Each vehicle type (SUV and light trucks) gets a unique tread pattern, with every WRT tire utilizing the same snow and ice technologies, such as 2D blades in the center ribs (for improve grip during start and stop maneuvers) and 3D TredLock blades on outer shoulders (for increased handing ability and steering response while traversing ice and snow). A bespoke rubber compound resists hardening in the coldest of temperatures, while optional studs bite into the slipperiest ice. Designers included a rim protection flange to keep expensive wheels looking new in case of a minor curb collision.
After a few feet riding shotgun, the difference in grip between the two sets of tires is clear. On snow, the truck equipped with Blizzaks slides as its driver yanks the steering wheel back and forth in search of grip. The Goodyear-wearing Ford, on the other hand, slides minimally, remaining controllable. During 8-mph panic stops on ice, the Ultra Grips again outperformed the Blizzaks with repeated shorter stopping distances.
Finally, thaw time has arrived. We emerge from the chamber into the bright, hot Floridian sun. Going from one climatic extreme to the other in a matter of seconds is quite a shock. Jackets off, it takes 10 minutes for our bodies to readjust.
Next up on our agenda is wet-weather driving. On a makeshift, hose-doused course next to the McKinley Lab, Goodyear's engineers line up two Chevrolet Tahoes with the Bridgestone Blizzaks and Goodyear WRTs wrapping the wheels. Around the pseudo-autocross course, the Goodyear rubber once again proves its prowess and versatility. The tires aren't putting down high g-force lateral grip numbers, but they keep the heavily laden SUV securely planted, and during a full ABS panic stop, they reign in speed quicker than the Bridgestones.
The tire test was short and not held in real-world settings, and only one competitor was in attendance, but the Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRTs did impress. If you live in a region where snow-packed, ice-covered winters are the norm, and you drive a truck or SUV, check them out for yourself.