Kumho is ready to carve its share in the US tire market. Anybody who regularly looks at tire brand rankings might think little of this statement. After all, at the time of writing, Kumho isn’t even in the top 20 tire manufacturers globally. Why then are we so bullish about its prospects?
Goodyear Rating: 4.7/5
Kumho Rating: 4.3/5
Because the South Korean brand has been investing a lot in the US of late. It was only in 2016 that Kumho opened its $600m tire-making facility in Macon, Georgia. Yet, as you’re reading this, the company is planning to inject another $22m into the plant to increase its capacity.
This should worry other tire manufacturers, one of which is Goodyear. The US tire brand is currently ranked 5th in the world, with a market value of $2.2 billion. Yet, if you look closely, there are chinks in Goodyear’s armor that upstarts like Kumho might try to exploit.
In this article, we’ll compare Goodyear Vs Kumho tires. We’ll start by looking at the respective histories as well as tire families of these manufacturers. Next, we’ll compare their tires on three key indicators – performance, availability, price – before declaring a winner.
Goodyear was founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1898. Akron plays a significant role in the history of the tire industry as the city is the birthplace of three global tire brands. These include Goodyear, Cooper (which was founded in 1914), and BFGoodrich (birth year 1870).
Goodyear got its name from Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanized rubber. In its first few years of existence, Goodyear busied itself with making tires for bicycles. But that was to change once the company got the attention of the famous US industrialist Henry Ford.
Mr. Ford was looking for a tire manufacturer that could supply tires for his Ford vehicles. In Goodyear, he found a manufacturer willing and able to do just that. One thing led to another, and Goodyear became the first company to supply Ford with racing tires.
At the time of writing, the name Goodyear is synonymous with high-quality tires. The US tire brand’s products have built a worldwide market spanning over 180 countries. Its customers count on Goodyear to provide them with tires that could last for years.
Goodyear Tire Families
Ten families complete Goodyear’s tire lineup. These include Goodyear Assurance, Eagle, Ultra Grip, Winter Command, Wrangler, Efficient Grip, Excellence, Fierce, Frontera, and Integrity. Let’s discuss all these Goodyear tire families in detail.
Goodyear Assurance family comprises all-season touring tires. Refined driving experience, brilliant road manners, superb hydroplaning resistance, and generous treadwear warranties – you can expect these qualities in every member of the Assurance family.
There are many reliable tires in this family, including the Assurance Outlast, Assurance Fuel Max, and Assurance MaxLife. Yet none of them are as popular as the Assurance WeatherReady, one of the best touring tires on the market for passenger and family cars.
Goodyear’s Eagle lineup harbors high-performance and ultra-high performance tires. These tires deliver outstanding high-speed performance but compromise on the comfort department. As such, they should be the first choice of racers and driving enthusiasts.
Need proof? Then you must check out the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6. This UHP tire offers the shortest braking distances of any tire in its category. Yet, its ride is on the harsher side. The same could be said about the Eagle F1 SuperCar 3 and Eagle Exhilarate, both of which are UHP tires.
Goodyear Ultra Grip
Goodyear’s Ultra Grip lineup has nothing to do with high performance. Instead, every member of this lineup has been designed with winter use in mind. This means you can count on the Ultra Grip tires to safely carry you from point A to point B through a snowstorm.
The Ultra Grip Winter is the flagship tire of this series. This tire is one of the best budget winter tires for Subaru Forester, Hyundai Tucson, and other compact crossover SUVs. Bear in mind, though, that for excellent winter performance, this tire would require you to install studs.
Goodyear Winter Command
The Goodyear Winter Command tire lineup is also about winter tires.
Furthermore, like the Ultra Grip family, these tires are studdable. This is a major boon if you regularly drive on roads that receive more than their fair share of snow. However, it also means that you might have to get a permit to use these tires on public roads.
Multiple categories of all-terrain tires complete this lineup.
If you’re looking for an all-season AT tire, choose between Trail Runner AT and Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure. Conversely, if you’re in the market for a dedicated off-road tire, check out our Wrangler Ultra Terrain AT Vs Wrangler DuraTrac comparison.
Goodyear Efficient Grip and Excellence
Goodyear Efficient Grip and Excellence tires have many things in common.
All the members of these two tire families attempt to balance refinement and performance. The Excellent Grip lineup has only two tires, one of which is an all-season tire, and the other is performance rated. The Excellence series gives you a few more options, which is always a good thing.
In case you thought that the Wrangler is Goodyear’s only all-terrain tire lineup, think again.
The Goodyear Fierce family also offers a fair few options when it comes to all-terrain tires. Also, while the Wrangler tires were all about off-road performance, these models also pay attention to comfort. This makes them a good choice for drivers who like off-roading once in a while.
Goodyear Frontera tires are for drivers who never venture too far from the highway.
These SUV/truck touring tires offer enhanced riding comfort and minimize road noise. All the tires in this lineup are available in either SL or HL models. The SL models are for sporty driving, while the latter deliver the kind of performance you expect from a classic highway tire.
