Last year we looked at the Nokian WR G2 which was a fantastic winter tyre. New for winter 2011 Nokian has introduced their third generation of the WR winter tyre range. One of their new additions to the line up is the Nokian WR A3 sports/performance winter tyre.
For those of you who are new to the brand, Nokian is a Finnish tyre company that has been around for over 75 years. One of their specialties is the winter tyre range and the company tests their winter tyres rigorously on their very own winter testing range in Ivalo – Finland.
Looking back at its predecessor we were hoping that the Nokian WR A3 would live up to expectations and it does not disappoint as it arrives with some new features and enhancements.
Source: Nokian Public Press
Looking at the Nokian WR A3 you’ll immediately notice some familiar and welcome features with the return of the WR’s asymmetric tread pattern. The idea behind this is similar to putting two tyres together in one package. The inner-shoulder pattern helps to evacuate water and more importantly slush allowing for more contact with the road, while the outside-shoulder tyre pattern improves stability and handling at speed.
The Nokian WR A3′s primary focus is on performance, and using Nokian’s latest in nanotechnology and design they have included a special layer that adds additional structural support to this multi-layer tyre. This Nanobase structural technology should increase the tyres cornering and handling ability giving it increased performance characteristics.
Whether or not this feature actually makes a difference to your driving experience depends on your own perception and for everyday (or spirited) driving it may be difficult to notice a difference and not something we’d like to put to the test in winter traffic.
Two features that we particularly liked with the introduction of the Nokian WR A3 is its advancements in dealing with road noise. One of the typical problems with winter tyres is that they can produce a considerable amount of noise and Nokian has attempted to deal with this problem with their Silent Groove and Silent Side Wall technology.
The Silent Groove takes the form of cavities along the longitudinal groove that resembles a golfball like pattern. This helps to reduce drag from the passing airflow and it also helps to reduce the whistling effect of air passing over smooth surfaces.
A secondary benefit of these cavities is that it increases surface area to help dissipate heat that is built up in the tyre. While this may not be a problem in wintery conditions, it allows for the tyre to operate at optimal temperatures during days that are mildly warmer, where tyre temperature may become an issue.
The Silent Side Wall separates the tread from the rest of the tyre with a special vibration absorbing layer. This layer dampens the vibrations that gets transmitted back to the rest of the vehicle.
The Silent Grooves and Side Wall technology are two welcome features to improve ride comfort, especially at motorway speeds where road noise tends to be more of a concern.
Locking Tread Blocks
Another feature on the Nokian WR A3 are the 3D locking sipes. This 3D pattern locks the opposing sides together to stop excessive movement when the tread makes contact with the road. This 3D locking sipe primarily helps to reduce excessive movement creating a stiffer combined block. This improves performance characteristic and feel for the road. A more rigid tread block also means that this tyre will last longer and make your money go a little bit further.
In combination with its Silica/Canola Oil compound and low rolling resistance we can expect a reasonable level of longevity of this tyre that should see you through a fair few wintery seasons.
As you would expect with winter tyres the Silica/Canola Oil compound allows the tyre molecules to remain readily more flexible even in very low temperatures. Unlike traditional or summer tyres that tend to stiffen up when the temperature drops the Nokian WR A3 will allow for more grip on freezing roads.
Other Notable Features
Lastly, another returning feature is the polished grooves that made an appearance on the WR G2. This feature allows water and slush to be evacuated more efficiently than non-polished grooves allowing for better contact with the road in challenging conditions.
With the introduction of some of these innovative new features, not only does the Nokian WR A3 provide enhanced handling and safety in typical varying winter conditions, Nokian have now taken steps towards making a tyre that is more comfortable and longer lasting.
We believe that the Nokian WR A3 will be a popular product in the winter tyre market this coming season, and with good reason. If you were to part with your money and make an investment in a set of winter tyres the Nokian WR A3 should be a strong contender for your hard earned cash and would be on anybodies shortlist, if not the tyre of choice.
Summary Of Features
- Asymmetric Tread Pattern
- SilentGroove Technology
- SilentSidewall Technology
- 3D Locking Sipe Action
- Polished Grooves
- Cryogenic Canola Oil Compound
- Low Rolling Resistance
- Nanobase Technology
- A Capable Winter Tyre for Performance Vehicles
- Focus On Performance and Comfort