View Full Version : Nokian NRW tire gets grip on winter

12-17-2002, 03:18 AM

Dec. 14, 2002. 01:00 AM

Nokian NRW tire gets grip on winter


There was a time about 10 years ago when I thought snow tires would become a thing of the past.

Developments in the design of all-season tires for winter driving conditions were remarkable. Compared to the
inexpensive and unsophisticated snow tires many of us were used to, all-season tires were far superior.

But, with the demand for performance tires on the rise, tire makers began to put more emphasis on wider tires with
a lower sidewall. This design, however, is just not conducive to good winter traction.

To handle the demand for a better winter tire, companies such as Finland's Nokian have come to the market with a
wider range of winter tires.

Last winter I tested the new Hakkapeliitta NRW. Nicknamed the Hakka, it's made of a silica rubber compound that
helps grip on snow and ice.

My test was conducted on a Ford Focus, which usually has a 205/55R16 performance tire.

Jim Bridgeman at Steelcase Tire and Mags suggested I install a 195/65R15 NRW, which is the same height but
slightly narrower than the original tire.

The reasoning is the weight of the car is concentrated on a smaller patch of ground, giving the car better grip in
snow and ice.

I found the NRW's directional tread pattern allowed great tracking in the wet, snow and ice, but produced very little
tread noise on dry pavement.

I left the tires on right into the warmer weather and found only minor sidewall flex under load compared to little to
no flex on the performance tires.

Overall, I was quite pleased and suggest that the NRW is worth a look as a winter tire.

Prices start at about $95 and work their way up to about $250 for the larger sizes. I found the Nokians at Steelcase
Tires and Mags in Markham (905-479-8884).

For more information on Nokian Tires, visit http://www.nokiantires.com or call 1-800-565-2525.