Nokia may not be the choice for tire enthusiasts, but Finland knows a thing or two about snow. After all, this is the company that brought us the Hakkapeliitta line. It goes without saying that when Nokian announced a new line of SUV tires with the coveted triple snow emblem on the side, I was extremely curious.
I exchanged my existing tires (OEM Bridgestone Duelers from later Wrangler) into the Jeep car a few years ago to replace the base model rubber, perfectly suitable for everyday driving and great for energy saving, but not much value for my typical Wrangler use case. Duelers have enough endurance for long drives and don’t make a lot of noise, so they were fine for me until the first time I drove the Wrangler in a measurable amount of snow.
The first time it happened, I still lived in Cleveland. While many outsiders think of Ohio as a flat plain filled with cows and blaring billboards, the eastern half of the state is actually quite hilly – much more so than Detroit. Anything more than an inch or two of snow necessitates a switch to four-wheel drive if I want to get anywhere, and that’s just the accelerating side of the equation. Brake? Sorry.
And while it’s a lot easier to get around in southeast Michigan, the roads are often in a lot worse shape, forcing me to rely heavily on all-wheel drive whenever the weather comes. down south. While that’s acceptable as an occasional crutch, I know it means I should consider winter-specific rubber. Naturally, when Nokian provided us with a genuine terrain set Tires for traveling on snow To check it out, I immediately raised my hand, and Nokian happily sent me a set of five AT Outposts (because of the Wrangler) to try out during the season.
The Outpost AT borrows a few tricks from the standard all-terrain books. Large, tough spike blocks help bite on uneven surfaces, and an aramid (think Kevlar) reinforcement protects against punctures. But despite this dense terrain focus, Nokian took care to make sure that the Outpost AT didn’t get completely nasty on the streets. The semi-separate block design helps prevent tire vibration, which can make steering response and feedback feel vague.
If you have ever driven (or been near) a vans Riding on all-terrain tires, you know exactly how loud they are. Nokian’s tread design eliminates some of the most intrusive noise, and we’re pleased to say our experience on the road supports what Nokian’s engineers have told us. In fact, they’re quieter than the standard all-season A/Ts that I usually get in my Jeep. I went with a tire that was slightly narrower than what I normally run (215 mm vs 245). It’s a rule of thumb when choosing a snow tire because the narrower cross-section allows the tire to easily penetrate the snow down to something nicer. They’re the same height as the 16-inch wheels of my Jeep classic Wrangler Sport, which makes them a perfect fit.
These street performance tires aren’t, but they don’t make the already somewhat rough and messy experience of daily Jeep riding any worse, which is probably the best one can do. talking about a Wrangler mod, especially since I’m a two-door, soft-top model from 2011 with all the shrill sound of a soft drink can. No, it really doesn’t take much to impress a Wrangler rider, but that’s not to say we don’t appreciate a little relief now and again.
I’ve had Outpost ATs on Wrangler since early January, which means I’ve had no shortage of opportunities to play in the snow, and these tires have made them almost completely quiet. Most notable by far was the mayhem that descended on the metro area at the end of February, making for a particularly unpleasant drive before dawn. GM’s Technology Center in Warren, where most of the surrounding roads are unpaved. Almost all of this is negotiable in 2WD with the Wrangler’s traction control turned off to allow a bit of wheel spin from a stop – or perhaps some ponytail. empty in the corners.
So far, the Outpost AT is proving to be a significant upgrade over all-season rubber, but snow performance is only half the equation here. After all, what good is an all-terrain tire if it only works well on asphalt? While we’re probably no more than six weeks away winter tires season here in Michigan, I plan on taking at least one more decent trail drive before the temperatures turn hostile to the cold weather compounds. Stay tuned for that.