To chime in on the winter specific tires. I have not driven a vehicle in winter without winter tires for 20 years as of 2013. To hold the position that tires don't make much of a difference is to admit that you have not driven on a modern winter tire. They're incredible and make a huge difference. I know the post was praising the Impreza's stability on its stock tires on ice, but I could not let that go uncorrected in case others don't feel its worth doing as a result.