It’s crazy in Toronto this weekend, and this is also my first chance to test out my Nokian WRs in the nasty stuff (snow, then rain + ice).
I had heard that one downside to the tires was road noise, but even listening for it I could only say that it was noisier when taking turns or braking at slow speeds. Going in a straight line really doesn’t have any noticeable extra noise.
I’ve never had a set of dedicated snow tires before, so I can only compare these to all-seasons (most recently, Michelin RainForce MX’s). There is a quite noticeable improvement in snow and ice traction. On a road and a driveway that had turned to glare ice so slippery I slid down it after getting out of the car, there wasn’t much of a problem with the car stopping on it. The ABS did kick in, and the stopping distance was longer than it would have been on a dry road, but not nearly by the same amount as I would have slid in the all-seasons.
Snow grip seemed good, but one strange thing I noticed was that the car seems to decelerate more strongly in deep snow/slush than I was used to. There was no wheel spin when trying to get up to a start (using of course, gentle acceleration) from within deep snow. The car was pushed around a bit by wheel ruts, and when making a turn through that pile of snow left behind by the plow in an intersection. I was a little surprised at how much the car seemed to be forced into existing wheel ruts, but the snow was particularly deep (about 3″ on the road), very wet, and thus, very heavy.
After experiencing this, I don’t think I could go back to regular all-seasons. I think these tires are an excellent compromise between the grip of a proper set of winter tires, and the convenience of a single set.