Sumitomo Ice Edge - First Snow and Small Review

Messages
14,672
Location
Central NY
This will be the 4th winter with my Subaru, and the first time I actually got to experience the WOW factor that I have been missing the last few winters.

The last three winters I had been running Hankook I-Pike RW11 unstudded on my Forester. To put it lightly, it was downright dangerous in the snow and slipper condition. Those are the absolute WORST snow tire I have ever used, bar none. There was zero traction in any situation except for unpacked snow , in which case I could drive up to the headlighs with no problem. However, if there was any hardpack or slush, I would be in the slow lane having to go 10MPH with the 4 ways on behind the summer tires club because they just did not work. At all. There was one point where I was out accelerated by a Nissan Versa with all season tires because I could not get any traction with those God awful Hankook snow tires. Review here

I'm not even going to list them on Marketplace or CL because they are that dangerous; I do not want to be responsible for someone buying this set of terrible tires and wrecking their car thinking that they did the right thing by buying snow tires. It's possible they are counterfeit? That's the only thing I can think.

Rant over!

Off to the Sumitomos. They have less tread depth to start. Over the 15,224 miles I put on the Hankooks they seemed to have only wore 3/32''. The sumitomos have as much tread as the 15K mile Hankooks.

The Ice Edge are also quiet. I'm sure that may change as they age. They have a slight whine / hum to them , but nothing really obnoxious. Doesn't sound or feel like a bad wheel bearing like the old Winterforce used to. A bit more noise than the factory all season tires that came on the car.

Ice and hardpack are the biggest improvement I have seen with these tires. There's a few spots that usually end up with black ice or standing water that freezes on my daily drive. Usually with the Hankooks, I'd set off the TC or ABS trying to pull into parking spots at work. Or even turning onto my road. I'd often set off the VDC making the turn because they would lose traction. Obviously, wet ice on a 32 degree day is going to be a problem for anything but studded tires, but I have been quite impressed with how these tires handle hardpack.

The last snow storm we got earlier this year, I wasn't able to make it out until the next day. A lot of parking lots had the snow packed down and was quite slippery. I had no issues stopping or starting. Very similar to where I was out accelerated by a Nissan Versa on all seasons with the awful Hankook snow tires. That would not have happened this time. I have also been able to stop if I stand on the brake pedal going 45. Yes, the ABS will activate but the tires will actually grab and the car will come to a stop. With the Hankooks it was like I just put the car in neutral and was trying to coast to a stop.

I did, however, have to get the car out of the driveway and back through a snow bank that was plowed up to the tail lights. Just like with the hankooks, deep and fresh snow was no issue. Backed right out with no drama.

The most impressive thing with the Sumitomos is how well they handle slush! We had probably 3-4 inches overnight. The lake effect band moved south and we weren't prepared. There was a lot of standing snow on the Interstate this morning on my way to work. A lot of slush as well as the salt had melted some of the early snow but it was not plowed off.

I was able to keep up 65 on the Interstate in the unplowed left lane. Most others were going 40 or so with the summer tires club going 10 with 4 ways on. The car didn't seem to have the any hint of wanting to lift, hydroplane or spin out. This same condition would have me going 10 MPH in the slow lane with the Hankooks and the 4 ways on. Completely different handling characteristics. It was the definition of sure footed. I am running the factory tire pressures in these too. The absolute definition of sure footed.

The only downside is they seem to have eaten a bit more fuel economy (2mpg) than the Hankooks did. I never noticed any sort of fuel economy loss with the Hankooks that couldn't be attributed to idling the car for a long time . The Sumitomos also seem squishier on warm days. I've run the Hankooks on warm days up to 65 degrees and they did not feel squishy, they felt more like an all terrain tire. A very hard compound would explain the lack of performance and lack of wear in 15K miles.

So it took a few winters, but I can finally appreciate my Subaru in the winter. I will NEVER buy another set of Hankook snow tires. That's for sure.
 
Last edited:
Messages
17,012
Location
Upper Midwest
Thanks for this review. I need new winter tires for my old ECHO and it's nice to see that not all tires are the same.

I just picked up a set of Audi wheels with 1 season old Blizzaks on them for my new Tiguan. We've had two snow storms since them and it's just reinforced my notion that I love winter tires.

Did I mention I love winter tires? Ever notice how you become an annoying evangelist for them once you experience the difference compared to all-seasons?
 
Messages
18,503
Location
Michigan
Interesting as I have a neighbor that has these tires and likes them. I had Sumi all seasons on my Cobalt, and even they did pretty well in the snow. The only downside about their tires is that they seem to wear pretty fast.

But for the price and safety, they are worth it!
 
Messages
4,865
Location
Lakeville, MN
Glad you like the new tires.

FWIW, this is season number 8 on our Hankook IPike RW-11's on our Explorer. They have worn extremely well for a snow tire, and have done everything we've asked them to do. And driving them back to back against new all season tires, they are an improvement in all winter related conditions.

Are they the best winter tires I've ever used? No. Better than all seasons for winter, yes.

That being said, I've seen a couple of more recent reviews on these commenting on poor traction. Mine are over 8 years old (and on their last season).
 
Messages
633
Location
Vancouver, Canada
Every manufacturer has good, decent and not so good tires.
Glad to hear Sumis you got are working for you. My only experience with Sumis is Encounter HT on Sportage and they are great but used as all-seasons and not in winter.
 
Messages
1,374
Location
Elizabeth. Colorado
I love to know about good snow tires so when I need a new set I have options, so thanks to the OP. I ran studded I-Pikes on my 98 Ford Escort airport car back in the day and loved them, now I know I'm one of 2 who didn't hate them!
 
