For well over a decade, Nokian has been the industry leader in winter tires. Being located in Finland allows them to operate the only year-round winter test center in the world, and they routinely meet strict standards for winter tires in a place where snow tires are mandated for most of the year. In the WR G2 they have made an all-season tire that excels in all the dangerous weather conditions, and is still pretty good in the safest one. That's a beautiful thing.
- Superior linear and cornering grip in snow and ice.
- Innovative slushplaning technology.
- Extremely low rolling resistance saves fuel.
- Ecologically responsible materials.
- Summer performance is average.
- Softer compound means faster treadwear.
- Relatively high price.
All-Season vs. All-Weather
Many tire experts will tell you that all-season tires are a waste of money; being neither fish nor fowl, they try to do everything and end up doing nothing very well. There is definitely some truth to this perception. Most all-season tires are in essence either watered-down snow tires, summer tires with winter features tacked on, or an overambitious hodgepodge of features that end up canceling each other out.
The almost eerily passionate Finnish engineers at Nokian Tyres will readily agree that very few tires called “all-season” by their makers are really anything of the sort. They will however, proudly point you towards their WR G2, which is - in their admittedly biased opinion - the only true all-weather tire in the world. There is some truth to this perception as well; of the mass of all-season tires out there, the WR G2 comes closest to excelling in all driving conditions. But in truth, the Nokian WR G2, while it functions perfectly well as an all-season tire, shines brightest when the weather is worst.
Patented Siping Patterns
The WR G2 has three distinct siping patterns cut into the tread blocks.
- The company's patented “Hakka Sipe” cuts a zigzag pattern completely through the tread block, separating each block into a series of semi-independent strips with jagged edges. Under pressure, this allows the strips to flex like the bristles on a paintbrush, placing multiple rows of triangular “teeth” against the road surface and creating extraordinary grip on snow and ice.
- A series of straight sipes known as "Wipe Sipes” cut into the front edges of the tread blocks. Under braking pressure, the tread blocks flex backwards, closing the Hakka sipes and opening up the straight sipes, which act like tiny squeegees on wet pavement, sweeping water out from under the treads and increasing braking grip in wet conditions.
- Finally, there is another series of straight sipes cut perpendicular to the others on certain tread blocks. These “3D Self-Locking Sipes” reduce the lateral flexibility of the tread, enhancing lateral stability and increasing cornering grip.
Nokian puts a great deal of testing and R&D effort into the condition known as “slushplaning,” which they consider much more dangerous than hydroplaning, particularly because it can occur even at lower speeds and be more difficult to recover control once it is lost. The current WR G2 has two features designed to prevent slushplaning; the sharply beveled edge of the tire, which throws slush and water away from the treads, and the series of highly polished asymmetrical grooves between the tread blocks, which facilitate evacuation of slush and water from under the tire.
Low Rolling ResistanceNearly all of Nokian's tires feature extremely low rolling resistance, which can save significant amounts of fuel, and the WR G2 is no exception. Independent labs estimate that the WR G2 has approximately 20-25% less rolling resistance than comparable tires, which has the potential of saving you some real money.
Ecologically Responsible MaterialsNokian has developed a rubber compound for their tires that uses canola oil and cool silica rather than high-aromatic, carcinogenic oils. In addition to being a greener choice and contributing to the low rolling resistance, the compound stays very flexible on snow and ice and gives a positively sticky feel in the rain.