Continental VikingContact 7 Review

With its strong reputation for icy and snowy roads, the Continental VikingContact 7 is one of best German manufacturer’s winter offerings. But are there better options? Well, you’re about to find out.

Ford Fusion
VikingContact on Ford Fusion.

The Continental VikingContact 7 excels in winter conditions with superior ice and snow traction. It has good hydroplaning resistance and wet grip, moderate tread noise, and commendable dry road handling. While its tread durability is average, its design promotes longevity and enhanced fuel efficiency.

For Your Info: The Continental VikingContact 7 comes in 14 to 22 inches.

  • These sizes have speed ratings of H and T.
  • Load ratings comes in SL and XL (mostly).
  • Tread depth is 10/32″ on all sizes.
  • And weight ranges from 14 lbs and goes up to 35 lbs, (on the heaviest size).

Tread Structure

The Continental VikingContact 7 comes with a very packed up tread design, having a directional pattern.

Continental VikingContact 7
Continental VikingContact 7 elongated shoulder lugs have ridges in between to reduce tread noise.

So, it’s tread comes in two prominent sections.

One, it’s elongated shoulder lugs, and two, its central area consisting of squared off blocks.

Both of them together make very strong outer circumferential grooves, which are of course interconnected with others in the middle, allowing for superb resistance to hydroplaning (with efficient water evacuation capability).

The central lugs are intricately designed with wave-like sipes and chamfered sides, and have sharp edges.

Moreover, they are positioned atop secondary rubber layers, which act as reinforcing bases, so the spaces between these lugs function as in-groove notches.

Transitioning to the tread’s edges, the shoulder blocks are elongated and come in connected pairs.

These blocks, besides having sharper contours, feature a pronounced and dense siping pattern.

Moreover, they’re interspersed with broad lateral gaps, enhancing the tread’s self-cleaning capabilities.

Enhanced Winter Performance Overview

The efficiency of a tire in winter is largely dictated by its competence over two predominant terrains: ice and snow.

Let’s delve into each.

Ice Traction

Ice traction measures a tire’s proficiency in gripping and navigating icy surfaces.

Given the inherent slickness of ice and its minimal friction, achieving dependable traction is predominantly a function of the tire’s specialized rubber composition and intricate tread designs.

The key to exemplary performance on ice lies in a tire packed with numerous biting edges, while simultaneously maintaining flexibility even under severe cold conditions.

And this is exactly what the Continental VikingContact 7 provides you here.

The tire with specialized Nordic compound keeps its lugs thermally adaptive, while with varying interlocking siping throughout its tread combined with V-shaped in-groove notches (made by central squared blocks), you get ample bite.

Moreover, the tire also features a lighter overall structure as well, with a very composed tread, having foundational supports or as Continental likes to call them “solid linkage”.

These together basically keep the momentum force low, allowing for faster handling and steering responsiveness, and minimum slippage.

Though if you’re looking for the best tire here, you should check out the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 (review), this tire is pretty great, offering 5 feet shorter ice braking distance (on average), compared to VikingContact (which comes in at second place in my tests among all premium winter tires).

Snow Traction

When it comes to snow-covered roads, it’s all about a tire’s ability to effectively penetrate, grip, and subsequently release extra snow (accumulating in the tread).

Put simply, tires must foster an efficient snow-to-snow connection here to provide decent overall performance.

But why this contact is important?

The answer lies in the unique structures of snowflakes, which enable them to interlock with each other, facilitating a stronger bond with one another, compared to rubber.

Now, here the Continental VikingContact 7 offers pretty great results, where it’s inter-connecting grooves everywhere offer ample and efficient snow to snow contact, enhancing grip.

To give you an idea, its overall snow braking/handling is just as great as the best winter tire here.

For Your Info: Out of all it’s direct competitors, the Michelin X-Ice Snow (review) offers the best overall snow performance.

Wet Traction

Wet traction hinges on both the tire’s tread configuration and its rubber formulation. These elements influence the two pivotal facets of wet performance: wet grip and hydroplaning resistance.

Now the Continental ranks on top in all these aspects. In fact, I added this tire as the top wet performer, in my list of best studless winter tires.

Wet Grip

Wet grip is also determined by the volume of rubber interacting with the road, but the thing is water comes in the way, if it’s not cleared out in time.

So overall it depends on how well tire takes out water.

Enter grooves and sipes.

While grooves shoulder the responsibility of discharging most of the water, ensuring hydroplaning resistance (which we’ll explore in the next sub-topic), sipes tackle residual water at the microscopic level.

These sipes, embedded with air, exert it out, creating a vacuum effect. This mechanism draws in and removes water particles beneath them, facilitating clearer surface contact for the tire rubber.

Now, the Continental VikingContact 7 is one of the best tire in this domain, as it incorporates a very aggressive siping pattern that combines dual wave-like patterns (varying in thickness).

Moreover, as these sipes have multiple orientation/angles to them, they effectively grip in all directions.

Though most of its traction is coming from its hydroplaning resistance. Let me explain it in a separate section.

Mitigating Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning happens when water intervenes between the tire and the road. This is because water is incompressible and it fails to escape, it can potentially lead to total traction loss, or the tire to hydroplane or float.

To combat this, tires are designed with grooves, specifically tailored to channel water away and prevent this hazardous event.

Now the Continental VikingContact 7 excels, here, as throws out water very efficiently.

This is all thanks to it’s directional pattern, having voids running in all directions, thanks to it’s squared off lugs in the middle.