Messages
4,710
Thanks for this review. I need new winter tires for my old ECHO and it's nice to see that not all tires are the same.

I just picked up a set of Audi wheels with 1 season old Blizzaks on them for my new Tiguan. We've had two snow storms since them and it's just reinforced my notion that I love winter tires.

Did I mention I love winter tires? Ever notice how you become an annoying evangelist for them once you experience the difference compared to all-seasons?

Choose the tires that best suit your needs.
 

Miller88

Thread starter
Messages
14,672
Location
Central NY
Now imagine first class manufacturer winter tires.

Krzyś
Oh, I've had Studded Hakkas. Second to none! I was tempted to get them but with the ongoing AC issues with this car I wasn't sure if I would have it long enough to justify another set of Nokians
 
Messages
17,012
Location
Upper Midwest
Oh, I've had Studded Hakkas. Second to none! I was tempted to get them but with the ongoing AC issues with this car I wasn't sure if I would have it long enough to justify another set of Nokians
The Gislaved Nordfrost 5 tires I had for the BMW weren't bad either. Unfortunately studded tires are illegal here in Wisconsin.
 
Messages
373
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
I’ve had these tires. Spent a winter in our cabin up in Vallecito and commuted down to Durango, CO for a winter (one of the worst winters in 10+ years) in a 2wd car. Spun a tire one whole time that winter when I parked on a patch of ice. Phenomenal tires.
 

Miller88

Thread starter
Messages
14,672
Location
Central NY
Sumitomo is almost a tier 1 tire brand - they own the rights to the Dunlop brand for Japan(including OEM fitments), motorcycles and their plant in Buffalo, NY

I was kinda bummed that the set I bought wasn't made in Buffalo. Would have liked to support the state's economy. For my next set of tires, I may try to get ahold of their corporate and see which sizes / tires are made in Buaffalo.
.
Glad you like the new tires.

FWIW, this is season number 8 on our Hankook IPike RW-11's on our Explorer. They have worn extremely well for a snow tire, and have done everything we've asked them to do. And driving them back to back against new all season tires, they are an improvement in all winter related conditions.

Are they the best winter tires I've ever used? No. Better than all seasons for winter, yes.

That being said, I've seen a couple of more recent reviews on these commenting on poor traction. Mine are over 8 years old (and on their last season).

Talking about them with a friend we were discussing how little they wore. I wonder if they had been molded with the wrong compound? I'm not sure how tires are made or how compounds work between tires, but that would be a logical explanation for how they wear so well and have so little traction.
 
Messages
555
Location
Canada
Interesting to see the bad reviews on the Hankook iPike RW11. I have the Hankook iPike RSV on a van which appears to be very similar, but a custom model sold only at Canadian Tire. They feel just fine on a heavier vehicle.

The rubber compound definitely is harder than most winter tires which is why they hardly seem to wear out. The compound and tread pattern reminds me a lot of the Goodyear Nordics. Bought those used, ran for ~10 seasons, and they STILL had 60%+ tread left.
 
Messages
4,865
Location
Lakeville, MN
My set of Hankook snow tires is the second set I've owned. The previous set was a set of IPike W409 tires on an older generation explorer. They were not available in the size I needed on the newer explorer (went from a 97 to an 07). So, I ended up with the RW-11 tires.

Between the two, the W409 was a better performer in the snow, slush, and ice. I have not been as happy with the RW-11's this go around, other than tire wear. So much so I did not buy a set for my F150 and went with another snow tire in that application, despite the size I needed being availible.

Like I said - the worst I've ever had - no. But definitely not the best either!
 
Messages
163
Location
Inside a Mori Seiki
I was kinda bummed that the set I bought wasn't made in Buffalo. Would have liked to support the state's economy. For my next set of tires, I may try to get ahold of their corporate and see which sizes / tires are made in Buaffalo.
I had an interview with them about 4 years ago and on the tour i had, it seemed as if they were wanting to focus on adding commercial truck tires and continuing to focus on motorcycle tires. SRUSA states on their website that their brands are Dunlop and Falken so that gives me the impression that they dont produce any Sumitomo or Ohtsu branded tires. They did recently announce that they have Buffalo made Falkens as OEM tires on the 2021 Toyota Sienna so i am wondering if they are starting to build a bigger variety of sizes and types now

Falken Tires Selected As Original Equipment Supplier To All-New 2021 Toyota Sienna > News > Sumitomo Rubber USA, LLC - Buffalo, NY - Tonawanda, NY (sumitomorubber-usa.com)
 
Messages
15,769
Location
NE,Ohio
IIRC @OVERKILL had some not so great hankook winter tires.

The worst I've had were the old firestone winterfarce.. but they were at least not worse than premium all season in the snow.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
45,789
Location
Ontario, Canada
IIRC @OVERKILL had some not so great hankook winter tires.

The worst I've had were the old firestone winterfarce.. but they were at least not worse than premium all season in the snow.

Still having it, lol! They are great in snow, they are not great on ice, the Michelin tires are much better, but were not available in a size that would fit the Jeep.
 

Miller88

Thread starter
Messages
14,672
Location
Central NY
I still have mine too. Mild winter, so just not ideal to unload a used set of snowtires. Maybe next winter. The reason I ended up with them was I bought the car late in the year (October of 2017) and there weren't many options available in the size I wanted to run .

I may throw them on another set of wheels for the Subaru and use them for an allterrain of sorts for a trip this summer out to Vermont.

On a side note, had to run it up an unmaintained section of gravel road yesterday. About 16-24'' of unplowed snow. About a foot over the bottom of the doors. The Sumitomos worked just as good as the Hankooks did in the very deep snow.

Unfortunately, I'm still running the same wheels as before so the snow built up on the inside and made for a shaky ride home.
 
Top