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In Our Opinion:
Kumho is best for high-performance and all-season models. The tire manufacturer delivers fuel-efficient, technologically advanced designs without sacrificing affordability. It may not be the best for winter or all-terrain tire buyers, but Kumho is a reputable tire company otherwise.
Above-average tread life warranties
Good all-season and performance models
Most tires boast improved handling, traction, and steering responsiveness
Limited winter tire ranges
Better all-terrain models available from other brands
Most tires not well-regarded for their snow traction or handling
Kumho tires combine affordability and quality. Once considered a small tire manufacturer, the company has secured partnerships with car brands in the luxury, truck, and passenger spaces. But are Kumho tires the best choice for your vehicle?
In this review, we’ll discuss Kumho in detail, including industry standing, popular tire models, costs, ratings, and more. Buying the right set of tires can affect safety, driving behavior, and your budget, so it’s best to know the ins and outs of a model before you commit to a purchase.
After thoroughly researching the tire industry, we ranked the best tires and brands available. We named Michelin the Best Tires Overall and Cooper the Most Affordable – both are worth comparing to Kumho. To easily shop for and compare tires from these brands and more, visit TireBuyer.com.
The sixteenth largest tire manufacturer in the world, according to a 2019 Tire Business report, Kumho is a well-known brand within the industry. The company specializes in performance tires but offers a large range of models for trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and coupes.
Kumho’s U.S. headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia, but the company is globally headquartered in Gwangju, South Korea. It was founded in 1960, making it newer in the industry compared to big-name brands like Goodyear and Michelin.
Kumho has several original equipment (OE) partnerships with large car manufacturers including BMW, Dodge, and Volkswagen. The manufacturer also has an impressive range of replacement tires, though it offers fewer all-terrain and mud-terrain models than competitors.
Kumho’s Solus and Ecsta lines are among its most popular products. Both product lines are geared toward performance enthusiasts and feature low noise, affordable price ranges, great handling, and improved traction. The Solus models are especially well-equipped for wet road conditions.
Kumho Tires Industry Ratings
Kumho follows an evaluation system created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This system is called Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG), and it grades tires – except specialized tires – based on their treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance.
Here’s an explanation of the UTQG grading system:
Treadwear: This grade estimates the longevity of your tires. To calculate treadwear, tires are measured against a control tire given a rating of 100. If a tire has a 500 treadwear rating, that means it lasted five times longer than the control. Most passenger tires have between a 300 and 500 treadwear rating, according to data from SaferCar.gov.
Traction: This grade measures how well your tires “grip” a wet road. Traction grades are given on a scale of AA, A, B, or C. Good day-to-day passenger tires typically receive A ratings.
Temperature: This grade evaluates a tire’s heat resistance on a scale of A, B, or C. Tires need to withstand different temperatures based on their specialization. Performance tires on a sports car, for example, usually move at much higher speeds than all-season light truck tires, and in turn, have higher temperature ratings.
It’s important to note that the NHTSA does not oversee UTQG tests. Manufacturers and independent companies hired by brands are responsible for tire testing and reporting.
Below, we’ve listed a few Nitto tire models and their treadwear, traction, and temperature scores using data from SaferCar.gov.
If you want to know the UTQG scores for your current tires, they can be found on the tires’ sidewalls.
Most Popular Kumho Tires
As mentioned, Kumho produces highly rated performance models, some of which are as well-regarded as Pirelli tires. The company also receives positive feedback on its Crugen models, which provide an all-season alternative for crossover and SUV drivers.
If you’re looking to buy top-rated Kumho tires, here are a few options:
Kumho Crugen HT51
Tire Type: All-season truck and SUV tire
Cost: $98 to $213
Tread Life: Up to 70,000 miles
The Kumho Crugen HT51 is an excellent choice for truck and SUV drivers who don’t want an aggressive all-terrain model. This all-season tire features a symmetrical tread pattern, providing a safe, even wear. It also includes 3D sipes for year-round grip and zig-zagged tread voids for optimal water evacuation. If you’re looking for a safe tire, this is a good bet. Past buyers highly rate its wet stopping, steering responsiveness, and snow traction.
Kumho Ecsta PS31
Tire Type: Ultra high-performance tire
Cost: $80 to $156
Tread Life: Up to 40,000 miles
The Kumho Ecsta PS31 is a well-loved summer performance tire. It’s affordable, provides great grip in dry and wet conditions, and features technology advancements to redistribute heat as the tire moves (meaning you can drive faster for longer). While it’s not a snow-driving model by any means, the tire’s micro silica tread compounds improve handling and traction.
Kumho Solus TA11
Tire Type: Standard touring all-season
Cost: $59 to $136
Tread Life: Up to 75,000 miles
The Kumho Solus TA11 is a great, no-fuss all-season tire. We also named this model one of the best cheap tires available in our affordable tire review. Its asymmetrical tread pattern is great for drivers looking for stronger cornering, and its specialized tread compound adds miles to your fuel efficiency. In short, this tire is a tried-and-true option for the everyday commuter.
Kumho Tire Warranties
Kumho offers better-than-average tread life warranties with most of its models, some reaching 80,000 miles. Its replacement tires also come with a limited manufacturer warranty that extends six years after the initial purchase. If your Kumho tire shows signs of defective materials or workmanship, it will be replaced under this coverage.
Cost of Kumho Tires
Kumho tires are average-priced, most sitting between $90 and $200 per tire. However, some models are suitable for the budget-focused buyer. According to TireBuyer.com, inexpensive tires cost between $50 and $100 while mid-range tires cost between $100 and $200. Kumho tires may not be as inexpensive as products like Ironman tires or Cooper tires, but they offer long-term value.
Tire cost has two parts: initial cost and long-term cost. Initially, Kumho tires are more expensive than the average budget tire. However, they also come with longer-than-average tread life warranties, meaning you’ll need to replace them less frequently. According to several industry sources, Kumho tires can last up to 80,000 miles, depending on the model.
Here are a few example prices of Kumho tires using data from TireBuyer.com:
In the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Original Equipment Customer Satisfaction StudySM for Passenger Tires, Kumho scored 688 out of a possible 1,000 points. This score placed it well below the segment average of 712. While original equipment (OE) tires are not representative of Kumho’s entire product line, it does indicate some customer dissatisfaction. When ranking tire manufacturers, the J.D. Power study considered tire wear, tire ride, tire traction/handling, and tire appearance.
However, Kumho also won three design awards in 2020, including the International Design Excellence Award (IDEA), the iF Design Award, and the Red Dot Award, according to Tire Technology International. Each award recognizes design innovation within the industry.
Looking at customer reviews, most Kumho tires on TireBuyer.com hold a 4.0-star rating or above. Similar ratings can be found on other retailer sites. To give you a better idea of what buyers do and don’t like about Kumho tires, we detailed a few customer reviews below.
Positive Kumho Tires Reviews
“So far, [Kumho Crugen HT51] tires have been great. They are quiet on the highway and have great grip. We have only had them on the car for a week but we have already driven it through hard rain, snow and slush with no slippage.” – via TireBuyer.com
“I absolutely love how these [Kumho Ecsta PS31] tires feel. I went from Pirelli P7s to these, and honestly I like how they feel a lot better. They ride very smoothly, and the road feel is great. Plus, they have amazing grip around corners and don’t even have a problem in the rain.” – via TireBuyer.com
Negative Kumho Tires Reviews
“We had [Kumho Ecsta PA31] tires for approximately [two and a half] years and 19,000 miles. Tires [were] horrible in snow and rain, so [we] checked them and they were bald. Not even close to mileage.” – via TireBuyer.com
“[Kumho Solus KH25 tires are] horrible in the snow. Do not buy if you live in the Snow Belt. Not even very good in wet weather. Maybe look at a newer version. [The] Solus TA71 has much better ratings.” – via TireBuyer.com
Our Final Thoughts on Kumho Tires: 4.0 Stars
Kumho tires are some of the better models on the market, especially for performance and all-season products. We like the company’s diverse range, both in terms of selection and pricing. Many Kumho tires come with above-average tread life warranties, lowering the long-term cost of a new set of tires.
Kumho tires are one option to consider, but we also recommend looking at other tire brands before deciding on your next set of tires.
Michelin Tires: Best Tires Overall
In our industry review, we named Michelin tires the Best Tires Overall. We like the company’s impressive product range and quality focus. While Michelin tires may not be the most budget-friendly at initial purchase, their lengthy tread life warranties make their prices more affordable in the long run.
Cooper is another affordable, high-quality tire brand. However, Cooper also offers a much larger selection of tires than Kumho, including a few high-rated all-terrain models. Cooper and Kumho are similarly priced, so it’s a good idea to compare specs between the two brands if you find a model you like.
To find the right Cooper tire for your vehicle, visit TireBuyer.com.