General Altimax Arctic 12 vs Michelin X Ice Snow

The Michelin X Ice Snow and General Altimax Arctic 12 both embody the epitome of winter tire technology, each with unique merits in performance, energy conservation, and ride ease, providing a multitude of options for various driver choices and road conditions.

Winter Tire Comparison

Sizes Info

The Michelin X-Ice Snow (review) comes in 125 total sizes in 15 to 22 inches. They have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T and H.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10.5/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 16 to 40 lbs.
  • Tread warranty: 40k miles.

On the other side, the General Altimax Arctic 12 (review) comes in 14 to 19 inches with following.

  • Speed ratings: T only.
  • Load ratings: XL only.
  • Tread depth: 12/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 16 to 35 lbs.

Tread Pattern

Starting with the General Altimax Arctic 12, the tire displays a blocky tread design with a directional pattern.

General Altimax Arctic 12
General Altimax Arctic 12

In this setup, the central lugs rest on a continuous secondary rubber layer beneath. These lugs possess multiple edges and are laden with a plethora of rectilinear sipes. Their arrow-shaped design also facilitates powerful in-groove notches.

The surrounding blocks are more substantial and exhibit wave-like siping along with stud holes. Just like the central blocks, they too possess sharp edges, and they have in-groove notches, though these are oriented towards the shoulder lugs.

As for the shoulder blocks, they run in pairs and are enveloped by the widest tread voids arranged laterally.

These studdable lugs are less aggressive and blocky, as they display minimal edges and are devoid of any notches. However, they do exhibit wave-like sipes.

The Michelin X-Ice Snow also exhibits a unique, directional tread pattern.

Michelin X-Ice Snow
Michelin X-Ice Snow

Its tread is characterized by four circumferential channels in the middle (not counting shoulder ribs).

So the central most area of the tread has a very tough passing interlocking, zigzag groove.

This circumferential channel is formed by lugs (of each side), having a mixture of straight and wave-like siping, off-set edges and snow vices.

(By snow vices, I mean, the stepped edges they have on corners).

Further out, you get more squared off blocks, with only wave-like sipes.

And on shoulders, you see aggressive thick siping slits, along with serrated edges seen on the lateral sides.

Ice Performance

Among tires designed for icy conditions, the Michelin X-Ice Snow distinctly stands out. Its exceptional performance is largely attributed to a distinctive tread design that includes multi-directional snow vices and angled incisions.

This configuration, augmented by an aggressive siping pattern, results in diminished braking distances and expedited handling times.

A noteworthy mention is the more pronounced sipes found on the Michelin X-Ice Snow, which lend it a stronger biting capability despite both tires featuring interlocking sipe designs.

In contrast, the General Altimax Arctic 12 appears somewhat ill-equipped for icy terrains due to its larger tread voids and lesser quantity of notches. The central tread area of this tire grapples with maintaining a strong grip on packed ice, and its lack of multi-angled sipes undermines its ice performance.

However, the provision of studdable lugs in the General Altimax Arctic 12 adds to its traction in extreme icy conditions. Nonetheless, in the absence of studs, the Michelin X-Ice Snow definitively rules the icy terrains.

Winner: Michelin X Ice

Dry Traction

When considering dry conditions, the Michelin X-Ice Snow surpasses in both directional grip and handling, the two critical components of overall dry performance.

The grip is predominantly influenced by the central tread area, where the Michelin X-Ice Snow sports a streamlined, continuous rib, ensuring a consistent contact patch with the road. This design facilitates more efficient braking and acceleration.

For handling, reliant on the shoulders of the tire, the Michelin X-Ice Snow features closely packed voids that maximize rubber-to-road contact during cornering.

Conversely, the General Altimax Arctic 12 falters with wider grooves and an increased weight that induces excessive lug movement during cornering, impairing steering feedback and overall handling. Hence, the Michelin X-Ice Snow holds the advantage in this domain.

Winner: Michelin X Ice

Tread Life

The life expectancy of a tire’s tread is significantly dictated by its rolling resistance, which is directly influenced by the tire’s weight and tread design.

It’s in this context that the lighter Michelin X-Ice Snow outclasses its rival in tread life longevity. Its lighter build decreases the pressure exerted by the tread against the road, thereby reducing friction and decelerating wear.

On the other hand, the heavier General Altimax Arctic 12 applies more weight over a smaller area due to larger tread gaps. This accelerates the wear rate and potentially shortens the overall lifespan of the tire.

