Here's Why You Need Winter Tires Even If You Have 4WD

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This eye-opening comparison video shows why you shouldn't rely on 4WD in winter conditions.

With the winter season fast approaching and temperatures dropping, lots of car owners will be thinking about fitting winter tires. But there are also some stubborn SUV drivers who will think they can rely on their 4WD system to wade through winter conditions with summer tires. To settle the debate, Tyre Reviews has done a comparison showing the difference in performance between a car fitted with winter tires and one with summer tires to see how they perform in the snow.

To keep it fair, two identical BMW X1 subcompact SUVs were used for the comparison. The "winter" SUV was front-wheel-drive fitted with a set of Goodyear Ultragrip Performance Gen-1 winter tires, while the other X1 was four-wheel-drive and equipped with Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 summer tires. Both tires are class-leading in their respective categories.

Both X1s were subjected to a series of tests in the snow, starting with an acceleration and braking test requiring them to accelerate to 31 mph before braking to see which SUV could stop the fastest. The next test consisted of a hill incline and decline before an emergency maneuver test while the SUVs were driving around 21 mph - 27 mph. Finally, the two X1s were driven on a track to see how they handled in the snow. Both SUVs were also timed to see which one completed the lap the fastest.

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The conclusion? You absolutely should use winter tires when driving in the snow, even if you have a 4WD system. The most eye-opening comparison was the acceleration and braking test, as the difference in stopping distances was shocking. Likewise, the SUV with summer tires couldn't make it up the hill climb with a 10 percent incline. In a real-life emergency situation, this could cause an accident that would have otherwise been preventable with winter tires.

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