Nokian Tyres plc has unveiled three next-generation products: the WR G4 all-weather tire and the studless Hakkapeliitta R3 and R3 SUV winter tires.
The new WR G4 is designed to appeal to more consumers with its combination of high-performance, all-season handling and reliable winter grip. Certified for severe winter service, the WR G4 is available in 42 sizes for 14-inch to 19-inch wheels, and speed ratings from H to V.
Nokian says a new all-weather dual compound ensures excellent wear resistance and fuel savings. The WR G4 comes with a 60,000-mile tread wear warranty. It is available now exclusively in the North American market.
The WR G4 is built for winter weather and adapts to all-season conditions, according to Hans Dyhrman, director of marketing for Nokian’s North America business.
The sturdy and stiff outer shoulder provides stable and controlled handling at higher speeds. A new tread block design on the inner and outer shoulders reduces the risk of hydroplaning. The hydroplaning prevention properties are retained even as the tire wears. Proprietary “silent sidewall technology” places a special rubber compound between the sidewall and tread and in the bead area to minimize road noise inside the vehicle.
For improved winter performance, the design of the longitudinal and diagonal grooves of the tire's tread blocks grip the surface when driving in soft snow and other soft terrain. A fan-like rib pattern called blade grooves pushes rain, slush and snow out of the tread. Jagged 3D sipes on the center rib grip the road surface to maximize biting edges while maintaining stable handling.
Steve Bourassa, manager of passenger and light truck products business in North America, says Nokian is now in a position to grow in non-winter markets.
“Twenty years ago, we took a central European winter tire and marketed it for use year-round in the U.S. and gave it a mileage warranty.” That tire, the Nokian WR, marked the onset of the all-weather concept in North America, according to Bourassa.
He says Nokian has continued to develop the WR product to accommodate the needs of North American roads and consumers ever since. The latest generation, the WR G4, is “a safe alternative to all-season tires in areas where winter lives or where winter visits.”
New dedicated winter tires
Nokian’s latest offerings for consumers who want dedicated winter tires are the Hakkapeliitta R3 and Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV.
Dyhrman says the studless R3 and R3 SUV improve upon the highly regarded Hakkapeliitta R2 and R2 SUV tires in several ways. To improve ice grip, pocket-shaped “pump” sipes, a technology which draws water into the tire and pumps it back out when the tire is on ice, were moved from the shoulder of the predecessor tire to the center of R3 and R3 SUV. In the shoulder area, newly developed "comb" sipes improve shoulder block stability and provide water storage, which helps prevent hydroplaning on wet roads and helps elminate the flim of water on top of ice that causes black ice.
The new tires are also greener than the prior models. The Hakkapeliitta R3 and R3 SUV are low rolling resistance tires thanks to an improved casing design and tread pattern as well as a high quality silica compound, according to Dyhrman.
A new compounding material called cryo crystal 3 has improved ice grip over the prior tire.
“Cryo crystal 3 is a biomaterial that acts like a microstud that’s mixed into the compound," says Dyhrman. "Similar to a stud, cryo crystal 3 allows the tire to grip on icy surfaces. It is mixed into the actual compound so that even as the tires wear, the cryo crystals will be at the surface and not wear away.”
The Hakkapeliitta R3 and R3 SUV tires are designed for North America, as well as the Nordic countries and Russia. Both will come in speed ratings R and T. The R3 will be available in 67 sizes for 14-inch to 21-inch wheels. The R3 SUV will be offered in 64 sizes for 16-inch to 21-inch wheels. Dealers can order the tires in March with delivery in fall 2018.