Winner: Michelin X Ice

Wet Traction

Maintaining grip on wet surfaces is a critical attribute for any tire. This capability is predominantly determined by the tread pattern and the rubber’s texture.

While both tires are equipped with numerous tread voids that help disperse water and mitigate hydroplaning risk, the Michelin X-Ice Snow takes the lead.

It features an amalgamation of interlocking and straight sipes, efficiently channeling and absorbing water for superior wet traction.

This dense arrangement of sipes and a perfect blend of rigidity and flexibility afford an enhanced grip, especially during cornering.

While the General Altimax Arctic 12 does present laterally oriented sipes and impressive hydroplaning resistance due to its larger grooves, its overall wet grip does not compete with that of the Michelin X-Ice Snow.

Winner: Michelin X Ice

Snow Performance

In assessing the performance of tires under snowy conditions, both the General Altimax Arctic 12 and the Michelin X-Ice Snow demonstrate commendable capabilities, tailored to perform optimally even in challenging snowy terrains.

However, the General Altimax Arctic 12 displays a marginally better performance when navigating through fluffier snow, a terrain where it has previously struggled (particularly on ice and compact snow). This superior performance can be credited to its uniquely designed tread pattern, boasting wider lugs that foster snow-on-snow contact.

The larger voids within the General Altimax Arctic 12’s tread capture and retain snow particles more effectively, allowing the entrapped snow to establish better contact with the ground.

This characteristic capitalizes on the principle that snow adheres better to snow than it does to rubber, thereby enhancing traction.

In contrast, the Michelin X-Ice Snow sports a less aggressive, more enclosed tread design that’s less proficient at picking up snow, making it slightly less efficient in thicker snow conditions.

Winner: General Altimax


The comfort levels provided by a tire are multi-factorial, with road noise and vibration absorption capacity playing key roles. Let’s delve into these factors to understand their impact on tire performance more comprehensively.

Road Quietness

Road noise, while often underappreciated, significantly influences the driving experience. It primarily stems from air particles colliding with the tire tread walls.

Consequently, reducing this noise forms an essential aspect of tire design.

In this respect, the Michelin X-Ice Snow shines, owing to its less voided tread design. By limiting voids, the tire reduces spaces where air can bounce, hence diminishing the noise generated during the tire’s contact with the road surface.

This strategic design consideration results in a quieter ride with the Michelin X-Ice Snow, thereby enhancing the overall ride comfort.

Conversely, with its larger tread voids, the General Altimax Arctic 12 allows for more air particle collisions, producing a somewhat noisier ride.

Winner: Michelin X Ice

On Road Vibrations

As the vehicle’s first line of defense against road surface inconsistencies, a tire essentially serves as a secondary suspension system. Therefore, a tire’s ability to efficiently absorb vibrations caused by surface imperfections significantly contributes to ride comfort.

In this aspect, the General Altimax Arctic 12 emerges as a clear winner, boasting exceptional vibration damping capabilities. This proficiency results from the tire’s unique tread design and compound composition, which grant it superior shock absorption capabilities.

When encountering uneven surfaces or obstacles, the General Altimax’s design provides effective cushioning, leading to a smoother ride and reduced transmission of vibrations to the vehicle’s chassis.

However, the Michelin X-Ice Snow trails slightly in this regard, with marginally less impact damping capabilities.

Winner: General Altimax

Summing Up

The final evaluation boils down to this:

The Michelin X-Ice Snow impresses with its stellar performance on icy surfaces and excellent dry traction, attributed to its meticulously crafted biting edges and continuous center rib.

Further, it offers superior fuel efficiency owing to its lighter weight and streamlined design. Additionally, the Michelin X-Ice Snow holds a slight advantage in wet traction and provides a quieter ride, thereby enhancing the overall driving comfort.

On the other hand, the General Altimax Arctic 12 stands out in snowy terrains, offering superior vibration absorption. This performance is largely due to its open tread pattern and effective shock-absorbing design.

Although the General Altimax Arctic 12 is heavier, leading to accelerated tread wear and less fuel efficiency, its performance on snow-laden terrains and comfort on uneven roads are noteworthy.

And if I talk overall, since, the Michelin X ICE is taking the lead in most, it can be seen as the better overall tire. Though make sure you also consider the price tag while selecting.