2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4
We promise that we’re not shills for Big Tire, what with our constant pushing of the benefits of winter tires. There simply isn’t any denying that winter tires enhance vehicle control and safety when temperatures fall below 45 degrees. Even all-season tires’ performance deteriorates at lower temperatures, whereas winter-specific rubber compounds maintain grip in the dry and winter tires’ tread patterns help grip in snow and ice. We fit all of our long-term test cars (and personal vehicles) with winter tires. So it’s good news to us that Fiat-Chrysler’s Mopar parts division is releasing winter-tire packages for several vehicles, with more being added in the future.
Mopar Winter tire
To us, Mopar’s new winter-tire kit, which come mounted and balanced (including tire-pressure sensors) on sweet steel wheels, are something of a revelation. While it’s somewhat common in Snow Belt states for individual dealers to offer winter-tire packages, not to mention tire retailers, a full-line automaker officially offering sets through its parts catalog—and across its entire dealer network—is certainly uncommon. In fact, in our digging, the only similar offerings we could find are from Audi and Tesla Motors. In the former’s case, Audi customers can order Dunlop winter tires (fitted to factory Audi rims) as a dealer accessory, with prices ranging from $2300–$3300 per set of four. Tesla Model S buyers have the option to buy a set of 19-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli Sottozero winter tires through service and sales centers. The price is a bit steep at $2500, but the tires (roughly $250 a pop retail) come mounted to factory Tesla wheels and complete with tire-pressure sensors and Tesla wheel caps.
Mopar’s winter-tire packages, on the other hand, come with plain old steel wheels. That’s okay to us—we dig steelies’ look—but it might be a bit utilitarian for regular consumers. One thing everyone can agree on, however, is price, and the lower the better. This is where Mopar’s packages really impress, with per-wheel costs ranging from $242 to $292. That puts the final tally for a set of winter wheels and tires at just $1168 before installation at the high end. Not only that, but Mopar will offer the choice of tires from brands like Bridgestone, Goodyear, Yokohama, Pirelli, BF Goodrich, Michelin, Continental, and “many more.” Mopar further claims that more than 1100 fitments are offered, with packages available for the Dodge Caravan, Dodge Charger, Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler 300, Chrysler 200, and Jeep Cherokee.
For the sake of comparison, we tricked out a set of 17-inch steel wheels with tire-pressure-monitoring sensors and Bridgestone Blizzak tires for a 2015 Jeep Cherokee on Tire Rack’s website and ended up with a $240.20 per-tire cost, or $960.80 total—right in line with the Mopar packages’ middle ground. (For reference, Tire Rack’s least-expensive steel-wheel and winter tire grouping for the Cherokee, with tire-pressure sensors, runs $223.52 per corner, while the priciest runs $271.30.) While this should be a wake-up call to owners of relevant Fiat-Chrysler products that an easy, affordable route to safer winter driving is a mere phone call to their dealer away, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind owners of any vehicle that winter tires are easily sourced. Still not convinced that outfitting your car with winter tires is a good idea? Our latest winter-tire test can help explain the pitfalls of all-season and especially summer tires in conditions cold, wet, snowy, icy, and any combination thereof.