Swedish tire manufacturer Gislaved has released the latest generation of their Nord Frost tire line – the Nord Frost 200 – and it’s a familiar face. As a division of Continental, they are using the tread design from Continental’s previous top winter tire, the ContiIceContact.
This recycling of tread designs is not unusual, as it allows the parent company to get extended use out of their expensive tire molds while continually developing new ones with incremental improvements. A good example of this comes from another of Continental’s tire divisions: General. Their Altimax Arctic winter tire still offers excellent performance for North American consumers by using the tread design of a Gislaved tire that is now three generations old: the Nord Frost 3.
Historically, the ContiIceContact has been an impressive tire in Norwegian Auto Federation (NAF) testing. It debuted in 2010, replacing the Winter Viking, and was praised for its ice performance and relative quietness. It finished a close second behind the Nokian Hakka 7 in a field of 13 studded competitors in that year’s test, primarily due to the Hakka 7’s superior wet traction and lower rolling resistance.
The following year, it beat the Hakka 7, on the strength of outstanding ice performance. As in real life, ice, snow, and even pavement conditions vary dramatically and the NAF tests over a variety of conditions, so relative performance can change from year to year.
In 2012, it ended up in a three-way tie for first place with the Hakka 7 and Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice Arctic. The ContiIceContact excelled on ice and snow, delivering the shortest stops of any tire on ice and the best lap times on the ice course.
2013 saw the introduction of the Nokian Hakka 8 and the Pirelli Ice Zero, and the ContiIceContact was pushed down to third place as a result. These latest generation tires easily outperformed it – and all the other tires in the test – on the ice conditions that year. That year also saw the introduction of the Gislaved Nord Frost 100. The NF100 tied the ContiIceContact for third place. The ContiIceContact may have had a slight edge over the NF100 in winter conditions that year, but the NF100 made up for the slight deficit with outstanding wet road braking.
The ContiIceContact returned to form in 2014, tying for second overall with the Ice Zero, just behind the Hakka 8. In its final year before being replaced by the ContiIceContact 2, it actually topped the test results in ice braking performance over the Pirelli and Nokian tires, while providing a lower noise rating and similar performance in all other categories. The NF100 lagged the top tires in ice performance that year, but demonstrated excellent snow and wet performance.
Visually, the only apparent difference between the old ContiIceContact and the new Nord Frost 200 is the studs. The ContiIceContact used Continental’s Brilliant Plus “dog bone” stud design, while the Nord Frost 200 will carry over the “tristar” stud from the Nord Frost 100. Because the Nord Frost 200 utilizes 35% more studs than the Nord Frost 100, expect a dramatic improvement in warm-ice braking performance.
ContiIceContact Tread with Brilliant Plus “Dog Bone” Studs
Gislaved’s “Tristar” Stud Design
With outstanding performance in all winter conditions and less tire noise than its closest competitors, the ContiIceContact was arguably the best winter tire for many drivers. So it’s great to see it return under a different name that is available in Canada; online at PMC Tire, or through your local Gislaved dealer.
The expectations for the new Nord Frost 200 are high. Stay tuned to this site to see how it performs in the upcoming 2016 NAF winter tire test.