Nexen N Blue 4 Season Review

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The Nexen N Blue 4 Season is a great budget pick that offers nice overall value, with it’s long lasting tread life (particularly). But how well it does in other areas? Well, let’s find out.

Benz GLA 250
N Blue installed on Benz GLA 250.

Available Tire Sizes

Nexen N Blue 4 Season comes in 13 to 18 inches, with sizes having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H, V, and two sizes also have W.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Weight range: 16 to 32 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ (or 8 mm) on all sizes.
  • UTQG: 300 A A.
  • Treadwear warranty: None

All sizes have 3pmsf and M+S ratings.

Key Takeaway

Overall, the Nexen N Blue 4 Season excels in the following areas:

  • Hydroplaning Resistance: Thanks to its superior groove design.
  • Winter Performance: With effective snow scooping lugs and specialized siping.
  • Fuel Economy: Where its tread design and composition lead to reduced rolling resistance.
  • Tread Longevity: As the tire offers exceptional durability due to its unique rubber composition.

However, the tire needs improvement in the following areas:

  • Dry Performance: It falls short in directional grip and steering responsiveness.
  • Wet Handling: The limited and rigid siping design hinders overall performance here.
  • Ride Comfort: Its stiffer build transmits more road vibrations.
  • Road Noise: Although not excessively loud, the tire produces a higher-pitched sounds relatively.

Construction Features

The Nexen N Blue 4 Season is a very winter like tire, forming a directional tread pattern.

Nexen N Blue 4 Season
Nexen N Blue 4 Season

It’s tread can be divided in to 5 sections, or block columns (called ribs).

The central most rib forms the consistent rubber to road contact, and offers notches facing both sideways directions.

Moreover, this rib also features a lot of winter tires like wave like sipes.

Though they are arranged laterally, whereas the ones on the adjacent ribs, have an angle to them.

These ribs are also more spacious in comparison too.

Moving towards the outer edges of the tread, here the (shoulder) lugs are the most voided up, and only feature linear siping designs.

Though they do have “plus” shapes to them, allowing for multi-directional grip.

Dry Performance

Evaluating dry performance involves examining three critical factors: Directional grip, steering responsiveness and lateral traction. So let’s analyze of these elements one by one.

Directional Grip

The effectiveness of directional grip is determined by measuring stopping distances. This is typically done by fully braking the tire from a specific speed, in my tests, this was 60 mph.

Now, several factors influence the overall linear grip level, including tread composition, the area of rubber making contact with the road, tire weight, and rolling resistance.

In the case of the N Blue 4 Season tire, the central tread region is particularly crucial, as it provides the most contact with the road, largely due to the tire’s directional design.

Despite featuring a continuous central rib and a rounded contact patch, the tire does not achieve satisfactory braking distances, as revealed by test results.

When compared to its direct competitors, this tire falls short by nearly six feet in braking tests. However, given its price point, this level of performance might still be considered acceptable.

To give you an idea here (about the tire’s performance), when tested against the well-known CrossClimate 2, the Nexen Blue took more than 10 feet to stop, in comparison.

Lateral Traction and Steering

The lateral grip of a tire, a key aspect of its performance, is significantly influenced by its shoulder design.

And the N Blue 4 Season, falls short in this area as well. I mean although its shoulder are equipped with interconnected biters (featuring a combination of thick longitudinal slits and linear lateral sipes), the tire still under-performs compared to its direct competitors.

Saying this from the tests measuring cornering traction, where it records lower lateral G-forces.

And it makes sense, because the tire has substantial voids, particularly in the outer circumferential grooves and between the shoulder blocks. These voids limit the amount of rubber contacting the road, adversely affecting grip.

Moving towards steering, the tire again isn’t so great here as well. In comparison to leading tires in its category, such as the Goodyear Vector 4Season (review), it lags by over 3 seconds, highlighting a significant deficiency in dry handling.

And the main culprit here is it’s tread rubber, which combined with tire’s relatively heavier construction, creating a lot of inertia, causing the lugs to bend.

This deformity of the lugs, basically cause understeering in case of Nexen, where the car doesn’t turn as sharply as intended by the driver.

Tread Life

The Nexen N Blue 4 Season stands out for its tread longevity, particularly among grand touring tires with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) ratings.

And this exceptional durability is a result of several key design features.

Firstly, the tire benefits from a unique rubber composition that is especially resistant to high temperatures (which plays a crucial role in minimizing wear over time).

Additionally, the tread is engineered to maintain a high degree of structural integrity even after extensive use, as its tread is of stiffer composition, and all lugs have reinforced foundations underneath.

And sure, the weight of the tire is a factor here too, where Nexen comes as slightly heavier compared to its rivals, its rounded contact patch is helping here a lot (designed to distribute the tire’s weight evenly across all its lugs).

This even distribution means that each lug makes contact with the ground with relatively less friction, generating less heat and, consequently, less wear.

So on average, the N Blue truly shines here, allowing for above 50k of mileage (good enough tread longevity), throughout its life.

Wet Traction

Before delving into the wet performance of these tires, it’s crucial to understand the roles of sipes and grooves in tire design.

Grooves are primarily responsible for displacing water at a major scale, playing a significant role in preventing hydroplaning. (I’ll talk about it in the following section).

Sipes, on the other hand, deal with the residual water particles left behind by the grooves. These tiny slits act like mini water containers, absorbing the remaining water.

Basically water being pressed between the tread and the road, is pushed in to those slits, which later spray the trapped moisture out, (as the tire rolls over).

So this tells us that a well-designed tire should have an adequate no. of sipes, and they must also be flexible enough to suck-in/spray-out water particles.

Now, the Nexen N Blue 4 Season, with its superior groove structure, excels in displacing more water, thereby reducing the burden on the sipes. However, its shortcomings become evident in its siping design, as the tire features fewer sipes.

And those it does offer are predominantly linear in nature, which hampers their effectiveness further, as such structures are prone to getting stiffer with extreme maneuvers.

Basically, the Nexen’s siping focuses on winter traction more, where the thick slits particularly (towards shoulders), don’t allow for good enough overall wet handling times (on lap tests).

Nonetheless, the tire does show some advantages with its interlocking central sipes, which have a wave-like pattern.

Now I must’ve mentioned that in the context of directional grip, the central area of the tire is crucial, and this holds true for wet conditions as well.

So the more effective siping in this area of the tire, does contribute to better wet braking performance, even though its overall handling is below average.

For Your Info: The tire lacks over 3 seconds, compared to Vredestein Quatrac Pro (review), which is top ranking tire in my updated list of top grand touring tires.

Check it here:

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydro or aquaplaning occurs when a tire loses contact with the road surface because a layer of water intervenes, preventing direct contact between the tire and the road.

And as already mentioned, in such scenarios, the design and effectiveness of the tire’s grooves are crucial.

Now, Nexen N Blue 4 Season demonstrates superior capabilities in water evacuation, which logically translates to better resistance against hydroplaning. (This is confirmed by its performance in tests, where it exhibited a higher float speed compared to its competitors).

The tire’s design plays a significant role in this. Its directional pattern, characterized by V-shaped lugs, creates efficient pathways for water to be expelled quickly.

Additionally, the tire’s rounded contact patch, which exerts more pressure in the middle, helps to push out water with greater force.

So overall the N Blue tire offers decent resistance to hydroplaning, despite it not doing good in overall wet handling.

Overall Comfort

Road comfort is two parts, where noise, and bumps dampening abilities of a tire is checked.

The road noise generated by the N Blue 4 Season is not excessively loud, but it does produce a distinct, higher-pitched sound that can vary depending on the type of road surface.

The primary cause of this noise is air turbulence occurring within the tread, particularly around the gaps in the shoulder area.

