Nokian SeasonProof Review

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For those seeking value without sacrificing quality, the Nokian SeasonProof emerges as an attractive budget-friendly option, especially for navigating snowy conditions. But the question remains: does it deliver across the spectrum of demands placed on premium grand touring all-season tires? Well, you’re about to find out.

Kia Optima
SeasonProof is a great budget pick for saloons/sedans, especially if you’re after superb winter traction.

Available Tire Sizes

Nokian SeasonProof comes in 63 total sizes in 14 to 19 inches rims, and they have the following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H, V, W and Y (with Y being the maximum, you can get, usually seen on high performance touring tires).
  • Load ratings: SL/XL, (though majority of sizes are XL).
  • Weight range: 19 to 32 lbs (relatively heavier compared to most of its grand touring competitors).
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on most (some also have 9/32″).

All sizes have 3PMSF ratings along with M+S.

Main Takeaway

Overall, the Nokian Seasonproof is a great tire when it comes to:

  • Dry highway performance, particularly in terms of lateral grip.
  • Steering feedback and handling stability.
  • Impressive noise comfort, making it one of the quietest in its category.
  • Outstanding winter performance, with reliable grip in snowy and icy conditions.
  • Hydroplaning resistance, thanks to its efficient groove design.

Though the tire needs improvements in:

  • Directional traction and stopping capabilities on dry roads.
  • Wet braking efficiency due to limited siping in the central tread.
  • Handling on wet surfaces.
  • Ride comfort on larger bumps.
  • Fuel economy and tread longevity, as they are impacted by the tire’s focus on winter performance.

Construction Features

The Nokian SeasonProof comes with a winter tire like tread design.

Nokian SeasonProof
Nokian SeasonProof is a pretty voided tire overall.

So this tire features a directional tread pattern distinguished by V-shaped lugs that create well-defined curved channels along the sides.

These lugs, segmented toward the shoulders, maintain their structure due to reinforced bases, (a secondary rubber layer underneath is visible in the image as well).

This design not only offers connected lateral grooves to enhance resistance against hydroplaning and improve water evacuation but also preserves the tread’s structural integrity, ensuring stable handling on the road.

Furthermore, the lugs are equipped with zigzag, serrated edges, known as snow vices, and notches that align in the opposite direction of the arrow-like lugs, (enhancing this tire’s winter performance).

Additionally, the tire is although fitted with linear sipes, which tend to get stiffer, and lack in performance, their curved design prevent them from doing that.

Meaning these sipes still provide multi-angled traction, significantly improving grip, primarily on wet surfaces.

Compare Nokian SeasonProof with others:

Winter Performance

In evaluating winter performance, key aspects include the tire’s grip on the road, steering response, and its overall effectiveness in various snowy or icy conditions.

And let me tell you, considering all, the Nokian SeasonProof is the best winter performer, according to my testing, and subjective evaluations. In fact, that’s the only reason, this tire made in to my list of top grand touring tires.

And that’s all thanks to its well-engineered design, where its numerous sipes, along with ribs equipped with snow vices, provide reliable traction on both icy and snowy terrains.

These sipes/notches/biters remain flexible even in freezing temperatures due to their multi-angle orientations, and the tire’s tread having temperature-activated functional polymers, aiding overall grip.

And for particularly softer, snow-covered tracks, the tire’s directional tread pattern, throw back the snow, generating superb forward momentum or snow acceleration, in return.

And yes, here the snow vices (for the most part), facilitate snow-to-snow contact, by trapping in, and retaining snow particles.

This interaction creates increased friction compared to rubber-to-snow contact because snow particles naturally adhere to each other better.

Dry Performance

In assessing a tire’s effectiveness on dry highways, we concentrate on two crucial aspects: its adherence to the road surface and its contribution to precise steering.

Let’s talk about them both.

Dry Traction

Dry traction is fundamentally about two elements: directional and lateral grip.

Now directional or linear grip depends on tire’s central (tread) footprint, and is measured by stopping distance.

While the lateral grip depends on shoulder’s meet-up with the road (and is gauged by lateral “g” forces).

This is because the weight on the tire saturates towards middle, when it rolls straight, while it gets concentrated on shoulders while the tire is cornering.

Think of it in this way: Why do you think there’s a natural inclination to lean in the opposite direction of the turn, when the vehicle is cornering? It happens because of the centripetal force.

Anyways, physics aside, it makes perfect sense why the Nokian SeasonProof offers great results in terms of lateral grip, with only a marginal 0.1 g-force deficit. However, its directional grip is somewhat less efficient compared to its main competitor, where you see a pretty notable difference of over 10 feet in stopping distance.

Despite both the central and shoulder areas of the tire having similar void patterns, the shoulder zones are enhanced with in-groove notches and snow vices, like the zigzag edges of lugs, enhancing its lateral grip.

And this design feature is absent in the central region, leading to a reduced directional grip (which is in-fact the tire’s one of the weakest points).

Steering Feedback

In the realm of steering performance, the Nokian SeasonProof tire excels in providing stable handling and a reassuring sense of control, especially during sudden maneuvers.

A notable feature of this tire is its excellent “on-center feel,” which ensures stability and precision when the steering wheel is in a neutral position.

This characteristic contributes to the tire’s quick and sharp responses to steering inputs, highlighting its responsive and precise nature.

So how is it so good here?

Well this is largely attributed to the tire’s construction, which includes a lighter single ply casing and stiffer sides due to spirally wound nylon caps. This design places less strain on the tread and, in combination with the tire’s firmer rubber composition, minimizes lug flex.

And that results in a more balanced handling experience, particularly in terms of oversteering and understeering.

