235/45R18

Moottori 2022: Winter Studded Tire Test R18

The Finnish magazine opened the winter tire testing season by checking how studded tires behave when fitted on a Tesla Model 3 electric car.

List of models tested:

Even though summer is not over yet, automotive magazines have already begun publishing the results of winter tire tests, the first one to do so being Finland’s Moottori, which tested studded tires, fitting them — in full accordance with the market trends — on a Tesla Model 3 electric car. EVs, which are becoming increasingly popular around the world, are characterized by bigger weight and instantly available torque, and the experts set a goal to find out which tires accommodate these features best of all.

The test involved the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 EV, specially designed for EVs, the arguable best-in-class Michelin X–Ice North 4, the Goodyear UltraGrip Arctic 2, the Continental IceContact 3, as well as tires from Japanese manufacturers — Falken WinterPeak F-Ice 1 (inherited the tread pattern from the Dunlop SP Winter Ice 03), the Toyo Observe Ice-Freezer, and the Yokohama iceGUARD iG65. Another model that was tested was the inexpensive Chinese tire Landsail Ice Star IS37 (produced by Sentury), which, contrary to everybody’s expectations, scored a rather high position in the final standings.

Test results

In the ice traction test, the best results were shown by Nokian and Michelin, and, although the X–Ice North 4 fell short of the Hakkapeliitta model by about 4%, it was still significantly more effective than the Goodyear tire, which came third. Next placed were Continental and Yokohama with a big lead over the Landsail model. At the same time, the remaining duo — Falken and Toyo — demonstrated even weaker results, falling short of the leader by about 60%, and the experts noted that the ice traction delivered by both tires was «downright poor».

The ice braking test was won by Nokian, which outperformed Michelin with a significant lead. The Goodyear came very close to Michelin, while the Continental model came fourth, yet the difference from the UltraGrip Arctic 2 was quite substantial. The other four tires demonstrated virtually identical results, all of which were rated as poor — the Landsail model performed slightly better than its rivals from Japanese brands, but it also fell short of Nokian by 37%. Last-placed were Falken, Toyo, and Yokohama, the latter losing to the leader by almost as much as 50%.

Moottori 2022: Winter Studded Tire Test R18

The Nokian model also demonstrated the best lap time in the ice handling test, and the experts noted that when it came to front axle grip, the Finnish tire yielded an unparalleled performance: the car accurately followed the trajectory regardless of the steering angle, which could be changed in the middle of the turn at will. Second-placed was the Michelin model, about which the Moottori experts said that it also had a good handling performance but could not tackle speeds as high as Nokian could in corners. The steering feedback was also not as impressive, and the driver had to use larger steering angles, but, on the other hand, the traction on the rear axle was higher than that of the Hakkapeliitta model.

A surprise was made by the budget Landsail model, which showed a third-best lap time. According to the experts, the traction that this Chinese tire provided on the front wheels was better than that of the Goodyear and Continental model, and Landsail was effective at small steering angles. In addition, the traction ensured by the front wheels was so high that the rear was slightly prone to skidding, and this helped in corners.

The other tires could not boast impressive performance; the Falken tire demonstrated poor lateral grip on the front wheels, which in combination with less-than-perfect overall traction led to skidding in the middle of a corner. As the testers noted, at higher speeds, the front wheels could easily lose grip, which led to strong understeer. The Toyo tire was better at maintaining the grip on the front axle, but it was clearly prone to oversteer, which, according to the experts, manifested itself at most unexpected moments, and the Toyo tires were also bad at responding to pressing the gas pedal when all the tires are at an angle, which means that it will be quite difficult to straighten the car in the event of skidding.

Moottori 2022: Winter Studded Tire Test R18

On snow, the differences between the tested tires were substantially smaller; in the snow acceleration and braking tests, the leading trio was the same as on ice, but the order within the trio was shuffled — the Michelin demonstrated stronger traction than Nokian’s and Goodyear came third again. The fourth line of the tournament bracket was shared by the Landsail and Yokohama models, while Continental yielded to them by about 2%. Last-placed were Toyo and Falken.

The Michelin tire was also the fastest to stop the car; second-placed was Continental (this was the first high result for this German tire in this test, which is quite a surprise), the difference in the results by the Nokian, Landsail, and Goodyear models staying within 0.3%. The worst performance was shown by the «Japanese» — Toyo, Yokohama, and Falken.

The handling test involved not just the lap time but also the tire’s behavior during lane switching and high-speed braking, and the best tire in this respect (albeit with a slight lead) was Michelin, followed by Nokian and (with an even smaller lag) Continental. According to the experts, the Michelin was «quite at home» with snow — it tackled all the corners without any problems, and the tire demonstrated an exceptional grip, its only limitation being slight understeer. The Nokian model was also good on snow, quickly reacting to the driver’s inputs and allowing the driver to change the cornering trajectory if necessary. The Moottori experts noted that the skids became smoother as compared to the Hakkapeliitta 9, and this could be helpful when entering a corner.