Moreover, the tire also has the advantage in terms of its well engineered contact patch. It’s tread is basically designed in a way, so it could put more pressure on the water, so it could leave out with greater force/push.

But how is helping its overall wet performance?

Well, this is because most of the water already passes out through grooves, and sipes, which come in later have less work to do, to begin with.

Comfort Parameters

The degree of comfort a tire offers stems from its ability to minimize road noise and adeptly absorb vibrations. And here, factors such as tire composition, tread design, and sidewall structure play pivotal roles in ensuring a serene ride experience.

Let’s break down these elements.

Tread-Induced Noise

Now when it comes to tread noise, the Continental VikingContact 7 offers just an okay performance here, where it’s open shoulders allow air particles to easily move in and hit around causing noise.

Basically noise is the main cause of noise, where the impact of the air particles striking with the walls, produces primary noise, which then leads to in-groove resonance.

Now although the Continental is a little louder compared to other winter options, its still not that bad.

I mean, its noise is could have gotten worse, if it wasn’t for its special Nordic compound and ContiSilent technology (as Continental likes to call them). It basically keeps the in-groove resonance limited, relatively.

Shock Absorption

When it comes to overall ride experience, the internal and outer construction of the tire has a lot to offer.

And the Continental VikingContact 7, although gets to be louder, it still features better performance in this, other half of overall comfort.

The tire offers a mix of needed softness and rigidity here, allowing for efficient shock absorption, with a control as well.

Dry Road Performance

Overall dry performance is two parts, grip and handling. The grip is fundamentally about the rubber’s interaction with the road and is divided into two segments: directional and lateral adherence.

Let’s start with directional.

Directional Dry Grip

This type of grip pertains to the tire’s linear adhesion, and it’s efficiency predominantly lies in the tire’s central tread engagement with the road surface.

Moreover, as the central tread area bears maximum weight when the tire rolls linearly, it’s intuitive that its traction directly influences braking effectiveness.

While most of the premium winter tires feature continuous central ribs for persistent road contact, the Continental VikingContact 7 lacks with that. Though the tire still features a more enclosed pattern, extending even to the peripheral lugs.

And it’s this uniformity of its tread that still allows it to have above average directional grip, as seen by its appreciable braking distances (on tests).

I mean the tire only lacks by a mere 2 feet in overall braking tests (on average), compared to Blizzak WS90.

Though it still takes the lead in overall handling. Let me explain why in the separate section.

Dry Handling Proficiency

When it comes to dry handling, you should know that it’s a synergy between a tire’s overall traction and its feedback during steering.

Now we have already seen the directional traction, whereas lateral traction, which tells you about tire’s side-to-side grip, is greatly influenced by the tire’s shoulder components.

This is because as the maneuvers, its shoulder or sidewall regions increasingly engage with the road. The precision and extent of this interaction play a crucial role in determining a tire’s handling capabilities.

Having said that it can be explained why the Continental VikingContact 7 offers best dry handling times among all premium winter tires out there, even outperforming Blizzak WS90 (which comes in at the 2nd place).

This is mainly because of the tire’s stiffer internal nylon cap ply, which keeps its shoulder firm as its cornering, adding to its better overall steering responsiveness.

Tread Durability

Tread durability primarily hinges on two intertwined factors: rolling resistance and tread depth. And interestingly, there are two things to note here.

One, the tread depth has a direct relationship with tread lifespan, meaning, a tire with more tread depth is likely to last longer before hitting the standard minimum tread depth of 2/32″ (as required in places like the U.S.).

And two, it has an inverse relation with rolling resistance. Meaning deeper treads tend to flex more, resulting in heat generation and amplified rolling resistance.

And that’s where the Continental VikingContact 7 comes in, with it’s good enough tread depth, with a mixture of reinforced foundations.

So get a good average tread depth of 10/32″, where lugs aren’t prone to flexing, and you get decent overall mileage.

Moreover, its rubber is also not too soft, (which of course prevents it from negatively impacting wear).

And yes, like already explained, the tire has the edge of even distribution of weight among its lugs, or as Continental likes to call it ContiForce, so its overall tread longevity remains above average compared to other tires in the category.

Fuel Efficiency

A tire’s contribution to fuel efficiency is intricately tied to its mass and grip, both of which impact rolling resistance.

So what I mean by that?

Well, notably, a bulkier tire with pronounced tread gaps often undergoes enhanced lug flexing during maneuvers like turns, stops, or accelerations. This additional flexing, rather than aiding in propelling the vehicle forward, expends energy in restoring the lug’s shape or as heat, thereby slightly diminishing fuel efficiency.

With this in mind, the Continental VikingContact, being lighter, performs better in this regard. Its reduced weight relieves pressure on its lugs, resulting in lower rolling resistance.

Further, the tire’s streamlined and uniform tread pattern facilitates smoother rolling compared to most of it’s competitors.

Though being winter tires, you can’t expect too much out of them, of course.

To Sum Up

The Continental VikingContact 7 is a versatile winter tire that exhibits great performance across a range of conditions.

On icy terrains, its Nordic compound ensures adaptability, and the tire’s intricate tread design provides significant traction.

For snow-covered roads, its design promotes efficient snow-to-snow contact for enhanced grip.

Wet conditions see the tire delivering satisfactory performance due to aggressive siping patterns and effective hydroplaning resistance.

And on dry, it offers you with a reliable grip and superior handling.

Lastly, its lightweight construction and efficient design yield good enough fuel efficiency, as well.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 Review

Pirelli’s Winter Sottozero 3 is a blend of style and winter functionality, providing you with very appreciable ice and snow performance. Let’s see what else this tire has to offer for you.

