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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just switched over to my brand new, 3 season Michelin Premier LTX tires so I thought I'd share my impressions of the non-studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV's we installed in mid-November and drove for 5,500 kms. (about 3,400 mi.) until mid-March. Our MidWest Ontario Canada winter was relatively tame compared to last year and what we are normally used to. However, we experienced just about every kind of foul winter weather that exists here in Ontario ... only in shorter, smaller doses.

I've driven on winter (not all season) tires since my youth on both rear and front wheel drive vehicles. Recent tires included the Goodyear Nordics (very good in snow, fair on ice) and the 1st generation Michelin Xi Ice tires (only fair in snow and fair on ice). I downsized to 225/70R/16's mounted on steel rims for the winter. If I had my choice, I would have preferred a 215/78R/16 winter tire size but these Hakkas are not offered in that size. I would describe our driving style as moderate or average and we drive according to weather and road conditions.


When driving in snow, these Hakka's are simply amazing. We had a couple of 6" snow storms with drifts going up to about a foot+ deep. Honestly, our RAV didn't even know it was in snow with these tires. I couldn't believe how effortlessly the vehicle pulled through the snow without any kind of push back or strain. Our AWD never engaged all winter and only once did the traction nanny light appear for the briefest moment.

On ice, these tires exude confidence ... whether it be from a standing start position, driving down the road or while braking. Only once did I feel the grip "break" on the front and that was on a very slick, downhill right hand turn from a standing stop and it was only for a brief moment before the tires regained their composure. The back end never broke loose ... even in moderately aggressive driving.

On wet roads, these Hakka's really perform. Not once a slip, tire spin or shimmy. They are sticky, responsive and I never felt close to hydroplaning or being out of control. On one occasion, I drove faster than I should have in a driving rain storm and these tires handled (steering and braking) like they were on dry pavement. I knew they were special as for once, I was the guy clipping along in the passing lane while others stayed out of my way and fought to keep control of their cars.

The dry road experience is just as positive. For winter (severe service) rated tires, they are quiet and responsive. I can't comment on whether our gas mileage was different with them but the Hakka's didn't appear to cost us any more to run on.

I did a ton of reading and research before buying these winter tires. As you can infer, I could not be happier with my choice. I only wish we had more inclement weather so I could have enjoyed their mountain goat like sure footedness more often. I highly recommend these tires for their overall quality and great handling characteristics whether it be in snow, on ice, on wet or dry winter roads.

Edit Note: Price wise, they came in at CDN $907 pretax for the set of four (about USD $670 at current exchange rates). This included balancing, mounting, and our provincial tire collection fee of $17. I had a shop coupon for $100 off plus I received the Nokian rebate of $70 which combined, lowered my investment significantly. I also get lifetime balancing, seasonal changeovers, free rotation and flat repairs and would you believe it, free air! I bought them at Kal Tire in Waterloo ON and would highly recommend them. I am not affiliated with either Kal Tire or Nokian ... I'm just a happy camper!
 

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Great review! Thanks! I've heard these are the BEST Winter tires! Are yours studded?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great review! Thanks! I've heard these are the BEST Winter tires! Are yours studded?
Thanks for the compliment. Not studded ... not allowed in our area. I'll edit my review accordingly.
 

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I'd love to hear your impressions on the Michelin Premier LTX tires once you've driven on them for a few weeks.
I will close the loop in about three weeks. However, so far, I'm not a happy camper with these tires. NOTE: I've only driven on them for about 300 kms. so drawing any conclusions right now is unfair and unsubstantiated. Oh, the tires themselves seem fine ... quiet, responsive and they look great in the 235/65R/17 size.

Problem is, the shop can't seem to balance them up! They have balanced the fronts twice and the backs three times now. We've also rotated tires from front to back etc. in order to isolate the offending tire(s). I still get a vibration in the seat of my pants ... very similar to when a tire belt has shifted.

For the record, the previous Toyo's I replaced on the same alloys were glass smooth as were the Hakka's on the new steel rims I just swapped out. I wish the shop offered road force balancing which unfortunately, they do not.

Tomorrow we leave for a 2 week road trip and I have to drive with these new, gently vibrating tires. The shop offered 4 brand new ones when I return (can't get 4 new ones here in time). We agreed I'd drive with them as is ... hoping that with some warm temps and and a few thousand klicks under their ribs, they might smooth out. In either case, if I'm not happy, the shop will replace them upon my return.

By the time I return, the tires will have about 6,000 kms. on them so I'll be able to state, with more hands on experience, what I think of them. Until then, all I can think about is the slight duck waddle I'll be feeling in my tush while driving over the next few weeks. :frown
 

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I too use the non-studded version of those Nokian tires in the winter. They are truly excellent winter tires!!! :thumbs_up::thumbs_up::thumbs_up:

Although I think they're just a little bit noisy, given that they're winter tires that's understandable. For how well they perform in snow and ice conditions, I couldn't be happier with them.

I just got new summer tires put on, and chose the Michelin Latitude Tour HP tires. I've only got a few hundred miles on them, but so far I love them. They're *extremely* quiet (surprisingly quiet!) and handle very well. They seemed to do pretty well on wet roads, too. They're a common all-season tire that come with premium vehicles (e.g. Lexus, Acura, etc.) I have had no problems at all with their balance on the OEM alloy rims.

By far the most common complaint online about them is that they wear down fast, some say in as little as 25-30,000 miles. But the trend I've noticed is that this is on heavier vehicles. On lighter vehicles like the RAV4 they do fine in regards to tread wear. Some have reported 50, 70 and in one case even 90,000 miles out of them.

Only time will tell, of course, but so far I'm very pleased with them.

.
 

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Nokians are a beast in the snow. I have the WR SUV 3 on my 2004 RAV4 (German Spec) and have driven on unplowed field roads with over 1 1/2 ft of snow without any problems at all. Even on icy, snowy slush roads there is no spin out or TRC lights going off.
 

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Thanks for this review. Fall is here and I've been trying to wade through all the marketing fluff to find decent non-studded snow tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for this review. Fall is here and I've been trying to wade through all the marketing fluff to find decent non-studded snow tires.
You're welcome Glenfiddich. There are some other very good winter tires available. However, I rate these Nokians as excellent based on my research and first hand driving experience with them.
 
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