- Marvelous snow and ice performance
- Comfortable and quiet
- Usable in slightly warmer weather
- Wide range of size options
- Dry performance could use a bit of improving
- Wet braking distances are average
You’ve often heard me say that all-season tires are not a replacement for a winter one, so today, I’ll be talking about a specific winter tire. Nokian is a Finish brand, and as such, it has a reputation for making premium winter tires. Whether that is true or not, we’ll see later in the review.
The brand has plenty of tires in its lineup, and the one I’ll be looking at today is the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3. It’s a non-studded winter tire that should offer safety and comfort without a sacrifice on performance.
What are the features of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3?
Designed as a winter tire, the main focus of the Hakkapeliitta R3 is the rubber compound and the tread design. Winter tires generally use a softer compound that prevents them from being too hard in colder temperatures. Nokian took that route and used its winter rubber compound to ensure that it doesn’t underperform.
As part of Nokian’s Arctic Sense Grip Concept, there are two aspects that help the Hakkapeliitta R3 have excellent performance in the winter.
To improve ice performance, the tire has Biobased Cryo Crystal 3 particles. While the exact details of the technology are closely guarded, the goal of these particles is to help the tire have better traction on ice.
In terms of the tread design, Nokian played it safe and went with the proven V-shape of the grooves. The pattern isn’t only designed to offer grip on snow, it should also help with comfort and stability. Another area where the tread pattern should help is on wet roads, especially with aquaplaning resistance.
The Hakkapeliitta R3 also has a feature called Snow Claws. Nokian designed them to act like biting edges and are placed between the blocks and the shoulders of the tire. The goal is to offer better traction when accelerating or braking both on snow and ice.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
For a winter tire, the Hakkapeliitta R3 performs very well on dry tarmac. When driving a winter tire, it’s essential to know that it’s a tire that cannot drive as sporty as some high-performance one. The handling isn’t too bad; the steering is decently responsive and has average feedback from the road.
During more aggressive acceleration, the tire will have a decent amount of grip, as long as you don’t overdo it. Even more powerful cars will be fine. The levels of grip are good, and you won’t feel the tire struggling to find grip in the corners. One area where the tire falls a bit short is the braking distance. They are longer than the Hakkapeliitta R3’s premium rivals, even a bit longer than Nokian’s Nordman RS2.
The tire is safe and confident on the road, but I would have like to see a bit better performance on dry tarmac.
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
Wet performance with the Hakkapeliitta R3 is excellent, much better than on dry roads. In terms of handling, I can safely say that it’s one of the best in the business. Not only does it have plenty of grip in the corners, but the traction is also phenomenal, and the tire offers much more than what most drivers need.
The braking distances are a tad shorter than the best performing Goodyear UltraGrip Ice 2, seal the deal and make the Hakkapeliitta R3 one of the safest tires for wet surfaces.
Thanks to the V-shaped tread pattern, aquaplaning resistance is excellent, and the tire remains stable even in deeper water patches.
How is it over snow?
Snow is what the Hakkapeliitta R3 knows and does it well. The performance is exceptional, but not perfect, as there are some areas that Nokian can improve.
The Snow Claws are doing their job, and the tire has an amazing amount of grip in the corners and traction when accelerating. A similar weakness on a wet road is also present here – the braking distances. While they are still short enough to be considered safe, they are average in the premium class.
Ice performance is also impressive, and the braking distances are a bit improved. With handling that’s one of the best in class and excellent traction and grip, the Hakkapeliitta R3 is a tire that feels like it’s specifically designed for the ice. This is thanks to the Biobased Cryo Crystal 3 particles that help improve traction. The braking distances on ice are above average but still not as good as some other premium models.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Yes, the Hakkapeliitta R3 is very comfortable and is one of the quietest winter tires out there.
The tire can cope with road imperfections without any problems, softening them up quite well. This is probably due to a slightly softer sidewall when compared with other tires. Even large potholes won’t be an issue as the tire will almost eliminate vibrations transferred to the car.
