Tuesday, November 24, 2020
News Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Winter Tire Test Wrap-up

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Winter Tire Test Wrap-up

Peace of mind is priceless. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 winter tires deliver peace of mind at a fair price


  • The Hakka R3 is a top-tier winter tire.

  • Winter condition driving performance is exceptional, and beyond.

  • Yes, it’s already time to think about winter tires…


Nokian has been at the forefront of winter tire technology for decades. They hold more than 100 patents related to winter tires alone and straight up, their Hakkapeliitta R3 tires are some of the best all-around winter boots you can purchase for your car.

It’s an old adage but you always get what you pay for. And quite possibly, never is it more true than when it comes to tires. Top-tier tire manufacturers struggle with the fact that there are second and third-tier brands that seem to offer the same degree of know-how, for a much lower price. What’s more is that, for the most part, a winter tire priced even at 50% of the top-tier brand can deliver decent handling for the first winter.

Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV tread wear | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R3 tread wear | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

But this is short-lived. Tires like Nokian Tyres are held to a higher standard and what I’ve experienced over nearly 10,000 km with the Hakka R3s is proof that they are superior in every way. I must disclose the fact that I drove to and from South Florida with the R3s mounted on my Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen which accounts for half of the distance traveled on the tires. To put it succinctly, while in Florida, the R3s managed speeds in excess of 80 mph (128 km/h), temperatures over 90 degrees (32 Celsius) and never once squirmed or lost their composure when supporting the car and many hundreds of pounds in passengers and gear.

Obviously, this is not a winter tire “test” but it does prove that these units are engineered to do far more than simply earn a snowflake on its sidewalls. Incidentally, and this is a fantastic feature on Nokian tires, the wear indicator is only at 80%, and this after the above-mentioned driving conditions. As well, the R3s, despite their dedicated winter tire design, had no ill effect on fuel economy.

Winter tire testing with a BMW X3
Winter tire testing | Photo: Nokian Tyres

And herein lies the difference. Not only did the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 winter tires handle “summer” admirably well and wear nicely, but they impressed before we left the Great White North, and when we got back. The R3s have numerous sipes and “snow claws” that aptly dispose of snow and, in the process, grip as best as they can on ice. The flexible tread blocks are constantly working to remain in contact with the road’s surface but all the driver feels is a satisfactory degree of responsiveness and grip.

As we know, the winter season is evolving which means that large dumpings of snow and warm spells can occur within days of each other. One characteristic inherent to the Hakka R3 is its quiet and comfortable ride. On the days where the roads are simply wet or even dry, your ears and spine won’t be pummeled by vibrations and unpleasant frequencies.

It’s always good to shop around for winter tires, and we certainly encourage reading up on as many makes and models as possible. However, if you want to buy an excellent winter tire and have peace of mind no matter what winter has in store, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 will deliver, and for winters to come.

Pricing for the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 is average to slightly above average depending on size, but then so its performance.

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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