Nokian WRG4 vs Firestone WeatherGrip

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The Firestone WeatherGrip, a grand touring all-weather tire, stands out for its exceptional durability and comfort. On the other hand, the Nokian WRG4, an ultra high-performance all-weather option, excels in delivering superior handling and traction. Let’s find a better fit for you here.

WRG4 on Chevrolet Malibu LS
Both tires were tested on Chevrolet Malibu LS.

Key Insights

Based on my expertise, the Nokian distinctly excels in:

  • Superior dry performance with exceptional grip and handling.
  • Enhanced wet performance, especially in handling and reduced hydroplaning.
  • Better performance on snow and ice, thanks to deeper sipes and effective snow-to-snow contact.
  • Slightly better ride smoothness, offering a balanced combination of cushioning and control over bumps.

Detailed Review of Nokian WRG4.

While the Firestone shows its prowess in:

  • Quieter ride, with reduced road noise due to its tread design.
  • Longer wear rate, benefiting from a durable rubber composition and less rolling friction.
  • Improved fuel economy, thanks to its lighter structure and lower rolling resistance.
  • Marginally better stability and control in softer snow conditions.

Detailed Review of Firestone WeatherGrip.

Facts on Sizes

SpecificationNokian WRG4Firestone WeatherGrip
Rim Sizes14 to 20 inches15 to 19 inches
Load RatingsXL, SLSL, XL
Speed RatingsH, V, WH, V
UTQG Rating500 A A640 AA
Weight Range16 to 40 lbs17 to 30 lbs
Tread Depth11/32″ on all10/32″ on all
Warranty60,000 miles65,000 miles
Winter RatingsM+S, 3PMSFM+S, 3PMSF

Snow and Ice Performance

If you’re hunting for an “all-weather” tire that’s a champ on snowy roads, you’ve got two solid contenders here.

Both of these guys are top-notch when it comes to the essentials like zipping through snow, braking like a pro, and handling icy turns. Plus, they’re super responsive to your steering and boast those cool 3-peak mountain snowflake ratings and M+S tags.

But, after a bunch of tests, I’ve noticed the Nokian WRG4 has a bit of an upper hand especially on ice. This is because it’s packed with these deep, interlocking sipes that really grab onto slicker surfaces, giving you killer traction.

    Nokian WRG4
    Nokian WRG4

This is actually why I gave it a thumbs up on my list of the best ultra high-performance all-season tires. You can check out the list right here:

On the flip side, the Firestone WeatherGrip is a beast in softer snow as its lugs work like little shovels, scooping and tossing snow aside, which helps you plow ahead.

And although both tires are great at trapping snow (in their tread voids) providing snow-to-snow contact, the Firestone still does it a little better.

But why it matters? Well think about rolling a snowball, and how more and more snow sticks to it as it does. That’s the same idea here, and it’s a big deal for staying in control on snowy roads.

Ride Quality

There are two key components to ride quality: how well the tires reduce road noise, and their ability to make road imperfections less noticeable. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Noise Comfort

Road noise is a bit of a tricky thing, mostly because of how air moves around. Let me explain.

When your tire spins, the air in the tread gets squeezed in and out. Meaning, the more aggressive the tire’s design, the noisier it tends to be.

That’s why it’s no surprise that the Firestone WeatherGrip is a bit on the quieter side, even though it’s only by a slim margin. Sure, my tests show that this tire can get pretty loud with some aggressive harmonics and a mix of tones, but it’s still a step up from the Nokian.

Firestone WeatherGrip
Firestone WeatherGrip

Whereas the WRG4 is definitely a louder one here. It makes a more noticeable and constant buzz, plus you get this cavity noise.

This is probably because of its more aggressive tread and all those sipes, which sure are great for grip, but not so much for keeping things quiet.

But yes, if noise reduction is something you prioritize the most, I’d look for other options. According to my tests, the Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 (review) is the quietest grand touring tire.

Ride Smoothness

Tire comfort is all about how well a tire can deal with the bumps and quirks of the road, and that comes down to its build and the materials used.

Usually, tires made from softer stuff are known for giving you a smoother, more comfy ride. That’s tire design 101.

Anyways, in this matchup, both tires are pretty much neck-and-neck, but the Nokian WRG4 nudges ahead slightly still providing better cushioning.

Actually the tire just bring in a better balance between being cushy and not too bouncy when it hits bumps. Whereas the Firestone lacks particularly due to its impact (cavity sounds).

I mean when it hits bigger bumps particularly, there’s a ring heard with it, kind-of reminds you of basketball hitting the ground, you know.

Fuel Economy

Fuel efficiency is a big deal, and it’s mostly about how much resistance the tire has while rolling, which comes down to design and materials.

And here, the Firestone WeatherGrip takes the upper hand with its lighter structure and lower grip levels, showing up superior mpg readings on my averaged tests.

Whereas in case of Nokian WRG4, it’s greater weight pushes down its lugs more enhancing its rolling resistance. And with superior traction and a lot more biters that resistance further gets enhanced.

So its not really a surprise why this ultra high performance all season tire provides lower fuel economy compared to grand touring Firestone.

Learn how you can choose a more fuel efficient tire.