Winter Tire Comparison
Pirelli offers decent snow traction overall.

Key Takeaway

So overall, looks like the Pirelli’s tire has some more drawbacks compared to its pros.

The tire excels in:

  • Fuel efficiency due to its special rubber compound.
  • Efficient water dispersion due to its directional tread pattern.
  • Dampening road irregularities, offering a smoother ride.
  • Handling snow-covered terrains with its interlocking lugs and shoulder design.

Though, the Winter Sottozero 3 needs improvement in a lot of areas, including:

  • Minimizing tread noise due to its open shoulder design.
  • Dry surface linear grip and overall handling, especially in braking and acceleration.
  • Tread longevity, as it shows quicker wear.
  • Ice traction compared to other options in the market.

Info on Sizes: The Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 comes in 16 to 21 inches with speed ratings of H, V and W, tread depth of 10/32″ on all sizes, and weight going from 18 lbs to 32 pounds. Moreover, the tire doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty.

Also Note: Since the tire offers best fuel economy, I added it to my list of top studless winter options, check it here:

Tire Construction

The Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 features a directional tread design, like mostly winter tire do.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 offers a lot of interlocking biters in the middle, though they are still not so effective, when it comes to dry linear traction performance.

Now the tire’s tread comes with 3 prominent ribs, with two outer shoulder ribs and the central one.

All of them have similar widths, and feature same siping pattern too.

Though the angles of sipes vary from one another.

The central most rib comes with V shaped biters, joined up by longitudinal slits, acting as in-groove notches.

With this the two wide circumferential grooves the tread has are inter-connected with each other.

Moving towards the shoulder area, elongated lugs come into view, featuring wider lateral tread voids in between.

These lugs are characterized by similar wave-like siping and longitudinal slits, designed for gripping on snow (especially while cornering).

Overall Wet Performance

Effective wet performance relies on a tire’s tread design and rubber composition, both tailored to handle water displacement and maintain contact with wet surfaces.

Now the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 has all the tread elements, highly needed here.

First off, it forms clear (outer two) circumferential grooves, and interconnect them laterally, with it’s voided up central rib.

This allows for effective water evacuation through grooves, allowing for superior float speeds, and resistance to hydroplaning.

Moreover, with more water going out, sipes have less burden, which is great for overall wet traction.

These sipes act as vacuum cleaners, sucking up water particles coming underneath. And since they change angles from rib to rib, they are able to provide grip in all directions too.

So overall, the Pirelli offers appreciable overall wet traction.

Though if wet traction is your main concern, you should know that the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 (review) is the best among it’s direct competitors.

Comfort Performance

There are two dimensions of overall comfort. Tire’s vibration dampening and noise reduction. Both of these are influenced by tire construction and design patterns.

Tread Noise Reduction

Tire tread noise results from air turbulence within tread patterns. That’s why larger voids in the tread can increase noise due to amplified air disturbances.

That’s why the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is not a quiet tire by any means. It’s open shoulders clearly allow air to come in with ease and hit around causing noise.

Moreover, with a ton of siping, the tire also produces a lot of growling, adding to it’s below average performance here, comparing other tires in the category, I mean.

Vibration Absorption

A tire’s shock-absorbing capabilities impact ride comfort, where both internal tire structure and external design contribute to it.

Now the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is a pretty decent tire here, as it dampens road irregularities with ease, providing a smoother ride relatively.

The tire has a softer compound to begin with, and internally features a dedicated layer to settle down road bumps.

Overall Dry Performance

Traction on dry surfaces is essential, with consistent rubber contact and adaptability to different road conditions playing a crucial role.

Here two dimensions come in to light, tire’s linear grip and overall handling encompassing lateral traction and steering.

Let’s check all of them one after another.

Dry Linear Grip

Linear grip relates to a tire’s performance in a straight-line, where the central tread region, bearing the most weight, contribute the most to overall on-center stability and grip.

Also since its a directional metric, it makes sense why its measured by the tire ability to grip (predominately), and accelerate.

Having said that, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is slightly lacking here, as its central most rib is pretty voided up. Meaning there’s less rubber (as most of it is lost to grooves), meeting the road, limiting overall grip.

That’s why compared to it’s (top performing) direct competitor here, the tire lacks by over 5 feet (in braking test).

Dry Handling and Steering

Overall handling is the combination of tire’s grip with it’s lateral stability (vital for responsive handling).

Now, here although the Winter Sottozero 3 provides decent lateral traction (as seen by its appreciable g forces, on average), the tire still comes below average among its competitors.

And that’s mainly because of it’s lacking directional grip.

I mean the tire offers good enough lateral grip and steering response, but with slower braking, it takes more time, while entering the corners.

Similarly, once out of the corner, where you need to accelerate back again, the tire again lacks with its less effective acceleration capability.

So overall you get below average dry handling performance on Pirelli, compared to it’s direct competitors.

Tread Longevity

Tread life depends on a lot of different variables, including grip, lug flexibility, tire’s weight/composition/design. Let’s take a look at all of them one by one to explain why the Winter Sottozero 3 isn’t so great here.

In case of grip, as the tire comes with pretty gripping rubber, showcasing speed ratings up to W, you get a lot of rolling friction, affecting its tread longevity.

Moreover, although the tire is not heavier (comparatively/relatively), it’s voided up structure still places a lot of pressure upon lugs, as the rub with the surface (they’re on) with a lot of friction.

And this further increases it’s tread wearing.

Though, sizes with lower speed ratings, do better.

And overall you can expect these tires to live up to 40k miles, on average.

Overall Winter Performance

When we think of winter, images of snow-covered landscapes and icy roads come to mind. So its best if we split this section in to two of these terrain types.

Ice Traction

Assessing a tire’s ability to tackle icy surfaces involves considering some crucial factors.

These include tire’s responsiveness (of tread), especially in low temperatures and the intricate details of its tread design, which enhance grip on slippery ice.

Having said that, although the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 comes with a ton of overall biters, it’s still can’t offer you with above-average overall ice performance. I mean there are much better option out there, outperforming this tire here.

Snow Traction

Navigating snow-covered roads requires a tire to effectively:

  • Form snow to snow contact, as snowflakes stick better to each other, compared to rubber.
  • Scoop snow backwards, to generate acceleration.

And the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is a good enough in both these areas.

It’s interlocking central lugs provide ample capturing of snow, providing decent snow braking, while the shoulder lugs act as shovels, providing with the needed acceleration.

Though the tire could use some improvement in terms of steering responsiveness, in overall snow handling.

Fuel Economy

A tire’s weight and traction characteristics determine rolling resistance, impacting vehicle fuel efficiency.

That’s because greater weight, increases the push on the lugs, enhancing friction, and fuel usage.

Now the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is one of the best in this regard, as the tire offers super tread composition here, which includes special polymers which are environment friendly.

The tire weighs a little, and with voided up design it lugs are stressed more because of that, the tire’s rubber blend still keep the rolling friction values at bay.

So you get top notch results on this tire in terms of fuel economy.

To Sum Up

So overall, the Pirelli tire offers a lot of varying performance metrics.

It’s directional pattern offers superb wet traction, and resistance to hydroplaning. And the tire offers decent performance in terms of winter conditions as well.

(Though its snow performance is more appreciable, compared to its ice traction).

As for dry, although the tire offers decent lateral grip, its overall handling times suffer because of it’s lacking directional grip.

In terms of comfort, while the tire dampens road irregularities effectively, it falls short in minimizing tread noise due to its open shoulder design.

And in terms of fuel economy, the tire’s softer compound combined with its tread structure results in greater energy consumption, leading to below-average fuel efficiency.

Lastly, since the very same factors also apply to its tread life, you also get below average performance when it comes to treadwear as well.

Nokian Nordman 7 Review

From the renowned Finnish brand, the Nordman 7 is Nokian’s reliable winter companion, offering pretty decent overall snow and ice traction, with it’s studable lugs. Let’s see what else this tire has to offer.

Winter Tire
Nordman 7 is a good budget pick.

Key Takeaway

So overall, the Nordman 7 tire comes with a mixed bag of results. It excels in:

  • Superb snow traction, offering impressive overall grip in snowy conditions.
  • Solid ice traction with above-average braking and acceleration capabilities.
  • Effective hydroplaning resistance, ensuring above-average float speeds.
  • A comfortable ride quality, thanks to a softer compound and an internal nylon cap ply.

However, there is room for improvement in certain areas:

  • Dry performance, particularly in terms of braking distances.
  • Overall handling, with lacking steering responsiveness.
  • Wet traction, struggling with wet grip and handling despite decent hydroplaning resistance.
  • Fuel economy, as the tire falls short due to relatively high rolling resistance.
  • Tread life, while acceptable, is still below average.

Info on sizes: Nordman 7 comes in 34 sizes in 13 to 17 inches rims. All sizes are speed rated with T, and have SL/XL load ratings. Moreover, all of them have 13/32″ of tread depth and weight range of 15 to 27 lbs.

Tread Appearance

The Nokian Nordman 7 comes with a directional tread pattern, as commonly seen on most of the winter tires out there.

Nokian Nordman 7
Nokian Nordman 7

Now the tire is clearly divided up in to two parts, shoulders and central lugs (which resemble tree branches).

Starting with the shoulders, the lugs are more refined here, compared to the middle.

Slanted lugs dominate this area, enriched with a ton of tread features like varied siping designs, offset edges, and stud holes.

Moving towards the tire’s central region, the tread here offers the most intriguing design elements. Here, two distinct ribs are present, with the central-most rib resembling a vine adorned with robust leaves.

Each lug in this area features pronounced in-groove notches.

To enhance their traction, these lugs are equipped with biting edges and an abundance of sipes.

The adjacent lugs share similar characteristics but also have sharp offset edges.

Dry Performance

Dry traction remains essential, even for winter tires. It’s majorly about the rubber’s contact with the road, further categorized into directional grip and lateral traction, combined with tire’s overall steering characteristics.

Let’s check them all.

Linear Grip

Linear grip focuses on a tire’s straight-line stability, relying on the central tread’s contact with the road. Moreover, as this grip is directional it’s measured by tire’s braking efficiency.

Having said that, it makes sense why the Nokian’s tire here is one of the most lacking tire here, I mean relatively, comparing others in its category.

But why is that happening, even though the tire features continuous running rib in the very middle, forming consistent rubber to road contact at all times.

Well, this has to do with the tire’s relatively greater average weight (seeing all sizes, and comparing it with others). With this the tire actually produces more momentum, which is not easier to stop.

The result, you see almost 15 feet longer braking distance on Nordman 7, compared to the top ranking tire here (GT Radial IcePro 3).

Lateral Grip And Steering

Dry handling combines lateral traction and steering feedback. The tire’s shoulder lugs determine its lateral grip since they interact more with the road during turns, while steering comes by a lot of variables.

