- 30,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Noise levels are surprisingly good for a winter tire
- Deals with bumps well and softens them up
- Dry and wet performance is average
- Falls behind other studdable tires on snow and ice
I often speak about how an all-season tire isn’t a good option for harsher winter conditions, so a proper winter tire is what I recommend. For the most part, this is a solid option, as it will cover most people’s needs for what they want. With that said, there are some situations where even winter tires will struggle, which is where studded tires come into play.
Essentially, with the studded tires, you are looking at a winter tire, but with tiny holes where you can fit metal studs. This is the best way to improve winter performance in situations where a studless winter tire will struggle, and in most cases, we’re talking about ice.
Even though these aren’t overly popular tires, and there aren’t too many models, the premium and mid-range manufacturers have a few on sale. The model I have chosen for today is a mid-range one from the Korean brand Nexen with its Winguard Winspike. Based on the manufacturer’s product page, we should be looking at a solid performer capable of delivering excellent performance, especially in the harshest winter conditions.
Before we see how the tire fairs in the tests, let’s take a look at some of the features it offers. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is the WH62, which is the passenger version of the tire. There’s also a WS62, the model that comes in sizes for CUVs and SUVs.
What are the features of the Nexen Winguard Winspike?
The Winguard Winspike is a studdable, so that is the main feature. With that said, it’s not the only one, and the rest are designed to help the tire deliver its performance in other areas.
On the handling side of things, we have the center rib block designed as a single block running continuously around the tire. By taking this approach, the Winguard Winspike shouldn’t sacrifice the way it handles and should eliminate the mediocre responsiveness winter tires suffer. As a bonus, the high-speed stability should be excellent.
There are several aspects of the tire that should aid in the performance in wet conditions. For traction, the rubber compound and the sipes should help the tire claw onto the pavement and either eliminate or minimize slip. In heavy rain conditions, the Winguard Winspike features a V-shaped tread pattern designed to evacuate water more efficiently and improve the aquaplaning resistance.
In snowy conditions, Nexen made the Winguard Winspike so that it can perform even without the studs, like most winter tires. The zig-zag grooves are part of the tread pattern, which should help the tire bit into snow and provide traction, grip, and short braking distances.
Finally, as I mentioned, the main feature of the Winguard Winspike is the studs. Each stud is located on a specially designed slot to ensure the tire performs optimally. As a result, we should see some good performance in icy conditions with the studs on.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
We often see these kinds of tires struggle a bit in dry conditions, but I feel like the Winguard Winspike struggles a bit more. It will be fine in everyday situations, but it won’t handle a lot of pushing.
As far as traction and grip are concerned, the Winguard Winspike does a decent job. If you don’t accelerate like on the drag strip, the tire won’t slip, and you’ll be fine. Cornering at normal speeds is fine, and it will hold the line without too much drama. As good as this sounds, there is a slight drawback. While this sounds good, you should keep in mind that the levels aren’t exceptionally high, so you shouldn’t drive it too aggressively.
One area the tire does relatively well is braking distances. Even though they aren’t as short as the premium counterparts, the Winguard Winspike does pretty well within the mid-range class.
Regarding handling, the Winguard Winspike shouldn’t be on your radar if you’re after a dynamic tire. It’s not the fastest responding one, and due to its nature, you’ll notice a lot more flex in the sidewall. For this, you’re better off looking at something from the Pilot Alpin lineup.
Dry Rating: 3.5/5
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
The performance in wet conditions is slightly improved, but like in the previous section, nothing to write home about. It does a decent job for getting around town or on the highway, and that’s as much as you can expect from it.
On damp surfaces, you are looking at good enough levels of grip and traction, which should be fine for most average drivers. If you’re not too aggressive with the gas pedal, the slip will be minimal. In terms of cornering, it’s okay, but again, I wouldn’t recommend pushing it hard, as it won’t have the performance to keep up. The same goes for the braking distances – they are safe but average even when compared with other tires from the mid-range segment.
In terms of the aquaplaning resistance, things are average, again. The tread pattern of the Winguard Winspike does a decent job at evacuating water from beneath it but still falls behind some rivals, even from Nokian.
Wet Rating: 4/5
How is it over snow?
You’re getting a winter tire for the improved performance in winter, but unfortunately, the Winguard Winspike has slightly disappointing results here.
As a winter tire, the Winguard Winspike does an acceptable job at delivering traction when accelerating. With that said, you shouldn’t get too comfortable with the gas pedal, as you’ll notice a lot of slip in some aggressive scenarios. The same goes for the grip, which is enough for normal driving, and that’s about as much as you can expect.