Dry Performance

Two key factors shape the overall dry performance of tires: longitudinal grip and handling. Let’s explore each factor separately.

Longitudinal Grip

The effectiveness of a tire’s grip is typically assessed by measuring stopping distances, specifically when the tire is fully braked from a set speed (I do it form 60 mph on my tests).

Now a lot of key factors are influencing this grip, including the tread composition, the contact area between the rubber and the road (especially in the central region), the tire’s weight, and its rolling resistance.

And judging them all, it can be seen why the Nokian tire takes the lead here. In my tests, this tire, when braking from 60 to 0 mph, consistently stopped more than 4 feet shorter on average than Firestone tire.

This superior performance is partly due to its less voided tread design (relatively). Plus, the WRG4’s rounded contact patch also contributes to this advantage by reducing momentum and facilitating “easier” stopping.

Though I’d like to add here that, when considering the Firestone WeatherGrip’s lower price point and its classification outside the ultra-high performance category, unlike the WRG4, its level of performance can still be considered acceptable.

Handling Grip

The Nokian WRG4 tires demonstrate exceptional handling capabilities as well, particularly evident in their ability to navigate sharp turns with remarkable grip.

This enhanced performance is attributed to an optimal blend of grip and steering feedback, (which are the main aspects of cornering).

Focusing on cornering traction first, the Nokian’s superior grip here (as seen by its higher lateral g-forces in tests), is largely due to its intelligently designed shoulder lugs.

These tread blocks are basically interconnected longitudinally and feature curved lateral voids and biters, or as we like to call in the world of tires, the in-groove notches.

Relatively speaking, this creates a stronger and a more adhesive contact between the rubber and the road, thereby ensuring significant lateral traction.

Moreover with a more solid internal and outer construction (having more stable nylon cords and reinforced foundations underneath all lugs), the Nokian WRG4 also provides greater stability.

This superior steering responsiveness actually comes from its lugs not being that susceptible to flexing as they do on WeatherGrip tire.

How’s that important? Well because as the corners the weight shifts towards the edges causing lugs to compress which then have to return back to their original shapes.

And in case of Firestone tire they waste more time to do so. And that time is translated as the slower steering response.

Wet Performance

In evaluating the overall wet performance, I have personally tested both tires for their abilities in wet grip, handling, and avoiding hydroplaning. Let’s examine them all individually.


To achieve satisfactory performance in wet conditions, it’s crucial for a tire to quickly expel water out (from underneath the tread).

This necessity arises because water, being incompressible, can accumulate between the tire tread and the road surface if not removed efficiently. And this buildup can lead to slippage or, in more severe cases, hydroplaning, where the tire loses complete contact with the road (and starts to float).

Now grooves help with this, and both tires with such voided up designs don’t face this issue a lot.

Though the Nokian WRG4 still has a marginal edge if you ask me. The tire’s asymmetrical tread pattern incorporates a better interconnected combination of longitudinal and curved lateral grooves, allowing for higher float speeds.

Float speed is the maximum speed or point at which tire starts to float.

Moreover, WRG4’s heavier weight, combined with a strategically crafted design, is help its performance further. They basically create a better negative pressure zone at the tire’s center, pushing more water out towards the edges of the tire.

Wet Grip and Handling

As previously mentioned, tire grooves take out most of the water from the road (underneath the tread). But the thing is, some moisture is always present and come right underneath the lugs causing slippage.

And here sipes come in to action. These are meticulously crafted cuts in the tread that effectively absorb residual moisture, ensuring enhanced traction on wet roads. They flex to create a vacuum effect sucking up water particles in their slits and later spray them out (once the tire move over, and get back in the air).

Now this is where Nokian WRG4 excels notably, thanks to its array of wave-like sipes of varying lengths and widths, effectively removing water at a micro-level with remarkable efficiency.

That’s why in my comparative tests the tire nails it in all sections, showcasing faster slalom runs, recording faster lap times, and achieving shorter stopping distances (on average).

Whereas the Firestone WeatherGrip lacks, with a lot of margin, I should add. It’s actually the tire’s weakest performance aspect. And simply put, this is because its sipes are more winter performance oriented and can’t provide as much water clearance.

Wear Rate

Talking about wear, it’s all about the tire’s weight, what it’s made of, and its tread depth. And here the Firestone WeatherGrip is doing a little better.

This is because it’s got this unique rubber mix that’s really tough against heat and holds its shape well.

Plus as a touring tire, it just generates lesser rolling friction, compared to ultra high performance Nokian tire, which is no news.

On the other side with a more aggressive tread design and speed ratings going up to W, the WRG4 simply burns down faster. Plus its greater weight isn’t really helping that either.


So overall its clear that picking the right tire here involves weighing different factors, as both have unique advantages. Meaning, it’s not a simple decision, with no clear-cut winner.

The Nokian WRG4 shines in dry performance, offering superior grip and handling, especially notable in sharp turns and braking efficiency.

Plus it also leads the way in wet conditions, excelling in both traction and hydroplaning resistance due to its better biting sipes which also help it achieve superior grip BTW on ice.

Though on snowy roads, the Firestone WeatherGrip is better.

Speaking of this tire, it also provides superior tread longevity and fuel economy and is quieter too. Though could use some help in terms of impact comfort performance.

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