But there’s still improvement, when it comes to overall handling, as that involves directional grip too, and SeasonProof taking longer to stop (before entering the corners, on laps), lead to longer overall lap times in handling tests.

So overall the tire ranks as average in overall handling but falls short in directional traction and stopping abilities, which is its weakest aspect.

Ride Comfort

The Nokian SeasonProof offers a decent ride comfort, effectively smoothing out minor road imperfections and impacts.

However, it encounters difficulties with larger, more significant bumps, where its flexibility appears more limited.

This limitation arises primarily from the tire’s design, which, while featuring a pliable outer rubber layer, relies on a considerably stiffer internal structure.

But the funny thing here is that the very same rigid internal construction also contributes to the tire’s handling stability.

So you can say the tire is trying to offer you with a balance between comfort and control.

For Your Info: Out of all the tires I’ve reviewed, (in the grand touring category), the Kleber Quadraxer 3 (review), offers the best impact comfort performance of them all.

Tread and Fuel Economy

Compared to its predecessor, the Nokian Seasonproof 1, the newer model although offers up to 30% improved mileage, (and reduced rolling resistance), it still falls short in overall tread longevity and fuel economy.

So why is that?

Well, this is because of its features which enhances the tire’s winter performance, meaning in a way, tire’s exceptional winter performance comes at a cost (literally).

Its a trade-off, primarily in the form of increased rolling resistance which negatively impacts fuel economy and tread wear. Let me explain how.

First off, the tire’s softer, thermally adaptive rubber, which is although designed to withstand winter’s freezing temperatures, also makes it more susceptible to faster wear.

And while it’s combination of a narrower section width and greater weight contributes to effective snow-to-snow contact and excellent traction, they also stress out the lugs more, as they get rubbed against the road with greater friction.

Needless to say, this heightened friction is a key reason behind the tire’s limitations in tread longevity and fuel efficiency.

But I’d like to say, that despite these drawbacks, the tire’s overall performance is justified here, especially considering it is relatively cheaper than most other tires in the grand touring category.

I mean it’s a good pick, when it comes to “value”.

Noise Comfort

Tire noise is predominantly a result of air interactions, where air particles enter through the shoulder gaps and collide with the tread walls, generating pattern noise and tread vibrato.

Having said that, it makes sense why the directional pattern with voided up shoulders usually aren’t the quietest, the Nokian SeasonProof breaks this norm.

As it’s one of the quietest all season tire in it’s grand touring category.

Well, this is mainly because of the saw-toothed edges you see on the shoulders, Now these are although particularly made for snowy terrains, and are technically called “snow vices”, they also help a lot in dampening noise.

Technically speaking, the varied angles, shapes, and overall geometry of these edges create a spectrum of tones with different frequencies as air hits them upon entry.

And these varying frequencies interact with each other in a way, to effectively cancel each other out, thereby keeping noise levels low.

For Your Info: Out of all grand touring tires, the Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 (review), is the quietest option right now.

Wet Performance

Overall wet performance is evaluated based on the tire’s ability to efficiently displace water, ensuring it doesn’t hinder the tread-road contact.

And two key elements play a role here: sipes, which are crucial for wet traction, and grooves, which indicate hydroplaning resistance. Let’s get into both.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning happens when tires lose their grip on the road due to water coming in between. And that’s where grooves play a significant role, efficiently channeling water away.

Now, the Nokian SeasonProof tire really excels in this regard.

Its directional tread pattern, characterized by prominent lateral voids and a rounded contact patch, effectively displaces water from the center towards the shoulders and out of the tire. This design contributes to one of the fastest float speeds among grand touring tires.

Moreover, these voids are also interconnected with each other (as I explained in its construction section), enhancing the overall water evacuation process.

For Your Info: At high speeds, water may not be dispersed quickly enough, impacting the tire’s performance on wet surfaces. And so to assess this, we use “float speed” tests, which tells you about the exact speed at which tire started to float or hydroplane.

Wet Grip

Now most of the water goes out through grooves, as I explained above, the remaining water particles can still cause issues, and have to cleared off by sipes/biters.

These small, strategically placed cuts (on the tread), which work by compressing water against the road surface, pushing moisture into the slits. I mean, in a way, you can say, these sipes/biters act as miniature reservoirs (picking up water particles, and expelling them out, when the tire rolls over).

That’s why a tire’s performance in wet conditions is significantly influenced by the quantity and quality of its sipes, as well as its overall flexibility.

And that’s where Nokian SeasonProof show some limitations.

Now the primary issue with this tire lies in the inadequacy of its tread, particularly in the central area where it lacks sufficient sipes.

Moreover, the few sipes it does offer, (in this middle region) are designed with linear/lateral patterns, which tend to stiffen during braking.

Needless to say, this rigidity impedes the tire’s ability to efficiently displace water when moving straight, adversely affecting its directional grip.

However, the tire does offer decent handling capabilities, thanks to the abundant sipes located on its shoulders. These sipes, accompanied by the tire’s dynamic lugs that vary in angle, contribute to a multi-directional grip that compensates for the deficiencies in the central tread.

Simply put, overall, while the tire provides acceptable wet handling, its really lacks in wet braking.

Ending Note

In conclusion, the Nokian SeasonProof tire presents a good enough balance between performance and trade-offs across various conditions.

It although lacks severely in terms of directional grip on both wet and dry conditions, its overall handing is still doing okay.

And while it lacks in providing adequate ride comfort, in the form of bumps absorption, it offers one of the quietest designs in the market right now.

Moreover, these tires got the highest scores in my winter evaluations.

Though the features which provide this tire with superior snow/ice grip, are also the ones which increase its rolling resistance generation, hampering its fuel economy and tread longevity.

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