Nokian will not be a go-to for fanatic tires, however Finland is aware of a factor or two about snow. That is the corporate that introduced us the Hakkapeliitta line, in any case. It ought to go with out saying that when Nokian introduced a brand new line of SUV tires with the coveted three-peak snow image on the sideway, I used to be intrigued.
I swapped my present tires (OEM Bridgestone Duelers from a later Wrangler) onto the Jeep a couple of years in the past to interchange the base-model rubber, which was completely sufficient for day by day driving and glorious for gasoline economic system, however neither is of a lot worth to my Regular Wrangler use case. The Duelers are tolerable sufficient for lengthy drives and do not make a ton of noise, so that they suited me simply nice till the primary time I drove the Wrangler in a measurable quantity of snow.
The primary time that occurred, I used to be nonetheless residing in Cleveland. Whereas many outsiders consider Ohio as a flat plain stuffed with cows and aggressively preachy billboards, the jap half of the state is definitely fairly hilly — rather more so than Detroit. Something greater than an inch or two of snow just about mandated a shift into four-wheel drive if I wished to get anyplace, and that was simply the acceleration facet of the equation. Braking? Yikes.
And whereas getting round in powder is loads simpler right here in southeast Michigan, the roads are sometimes in far worse form, forcing me to depend on 4WD just about any time the climate goes south. Whereas that is acceptable as an occasional crutch, I knew it meant I ought to look into devoted winter rubber. Naturally, when Nokian supplied us a set of real all-terrain snow tires to check out, I instantly raised my hand, and Nokian fortunately despatched me a set of 5 (as a result of Wrangler) Outpost ATs to strive on for the season.
The Outpost AT borrows a couple of tips from the usual all-terrain playbook. Large, chunky tread blocks assist chew on uneven surfaces and an aramid (assume Kevlar) reinforcing layer protects towards punctures. However regardless of this heavy off-road focus, Nokian took care to make sure that the Outpost AT wasn’t utterly insufferable on the road. A semi-detached block design helps stop tread squirm, which might make steering suggestions and response really feel imprecise.
If you happen to’ve ever pushed (or been close to) a truck using on aggressive all-terrain tires, you understand precisely how noisy they are often. Nokian’s tread design helps cancel out among the most intrusive noises, and we’re happy to say that our expertise on the street backs up what Nokian’s engineers instructed us. In reality, they’re quieter than the usual all-season kind A/Ts I usually have on my Jeep. I went with a barely narrower tire than what I usually run (215 mm vs. 245). That is the rule of thumb when choosing snow tires as a result of the narrower part width permits the tire to extra simply chew down via the snow to one thing grippier. They’re the identical peak because the inventory 16-inch wheels for a Wrangler Sport of my Jeep’s classic, which makes them an ideal match.
Avenue efficiency tires these aren’t, however they do not make the already-slightly-rough-and-tumble expertise of dailying a Jeep any worse, which is perhaps the nicest factor one can say a few Wrangler mod, particularly since mine is a two-door, soft-top mannequin from 2011 with all of the sound deadening of a soda can. No, it actually does not take a lot to impress a Wrangler driver, however that does not imply we do not respect a little bit aid on occasion.
I’ve had the Outpost ATs on the Wrangler since early January, that means I’ve had no scarcity of alternatives to play within the snow, and these tires have made them virtually utterly uneventful. Essentially the most noteworthy to date was the slushy mess that fell on the metro space in late February, making for a very nasty pre-dawn drive to GM’s Tech Heart in Warren, the place many of the surrounding roads hadn’t been plowed. Nearly all of this was negotiable in 2WD with the Wrangler’s traction management shut off to permit for a little bit little bit of wheelspin from a useless cease — or maybe some rooster tails within the corners.
Up to now, the Outpost AT is proving to be a big improve over the inventory all-season rubber, however snow efficiency is just half the equation right here. In any case, what good is an all-terrain tire if it solely excels on asphalt? Whereas we’re in all probability not more than six weeks away from the tip of winter tire season right here in Michigan, I plan to get in not less than yet one more respectable path drive earlier than the temperatures flip hostile to cold-weather compounds. Keep tuned for that.