As for the noises, the Hakkapeliitta R3 is surprisingly quiet for a winter tire. It’s not the quietest tire, but among its competitors, it is very quiet, even at highway speeds.
Is it good for off-roading?
No, the Hakkapeliitta R3 would be a terrible choice for off-roading. The problem wouldn’t be in the lack of performance, but the damage you can inflict to the rubber. As a softer compound, continuous driving over shaper rocks can damage it, reducing its lifespan and performance.
Is the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 ideal for sporty driving?
It’s not a terrible tire for sporty driving, but I wouldn’t recommend treating the Hakkapeliitta R3 as such. While the responsiveness and feedback aren’t the worst in the business, the tire’s primary focus is to be usable in winter conditions. If you push it too hard in a corner, the tire will have enough grip to get the job done. the problem is that you will notice the sidewall flexing, which is not something you should do too often to the tire.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Warranty
Nokian’s warranty for the Hakkapeliitta R3 is a bit weird. Unlike most of its rivals with a specific mileage limit over 5 or 6 years, things are a bit different here. The warranty on the tire is either 5 years from purchasing or 6 years from the manufacturing date, and it includes premature wear during that time.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Pricing: Is it worth the money?
Yes, the Hakkapeliitta R3 is worth the money, even though it’s not the cheapest option. With prices starting from around $100, you won’t have to look too much to find more affordable tires. The problem with them is that the performance levels won’t be anywhere near the ones on the Hakkapeliitta R3.
Should I buy the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3?
If you live in an area with harsh winters, the Hakkapeliitta R3 is the perfect tire for you. It may not be very affordable, but you do get a lot of performance for the money.
On dry roads, the tire is not the absolute best but still drives very well. Decent grip and traction will get you going or around a corner. It’s responsive enough for a winter tire, and you will feel some feedback through the steering wheel. One thing I noticed is that even in warmer weather, the tire remains drivable. I wouldn’t recommend driving the Hakkapeliitta R3 in summer, but we sometimes get warmer days in winter, at which point the tire remains perfectly safe to drive. The only noticeable downside is the slightly longer braking distances.
Wet performance is much better, with excellent grip and traction levels. Going around corners even at higher speeds won’t upset the tire. Combine that with the excellent aquaplaning resistance and relatively short braking distances, and you get a tire with one of the best wet performances in the business.
Snow and ice performance are equally impressive and excel in almost every scenario. Grip and traction post no problem even for spirited drivers or some more powerful cars, and the handling is one of the best in the class. The braking distances on snow and ice are not class-leading but are still short enough to provide a safe driving experience.
Comfort and noise levels are superb, and while the comfort isn’t too surprising, the low noise levels are. As a winter tire, the Hakkapeliitta R3 had very low noise levels, regardless of the car’s speed.
The warranty is a bit weird, mainly because it’s not a mileage-related one. If there’s premature wear in less than 5 years from purchasing or 6 years from the production date, you should get a replacement.
However you look at things, despite some slight drawbacks, the Hakkapeliitta R3 is one of the best winter tires currently on sale.
What Vehicles Will the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Fit?
- Audi A3, A4, A6, Q3, Q5
- BMW 1, 3, 5 series, X3, X5
- Ford Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, C-Max, Kuga, Escape
- Honda Civic, Accord, Jazz, Odyssey, CR-V
- Hyundai i30, Elantra, Santa Fe, Tucson
- Lexus ES, IS, NX, RX
- Mazda 2, 3, CX-3,
- Nissan Altima, Micra, Qashqai, Juke
- Suzuki Swift, Vitara, SX4
- Toyota Corolla, Camry, CH-R, Rav4
This is a sample list of cars that will fit the Hakkapeliitta R3. Considering the size options, making a complete list is impossible because the tire can fit anything from a small hatchback to a big SUV.
Tire Sizes for Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3