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  #1  
Old 09-28-2012, 07:19 PM
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Smile Winter Tires: Pirelli Sottozero vs. Nokian Hakkapeliitta

Before you go posting the link to the September 15 thread on winter tires, I already read it, and while it was insightful...my question boils down to this:

I'm strongly considering purchasing winter tires for the sake of 'being safe' since I've never owned a RWD car before. Does anyone have experience with Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II Run Flats, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R tires, or any other winter tires? I am open to suggestions...I want what's best. How good are these tires, or any others, for that matter? Need 245/40/R19, by the way.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2012, 08:09 PM
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I am the iceman. I have used many brands of snow tire. The famous Hakka Q is no more. The R is a mere shadow of its former self. I tried the RSi and it was pretty good but alas that is also no more. IMHO Bridgestone's investment in Nokian has been a disaster for them.

Nokin's WR would be perfect for DC if there is a correct fit available. The only true all season full winter tire available is this Nokian WR though the Sottozero is also pretty amazing as it gets worn out. I have used both the old and the new Nokian WR, fantastic tire.

The Pirelli sottozero is at the other end of the snow tire spectrum completely from the nokian Hakka series. It is a very high performance snow tire with good winter performance and truly stunning bare road performance. I am fitting a new set to my XF for this winter. I ran the old set for five winters and then all summer this year as the tread depth dipped below 5 mm (snow tires are worn out when tread depth drops below 6 mm at the beginning of winter). Amazing grip even at high temperatures in the 80's Fahrenheit. Fantastic winter tire as long as you don't need a studless ice tire.

I have used Sottozeros on my X -Type and a chipped Audi S4. Superb high performance winter tire.

For better winter grip on snow or ice get a set of Continental ExtremeContact full on winters. IMHO this is the best winter tire currently available. This is a studless ice tire. I have sets on my SAAB and our ALFA 164. My kids have them.

No Japanese winter tire comes close. However, the Dunlop Wintersport 3D is the best of the Japanese winter tires. Bridgestones are hopeless over-hyped winter tires. Nobody really experienced with snow tires likes them.

Only issue is these may not be avilable in the XF size. In fact, you may be stuck with Sottozeros. No problem for you in DC, you don't really get winter!
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:27 PM
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I should get around to changing my profile address, but I am spending the vast majority of my time in the Pittsburgh, PA area now, where winters are much less mild than DC (something I no doubt miss). Does that change your response at all, jagular?
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:12 PM
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Nope. I live within one hour of the Rockies. There isn't much I don't know about snow and ice driving. In fact, our "summer" tire season begins in June and ends in October.

My first winter radial tires were the then revolutionary Continental Contacts in 1975. I have tried just about every reputable winter tire since then. Currently and IMHO the Continental tire company produces the best winter tire you can buy, as they did in 1975.

The best high performance winter tire is made by Pirelli.

The best "all season" tire EVER made is the Nokian WR. Actually, if I lived in the Pitt I would buy the Nokian WR if one is available to fit my XF.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagular View Post
Nope. I live within one hour of the Rockies. There isn't much I don't know about snow and ice driving. In fact, our "summer" tire season begins in June and ends in October.

My first winter radial tires were the then revolutionary Continental Contacts in 1975. I have tried just about every reputable winter tire since then. Currently and IMHO the Continental tire company produces the best winter tire you can buy, as they did in 1975.

The best high performance winter tire is made by Pirelli.

The best "all season" tire EVER made is the Nokian WR. Actually, if I lived in the Pitt I would buy the Nokian WR if one is available to fit my XF.

The Hakka R has the top rating, supposedly due to execptional lateral grip. What has dampened your enthusiam for the R? You didn't mention the Michelien ICE version.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:11 AM
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The Hakka R is well rated but a friend of mine has tried two sets and has been deeply disappointed in them. I tried the RSi which he recommended but that "improvement" on the Hakka Q has been disappointing. It may be that the Hakka Q, and in fact every Hakka before the RSi have been so good we have become absurdly biased against the current Nokian line up. Certainly the WR remains the top all season true snow tire (technically the only such tire ) and I would not hesitate to fit Nokian Hakka R to any of my cars. But, I have recently become a returning fan to Continental's Contact studless tire. Continental lead the way in studless technology in the 70s and are now back on top IMHO.

Michelin Ice is an excellent tire as is their Alpin series but I prefer Pirelli for high performance and Continental for grip with low noise and a comfortable and stable ride. Gislaved are also excellent snow tires.
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Last edited by jagular; 09-29-2012 at 09:14 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09-29-2012, 12:34 PM
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These are two very different classes of tires- the Hakka R is a true R-rated snow tire, while the Sottozero is a V-rated cold weather performance tire with some snow traction capability. I've had experience with both on hi-po RWD vehciles, and wasn't completely happy with the compromises on either. The Hakka R is excellent in deep snow conditions, but gives up a noticably substantial degree of dry traction performance; admittedly some choose not to push their vehicles in winter time, but when the roads are plowed, I like having the option. The Sottozero is outstanding on dry roads (almost like a summer tire that works at low temps), but its snow performance, while better than A/S (All-Suck) rubber, is way off a true snow tire like that Hakka R- standing start uphill on even a few inches of snow can be problematic depending on the grade.

I was looking for a happier compromise on the XF, a balance somewhere in between the above two, and ended up torn between the V-rated Dunlop Winter Sport M3 and the H-rated Bridgestone Blizzak LM60. I've also heard a lot of "overrated" complaints about the Blizzaks, so ended up pulling the trigger on the M3s, but am unsure as to how much snow traction I've given up. Does anyone have experience running the M3s on an XF?
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  #8  
Old 09-29-2012, 06:06 PM
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Sottozeros have pretty good snow and ice performance in my experience. They are no good when the tread depth remaining gets down to 5 mm so I ran mine all summer this year. I am fitting the Serie II next generation Sottozeros in a few weeks.

My daughter really liked the Dunlop Wintersport 3D. No experience with the M3 though.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2012, 09:02 PM
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I'm just looking for something to make the commute to work. Windy road, mostly country, lots of big sharp turns, and steep hills, etc. 45-55MPH for the most part, though one big turn is 20MPH.

Seems Pirelli Sottozero may be the way to go...thoughts?
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:11 PM
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Forgot to mention, a downside I've been reading about the Sottozeros is that they're very loud. Seems a lot of BMW owners are recommending Blizzak tires. Anyone want to chime in?
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:16 PM
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Blizzaks are terrible tires. Sottozeros are not loud. These Pirelli winter tires handle like a summer tire on bare road. I just completed a 5,000 km round trip on worn Sottozeros due to their lack of enough tread to do another winter. They perform better thn the stock all season Conti tires. The sottozero also works well in shw or on ice. I have another set of Serie II Sottozeros ready to go on once it actually snows here.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:36 PM
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I've been very happy with Blizzaks. I had them on my M45 RWD and they were awesome!
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:02 AM
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I found this while searching. It is a Canadian publication. Maybe some of our Canandian members are familiar with this test info.

http://picolio.auto123.com/art-image...11-ang-car.jpg
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:01 AM
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Similar idea to tire rack. Hard to know how much objective data is included. However, the ratings seem consistent with my subjective experience of the tires in the list I have used.

Note the Nokian WR way down the list, but officially that is only an all season tire according to Nokian. It bears the mountain snowflake symbol so is rated as a snow tire but you can run these year round. They are amazing tires.

When assessing Bridgestones it is essential to realize that the performance of some Blizzaks deteriorates significantly before the tire is half worn out. After that point they are truly awful. I have only driven on one Blizzaks model, the WS 60 and it was at that point when I bought them from a friend. Absolutely the worst winter tire I've ever tried to drive on. Truly hopeless.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:36 PM
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I debated whether to get the Nokian WR, but conditions here where I live can get pretty bad. Of late with the shifting weather, ice is a particular concern. I also live on a fairly steep hill that I back out of my driveway onto. I am going with the Nokian R, and will see if it meets expectations. It is noted for lateral grip which is high on my list of requirements. The ratings seem to indicate that you can't seem to go wrong with the upper tier rated true winter tires.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:09 PM
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Well there is no doubt the Nokian R will grip better than the WR. But, the WR is an amazing tire on bare road and at warm temperatures. For ice with no studs you MUST use a studless winter tire and put up with the poor grip on bare roads especially in warmer weather. For bare road the decision is much more complex.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:14 AM
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The problem these days is the weather is not consistent and in recent years (particularly last year) there was little snow or ice. Plently of bare roads. We need a five year reliable winter forecast.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:03 AM
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I live where winter is always very unpredictable except we are guaranteed to have some truly awful weather every winter, some time between September and June!

I prefer the Sottozeros for my Jaguar for their bare road handling. But I have a SAAB turbo and an Audi S4 available, each with Conti ExtremeContact winters, if the going gets truly awful. I use one of these as my ski car.

I ran Sottozeros on the S4 but with awd that was overkill. I ran a set of Nokian R and they were great but I made the mistake of fitting a narrower tire to the stock rim. Result was a harder ride, less traction and poor bare road performance. I went back to stock width when I fitted the Contis.

One winter/summer season I rode on Nokian WR on the SAAB. With fwd these WR are perfect for most winter driving. I would not use them in severe winter conditions with rwd. I would fit them to my Audi for winter though.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:19 AM
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Bridgestone Blizzaks are GREAT tires. I have run them on several cars and they are solid.

Better re-evaluate them, Jagular, as you are the first that I have ever heard of saying they are not good. I have a set of Pirellis on my car now and cannot wait til they get down to a point to replace them with some type of 4-season tire.

To me, the Pirellis are over-rated and over-priced and there are many other 4-season tires to replace them with.

If you are going to ride around in ice and snow - buy a set of Blizzaks.

Sometimes you can get them on sale at Tire Rack.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag93 View Post
Bridgestone Blizzaks are GREAT tires. I have run them on several cars and they are solid.

Better re-evaluate them, Jagular, as you are the first that I have ever heard of saying they are not good. I have a set of Pirellis on my car now and cannot wait til they get down to a point to replace them with some type of 4-season tire.

To me, the Pirellis are over-rated and over-priced and there are many other 4-season tires to replace them with.

If you are going to ride around in ice and snow - buy a set of Blizzaks.

Sometimes you can get them on sale at Tire Rack.
Agreed, and according to that link the Blizzaks are rated very high too. I spoke to tirerack and they said even though the setup is staggered, you could wrap 255/35/20's all around.

I'm probably going to order some Blizzaks soon.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:53 AM
 
 
 
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