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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Continental's new Canada-specific XTRM winter tire stands up to serious thrashing | Hagerty Media

From a global perspective, Canada represents a small slice of the automotive market. It's been years since I remember any interesting cars that were exclusively available in the Great White North. We no longer receive cars that allow us to thumb our noses at Americans, cool things like BMW's 45-car run of legendary E36 M3s with the European-spec engines.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-elsinore-files/continentals-new-canada-specific-xtrm-winte...
9 REPLIES 9
NorthernDon
Intermediate Driver

I can vividly remember the day as a child nearly five decades ago when I helped (well, let's say I was right in his face wanting to help) my dad pull the studs out of his Suburbanite tires. Ontario had just banned them and the go to solution was to grab the Vice Grips and pull them out which was an easy task. We farmed and my dad always had a solution to every problem, Vice Grips to the rescue! It seems we were able to adjust our driving habits and get through the winters without studded tires after all. Who knew!
AG1962
Detailer

I remember when they were banned in Ontario too. My father was a bit worried about his 50 km commute into Ottawa. The increase in salting that went along with the stud ban ate through the floor of our late-model VW within a year. I vividly recall seeing the road for the few days we had to drive it with a Flintstones floor. Snakes and ladders. We need trains to commute on — nothing, not studs or salt or ploughing or AWD or ABS or airbags or even AI will ever make high-speed rubber-tired driving on snowy, icy roads safe. 

AG1962
Detailer

Good to know about these tires. I would have bought a set if they had appeared when we still lived in frozen Edmonton, Alberta; we won’t be needing them in the largely snowless Mediterranean climate of Victoria, British Columbia (thank goodness). It’s funny that as a nation, we are both bigger buyers, per capita, of high-end performance cars, *and* more likely to buy smaller, more economical cars on average than Americans: the top-selling new *cars* (not including more-popular pickups and SUVs) in Canada as of 2019 were the Civic, Corolla, Elantra, Mazda 3, and Golf, in that order (https://local-insurance.ca/insurance-company-ontario/best-selling-cars-canada). In the US, they were the Camry, Civic, Corolla, and Accord (https://www.statista.com/statistics/276419/best-selling-cars-in-the-united-states/). In Canada, the more-expensive Camry and Accord were in 8th and 10th place respectively. That tells you a lot about thrifty Canadian buying habits at the volume end of the market. Lower prices, lower taxes, and lower interest rates, traditionally, on the US side of the border have made Camrys and Accords much more popular there. Of course, what both countries do have in common is that Ford F-series pickups are the top-selling *vehicles*, period (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/08/pickup-trucks-dominate-americas-10-best-selling-vehicles-of-2020.htm...), and have been for the last decade (workarounds that dodge or even subvert passenger-safety standards and fuel-mileage requirements have artificially inflated the pickup market). The more-lucrative truck and SUV lines now dominate new sales, with cars quickly fading from the market except at its highest (think AMG, M, R series) and lowest (Chevy Spark, Hyundai Accent) ends... Anyway, here’s to the all-Canadian premium sedan habit, and the new tires that will support it through (y)our evil winters!

rs6er
New Driver

I wish we could get these in the states. I drive 20 miles up and back several days a week to ski at Mt Bachelor, in Bend OR, encountering every condition from dry to ice, slush, snow, and every other permutation. I have been using Nokian Hakkapelitta R’s for several years as my winter tires, and they are no longer cutting it despite ample tread depth.
OCULUSNY
Intermediate Driver

How are electric car sales up there? I continually rag on BEV problems affecting the the northern US (30% battery range loss <40F, lack of charge points on northern US toll roads, tax rebates and regulations aimed at warm climates, etc.).
NorthernDon
Intermediate Driver

In Canada, we face the very same challenges you mention with BEVs. The city people in large centres (you know, the ones that are very well served by taxpayer funded and heavily subsidized convenient and reliable public transit) love their BEVs since distance is not an issue and when they get to work, they plug it in on the corporate dime, who wouldn't like that free ride. When you live in the rural area, there's very limited infrastructure to charge up and the distances we drive are further. Don't see them being practical for many people at this point with limited range. But, be mindful of the current wave of tree huggers that think their way of doing things is the only way. While small in numbers, they sure have the government's ear. Just look at the car makers racing to proclaim a date not too far off when they will quit offering an ICE.
AG1962
Detailer

That depends on where in Canada. On Canada’s relatively compact west coast, with just over 10% of the country’s population living without major snow or deep cold events for most of the year, a market of around 4 million people is buying loads of BEVs with generous B.C. government subsidies. Up in the B.C. interior and back east across the Rockies on the Prairies (what you call the High Plains), not so much — except maybe as urban commuters/runabouts in the few big cities. Wherever there is real winter and long distances, BEVs are much less attractive, as you say, and need heavy subsidies to sell. BEV sales are brisk in Quebec thanks to subsidies there. Unfortunately, these are Hood Robin subsidies (take from the poor and give to the rich), because only people with a fair amount of money can afford the premium for BEVs even after subsidies.

Tinkerah
Technician

Was that a typo or are the studs really aluminum? If they are I can't imagine them damaging asphalt in the slightest before being ground away. All the studs I've seen (and I still have some old ones) have been steel, I think with carbide tips.
SJacobT
Detailer

While not as aggressive as what these are I am pleased with the set of Nokian WR SUV just mounted on our FJ Cruiser this winter. The only thing they don’t do vastly better then the mud-terrains that were on it is deep (6”+) snow, and they are very good in “wintry mix” v. the OE Dunlops on it originally...