Nitto is best-known for its ultra-high performance tires.
Nitto sells three different winter tires in Canada.
The SN3s are the high-performance variant.
I feel as though we have a knack for discovering hidden tire treasures among established tire makers. Nearly two years ago, I found out that Nokian, known the world over for their winter tires, makes excellent summer tires. For this round, Nitto, associated for all time with track days and drag strips, also has winter tires for sale.
When the opportunity came up to get my hands on a set of P205/50R17 Nitto SN3 winter tires for my 2018 Volkswagen Sportwagen, I couldn’t say no. Think of it this way: Nitto has to prove itself as a viable winter tire maker and a good alternative to the Bridgestone Blizzak, Michelin X-Ice, and Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3. In order to compete with these heavy-hitters, Nitto has no choice but to put its best foot forward.
The Nitto SN3s specs read exactly like those of a winter tire I would want fitted to my vehicle. The fact that Nitto refers to it as a high-performance tire is more than believable thanks to the wide twin-centre rib and the large outer blocks on the shoulders. Both of these elements increase the tire’s stability at speed while the blocks should aid in controlling lateral forces when turning for example.
Through the tire’s tread, Nitto has strategically positioned countless jagged edges which serve to grip the icy or cold road surface. The inner blocks, between the outer blocks and the centre rib, are surrounded by deep channels which should help evacuate snow as well as water. Our winters tend to cycle between big snowfalls and warm periods of thaw. These channels will handle whatever is on the road’s surface. They tie directly into the evacuation grooves, between the outer blocks, and help keep as much of the rubber in contact with the road as possible.
Pricing for the Nitto SN3 size P205/50R17 is slightly below average which is another point in its favour. As I’ve stated many times, however, price should not be the principal criteria when shopping for a winter tire as you will get what you pay for in performance, reliability, and durability. Here are a few more specifications: This size SN3 is H-rated (130 mph or 210 km/h) and begins with 11/32 of tread depth.
For the moment, I obviously cannot recommend the tire as it’s new and I’ve not yet had the opportunity to evaluate them. I am confident though that I will not be disappointed. I’ll have updates published this winter.