2010 Update to Original Post
I just installed my fourth set of Nokians at 206,000 miles (71,000 on the last set & they barely passed inspection last month). I paid $196 installed.
2008 Update to Original Post
I just installed my third set of Nokians at 135,000 miles. The tire has been updated and redesigned. I paid $209 installed.
The current link for the WR G2 is: http://www.nokiantires.com/tyr...WR+G2
By way of quick summary, I've got 30,000 miles on my V8 Touareg. At 12K miles, I had four new replacement Continental 4x4 Contacts (255/55/18) installed compliments of VWoA due to bad factory alignment. The replacement set wore fine but with 18K miles on them, they had little good tread left; particularly for a New Hampshire winter.
Research / Options
So, after following tire threads on the forum for the past year, I did my research. Early on, I was leaning toward the Yokohama Geolander H/T-S G052.
Reviews of the Yoko were good and the specs seemed to be reasonable but I was losing some speed rating (V to H) which is not a big deal.
The Contis have a rating of 360 AA, the Yokos have a rating of 460 AA.
Then, this fall, someone posted something about Nokian coming out with a new all season performance tire. A true all season performance tire, one that carries the Severe Service emblem which indicates the tire exceeds snow condition regulations.
At the time of the post, the tire was not yet available in the U.S. and I figured it might be worth the wait to see what it was all about. Plus, our New Hampshire winter this year was mild until this week when we finally got snow. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
I read the reviews of the Nokian WR, looked at their website and here's what I learned.
109 weight rating, the same as the Conti and Yoko.
V speed rating, same as OEM Contis.
500 AA UTQG rating better than both Conti & Yoko.
In the reviews that I was able to find, the Nokian WR tires that were tested were all on passenger cars. The SUV version of the tire had not yet been released.
Common sense dictates that a tire can't be truly "all season" without giving up either handling/stability or bad weather traction. Regardless, that can be certainly said for the Conti which by no means is an "all season" tire if you factor snow into one of the four seasons. The Yoko seemed like a good alternative but with the Nokian's specs and the 50K manufacturer's warranty, I decided on the Nokian WR.
Cutting to the Chase
I had the tire dealer put 40 psi in all four tires. Driving conditions on the way home from the tire store were wet roads with patches of packed snow here and there. Winds were gusting to 15 mph. For those who were here for the Fall Touareg Rally, one knows that we do not have many straight roads.
The first test was to check stability and handling in corners. The Nokian performed just as well as the Conti. I noted no body roll or understeer.
The second test was to open her up on a 4 mile stretch of straight road with some gusty winds. At 90 mph, the Touareg tracked straight and true. Tire noise is no different than the Contis. It is a very quiet tire.
The next test was the bumpy secondary roads to see if the ride was different compared to the Contis. I noted no additional harshness in ride as reported in another thread.
So with these three initial tests out of the way, I figured that the weak link of the tire must be its performance in snow and ice.
Well, the tires got put to their final test this evening with six inches of fresh powder on the ground.
The first check was braking action on snow covered roads at moderate speeds (30 to 45 mph). ABS action was almost non-existant as the tires did all the work. This is a remarkable improvement even when comparing to the snow performance of new Contis last year.
The second check was hard acceleration from a stop. ESP action was virtually non-existant except for maybe a split second occasionally. The road were a combination of powder and packed powder with some glaze as well.
The third test was windy backroads at moderate speeds to see if I could get the Touareg to go sideways. She wouldn't do it. She tracked straight and true. (For those who don't know how to drive in snow with all wheel drive, it is the constant power to the wheels that keeps you tracking straight or in a turn. Braking in a turn with all wheel drive may be detrimental to the your health and welfare of your vehicle.)
At $200 per tire, these tires are not cheap. But in this case, it appears you get what you pay for. The bottom line is that regardless of the reviews that you may read on the web, the Nokian WR is one incredible tire that is truly "all season". For those like me who don't want two sets of rims, I can't think of one other tire that comes close to the specs. and performance of this tire; even when considered two sets of tires (one for summer & one for winter). Time will tell how they wear, but with a manufacturer's 50K mile warranty, how can you go wrong?
One final thought for those of you who don't see snow. As I mentioned previously, this is an excellent dry and wet weather tire. Its snow performance will most likely be similar in muddy offroad conditions as well. If you're looking for something other than a street slick summer performance tire....one you can take off road occasionally or not worry about high speed rain driving...this tire is for you too.
Update at 76,000
At 76,000 miles, its time for tires. For those math impaired, that's 46,000 miles on the Nokians. I rotated them every 5,000 miles or so and got very even wear. Even when the treads were pretty worn near the end, they did exceptionally well in the rain.
What am I buying next? Another set ordered from my local tire dealer. $229 each, installed.
Modified by bravocharlie at 4:11 PM 12-26-2006
Modified by bravocharlie at 8:41 AM 12-3-2008