If your winter roads are consistently ice covered, the studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 is for you. With its built-in metal teeth, the Hakkapeliitta 7 is one of the top performers when it comes to braking performance on ice, and is an excellent performer in the snow as well. However, studded tires have a couple of downsides. They're louder than studless tires, and they can damage pavement, so some states ban or restrict them.
Flawless on ice, but disappointing on bare roads. For years, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta series has been unbeatable on ice in rigorous professional tests. It's one of the best performers ConsumerReports.org has seen when it comes to stopping on ice -- even besting the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 (Est. $95 and up) in that regard. But on clear roads, studded tires aren't so great. Their metal teeth skitter over bare pavement, and on wet and dry roads braking suffers. Studded tires really work best for drivers who battle constant icy conditions.
Like all studded tires, they're loud. "While ride compliance was impressive, there was no escaping the tire noise on cleared pavement," ConsumerReports.org testers say of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7. Other reviewers agree. Jean-François Guay of Canada's French-language La Presse cites noise as the most significant downside.
No treadwear warranty or durability ratings. None of our sources tested the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 for durability, and we couldn't find any large owner surveys for this tire, either. Like most snow tires, the Hakkapeliitta 7 carries no treadwear warranty. Some snow tires do -- for example, the studless Michelin X-Ice Xi3 has a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty.
In this free report, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 beats four other studded winter tires in this test. It brakes better on ice than any other winter tire -- studded or studless -- with excellent traction in snow, but like all studded tires, it's noisy.
Review: Putting Studded, Studless Winter Tires to the Test, Gene Petersen, Oct. 16, 2012
2. La Presse
French-language La Presse names the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 as the best tire for dealing with the harsh winters so common in Quebec, Canada. Noise is a downside, but otherwise, it's a terrific performer with a tread design that makes short work of snow, and studs that grip securely when ice is a factor.
Review: Winter tires 2013: our choices, Jean-François Guay, Oct. 24, 2012
About.com's Sean Philips tests the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 on Nokia's test track, located north of the Arctic Circle, in Finland. He comes away impressed. "Driving on the frozen surface, whether in the VW Golf or the monster Audi RS4, felt like driving on pavement," Phillips writes.
Review: Review: Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded, Sean Phillips, Not Dated
This tire industry trade magazine reports on testing by of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 by Finish, Swedish and Russian car magazines. All come away impressed with performance, especially on ice, but at least one notes that other tires fared better with snow. This is an older source, but the tire has not changed since it was published.
Review: Nokian Hakkapeliitta Rated Best Winter Tire in Mag Tests, Editors of TireReview.com, Oct. 12, 2010