Here in Quebec, winter tires are mandatory so we need two sets. Can you use four seasons tires all year round in Minnesota? Some four seasons tires are really made more for summer than winter. Despite the Michelin Defender being (I hope ) one of the best four seasons tire around, they wouldn’t cut it in Quebec’s country side (with mountains). Before the law was passed some 20 years ago, I did spend two years with four seasons tires on a Ford Contour 1996 but they didn’t matched at all winter tires in terms of grip.
On the subject of winter tires, a lot of people here downsize the wheel sizes for their winter tires. My Focus is only really a summer car but back in 2003, I used it for a few winters and I had installed plain old 14 inches rims with 14 inches winter tires. Low profile tires (at the extreme) do not make such good winter tires. On my 2014 Escape, I even have 17 inches studded tires in winter. This is the ultimate winter tire but these tires come with extra noise.
In about two weeks I’ll be able to try these new 15 inches tires. I enjoyed the handling of the 16 inches low profile tires but with our damaged roads, boy did they banged a lot. Many mags (or aluminium wheels or whatever you want to call them…) break around here.