What every best Snow Tires has:
- Strong grip on snow and ice.
- A comfortable ride.
Terrific for severe ice and snow. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 outclasses all rivals on winter roads in professional tests, equaling or bettering other well-regarded tires in testing by the most reliable reviewers. It's also well-behaved on pavement for the most part (dry braking distances are criticized a little in one review), so much so that some experts deem it to be a reasonable choice as a tire for a performance car, at least a performance car that's regularly driven in climates where snow and ice are a serious and regular concern. If there's a hole in the Hakkapeliitta's game it's in its performance on wet roads. It gets dinged a bit for its resistance to hydroplaning, and a bit more for relatively long wet braking distances, and that's reflected in testing by the Norwegian Automobile Federation, though that group still rates it as the fourth best studless winter tire you can buy, and the best of the tires its tested that's available for sale in the U.S.
Easy-riding. Ride comfort is a strong point with the Hakkapeliitta R2, and ConsumerReports.org gives the tire its highest score on that parameter. Freedom from noise is another plus. "The R2's were smooth and precise," says ThoughtCo.com's Sean Phillips. "They were also remarkably quiet for winter tires, generating only a medium bell tone that I had to open the window to hear at all."
Limited warranty. The Nokian R2's warranty is typical for snow tires -- in other words, it's not very comprehensive. The tire is covered for defects in workmanship or materials for five years from purchase, or six years from manufacturing, but that's prorated, and there's no free replacement period. There's also no warranty for treadwear at all, but that's typical of most snow tires, aside from those offered by Michelin. User feedback, at least that from U.S. drivers is limited, but we don't see an excessive pattern of complaints on that score.
Editors of ConsumerReports.org test winter tires for passenger cars, including the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 tire. They judge each tire's snow traction; braking on icy, dry and wet roads; handling; hydroplaning; ride comfort; noise and more. Editors rank the tires from best to worst in a handy chart.
The APA includes the Hakkapeliitta R2 in its category of top-rated winter tires for 2017-2018. Though the APA does not appear to have done its own testing, it notes that these tires are "The ice braking champion in European tire tests." Though not a performance winter tire, the editors also say that the R2 is "a good alternative for drivers of rear-wheel-drive sporty vehicles looking for a good balance of severe weather performance and decent handling on pavement."
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 finishes further down the list among studless snow tires for 2017-2018, but with a still strong score and still higher than any tire with U.S. availability. It’s considered “stable and safe on snow and ice,” but not a very good performer on roads that are merely wet.
Car and Driver takes six winter tires 186 miles above the Arctic Circle to find the best performers on ice and snow. Though another tire, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, comes close, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 captures the crown. Price is a concern, but if the best winter traction is what concerns you most, K.C. Colwell says that this is the tire to buy.
ThoughtCo.com's Sean Phillips tests the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 and reports that the tire is "crazy good." Performance on hardpack snow is described as similar to what you might expect on pavement, and handling on pavement is as much fun "as any Ultra High Performance Winter tire I've ever driven," he says.
We spotted more than 70 reviews of the R2 here. Users score tires on a variety of factors, and the site uses a weighted system -- for example 15 percent for traction under dry condition, down to 5 percent for fuel consumption -- to come up with an overall rating, which is around 4.5 stars for this tire.