Re: Snow Tires?
When it comes to deep snow traction you can't beat the Blizzaks for passenger car snow tires, but they can get pretty squirmy on dry roads. The Goodyear X-ice, Continental ExtremeWinterContact, and Michelin Alpine are all good tires as well. If you want studed tires go for the General Altimax Arctic or Hankook Winter iPike; both sell like hotcakes here in Syracuse. When looking for winter tires you should consider how cold it gets, how much snow you get, how icy the roads are in your area, and how often your streets are plowed. Each tire will offer a slightly different combination of ice grip, snow grip, wet grip, and dry handling. I suggest checking out Consumer Reports and TireRack.com for your reasearch, and then shopping around for prices.
As for the wheel size issue, the narrower the tire is the less snow it has to push out of the way as it rolls. Smaller diameter wheels have narrower tires, which is probably what you read about. Going from 17" tires to 16" tires with higher sidewalls will magnify the "squishy snowtire" feeling but it won't dramatically effect your car's handling or performance. Unless you regularly get heavy snow fall or live in an infrequently plowed area, you're not going to reap the benefits of having a 1/3" narrower tire.
2005 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor