A car consists of tons of elements, all of which are essential. Even though some people don’t think so, I believe that the tires are near the top, if not the most crucial part of every car. Being the only part that has physical contact with the road, they are responsible for accelerating, braking and handling.
Tires won’t last a lifetime of the car, so every car owner finds themselves in a situation where they need to replace them. Things were simple in the early days, one or two brands, and whichever you chose, things were pretty similar. Today it’s a different story.
There are tons of options that come at several price points and different applications. If you followed my reviews for a while, you’d know that I mostly recommend going for premium or mid-range options, as the cheapest ones can be pretty bad. With that said, how well do these two segments compare?
In this comparison, we’ll take two strong contenders from both sides. On the mid-range option, you have Hankook, while from the premium, you have something like Goodyear. Are they competitive, and when should you choose the more expensive option? Let’s find out.
Chosun was a company that was founded in 1941 in Seoul, South Korea. Don’t worry, it’s not a typo, Hankook bared the name Chosun for roughly a decade before rebranding itself into the name we know today.
Some people think that Hankook came late to the market compared with brands that have been around since the late 19th century, but I don’t think that’s true. The brand did bring some revolutionary changes to the industry throughout the years, but it managed to position itself as a mid-range brand. It means that it’s a cheaper option than the premium competitors, with competitive performance. Surprisingly, there are some instances where it may outperform some premium models.
Hankook didn’t achieve this by following the pack. By implementing some of its proprietary technologies, the brand managed to catch up with its premium competitors, which is why it’s highly praised today.
Thanks to the quality and performance, Hankook has had a long relationship with Audi, and as part of a new addition, it will make the tires for the e-Tron GT. In addition to that, the brand has plenty of racing experience in Le Mans, DTM, and starting this year, Formula E.
Even though it’s not on par with the premium manufacturers, Hankook is a powerful brand that can throw a punch.
Hankook’s tire families
At first glance, Hankook may seem like a thin choice considering that there are only a handful of tire families. While that is true, the options aren’t all that limited.
Kicking off the list is Ventus, Hankook’s pinnacle family of tires. The tires are designed to deliver the best possible performance, meaning that you’ll have excellent handling capabilities combined with plenty of grip and traction.
Hankook has tons of Ventus models available. You have the Ventus S1 evo2 and evo3 that come in several variations, the S1 noble 2, TD, R-S4, to name a few. The reason for this is that this lineup covers all performance models for passenger cars and CUVs and SUVs for all weather conditions, meaning you have summer and all-season options.
In the touring segment, the Optimo family of tires is one of the options you have available. These are the popular option for people looking for longer-lasting tires capable of delivering decent performance on the road. The main goal of these models is to be well refined, and Hankook seems to have done an excellent job at it.
Even though the Optimo family of tires takes a similar approach to the Ventus one, it’s primarily designed for passenger cars covering the summer and all-season options. Hankook’s models range from tires like the H426 and H428 to H724 and H725, covering a wider range of price points.
The Kinergy lineup takes a similar approach to the Optimo one but takes things up a notch. For the most part, you have touring options, giving you a comfortable and quiet ride along with a longer-lasting tire. I said, for the most part, because you can find some performance models as well. The best part is that it covers a slightly wider range of options.
Unlike the previous family of tires, the Kinergy mainly goes for the passenger car segment, but there are models for the CUV and SUV options. On the performance side of things, you have the Kinergy Eco, which, even though it has some touring-like properties, it’s set up for performance. Then there are the GT, 4S2, and 4S2 X, AS X EV, PT, ST, and several others. As a result, you have summer and all-season tires for multiple vehicle types with different price tags.
I believe that the Dynapro family of tires needs no introduction. These models are designed for CUVs, SUVs, and some can be fitted to light trucks. Hankook went with a similar approach here and covered multiple use cases and multiple weather conditions.
On the one hand, you have models like the Dynapro HP2 and HP2 Plus, AS RH03, and HT RH07, which are the touring options. On the other, you have models like the AT2, AT-M, and a few others that Hankook sells as all-terrain tires for a combined on and off-road performance. For the most hard-core off-road fans out there, the MT2 is the tire to go for.
