dude,johnleigh: I don't have to worry about snow tyres, but what you say is interesting. I suppose tyre manufacturers are always balancing criteria including tyre life, tyre size and profile, rubber compound, wet and dry handling, economy, comfort, quiet ride and appearance. I presume every car manufacturer nominates the key performance features that they want. I can see how it becomes a complex task. Where does a quiet ride on coarse surfaces fit in all this? What effect does tread pattern have? Do you have a quiet tyre on a coarse surface only to slide off a wet road, for example? Is there a tyre expert in the house or someone who knows a good Internet site?