Basically it’s direct/quieter competitors provide certain features designed to mitigate this noise, and those are missing in Nexen here (let’s just put it like this for now).

The tire allows air to flow more freely through these gaps, as it collides with the tread walls, creating relatively louder sound waves (as seen by its decibel readings).

However, the tire does incorporate variable pitch technology, which is a positive aspect in terms of noise reduction.

This technology employs unique rib designs that generate different sound frequencies, which (try to) counterbalance each other, helping to reduce the overall noise level.

Moreover, the tire’s performance in provide a smooth enough ride is also underwhelming.

Here, the N Blue with its relatively stiff tread rubber and a harder inner cap ply, tends to offer a less cushioned driving experience.

And needless to say, this stiffness in its construction transmits more road vibrations to the vehicle, leading to a ride that may not be as smooth or comfortable as some drivers would prefer.

Winter Performance

When assessing winter tire performance, it’s crucial to recognize the unique challenges posed by different surfaces. where icy roads demand tires with numerous biting edges for traction, while deep snow requires treads capable of scooping snow effectively.

Needless to say a tire must be adept at handling both conditions.

Considering all, I can tell you this, the Nexen N Blue 4 Season is a really nice pick, if you need a tire under a budget, with Tri Peak rating along with M+S.

This tire is designed with swooping lugs that act like snow shovels, enhancing both lateral and longitudinal grip on snow-covered roads by gathering and ejecting snow backward, thereby creating strong forward momentum.

Additionally, the lugs on the Nexen’s tire here, are equipped with numerous biters, and its thicker linear siping is specially tailored to trap snow particles.

This design promotes effective snow-to-snow contact, which is vital because snowflakes naturally adhere to each other more effectively than they do to rubber, a phenomenon akin to the “snowball effect.”

Moreover, the tire is also pretty decent on ice as well, thanks to its interlocking sipes in the central area, allowing superb braking/acceleration performance, notably.

And yes, its traction is further enhanced with its softer rubber composition, which keeps the lugs/biters pliant even with colder temperatures, allowing the tire to grip snow and ice more effectively.

For Your Info: According to the best tire here, Nokian SeasonProof (review), the Nexen’s tire lacks by over 2 seconds in overall snow handling tests.

Fuel Economy

Fuel efficiency in tires is significantly affected by rolling resistance, which in turn is influenced by tread design/composition, and weight (for the most part).

The Nexen N Blue 4 Season performs beautifully in this regard.

Its well-composed tread depth, when compared to a broad range of tires in the grand touring category, and its harder tread composition mean that the tire’s lugs undergo minimal flexing during maneuvers.

And this reduced flexing is beneficial for fuel efficiency as it leads to lower rolling resistance.

But yes, the tire can really improve from a lighter structure, if you ask me.

I mean a lighter construction (and slightly shallower tread depth), could enhance the tire’s performance, by lowering rolling resistance further.

How would that help?

Since the tire is on the heavier side, it’s lugs have more pressure exerted on them, as they interact with the road surface. This additional pressure leads to increased (lugs/blocks) flexing, which in turn, may not conserve as much energy as a lighter tire would.

But yes, despite needing these potential improvements, the tire still offers a well-balanced design.

Where it still maintains its structural integrity, thanks to its stiffer rubber composition.

So What’s The Verdict?

Well the Nexen N Blue is pretty great in some parts, but severely lacks in others.

In dry environment/set-up, the tire offers decent overall handling, but lacks in directional grip.

While the opposite happens on wet roads, where it offers decent braking, but lacks in overall handling and steering responsiveness.

In winter conditions, it stands out for its effective snow and ice traction, thanks to its well-designed lugs and siping.

Moving towards other variables/performance metrics, the tire does okay in all of them, like offers good enough road noise reduction, tread life and fuel economy, though it can still be improved.

This goes especially in terms of its weight. I mean the tire could really benefit with a slightly lighter structure, though it does offer you with superb durability in the grand touring category.

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