Moottori 2022: Winter Studded Tire Test R18

As for the Continental tire, the experts said that its behavior on snow was vastly different from that on ice, and this tire ensured excellent handling response without bringing any unpleasant surprises, while the Goodyear tire required more attention because, although the grip of the front wheels was good, the skid of the rear wheels started abruptly and lasted longer than it was with the leaders.

The Landsail model was a couple percent behind the leading tires (the experts said that the tire aroused no complaints, but you would need patience in order to quickly pass all the corners), while the lag of the Japanese tires was significantly larger. The time demonstrated by the Toyo tire was only slightly better than that of Falken and Yokohama, but its behavior on the highway was recognized as the most dangerous — you need to enter a corner very slowly, while the rear wheels can abruptly go into a skid at the end of a bend, which requires counter-steering and lightning-fast reflexes.

On a snow-covered track, the Falken tire was very much prone to understeer; when there is a vibration coming from an uneven road surface, it is slow to respond to the turns of the wheel, and, once grip is lost, you have to wait forever for the car to regain it. At the same time, once the front wheels finally do «find» grip, oversteer pops up — the Falken model had the weakest results on snow.

The Finnish experts also conducted tests on wet pavement, and here the best tires were Goodyear and Nokian, followed by Falken and Yokohama, which performed on a level with Michelin, while Continental fell behind just a little.

Verdict

The test was ultimately won by the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 EV but the Michelin X–Ice North 4 yielded to it by mere 0.2 points, and can be considered the major contender of the Finnish brand. Third-placed was the Goodyear UltraGrip Arctic 2, which compromised its combined score due to relatively weak performance on ice but showed itself to the best advantage on tarmac, while all the three tire from the Japanese brands — Yokohama iceGUARD iG65, Falken WinterPeak F-Ice 1 and Toyo Observe Ice-Freezer — this time ended up at the bottom of the tournament bracket.

«The increased weight of the EV is felt in the handling tests, where emergency situations that can occur in real traffic are simulated, that is, the tire grip can be lost faster than in the case of cars with internal combustion engines — said Jussi Saarinen, managing director of Moottori. — The Nokian 10 EV model does feel as if it was developed for EVs and hybrids, particularly in terms of the front axle grip — which influences the controllability of the car — and is maintained in spite of the car’s increased weight.»

1st place: Nokian / Hakkapeliitta 10 EV

Quick Take
N/A 35

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 EV

  • Available Sizes in Line: 22
  • Year Released: 2021
  • Studded
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+
Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 EV

  • Strong traction, short braking distance, and good handling response on ice and snow
  • Good results on wet pavement

2nd place: Michelin / X-Ice North 4

Quick Take
92 53

Michelin X-Ice North 4

Comfort Handling Treadwear Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Studded
  • Regions for sale: Canada, Europe, Russia+
Michelin X-Ice North 4

  • Strong traction, short braking distance, and good handling response on ice and snow

3rd place: Goodyear / UltraGrip Arctic 2

Quick Take
90 46

Goodyear UltraGrip Arctic 2

  • Year Released: 2021
  • Studded
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Goodyear UltraGrip Arctic 2

  • Short braking distance on ice
  • Good results on wet pavement

4th place: Continental / IceContact 3

Quick Take
88 54

Continental IceContact 3

Handling Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Studded
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Continental IceContact 3

  • Short braking distance and good handling response on snow

5th place: Landsail / ice Star iS37

Quick Take
N/A 24
  • Available Sizes in Line: 29
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Studded
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+
Landsail ice Star iS37

  • Good handling response on ice

5th place: Yokohama / iceGUARD IG65

Quick Take
78 30

Yokohama iceGUARD IG65

  • Available Sizes in Line: 29
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Studded
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Yokohama iceGUARD IG65

  • Long braking distance and less-than-perfect handling response on ice and snow

7th place: Falken / Winterpeak F-ICE 1

Quick Take
N/A 27

Falken Winterpeak F-ICE 1

  • Available Sizes in Line: 30
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe
Falken Winterpeak F-ICE 1

  • Weak traction, long braking distance and less-than-perfect handling response on ice and snow

8th place: Toyo / Observe Ice-Freezer

Quick Take
74 28

Toyo Observe Ice-Freezer

Comfort Dry Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Available Sizes in Line: 67
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Studded
  • Regions for sale: Russia+
Toyo Observe Ice-Freezer

  • Weak traction, long braking distance and less-than-perfect handling response on ice and snow

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