Goodyear’s Integrity lineup proves that the brand is worried about competition from cheap tires.
These all-season tires are available at a price that won’t blow your budget. Yet, they deliver the kind of assured performance you expect from the Goodyear brand name.
Kumho Tires History
Kumho Tires Company is six decades younger than Goodyear Tire & Rubber Corporation. It was founded in May 1960 in Gwangju, South Korea, as Samyang Tire. The tire manufacturer got its current name in 1966, and since then, it has refused to look back.
The year 1966 holds special significance in the company’s history. For, apart from getting its current name, it was in the same year that Kumho acquired the US Department of Transportation (DOT) mark, a requirement for any tire brand that wants to conduct business legally in the US.
Fast forward to 2008, and the company went down under in the US. The financial crisis hit Kumho tires so hard that it had to close its only plant in the North American market. It took Kumho 8 years to return and open a brand-new $500 million facility in Macon, Georgia.
Two years later, in 2018, the Chinese tire manufacturer Doublestar acquired the majority stake in Kumho tire. The deal saw this company exit from Kumho Asiana Group, which it was a part of since its inception. Kumho is currently the 2nd biggest tire maker in South Korea.
Kumho Tires Lineup
Six tire families complete the Kumho Tires lineup. These include the Kumho ECSTA, SOLUS, WINTERCRAFT, I’ZEN, CRUGEN and ROAD VENTURE.
The Kumho ECSTA family harbors all-season, all-season touring, performance, and high-performance tires to meet the needs of passenger and sporty cars.
If you are in the market for a reliable all-season performer, the ECSTA 4XII KU22 deservers your attention. This tire offers a refined driving experience at an affordable price. However, if it’s high- or maximum-performance you are after, check out the ECSTA PA51 or the ECCSTA AST.
Two types of tires populate Kumho’s SOLUS lineup: all-season and winter
The SOLUS TA71 belongs to the first category. This tire is as comfortable as premium A/S tires, even though its price is less than half of its pricier counterparts. It offers excellent traction in dry and wet conditions, but isn’t the best of performers on snow and ice.
Their name indicates what Kumho ‘WINTER’CRAFT tires are all about.
These tires distinguish themselves from the competition by being studdable. That means you’ll have to insert metal studs into their tread area for a reliable winter performance. This might prevent you from using these tires on public roads that have banned the entry of studdable tires.
Kumho CRUGEN is probably the most famous tire lineup of this brand.
Mainly because it features the CRUGEN HP 71, an uber-popular all-season tire that has been picked as the OE model for Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Cruz and various other SUVs. This tire is backed with an exciting 65,000-mile treadwear warranty, above-average for a pocket-friendly model.
Kumho’s I*ZEN and WINTERCRAFT families have much in common.
Both have tires for harsh wintry conditions. Plus, the winter tires of both these families are studdable, a boon or a bane depending on how you look at it. That is because, while studdable tires offer much better snow traction than their studless counterparts, their usage is banned on many public roads.
Kumho ROAD VENTURE
As the Road Venture AT51 makes clear, this family is all about off-roading.
That said, there are differences between different tires of this family based on how much off-roading they can handle. The AT51, for instance, will struggle in deep mud, a shortcoming you don’t have to deal with if you opt for the Road Venture MT71 or MT51.
Goodyear Vs Kumho Tires: Differences
Here are the major differences between Goodyear and Kumho tires:
Goodyear’s Eagle tire lineup offers much better options for racing and motorsports than any tire you can get from Kumho. That is especially the case with the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6, one of the best ultra-high-performance tires to hit the market in recent years.
However, if you want a more optimal balance between treadlife and high-speed performance (the F1 Asymmetric 6 has a notoriously short treadlife), opt for the F1 SuperCar 3.
Availability of Options
As stated above, Goodyear has ten tire families whereas Kumho has only six.
This makes it clear that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Corporation offers more options to anyone in the market for reliable tires. That is especially the case if you’re looking for off-road tires, a category where Goodyear’s Wrangler lineup has made it the market-leader.
Price & Warranty
Kumho tires are much cheaper than Goodyear’s, which is remarkable given that both these brands manufacturer the bulk of the tires they sell in the US inside the country.
However, things balance out in the warranty department. Kumho’s and Goodyear’s flagship touring tires come with 80,000 warranties, leaving no doubt in our mind that both are equally reliable.
Advantages of Goodyear Tires
- Extensive tire lineup
- Reliable off-road tires
- Excellent HP and UHP tires
Advantages of Kumho Tires
- Affordable asking prices
- Long treadlife warranties
- Reliable tires on a budget
Goodyear Vs Kumho Tires: Which Brand to Choose?
Goodyear tires are a much better choice if you want more options or are in the market for off-road or high-performance tires. In contrast, the only reason why anyone might want to prefer Kumho tires over Goodyear’s is the former’s relatively low asking price.