Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Tires for '08 Subaru Impreza

It’s about time to replace the tires on my '08 Impreza. I currently have Cooper Zeon RS3-A, which have been good.They were ok in the winter, but I thought they would be better. I looking at the Cooper CS4 as a possible replacement (higher treadwear rating at about the same price). Anybody have experience with the CS4 in the winter? Any other recommendations?

Check out and read user survey results. They may not carry the Coopers, but I’d recommend buying a tire that has a lot of user survey data on tirerack. They have millions of miles of consumer feedback and you’re much more likely to get a good tire that way than by getting the opinions of a few random people like me. :slight_smile:

You haven’t said what conditions you drive in mostly, or where in the country, etc. I recently got a set of Hankook Optimo H727’s that have been extremely good in both winter and summer conditions, so I’ve been recommending those to people who want a year-round tire that works well on snow and ice. You can read more user feedback on those and other tires on

No, but I have lots of experience with Awd cars in winter. It’s cheaper and safer to get winter tires and rotate them them with summer tires then it is to get one set for use all year round. One set of summer tires and one set of winter tires together will easily out last two sets of all season tires. All season tires seldom do very well in snow and ice and once you get to the 50:% wear, they can be really poor. An Awd car with it’s ability to accelerate faster in snow with ANY tire is at much greater risk going at a higher speed with half worn all season tires. Snow tires, even when well worn to the 75% mark will still run circles around most much newer all season tires in snow and on ice. IMHO, I would rethink your purchase requirements and buy both while saving money in the long run and being much, much safer. Awd cars can be at greater risk with poor winter traction then fwd cars. That’s why you see some 4 wd and Awd cars on the side of the road…crappy, worn all season tires and over confident drivers.

PS…according to these reviews, the Cooper CS4 isn’t very good in snow.

For the same price, the Hankook Optimo H727 will work much better in winter conditions, IMO. And will have other good options.

You can’t beat Michelin X-ICE winter tires. They are more expensive , but they have very long tread wear. Costco is the best place to get them.

I agree the buyer should consider winter tires.

Over the years in discussions not only on this board but directly with other 4 wd and Awd owners I have found many make two mistakes when buying tires for them. First, they have the false idea, prompted by dealers I suppose, that Awd / 4wd systems on cars and trucks can be used as a replacement for winter tires. Secondly, they are all under the false assumption that having both winter tires and rotating them summer tires costs more.

Yes, buying an extra set of rims can be costly initially, but over time, considering the cost of tires alone, having two sets of dedicated tires is not only safer, but less expensive. And, there are ways around the expensive using steel one off rims and free rotation tire packages (Tire Wharehouse for one).

There is no way you can run ANY all season tire to it’s rated tread wear life and not expect huge winter traction problems. You can easily do it safely with both sets of dedicated tires resulting in a significant savings over the life of the car. I cannot in good conscience, promote all season tires on Awd cars run in winter conditions as actually having good snow traction when it " evaporates" rapidly as the tires wear. These cars are LESS SAFE with all season tires to the extent of being a menace on the road as their tires approach 50% wear or less on even the higher rated ones.

The only ones who get it, are the ones who do it ( have two sets) ! You cannot have your cake and eat it to when it comes to tires for ice and snow ! Tests by CR and others have shown over and over that Awd cars can accelerated better then any 2 wd car, even with crappy tires on snow and ice. Now, you have crappy, worn but legal all season tires to turn and stop at higher but still technically legal speeds on snow and ice…creating this menace to everyone else !

My 2nd set of wheels/winter tires sit in garage. Tires are at 1/2 tread. My new a/s tires are better grip than worn winter tires. It’s not ironic, it’s just life. I am at the point I need to buy new winter tires. Yes using the winter set will lessen salt damage on summer alloy wheels but having 2 sets of wheels is like having 2 girlfriends. Cost $$ to maintain both

It may be too late but I have the Cooper CS4 tires on my KIA Optima and they are just fine in snow.

“my new a/s tires are better grip then worn winter tires” “tires are at half tread” @stoveguy
That’s both highly unusual and will not last for long. Yours is completely different then my experience in 40 years of driving in Maine winters. I have yet to see ANY A/s tire with the winter traction of a good half worn winter tire. I predict that by the time your a/s tires are half worn, you will be contemplating using the snow tire again. For one thing, most winter tires come with significantly more tread ( by as much as 30 %) with rubber designed to stay soft. So, half worn winter tires often have nearly as much tread ( often more) as new a/s tires. IMHO, your situation happens only with really poor winter tires to begin with. The cost savings for me has been irrefutable. When your a/s tire is half worn, I would be surprised if it isn’t poor. Now, if you don’t see much snow to begin with,that’s a totally different story.

I live on an gravel mountain road that is frozen and snow covered the entire winter. No one (20 plus residents) has been able to successfully navigate the road in all conditions in a/s tires…even with 4 wd. My half worn winter tires were excellent compared to ANY a/s tire I have ever had. Now, if all you do is travel plowed paved roads and are a flatlander, anything works. Many peoples definition of a winter tire is one that will get them out of a 20 foot slightly snow covered drive way to a paved road. In that case, your situation is incomparable.

Now days you have to consider the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). When you switch to steel wheels with winter tires without TPMS the light will be on. If this does not bother you it is OK. Just check your tire pressure every 2 weeks. When you install the original wheels and tires the TPMS will probably have to be reset.