The naming may seem weird, but the performance isn’t. For winter driving, Hankook’s i*cept lineup is designed to cover most of the needs of people who drive in harsher conditions. Even though all-season or all-weather tires are usable, this family of tires can deliver much better performance where the other two will struggle.
There aren’t too many options available in this family, at least not from the newer generation. The good news is that they cover the passenger cars as well as the bigger CUVs and SUVs. For the passenger cars, you have models like the RS2, evo2, and evo3, while the bigger vehicles can utilize the evo3 X, evo2 SUV, or the LV.
For conditions where the i*cept wouldn’t be a suitable tire, you have the i*pike, a family of tires designed for the worst winter conditions on the planet. So what does this mean? Essentially, you are looking at studdable winter tires, meaning that on top of the excellent snow performance, these can be driven on ice as well.
Thanks to Hankook’s philosophy, the i*pike tires cover a similar range as the i*cept one, meaning that you can fit them on a passenger car and a CUV, SUV, or a light truck. The regular i*pike covers the smaller sizes, while the X is designed for SUVs. Then there is the RW11 designed for light trucks. This results in full coverage, so anyone that needs to can take advantage of these tires.
Hankook’s competitor is a brand that needs no introduction. Founded in 1898 in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is one of the oldest tire manufacturing companies still in existence and, most importantly, is considered a premium option.
Naming the company wasn’t an issue, and it got the name from the man who invented vulcanized rubber – Charles Goodyear. Initially, the company was making tires for bicycles until it caught the attention of Henry Ford. He wanted Goodyear to start making tires for its cars, which pushed the company’s popularity upward.
One thing that makes Goodyear stand out from the crowd is that it’s among the first to begin making radial tires. In those days, the rest of the competition was still working with bias-ply tires, so this step came as a game-changer that put it at the top.
Throughout the years, Goodyear continued to improve, and thanks to plenty of R&D centers, the company implemented many new technologies. Performance is key for the manufacturer, and by using ActiveBraking, EfficientGrip, and ActiveCornerGrip, its tires can deliver superb performance in multiple conditions. Even the touring tires didn’t get left out, and technologies like SmartWear, SoundComfort, and WearControl help them provide a well-refined experience and longevity.
What about racing? Well, Goodyear has participated in tons of racing serves, but the one that sticks is Formula 1. Even though it’s no longer the active tire supplier, it still holds the record as a tire manufacturer with the most wins.
It’s no secret that Goodyear tires are good, but how much better are they when compared with Hankook’s options?
Goodyear’s tire families
Goodyear takes a more straightforward approach to its tires, meaning that there are more tire families to choose from.
Considering that touring tires are the more popular option, let’s start with that. Goodyear’s Assurance lineup of tires is the one you’d go for in cases where you want a sensible option. The tires are well refined and will last longer, the two main components of touring tires. With that said, the manufacturer managed to retain some of the performance that’s usually lost.
The Assurance tires are designed for passenger cars only and come in several models, each with some distinctive features. You have Fuel Max and CS Fuel Max, Finesse, ComfortDrive, and WeatherReady. Based on the names, you can probably guess which one is which, and one thing the have in common is that all of them are all-season tires.
If your tires are not your cup of tea, then the Eagle lineup may have you interested. These as Goodyears performance-oriented tires, which may have some compromises in terms of refinement but are among the best there is in terms of handling, grip, and traction.
The Eagle family will fit the needs of more people. You have models like the F1, Sport, Touring, Exhilarate, LS, GT, NCT, and RS which cover a pretty wide range. These are the main model names, but each one has a few more, which additionally widens the options. If you take all of this into account, you get tires that can be fitter to multiple vehicle sizes, as well as use them in multiple weather conditions.
Winter conditions aren’t the most friendly when it comes to driving, which is why you have the Ultra Grip family of tires. These are made to provide the best possible performance in snowy and icy conditions, with some minor sporty-like characteristics.
As part of this family, the standard Ultra Grip model is accompanied by the Ultra Grip 8 Performance, Winter, GW2, GW3, and Ice WRT. When you put all of these together, you have a lineup that can cover pretty much most of the vehicles you see on the road today.
The WinterCommand family follows a similar trend as the Ultra Grip, and some people confuse them as competitors within the same brand. While there are some overlaps, this is a family of tires with a slightly different use-case, a bit different list of applicable vehicles, and something that the previous one didn’t have – studs.
Even though only some of the models are studdable, it means that you have a tire that can deliver very good performance, even on ice. Yes, I mentioned that the list of vehicles is a bit different, but the WinterCommand tires also cover a wide range of categories.
Now we come to tires that are pretty known in the off-road world. Goodyear’s Wrangler lineup are tires designed to be fitted on SUVs and light trucks, and in some cases, CUVs. Despite the “limited” vehicle types that these tires can be fitted to, there is no such thing as limited when it comes to model options.
Goodyear offers the Wrangler in more than 20 unique models, which not only cover different weather conditions but also cover multiple driving conditions. It means that they come in the form of all-season tires that can be driven on the road as touring ones and all-terrain and mud-terrain.
The EfficientGrip family isn’t the most popular one Goodyear has to offer, but it’s a pretty good one. These fall somewhere between touring and performance, and the company seems to have managed to balance them nicely. As a result, you get a little bit of both worlds, which some people are after.
Within this family, there are only two models, the EfficientGrip and EfficientGrip Performance, both of which are summer tires. Based on the specs and size options, these tires are made for passenger cars only. On the flip side, there are plenty of size options between both, meaning that you shouldn’t have any issues finding one that fits your car.
Here we have a bit of a duel within one tire brand. Goodyear essentially designed the Excellence to be touring tires with a bit better performance in terms of handling and grip. Despite that, the touring part of the tires is there, meaning that it’s decently well refined and long-lasting.
The Excellence comes in a handful of tire models, but to be fair, not as much as some of the other families I’ve mentioned. Even though there aren’t too many individual models, the ones that are there come in a wide range of size options. As a result, Goodyear manages to cover a wider range of passenger cars, even some of the smaller ones.
At first glance, it may seem that the Fierce family is similar to some models in the Wrangler lineup, and that is correct. The tires are intended to be used on SUVs and light trucks driven in multiple road conditions.
When I say multiple road conditions, I mean on and off-road, making the Fierce tires all-terrain ones. Goodyear managed to balance the tires out pretty well, meaning that you’ll get good road performance and refinement and some decent off-road traction.
Touring tires for SUVs? Sure, why not. The Frontera family of tires covers a similar type of vehicle as the previous one, but in this case, the conditions in which they’ll be driven differ.
While the vehicle applications are identical, the Frontera SL and HL tires are designed to be driven on the road only, making them all-season touring tires. The HL model delivers just that and it does that very decently, while the SL one has a sporty vibe to it, meaning it can put a smile on your face in some cases.
Goodyear is a premium manufacturer, meaning a higher price point, but the Integrity are tires designed to be more affordable. Sure, you won’t get the same performance as some of the other tires, so it’s something to keep in mind.
The Integrity family isn’t too big, and with only one model, Goodyear still manages to cover a decently wide range of passenger tires. It’s an all-season tire capable of delivering decent performance throughout the year, so it’s a good option if you have an older car or don’t want to save a buck on tires.
Differences between Hankook and Goodyear
Some may say that comparing brands in different categories isn’t fair, and they’d be right. With that said, in this comparison, I’m trying to determine the differences and see how much, if any is Goodyear better than Hankook.
Expensive tires perform better, and for the most part, this is what most of us are thinking. Putting both brands against each other will produce some differences in the performance section, regardless of whether we’re looking at maximum grip and traction or touring.
Regardless of how you look at it, Goodyear will deliver better results in both cases. You’ll have more performance or a better-refined tire, which is why you’re paying the premium price tag. With that said, there are some situations where a Hankook tire can come close or surpass a Goodyear one. For example, the Ventus S1 evo3 is a tire with very short braking distances, which are very close to the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5.
Things don’t change too much, even when comparing models from the SUV and light truck segment. Goodyear models are better overall, with the Hankook ones surprising in certain conditions. Take the Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV, an excellent all-season sporty tire for SUVs, which gets beaten in wet braking by the Ventus ST.
What about off-roading? I have to say that things seem to be much closer in this segment, which is surprising. Goodyear has proven itself to be a manufacturer capable of making superior off-road capable tires. On the other hand, you have Hankook that made a mud-terrain tire which is easily comparable to what the premium manufacturer has. The Dynapro MT2 is a very close match to the Wrangler Territory MT. one area where Goodyear remains unmatched, at least in the off-road department, is how much beating the tires can take. Reinforcing them with Kevlar makes them quite durable, something that its competitors like Hankook cannot match.
If you look at the performance alone, Goodyear is a clear winner. Yes, you can find some specific situations where a Hankook tire will outperform it, but as a whole, the US tires are the better option.
If you read the part about the tire families, you probably thought that Goodyear is a clear winner, which is half-right. Yes, Hankook is down on the number of families, but it doesn’t have the same approach as Goodyear in terms of grouping the models, so it’s not a simple comparison. With that said, looking at the total amount of models which brand has, the number of options you’ll get with Goodyear is better.
Much of the models and families overlap, which not only gives you more options, but they also come at different prices. With Goodyear, you even have cheaper touring tires, which may not perform as well as the more expensive ones, but are still a decent option. I have to give credits to Hankook as well. The company also has plenty of models and covers a broader range of vehicle types and tire sizes, so it’s not like the difference is massive.
There is one aspect of Goodyear that I feel deserves a bit of critique, and I have to mention it. If you go back to the Assurance family, you’ll notice that there is a Fuel Max and ComfortDrive. This means that the first tire is set up for the least possible rolling resistance, while the second one is for comfort. Both tires are excellent, but unfortunately, going for one of them means that you will need to make some sacrifices. Disclaimer – the differences aren’t massive, and both tires are comfortable and have low rolling resistance, but at the end of the day, there is a small difference.
I think it’s pretty clear who the winner is in this category, but let’s take a look at it anyways. Hankook is a mid-range option that aims to make excellent tires at an affordable price. On the other hand, Goodyear isn’t the most expensive premium tire manufacturer, but it’s still more expensive than the Korean one.
Some models from Goodyear’s lineup are very close to what Hankook has to offer, but they aren’t the best-performing ones, so you’ll need to keep that in mind.
When comparing models from similar categories and similar sizes, Hankook’s option will always be cheaper than Goodyear’s.
Generally speaking, Goodyear is in a slight advantage, offering a tad longer treadwear warranty when compared with Hankook’s options. With that said, there are some models where the warranty is identical, or Hankook offers a bit longer one.
For the most part, Goodyear is the winner here, which shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider that it’s the more expensive option.
Advantages of Hankook
- A bit more affordable
- Off-road tires come very close to Goodyear’s
- Very good performance for the price
Advantages of Goodyear
- Better performance
- Longer treadwear warranty in most cases
- More models to choose from
Which brand to choose?
You probably thought that the choice would be straightforward, and Goodyear will be on top as the better brand. While that’s true in a broader sense of the way, things aren’t as clear as they seem.
Yes, Goodyear shows its premium pedigree and is overall a better option, but not by much. Despite the differences, I believe that Hankook has come a long way and can deliver excellent tires at a slightly lower price point.
Should you go for Goodyear by default? No. See the differences, check the price, and decide if it’s worth paying the extra money if you won’t be able to use the performance. For example, fitting a set of Eagle F1s to my 92 Corolla is pointless, so in my case, Hankook is a much better option. More powerful or premium cars may be able to take advantage of Goodyear’s performance bump, in which case that would be the smart choice.
Both are excellent brands and even though leaning towards one is an individual choice depending on your needs, Goodyear is a slightly better one in terms of performance but is also the more expensive one.