I've lived at a Colorado ski resort for the last 30 yeras, so I know a thing or two about tires and snow and ice. And, for most of those 30 years I've been switching tires back and forth. I started with studs, and then went to the Blizzak and fell in love with them.
My new car is a 2005 Ford Escape, and with winter approaching I thought about Blizzaks again, but then thought, "What the heck, maybe I can find a tire that I can leave on all year without scaring the hell out of me on ice." After much research I went with the Nokian WRG2, and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised.
After an initial breakin the tires found their grip and stability on dry and wet roads. They feel good and are relatively quiet. While I haven't had a chance to test them in deep snow the braking and handling in light snow is very good, and I'm very surprised at how good they are on ice. I was able to find more than one street that never sees the sun and tried some panic braking. The antilock brakes did kick in, but the tires actually felt like they were biting into the ice and the car came to a controlled stop. Compared to a Blizzak? I don't know without a direct comparison, but I've skidded through more than one intersection with Blizzaks and studded tires.
Doing a controlled stop on ice felt very much like the Blizzak. No slipping or sliding and felt very inspiring.
I won't even get into accelerating because the car has AWD
, so no problems there.
Now, I haven't done any 360's on black ice yet, and I haven't found any deep snow either. I've also found that nothing will stop after an inch of snow on ice, unless you are running ice racing tires.
One thing I've noticed is that the tires are studding themselves. Yes it's true. The tire has so many sipes, and the tread is so soft that it's picking up small stones and gravel. I haven't had the car up to speed since this happened, but right now the tires are covered with small stones stuck in the sipes.
If you have some experience driving on snow and ice the Nokian is definitely a tire you can put on and leave on all year. I've very happy -- so far. If you just moved to the mountains from Fla you might want to try studs or a true winter tire and swap back and forth. Haven't hadd them long enough to give you a wear rating.
Oh, yeah. Put about 300 miles on them before you complain. They definitely felt strange when I first put them on.
11/22/2010 Today we got hammered with everything Mother Nature has to offer, and I'm more impressed than I was before. The car did "float" a bit in heavy slush, but the tires handled everything else with ease. I may have been the only person driving down the road wiht a smile.