My friend bought a used VW Jetta with a set of Hakkapelitta Q. Having made a couple of long trip with him in winter, i can say that these are way better than the best tire set that a have (Toyo observe G-02 and Techno Ultra traction). They're are predictable, have great grip (good acceleration and lateral grip), are quiet and long lasting.
We organized a little rally cross last year and he did the best time of the 27 cars. He actually did the same time as a 4wd Silverado with new Blizzak. One thing was in his favor though, he was first on the track and the track got worse (slippy) after each car but stil I was impressed.
It's already it's third winter with the tires and they are still amazing on the ice. However, next year will probably be the last year with this set and since the Q is not made anymore, we started talking about the Q replacement, the RSI. I found this interesthing tire test on a rally site. Bear in mind this is posted on a Nokian Award program page.
Quote: › Nokian Tyres Hakkapelitta RSi Tire Test:
I recently had the opportunity to compare the Nokian Hakkapeliitta Q with the new Nokian RSI. The Q has been a great tire. We ran the Q on our Group N WRX at the Sno*Drift rally the last 4 years, winning our class 3 of those 4. I had heard that the new RSI was better than the Q but I was skeptical. The Q is a great tire and I thought it would be very difficult to make a better tire. So... we arranged a test!
The test car was a 2004 Subaru Forester base model with an automatic transmission. The tire size was 215/60/16 on 7 inch wide rims. The testing surface was a frozen lake with about 2 inches of snow cover. The course had very tight esses sections and high speed sweeping corners. In some corners on the course, previous cars had blown the snow clear and polished the ice. Basically, we had all the usual Sno*Drift conditions.
First, we ran the car with the Qs. They performed great as usual. You could exceed the grip the tire provided by throwing the car around or overcooking a corner. The Q is very predictable and reacquires grip when lost easily by reducing the control inputs in the car. The Qs are the same great tire I remembered. We ran three runs trying three driving styles, max attack, slow and steady and then the compromise between those two. The compromise style yielded the best time.
Next, we mounted the RSIs. Within 100 feet of the start line, I could feel the difference in the seat of my pants. The tire had more grip in all circumstances. The first run, we did the slow and steady method. It did not yield a faster time than the Q but was much more controllable. The second run was max attack. The car was even more predictable than on the Qs. Because of that, I pushed the pace even more. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm sent me far off course in one corner and the time clearly showed my mistake. Finally, we ran the compromise pace. After having less than 2 miles experience with the RSI, I was able to shave two seconds per mile off my best time with the Qs as timed from inside the car. The higher level of grip made the car much more stable. It was harder to get the tires to break traction and they came back much quicker. The biggest change was under braking. The RSIs made braking on snow covered ice feel like wet pavement in warm weather. There was enough grip that we actually got weight transfer to the front end and I had to counter steer to keep the rear end behind us.
Overall, I was very impressed with the new RSI. I will be running them at Sno*Drift and will recommend them to anyone that asks my opinion.