Now, in terms of grip, the Nokian Nordman 7 is actually pretty great, offering decent values, as seen by its lateral g forces generated (on average).

However, overall the tire still comes below average when it comes to overall handling.

But why? Well, this has to do with it’s lacking steering feedback.

Actually, the tire comes with greater relative weight and more tread depth, causing lugs to flex more as the tire corners. This leads to lagging and vague steering, especially when it comes to mid-cornering feedback.

Moreover, with slower braking, the tire also takes more time slowing down before entering the corners, hurting its overall handling scores.

Wet Performance

The tread design and rubber composition of a tire influence its wet traction, focusing on wet grip and hydroplaning resistance.

Wet Traction

Wet grip, akin to dry grip, depends on the rubber’s contact with the road. However, water can impede this contact, necessitating water displacement by the tire’s grooves and sipes.

While grooves expel most of the water and offer hydroplaning resistance, sipes further clear water at a microscopic level, enhancing ground contact.

Now just like seen on dry, the Nokian Nordman 7 again comes at the bottom (comparing its direct competitors), in terms of wet longitudinal grip.

And same is the case with its handling as well, where it’s weight yet again causes slower response times.

(It lacks to its Ice Pro 3 by over 3 seconds in overall handling lap times, averaged).

Though the tire is pretty decent in terms of hydroplaning resistance, which is another crucial factor here.


Hydroplaning occurs when water gets trapped between the tire and the road. As water isn’t compressible, if not properly channeled out, it can lead to a loss of traction.

This is where the tire’s grooves play a role, redirecting the water and preventing hydroplaning.

And the Nokian Nordman 7 being pretty voided up, does a pretty decent job here, offering above average float speeds on average.

It’s vine shaped lugs in the middle, complimented by its directional pattern easily throw water/slush out and allow for decent curved and straight aqua scores (as seen on tests).

Overall Winter Performance

The efficiency of a tire in winter is primarily assessed by its performance on ice and snow.

Snow Traction

Snow traction describes the tire’s effectiveness on snow-laden roads. It’s not just about digging into the snow but also releasing it to prevent accumulation.

Simply put, tires need to make effective snow-to-snow contact here, which generates more friction than rubber-to-snow contact.

And this is where the Nokian Nordman 7 redeems itself, coming out as one of the top ranking tires among its direct competitors, offering superb snow braking, acceleration and overall traction values.

Side Note: If snow traction is your primary need, you should know that the Michelin X Ice Snow offers the best results, though its way more pricey, in comparison. Review that tire here:

Ice Traction

Ice traction denotes the tire’s ability to grip and stabilize on icy surfaces. Given the minimal friction of ice, a tire’s rubber compound and tread design become essential.

So effective tires here should have numerous and flexible “biters” that can remain functional with freezing conditions.

Now, the Nokian Nordman 7 is again pretty great here, where although it’s handling can be improved a little, it offers above-average braking and acceleration values.

Also, since the lugs are stud-able, you can further improve it’s overall ice performance.

Fuel Economy

Fuel efficiency of tires is tied to their weight and traction, both affecting rolling resistance.

And to put things into perspective, heavier tires with large tread gaps tend to flex more during maneuvers, consuming more energy that would otherwise assist in tire movement.

Now, as already mentioned, the Nokian Nordman 7 is a pretty bulky tire here, relatively speaking. And that combined with it’s voided up structure, you get greater weight focusing on small rubber area.

Do the math, and you get very high rolling resistance values.

Though the tire is still not so bad, and is better than reputable tires out there, namely Hakkapeliitta 9 and Toyo Observe Ice Freezer.

I mean given, its price tag, it’s okay to see a little lacking mpgs here.

Comfort Performance

The comfort of a tire hinges on factors like road noise and vibration absorption, which are influenced by its construction, materials, tread pattern, and sidewall design.

Tread Noise

Noise from the tread arises due to air particles colliding with the tread walls. Essentially, larger tread gaps tend to produce more noise.

Now, the Nokian Nordman 7 with such voided up structure, should make a lot of noise, but its saved by it’s variable pitch tread, producing different tones (on different lug areas), as air particles hit them.

This results in limited in-groove resonance, as those generated tones don’t get to amplify together, in-fact, they try to cancel out each other’s frequencies.

For Your Info: Among it’s direct competitors, the loudest tire in the group is the Toyo Observe Ice Freezer, while the quietest is the Michelin X Ice North 4.

Road Vibrations

Road smoothness is highly dependent on tires, as they act as secondary suspension system, cushioning against road irregularities.

And since this highly depends on how tire are made, both internally and externally, it can be explained why Nokian Nordman 7 offers top notch (subjective) scores here.

Externally, the tire benefits from a softer compound that adeptly absorbs road irregularities. And internally, its nylon cap ply plays a crucial role, serving primarily to regulate and evenly distribute the impact of road bumps.

Tread Longevity

Tread life is influenced by rolling resistance and tread depth.

Now, the thing is, greater tread depth indicates a longer tire life, since with more depth, tire should technically take longer to reach down to time-to-replace levels.

But it also adds to heat and rolling resistance, which affect tread life negatively.

Having said that the Nokian Nordman 7 is okay here. Not too bad or good. And like most winter tires, it also doesn’t come with any treadwear warranty.

Though you can easily get 30k miles out of them.


So overall, the Nokian Nordman 7 has its strengths and weaknesses in various performance aspects.

On the positive side, it excels in snow traction, offering superb snow braking, acceleration, and overall traction values. And yes, it’s ice traction is also a strong suit, with above-average braking and acceleration.

