The low scores and negative reviews that the test experts have been giving to it made Nokian WR Snowproof the main disappointment of this fall.
The volley of publications announcing the results of independent tire tests 2019/2020 is drawing to a close. Most of the reputed motoring publications have already published the results of their comparative tire tests, which chiefly involved most of the new models and debutantes of 2019.
And, while in the case of the world’s top brands everything went on without any surprises — the new developments, just as they should, would score the top lines of the tournament brackets, getting generally high critical acclaim for their performance — the new tire model of the Finnish brand Nokian without a doubt became the main disappointment of the season.
We are talking here about Nokian WR Snowproof model that was meant to help Nokian Tyres to get out of a crisis of its own that goes on against the background of the general decline in the European tire industry. As its creators expected, this result of four years’ work was to conquer the market of the Central Europe as the key market for this company. However, the tests revealed total insolvency of the new Nokian tire even if compared to old and low-end models.
Auto Bild — 12th place
For example, in the large Auto Bild test 2019, which was conducted in size 225/45 R17, the new Nokian tire had to settle for the 12th place that it shared with a Nexen model. With a price of 465 Euros for a set, the Nokian tires demonstrated the same total performance as a-thirty-percent-less-expensive Nexen Winguard Sport 2 (320 Euros).
The average ranking scored by Nokian WR Snowproof is conditioned, according to the Auto Bild experts, by its relatively weak grip on wet pavement and average hydroplaning resistance.
Auto Express — 7th place
In the test conducted by the British publication Auto Express, the 225/45 R17 Nokain tires scored the 7th place out of 10 contestants, outstripping only the obvious outsiders — Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 (2013) and an unsuccessful Toyo model.
In this test, Nokian Snowproof only showed its strong sides on dry pavement and in the rolling resistance test, failing all of the wet disciplines: braking, lateral stability and handling, as well as straight and sidewise hydroplaning.
Auto Motor und Sport — 11th place
In the third test — this time it was conducted by Auto Motor und Sport — Nokian WR Snowproof scored the last 11th place, even falling behind Singapore’s Giti. Meaning, yet again a low-end tire for 292 Euros was able to outdo the expensive 500-Euros Nokian model.
The Germans were even harsher on the Finnish model than the British, giving it even lower scores than they did to the Pirelli and Toyo models mentioned in the previous test.
Autocenter — 1st place
The only place on Earth where this Nokian model is miraculously scoring the top grades in comparative tests is the post-Soviet countries. The explanations are unnecessary but somehow the local publications give the Nokian fans the last chance to stay in their right mind amidst the raging ocean of independent tests, whose results are clearly at odds with their tastes.
According to the opinion of the Autocenter experts, and according to their measurements, the WR Snowproof tires were head and shoulders above all the other models, including the indisputable winner of last year’s tests (Continental TS 860), and last year’s new model Michelin Alpin A6.
However, even here it was not without a snag, though: the new Nokian model costs 20% more than its high-end already expensive rivals. The local experts’ feedback, again, contains mentions of the tire’s somewhat weak performance on wet pavement.
The tire’s unbalanced performance with a bias towards snow and ice and large sag of results in the wet is probably the last thing that modern drivers would want to fit on their cars in the conditions of modern mild winters. Ironically, this was exactly how Autocenter named this specific test — «for mild winters».
Leading from behind
The last places scored by the new Nokian model look even more ironic against the background of the words said by Jukka Kasi, Senior Vice-President of Nokian Tires, in an interview to the «5 Koleso» («The 5th Wheel») publication: «In our work, we proceed from the postulate that each of our products must not just be better than the previous one, but must become the leading product in its field». Considering the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9’s steep fall from the winner’s pedestal in the winter tests 2019/2020, these words said by the company spokesman sound particularly ironic.
Scoring the bottom lines in tournament brackets and getting less than positive feedback from test experts, WR Snowproof does not seem to justify the expectations of the Nokian Tyres marketing management. Among all the new models 2019, the Finnish development showed the worst results and gets from us a well-deserved title «disappointment of the season 2019/2020».