BRIDGESTONE BLIZZAK DM-V2
It was mid-October when the fading light of summer gave way to the first reports of snow in the mountains. Winter was coming. Big surprise. The Jeep was shod with a set of 35” Mickey Thompson (MT) A/T’s wrapped around a set 22” Tuff wheels, which I had abused on the street and trail, and shown off at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas in Nov 2016.
Returning home mid-November from sunny, warm Nevada, I ordered up a set of the new Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 tires
in my Jeep’s factory size of P255/70R18 to see how they performed compared to the stock Bridgestone Duelers and my beloved Mickey Thompson A/T’s.
The DM-V2 is a studless winter tire designed for SUV’s, CUV’s, and light trucks (it replaces the DM-V1), and as an authentic winter tire, it carries the required M+S rating.
I truly am blessed. It seems that as soon as I acquire a set of tires to test, the weather goes from average to dangerous as they are being mounted. Six centimetres of fresh snow fell as I drove home, which
then thawed through the afternoon and froze as temperatures dropped that night and through the next day.
The Blizzaks cut through the fresh snow, tossing up chunks as the tires cleared themselves eager to bite into the next mix of snow and pavement. Cornering was refreshingly acute as the edges dug deep to pivot through any change of direction. The last test is always the most interesting – stopping traction. How do you know if the tires are helping you stop? My test is to drive at 60 kph (laws permitting of course) and slam on
the brakes to see how the ABS kicks in. If there’s no traction, you start sliding, lights start flashing on the dash and the vehicle vibrates and shudders like a night in Las Vegas. If you have traction, you miss the excitement and stop.
The tires grip. Every Canadian has experienced that sickening feeling when you tromp on the brake pedal only to start sliding with no chance of steering or stopping. You just wait for the impact. With the Blizzaks, I could still steer while hammering on the brake on the freshly frozen road. Most importantly, I could stop faster than the vehicle in front of me.
The tire remained flexible as the temperature dropped down to -14 Celsius, which I realize is considered balmy in parts of central Canada. On the opposite side of zero, wet traction was good for a winter tire.
The performance on ice is attributed to their NanoPro Tech Multicell compound. According to Bridgestone, the compound is porous at a microscopic level, which draws the thin top layer of water into the tire improving traction. The tread design has also changed in that the “compound is molded into a directional tread design featuring 15% more block edges (than the Blizzak DMV1 it replaces) where circumferential and lateral grooves help channel water, slush and snow away from the contact area for added traction while 3D zigzag sipes increase the number of snow biting edges.”
Although 4WD was necessary to pull off the starting line in greasy snow on the street, and in 20 cm of snow off-road, the Bridgestone DM-V2 is a solid winter performer at the top of it’s category. Some testers reported that durability was an issue with this tire, and Bridgestone confesses that their Nanocell tech compound is only on the first 55% of the tread depth. If you leave your snow tires on in order to drive to the ski hill long after the snow has left the urban streets, expect to replace them more often than other winter tires. But if traction is more important than longevity – buy them.