Furthermore, it performs well in terms of hydroplaning resistance, providing above-average float speeds.

However, there are areas that need improvement. I mean, in terms of dry performance, the tire lags behind its competitors, resulting in longer braking distances.

And its overall handling, particularly mid-cornering feedback and responsiveness, could also be enhanced.

Additionally, when it comes to wet traction, the tire struggles with wet longitudinal grip and handling, although it offers decent hydroplaning resistance (as already mentioned).

Moreover, the tire also lacks in terms of fuel economy, with its greater generated (average) rolling resistance, which also affects its tread life, though tread longevity is still good enough for a winter tire.

Moreover, the tire is okay in terms of comfort, and provide you with good vibration soaking abilities.

Kleber Krisalp HP3 vs BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2

The Kleber Krisalp HP3 and the BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2, are both known for their distinctive performance, so its best to consider the following performance sections, starting with their sizes.

Winter Tire on Mercedes
Kleber looks cool with black rims.

Key Takeaway

BFGoodrich G Force Winter 2 excels in:

  • Icy terrains: Especially notable braking distance and overall handling.
  • Wet traction: Enhanced biting abilities with its dual siping system and effective water displacement during various maneuvers.
  • Comfort: Produces less noise due to its tread design, offering a quieter ride.

On the other side, the Kleber Krisalp HP3 (review) stands out for:

  • Snow performance: Superior traction, especially on soft, fluffy snowscapes.
  • Dry traction: Better handling and directional grip due to continuous running rib and lesser weight.
  • Fuel Economy: Lighter framework and streamlined design lead to more fuel-efficient consumption.
  • Both tires are comparable in:

Also both tires have similar scores in terms of tread longevity, where despite their differences, both offer similar tread life.

Tire Sizes

On the other side, the BF Goodrich Winter T/A KSI comes in 57 total sizes, with following specs.

  • Wheels or rims available: 14 to 20 inches.
  • Speed ratings: H and T.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL
  • Tread depth: 12/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 16 to 41 lbs.

On the other side, the Kleber Krisalp HP3 comes in 99 total sizes, in following specs.

  • Rims available: 14 to 20 inches.
  • Speed ratings: T and H (similar to BFG).
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″.
  • Weight: 16 to 32 lbs, (on average, the tire is lighter in weight).

Side Note: Both tires don’t come with any tread wear warranty, and both of them have M+S ratings, along with the standard 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings (you normally seen on winter tires).

Snow Performance

When it comes to soft, salt-like snow, both tire models exhibited stellar performance, each tackling the distinct challenges that different types of snow impose. Yet, the Kleber Krisalp HP3 edged out as the victor in terms of traction, notably on soft, fluffy snowscapes.

Kleber Krisalp HP3
Kleber Krisalp HP3 has reinforced foundations underneath all the lugs.

The secret? It lies in the tread design of this tire.

Sporting a more assertive directional tread pattern, coupled with lugs that boast an expansive structure, this tire carries a definitive advantage.

It’s designed to optimize snow-to-snow interaction.

The soft snow particles are effortlessly captured by the tire’s interlocking grooves and snow vices.

Once ensnared, these particles boost the tire’s grip, facilitating superior traction as snow naturally adheres better to itself than to rubber.

In comparison, the design of the BFGoodrich G Force Winter 2 is more compact, even though the tire offers similar cocntinous running V shaped lugs, (due to their reinforced foundations), as can be seen in their treads (images).

Moreover, the BFG’s absence of thick in-groove notches, like seen shoulders of Kleber, means the tire doesn’t amass as much snow as its competitor, leading to a slight decline in performance under snowy conditions.

Ice Performance

Now although the BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2 lacks on snow, it interestingly takes the lead, when it comes to icy terrains, where the tire unveils impressive abilities, especially notable in its braking distance, which is also contributes to it’s overall handling.

(As during turns, you need to slow down first).

BFGoodrich G Force Winter 2
BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2 features curved V shaped biters, facing shoulder blocks.

And in a side-by-side evaluation, on average, the BFG grinds to a halt an impressive 10 feet shorter.

The reason behind this? Well there are a couple.

Actually, the tire is made with a compound composition which sticks well to ice, for the most part.

Moreover, it’s complex biters of various dimensions, presenting angled incisions, curved V-shaped notches, facing the shoulders (as can be seen in the image), and interlocking siping, further add to it’s performance.

As these features contribute to the tire’s enhanced capacity to grip/bite into ice.

In contrast, the Kleber Krisalp HP3 grapples with larger tread voids and fewer notches.

Meaning it has less no. of biters per square inch of it’s tread.

Moreover, the tire only offers linear siping, particularly in the central region, and that combined with wider voids, it struggles to obtain a secure grip on compact ice.

Wet Traction

The combination of tread design and rubber compound largely prescribes a tire’s aptitude for wet traction.

While both tires are well-equipped with generous siping and soft, thermally adaptive rubbers, the BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2 manages to edge ahead.

And to understand the why behind that, its crucial to understand siping first.

Sipes essentially function by expelling air and absorbing water particles. The BFG, with its dual siping system that comprises aggressive interlocking and rectilinear designs, yields enhanced biting abilities on icy surfaces.

Additionally, its multi-angled sipes effectively displace water in all directions during cornering, braking, or acceleration.

In contrast, the Kleber Krisalp HP3 adopts a different siping strategy, featuring solely a lateral orientation, thus failing to achieve comparable results.

However, it does earn plaudits for its commendable performance in hydroplaning resistance.