Speaking of low expectations, we have the braking distances. They are way off from the mid-range segment, and despite being safe, you should expect them to be longer. Handling is another aspect of the Winguard Winspike where you won’t be getting much. Once you start approaching the limit, you’ll notice it becoming a bit of a handful to control and not as planted as most people would want.
You’re probably thinking that adding the studs should improve the performance. Surprisingly no. The Winguard Winspike, even with the studs, doesn’t seem to offer a lot of improvements in any area, especially not on ice. Sure, it’s usable and better than driving without the studs, but it doesn’t do a marvelous job compared to its rivals.
Snow Rating: 3.5/5
Is it comfortable and refined?
So far, most of what the Winguard Winspike had to offer wasn’t too impressive, but luckily, it does a bit better in terms of refinement.
The comfort levels of the Winguard Winspike are decent. Winter tires are generally softer, so you can expect this one to smooth out uneven roads and soften up bumps. The best part is that it doesn’t seem to upset it too much, and the tire doesn’t feel too bouncy in these situations.
Noise levels are also very good. Most winter tires are a bit loud, but the Winguard Winspike is surprisingly quiet. There is some noise coming from it at slower speeds and you will hear it a bit more on the highway. With that said, most of its competitors in the mid-range segment aren’t as quiet.
Comfort Rating: 4/5
Is the Nexen Winguard Winspike ideal for sporty driving?
There are some winter performance options on the market, but the Winguard Winspike isn’t one of them. The tire’s performance is passable for daily driving, so you shouldn’t expect high levels of grip and traction. On top of that, you’re looking at a tire that doesn’t have the most dynamic handling characteristics.
Noise Rating: 4/5
Nexen Winguard Winspike Warranty
One thing that surprised me was the warranty. Unlike most tires in this category, the Winguard Winspike comes with a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty. As a comparison, you have premium models like the Goodyear WinterCommand that come without it.
Nexen Winguard Winspike Pricing: Is it worth the money?
If we put the performance side and look at the price, we can see that the Winguard Winspike is a very affordable option. Even on the smallest sizes, you’re looking at a price difference of around $20 when compared with the Cooper Evolution Winter.
Value Rating: 4.5/5
Should I buy the Nexen Winguard Winspike?
I wouldn’t run off to the dealer and get the Winguard Winspike, but I would keep it on my list.
The performance isn’t on the same level as some of its rivals, so that would make you cross it off. With that said, the tire’s price is noticeably lower than its mid-range rivals, meaning people on a tighter budget would find it appealing. As part of the package, you’re getting a decently refined tire with a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty.
In my opinion, the Winguard Winspike is a tire where you get what you pay for. It’s cheaper, but that also means you won’t be getting a performance that will wow you. If you set your expectations right, it may be fine for you.
Overall Rating: 3/5
What Vehicles Will the Nexen Winguard Winspike Fit?
Here’s a sample list of cars that the Nexen Winguard Winspike will fit:
- Audi A1, A3, TT
- BMW 1, 3 Series
- Chevrolet Aveo
- Daewoo Lanos
- Honda Civic, Accord
- Mazda 2, 3
- Mitsubishi Colt
- Nissan Micra
- Subaru Impreza
- Toyota Yaris, Corolla
- Volkswagen Polo, Golf
Tire Sizes for Nexen Winguard Winspike
- 175/70R14 84T
- 185/60R14 82T
- 185/70R14 92T XL
- 185/55R15 86T XL
- 185/65R15 92T XL
- 195/55R15 89T XL
- 195/60R15 92T XL
- 195/65R15 95T XL
- 205/65R15 99T XL
- 205/70R15 96T
- 215/70R15 98T
- 195/55R16 87T
- 195/60R16 89T
- 205/60R16 92T
- 215/60R16 99T XL
- 215/65R16 102T XL
- 225/55R16 99T XL
- 225/60R16 102T XL
- 215/50R17 95T XL
- 225/45R17 91T
- 225/50R17 98T XL
- 225/55R17 101T XL
- 235/45R17 97T XL
- 245/45R17 99T XL
- 225/40R18 92T XL
- 225/45R18 95T XL
- 235/40R18 95T XL
- 245/45R18 100T XL
- 245/50R18 104T XL
- 255/45R18 103T XL
Extremely LOUD. Obnoxiously loud considering yes studded winter tires are noisier but these are ridiculously loud on dry pavement.