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Nitto Motivo NT-90W - Tire Review

Jan 21, 2014

If you live in an area where it doesn't snow, then bravo. You're one of the lucky few who doesn't have to contend with the white stuff, salt, and slippery driving conditions. For the most part, winter sucks, and getting from point A to B can be a gloomy experience—not to mention quite dangerous. Thankfully, there's a great (and simple) way to minimize your risk and keep you moving.

Winter tires are an absolute necessity for cold climates. Even if it doesn't snow that often, the compounds used in winter tires are specifically designed to increase traction, whether it be a dry or snow-covered road. To prove how much better winter tires work over all-season tires, Nitto brought us out to Miller Motorsports Park in the middle of winter to compare its new Motivo NT-90W winter tire against its all-season Motivo counterpart and the factory spec tire on an Infiniti G37x, the Goodyear Eagle RS-A.

With a full day of track activities, including a hillclimb, acceleration/ braking, and slalom testing, each tire was put through its paces—and without a doubt, the Motivo NT90W performed the best in every category. Not just marginally better, but the differences were significant. Surprisingly, though, the all-season Motivo performed better than the Goodyear. But not being a dedicated winter tire, it suffered a lack of grip in many instances in which the NT90W didn't.

That's because the NT90W has many features that all-season (and some winter) tires lack. The asymmetric design uses an abundance of sipes on the inside tread combined with wide lateral grooves to evacuate slush and water quickly and effectively. The specially formulated compound doesn't harden in cold temperatures, thereby providing optimum traction all winter long. A unique trait to the NT90W is crushed walnut shells that have been infused into the tread compound. Whether it's a marketing gimmick or not, who knows? But the shells create microscopic edges that bite into ice and snow, increasing grip while a bamboo charcoal additive (also added to the compound) absorbs water on the road. Nitto has also added 3-D interlocking sipes on the outside tread that increase block rigidity and lessen tire squirm, which is a common complaint about many winter tires.

If you're still on the fence about winter tires and purchasing a set, then let me reassure you again that they are worth their weight in gold. All it takes is one snowfall or iced road condition to completely wreck or write off your pride and joy. Do the right thing and invest in a set of winter tires, like the Nitto Motivo NT90W. It may just be the smartest thing you do all winter.

Nitto motivo nt90w tire review product Photo 2/2   |   Nitto Motivo Nt90w Tire Review Product

Specs & Details

Nitto Motivo NT90W

Size: 225/55R17

Type: High-Performance Winter Tires


Key Features

  • Advanced 3-D interlocking tread, multi-wave siping, and a silica-infused compound make the NT90W ideal for winter conditions.
  • Crushed walnut shells provide bite into ice and snow, while bamboo charcoal absorbs water off the road surface, improving traction.

Test Mule

'12 Infinti G37X Sedan

Test Track
Miller Motorsports Track

Test Condition
Snow and ice packed



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