In both curved and straight aquaplaning tests, the tire demonstrated slightly higher speeds. This improved performance is attributable to its interconnected network of grooves that disperse water in all directions more proficiently than its counterpart’s continuous central rib.

So overall, the BFG tire gets to offer superior overall wet traction.

Dry Traction

Dry traction evaluations primarily focus on two critical aspects: directional grip and lateral traction.

Here, the Kleber Krisalp HP3 owing to its continuous running rib which assures unwavering surface contact. This benefit translates into abbreviated braking distances and expedited acceleration times.

Though most of its advantage comes form its smaller weight. Not only it leads to augmented lug movement during cornering, causing a decrease in steering feedback, but also add to overall momentum, which makes its braking difficult.

On the other hand, although the BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2 is pretty great with its compact strcuture, its greater tread depth on average and weight, slows down the tire, as seen by it’s handling time tests.

Therefore, overall, Kleber tire is seen with superior handling and directional grip.

Comfort Levels

Comfort in a tire results from a delicate balance of factors such as ambient road noise and the absorption of vibrations, both of which are influenced by the tread pattern and sidewall design of the tire.

On the noise front, the BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2 nudges ahead slightly, courtesy of its less-voided tread design, thereby permitting less air to penetrate and swirl around (thus generating noise).

Coupled with its leaner weight, it also facilitates faster response times, ensuring a smoother overall ride compared to its rival.

The Kleber Krisalp HP3, however, claims an advantage with its softer rubber compound, which is more proficient at buffering road bumps, in comparison here.

Still, the BFG proves to be the quieter choice, relatively.

Fuel Economy

Fuel efficiency in a tire is largely governed by its adhesion to the surface and its total weight.

The G Force Winter 2 stumbles in both these domains, with its substantial weight, even though it doesn’t have as broader tread voids as it competitors, (because greater voids, resulting in heightened friction as the tire traverses the road).

Now although the BF Goodrich’s tire’s performance visibly improves under extreme winter temperatures, its drawbacks in this context are indisputable.

On the contrary, the Kleber coming with a lighter framework better aligned ribs (with less tread features), ensures a more aerodynamic and streamlined maneuver, especially for straight-line travels such as on highways.

This design results in more fuel-efficient consumption by reducing energy wastage.

So overall, in terms of fuel economy, the Krisalp HP3 certainly comes out on top.

Tread Life

Rolling resistance also impacts tread longevity.

In this domain, although the Krisalp HP3 has the edge of it’s leaner structure, which exerts less overall force on its tread blocks, resulting in lesser friction and slower wear, it still has similar tread life compared to BFG.

So why is that?

Well, this is because, the BF Goodrich G Force Winter 2 comes with a greater tread depth (2/32″ greater on average, looking at all sizes).

And this means rubber needs to wear down 2/32″ more to reach towards tire replacement levels.

So even though the tire bears a larger weight and a smaller total rubber area, which creates more weight pressure and grates against the road with more friction, it still offers just as great tread life overall.

So, when it comes to tread longevity, it’s a tie between both tires.

Summing Up

So overall both tires are great and have their pros and cons.

In snow conditions, the Kleber Krisalp HP3’s tread design offers superior traction, whereas the BFG excels on icy terrains due to its unique compound and tread design.

In wet conditions, BF Goodrich edges out with its advanced siping, but its competitor shines in dry traction with its continuous rib and lighter weight.

Comfort-wise, BFGh is quieter, while Kleber offers better bump absorption.

And yes, for fuel efficiency, Kleber leads with its streamlined design, but both tires tie in tread longevity despite their individual advantages.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 vs Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

Both Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 and Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 are pretty great overall, comparing other winter tires, I mean. Though its still best to consider following performance sections to find a better fit for you still. Let’s start with tire sizes.

Winter Tire
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 looks cool in low profile design.

Key Takeaway: Blizzak excels in tread life, ice performance, wet traction, and ride comfort, mostly due to its lighter weight and tread design. The Pirelli, on the other hand, stands out in soft snow performance and fuel efficiency, attributed to its aggressive tread and lighter structure. While the Blizzak offers better directional grip on dry terrains, the Pirelli provides swifter handling. Ultimately, the choice between them hinges on individual driving needs and conditions, as both tires bring unique benefits to the table.

Tire Sizes

The Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 comes in just 18 sizes in 18 to 20 inches rims, with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: XL only.
  • Tread depth: 8 to 11/32″.
  • Weight: 24 to 36 lbs.

On the other side, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 (review) comes in 16 to 21 inches with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H, V and W.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 18 to 32 lbs.

Tread Life

The longevity of a tire’s tread life is determined by a combination of its weight and the design of the tread itself.

In the case of the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005, its longevity trumps others due to its feather-light constitution.

Its reduced mass allows for a gentler touch with the road, reducing the force exerted on the tire’s rubber.

This diminished friction effectively slows down the burning rate of the tread, thereby enhancing its lifespan.

Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

Conversely, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 offers a heavier composition and a design that comprises a higher void ratio.

The increased weight is distributed over a relatively smaller rubber surface area.

As a result, each lug of the tire experiences heightened pressure, rubbing against the road surface with a larger frictional force. This accelerates the rate of wear, as more stressed up lugs bend more and cause greater heat generation.

And as heat is directly proportional to overall tire’s tread life, especially, when it comes to winter ones, you get a shorter overall tread longevity on Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3, in comparison.

(Even though both tires don’t offer any treadwear warranties).

Ice Performance

It is undisputed that the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 emerges as a leader in terms of performance on icy terrains.

