I read through the CR test, and while there were some things to like, overall I was not impressed. My biggest problem is the (apparently) subjective ratings - what is up with not being able to compare the results of H-rated tires and V-rated tires to each other (they point this out). So all of the results are scaled? Are ratings in the evaluation column based on numerical values or are they subjective? How much better are the snows than the H-rated A/s? the V-rated A/s? It's impossible to make a choice between tire categories with this (lack of ) data.
Regarding the comparisons within a given category, okay, it's useful, but its not great. It definately helps to be able to select one or two categories that are important to you, like loudness or snow traction, and it's good that such a popular mag is trying to get unbiased tire information out there - a very rare occurance. But I'm disappointed with the usefullness of the information. They also don't distinguish between performance winters and snows - this is an issue.
I want to see some braking distances - they measured them anyway, didn't they? What about measurements of lateral grip? Do peeps know that (according to the nokian website) a leading cause of winter wrecks is loss of lateral grip? IOW, it isn't that you cant start or stop, its that you slide through the corner. Lateral grip is an important factor to me for winter tire choice, and it comes out in lap time tests - this is why I like the TR reviews.
Anyway, MHO of the CR review is that it is useful information, but no way is it enough to make more than a passing decision with. At least they did try.
Ideally, they would do a 8 page spread on tires at least once a year, preferably twice, compare tires from all categories, and then use a numerical rating system that would allow comparison of different tires in different categories under the same conditions - this is the kind of testing I expect out of CR, at least in the distant past. I know it's a big big job but I bet they could find a way to get some funding for it, whether blind donations or whatever.
It's in the best interests of the tire companies selling the more expensive tires for people to know just how much better they are than the cheap ones.