Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Review

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Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Review
Bottom Line

If your winter roads are consistently ice covered, the studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 is for you. With its built-in metal teeth, the Hakka 8 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.

ProsUnbeatable on ice, Good traction on snow, Improved noise levelConsStill noisy compared to studless snow tires, Weak performance when breaking on wet pavement

Breaking it down

Performance

Maximum grip. For years, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta series has been unbeatable on ice in rigorous professional tests. Its predecessor, the well-regarded Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7, was one of the best performers ConsumerReports.org has seen when it comes to stopping on ice -- even besting the Michelin X-ice Xi3 (Est. $85 and up) in that regard -- and the Hakka 8 continues in that tradition. Canada's Automotive Protection Association calls it the "Top tire for deep snow and poor winter weather, coupled with good ice traction." 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 ice and deep snow conditions.

Comfort

Better manners. The biggest downside to studded tires -- aside from the potential damage they do to road surfaces -- is that they are known for having an uncomfortable and extremely noisy ride. However, experts note that new construction technologies have yielded a significantly better behaved and quieter tire. Blogger "Nick" at ModernCarTalk.com is a bit more descriptive. He replaces the Gislaved NordFrost5 on his Honda Fit with the Hakka 8 and observes: "In town, with the Gislaveds the Fit would jump around like a Yak over uneven city roads, with the Hakkas those road abnormalities are absorbed better."

Durability

No treadwear warranty or durability ratings. None of our sources tested the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 for durability, and we couldn't find any large owner surveys for this tire, either. Like most snow tires, the Hakkapeliitta 8 carries no treadwear warranty.

Our Sources

1. Norwegian Automobile Federation

Norwegian Automobile Federation, Editors of the Norwegian Automobile Federation, Oct. 2, 2015

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 is named the top studded snow tire by the Norwegian Automobile Federation. It gets top marks in all regards in handling on ice -- braking distances are short and lateral grip is good, and is among the best in snow, too. Braking and driving feel on wet pavement is a weakness, but the editors note that if a tire is designed with ice performance as a priority, this is an unavoidable trade off.

2. Automobile Protection Association

2015 - 2016 Passenger Car, Minivan and Compact SUV Winter Tire Reviews, Editors of the Automobile Protection Association, Oct. 28, 2015

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 is among the winter tires that are Top Rated by the APA. The tire is called expensive, and the warranty has limitations, but it's a top performer on snow and ice. Another plus -- it has a quieter ride than the Hakka 7 it replaces.

3. The Globe and Mail

Testing tires in White Hell – the birthplace of winter tires, Peter Cheney, Feb. 6, 2015

Peter Cheney tests Nokian snow tires at Nokian's "White Hell" test facility in Finland and says that of all the company's tires, the Hakkapeliitta 8 is called a "clear winner." He adds that it's "a tire that epitomizes winter performance.

4. La Presse

Winter tires for compact: our choices, Jean-François Guay, Feb. 2, 1015

The Hakka 8 has replaced the Hakka 7 as the new best winter tire according to testing by Quebec's La Presse. The tire excelled in both snow and ice conditions.

5. Modern Car Talk

Tested -- Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 real world review, "Nick", Feb. 5, 2015

User reviews for the Hakka 8 are tough to come by, but this long blog post by "Nick" at Modern Car Talk provides some useful insights. Comparing them to his former tires, the Gislaved NordFrost5, he says "The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8's are incredibly stable at highway speeds, the Gislaveds were good as well but we are at whole new level in handling and driving comfort."

6. ConsumerReports.org

Putting Studded, Studless Winter Tires to the Test, Gene Petersen, Oct. 16, 2012

In this free report, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 -- the predecessor to the Hakkapeliitta 8 -- 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.