Nitto Tires makes its presence known in the enthusiast community, interacting with motorsport fans and weekend warriors. However, the company now feels it’s time to break ground with consumers by offering more mainstream products. Working closely with its enthusiast base, Nitto has managed to deliver a pair of new tires, the first designed to be a solid replacement for your OEM all-seasons and the second to be your savior in the snow.
We recently had the chance to try out two different tires from Nitto: the Motivo all-season tires and the upcoming NT90W winter tires. Nitto’s offerings were compared Goodyear’s Eagle RS-A, the factory tires that come equipped on the Infiniti G37x. Instead of just testing these tires in dry or wet conditions, we went to Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah to drive a fleet of Gs on some ice, snow and slush.
MOTIVO: Ultra High-Performance All Season Tire
Consumers are looking for reliability, performance and value. This, says Nitto, is what you’ll get with the Motivo, which is backed by a 60,000 mile warranty – the best in the business. While pricing is determined by individual dealers, Nitto also claims the Motivos can be found for a lower cost than OEM replacements.
Featuring an asymmetric design, the Motivo tires have different tread patterns on the outer edge of the tire, than on the inner. In the middle of the tire is spine designed to improve initial steering response. Moving to the outside edge of the tire is a tread pattern with larger blocks that’s optimized for handling and features siping to prevent water-planing. The inner edge features construction that Nitto says improves braking, as well as grip.
FAST FACTS: Motivo UHP All Season 1. The Motivo is available in 50 sizes in 17- to 20-inch diameters and from 205 to 315 widths. 2. With a UTQG treadware rating of 560, the Motivo receives an A for traction and an A for Temperature and is performance rated as a WY tire. 3. The Motivo is available with a 60,000 mile limited treadware warranty.
PUT TO THE TEST
We engaged in several tests to showcase just how the Nitto fared against the OEM Goodyears.
In acceleration and braking test, the all-season tires showed off distinctly different characteristics. While the Goodyear tires slipped about during launch, the Motivo’s hooked up sooner, and got the car moving without much drama. When it came to stopping distances, the two tires were about even, although the Goodyear’s felt uneasy under hard braking, and it proved to be a handful to keep the sport-sedan straight. Meanwhile, the Motivo’s stopped straight and generally around the same distance as the Goodyears, proving that Nittos can keep up.
Of course, both tires were completely outclassed by the new Nitto NT90W winter tire, which hooked up immediately, and stopped about a car-length sooner.
On a handling course, the Motivo showed that not only could it keep up with the Goodyear Eagle RS-A, but actually provide better response time and handling feel. The Goodyear tires felt uneasy, and could break loose easily during emergency lane changes on the snow and ice. The Motivo’s didn’t exhibit the same uneasiness, and while they still weren’t as quick to respond as the NT90W winter tires, they felt far better than the Goodyear tires.
On the other hand, when the tires did lose traction, the Goodyear’s felt far more predictable, and controllable than the Motivos. This same trait was exposed again on a snowy skid pad.
The most eye-opening test came on a snowy hill climb, where the Motivo tires could keep up with the NT90W winter tires when climbing a 30-percent grade. While the winter tires managed with little hesitation, the all-seasons needed both the perfect combination of speed and the right path up the hill. Still, the steep-hill climb was certainly an accomplishment that the Motivo should be proud of.
Overall, the Motivo’s proved that they can hang with one of the best in the biz, at least in terms of light-snow and ice. Due to the climate we did not have the ability to test the tires for dry performance, something that’s equally important in an Ultra High Performance All Season tire.
A STEP ABOVE: NT90W SNOW TIRES
As expected, the Nitto NT90W winter tires thoroughly trounced the all-season tires that were also on hand. The dedicated winter tires provided excellent traction, acceleration; braking, handling and most importantly gave the greatest sense of confidence no matter the surface.
Thanks to its innovative design elements the NT90W features a surprising amount of grip. By using 3D interlocked multi-wave siping with crushed walnuts and bamboo in the compound the tires are clearly on the cutting edge of tire construction. Look for the NT90W’s to go on sale later this year in sizes best fit for sedans and crossovers.
FAST FACTS: NT90W Winter Tire 1. The brands first dedicated winter tire, the NT90W is designed for crossovers, SUVs and passenger cars and uses crushed walnut shells and bamboo charcoal in its construction. 2. The NT90W is available in just 8 sizes in 16- to 18-inch diameters, ranging from 215 to 235 widths. 3. The NT90W will go on sale later this year.
For those looking for an alternative to OEM all-season tires, the Nitto Motivo will certainly do the job, featuring light snow and ice performance on par with factory offerings. Drivers will also appreciate the added grip that the Motivo’s offer over OEM tires, giving extra peace of mind when the mercury drops, while the available 60,000 mile warranty is just extra incentive to consider Motivo replacement tires on your car.