And this impressive performance can be largely ascribed to its intricate tread design. I mean the tire features better multi-directonal biters (with those curved grooves), and has superior siping of interlocking pattern.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

These sipes are structured/oriented in a way, so as to give the tire with better braking abilities from the middle, and handling from its shoulders.

On the contrary, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 finds navigating icy conditions slightly more challenging, attributed to its larger tread voids and sparser notches.

The main tread area grapples to maintain a solid grip on compact ice, and although you also get multi-directional siping here as well, they aren’t as efficient for icy tracks, in comparison.

Though the overall difference is low, since the tire is lighter in weight, which allows for better steering and braking, as it generates smaller momentum inertia which is easier to stop, and which offers good enough under/over steering balance.

But yes, overall, the Bridgestone is taking the lead here.

Dry Traction

As the landscape transitions to dry terrains, the Blizzak LM005 emerges as an outstanding performer, exhibiting an exceptional grasp in terms of directional grip and maneuverability, which are the two paramount facets of dry performance.

Let’s talk directional grip first, which is measured with tire’s stopping abilities.

So this grip depends on central tread area, and here although both tires are directional here, the overall lug pattern on Blizzak is more streamlined, comparatively.

On the flip side, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is slightly lacking here, (less than a feet in braking distance), but still offers better overall handling, still.

And that’s because if offer better steering communication to the driver’s controls.

Basically the tire has a lighter construction, and this leads to less of its lugs bending. And since lug bending wastes time, as they have to reshaped back together, the overall, steering and handling on Pirelli gets to be faster.

That’s why on average, you see a 0.75 seconds faster handling on Sottozero, relatively.

Wet Traction

A tire’s ability to maintain a secure grip under wet conditions is predominantly dictated by its tread design and rubber composition. Here, despite both the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 and its rival being equipped with abundant siping and soft, thermally adaptive rubbers, the former outperforms.

The reason? Well it offers better water expulsion.

This is done because:

  • The tire offers greater weight.
  • It’s tread is better voided up longitudinally and laterally.
  • And it offers better siping structure.

Now with greater weight the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 puts more pressure on its lugs, which basically helps in pushing water out more effectively.

And having said that, with its better groove structure, water is pushed out with better efficacy.

Moreover, while most of the water escape through grooves, you still have to deal with the remaining particles. And that’s where sipes come in.

These sipes basically suck up particles, and since they have a better structure here, you get superior overall performance on Blizzak compared to Pirelli.

On the other hand, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 utilizes a different approach with a predominately lateral orientation of sipes, leading to a slightly lacking traction outcome.

And the tire is also not able to excel as much on hydroplaning resistance too, since it demonstrates slightly lacking float speeds.

So overall, Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is lacking overall (slightly), compared to Bridgestone.

Soft Snow Performance

Traversing snowy terrains is a challenging feat, but both tires rise to the occasion quite effectively, each with its unique adaptations to different types of snow.

However, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is still a better preference for this terrain type due to its more aggressive directional tread pattern. This pattern, complemented by lugs featuring expansive structures, is adept at capturing loose, fluffy snow particles.

Moreover tire’s abundant snow vices and interlocking grooves (with thicker slits) also contribute to trapping snow, which improves the tire’s grip, as snow tends to stick better to itself than to rubber.

In contrast, the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005’s design is denser, even though it also features a continuous central rib.

The absence of an interlocking groove structure hinders the tire from gathering as much snow as its competitor, resulting in a slightly compromised performance in snowy conditions.

Thus, for snow performance, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 claims a distinctive advantage.

Ride Comfort

The comfort offered by a tire ride hinges on a harmonious balance of several factors including road noise, vibration absorption, tread pattern, and sidewall design.

Regarding tread noise, the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 gains a marginal advantage due to its less voided tread design. This design restricts the volume of air that can enter and circulate, subsequently reducing noise generation.

Further enhancing overall comfort is its lighter structure, which allows for better response times, yielding a smoother and more refined ride compared to its competitor.

Conversely, while the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 falls short in noise reduction and road smoothness, it does outshine in one aspect with its softer rubber compound.

This compound excels in absorbing road inconsistencies, making a noticeable difference in ride comfort compared to its counterpart.

Fuel Efficiency

A tire’s fuel efficiency is intimately linked with traction and structural weight, both of which influence the tire’s rolling resistance.

That’s why it makes sense, looking at those above mentioned factors, that the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 has the upper hand.

The tire not only weighs less, but has less tread depth on average. So it’s lugs don’t bend as much, relatively.

On the other hand, although the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 has its streamlined, longitudinally aligned ribs, which do help minimizing rolling resistance, its heavier weight causes more stress on its lugs.

This push on the blocks/tread, causes wasted of energy. Meaning, there’s a greater energy expenditure on de/re-formation of the tread and heat.

So as a result, the Blizzak LM005 comes out with lacking overall fuel economy in comparison.

Summing Up

While both tires have distinct strengths, neither completely overshadows the other, reaffirming the importance of understanding your personal needs when selecting a tire.

The Blizzak LM005 outshines in terms of tread life, ice performance, wet traction, and ride comfort, largely due to its lighter structure, effective tread design, and noise reduction. The tire’s superior water expulsion and quieter ride make it a notable choice for those who prioritize these features.

Conversely, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 takes the lead in soft snow performance and fuel efficiency. Its aggressive directional tread pattern and the ability to capture more snow give it a clear advantage on snowy terrains. Furthermore, its lighter weight combined with reduced tread depth means better fuel efficiency by minimizing rolling resistance.

So as you can see both tires offer mixed results.