ConsumerReports.org tests the Firestone Winterforce alongside 16 other studless and studdable winter tires for passenger cars. Each tire is rated on nine criteria (such as snow traction, ice braking and noise) and ranked from best to worst.
Review: Winter Tires, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. Automobile Protection Association
This Canadian nonprofit organization calls the Firestone Winterforce acceptable, with good deep-snow grip. However, the similarly priced General Altimax Arctic handles better on dry pavement.
Review: Winter Tire Info: Passenger Car Tires, Editors of the Automobile Protection Association
3. Tire Rack
TireRack.com staffers call the Firestone Winterforce a good value, giving it a spot on this list of the top winter tires for 2009-2010. However, the studded Winterforce lost a 2007 test that pitted it against three studless winter tires.
Review: Winter Tires or Snow Tires Which Do I Need?, Chad Hocker, Oct. 13, 2009
4. Tire Rack
The low-priced Firestone Winterforce is a top-selling tire at TireRack.com, and nearly 700 customers have reviewed it over the years. But ratings show owners actually prefer another inexpensive studdable tire, the General Altimax Arctic.
Review: Firestone Winterforce, Contributors to TireRack.com