Hankook vs Kumho Tires
Choosing between Hankook and Kumho tires isn’t easy. Both are South Korean tire brands that have many things in common besides their country of origin. For instance, while both have a presence in over 170 countries worldwide, neither is a market leader in any category.
Another thing they have in common is their target audience. Hankook and Kumho tires appeal to the budget-conscious driver. One who is willing to spend much but not too much on replacement tires. But who still wants decent road manners and above-average treadlife.
Their product lineups make the comparison even more difficult. Like Hankook, which is popular among the motorsports community due to its involvement with the Le Mans touring car series. Kumho also churns out a considerable number of high-performance tires.
All in all, if you’re in the market for aftermarket tires, you may find it challenging to distinguish between Hankook and Kumho tires. Not until you have read our Hankook Vs Kumho tires comparison. This article will help you pinpoint areas where these two tire brands differ.
Hankook Tires History
There are two things many people don’t know about Hankook tires. The first is that the word ‘Hankook’ literally means Korea. Another thing you may not know about Hankook Tire Company is that its original name was Chosun Tire Company.
It was only in 1953, twelve years after the company’s founding and five years after the division of Korea, that Hankook Tire Corporation was born. That means that the original name survived World War 2 as well as the division of Korea along the 38th Parallel.
Nine years later, in 1962, Hankook completed its first overseas export. That was followed by a $13 million order from Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Transportation. This order was so significant for the company that it allowed Hankook to open its first branch in the Middle East.
Since then, Hankook’s history is a tale of one major achievement after another. After setting foot in the US in the 1980s and doubling its export to the EU in the 1990s, the last two decades have seen Hankook Tire Corporation emerge as the 7th largest tire manufacturer in the world.
Hankook Tire Families
Seven families complete Hankook’s tire lineup. These include Hankook iON, Ventus, Optimo, DynaPro, Kinergy, I*Cept, and I*Pike. Let’s discuss all of these in detail.
Hankook’s Ventus family is the main reason why the company’s tires are the first choice of motorsport enthusiasts. All the members in this lineup are designed to offer extreme performance in summer conditions. Their cornering performance, steering response and high-speed grip are all exemplary.
Take the Ventus S1 Evo3. Here is a high-performance summer tire whose controllability at high speeds and an affordable price tag make it a dream come true for racers. Then comes the Ventus RS4, a slightly pricier tire that distinguishes itself from the S1 Evo3 with an enhanced steering response.
According to a report, the global market share of electric vehicles has more than doubled in the past decade, a trend which is only going to accelerate in the coming years as the record prices of gas continue to punish drivers at the pump.
Hankook’s iON family frees you from the worry of rising gas prices. All three members of this lineup are designed to cater to the need of electric vehicles. The iON S and iON SX are summer performance tires, whereas the Winter i*Cept iON is a dedicated winter tire.
Hankook Optimo family is populated by affordable touring tires. These tires feature all the qualities which you get from premium touring tires (extended treadlife warranty, refined road manners, exceptional aquaplaning resistance). That too at a price that won’t blow your budget.
Optimo tires perform well in multiple conditions, including light snow. Their all-season tread compound also enables them to offer a noise-free driving experience. Yet, all these features will evaporate in thin air the moment these tires roll off the highway.
All-terrain and mud-terrain tires can be found in the Hankook DynaPro series.
These include the DynaPro AT2, a giant of an all-terrain tire that offers outstanding puncture resistance and an equally good loose surface traction. The DynaPro MT2 is equally reliable, albeit only on mud, slush and slippery surfaces. Then comes the DynaPro AT-M, an A/T tire with an all-season tread compound.
Hankook’s Kinergy series contain premium touring (Kinergy PT H737 and Kinergy ST), grand touring (Kinergy GT) and eco-friendly (Kinergy eco2) tires. All the tires bearing the Kinergy emblem offer excellent fuel resistance to give your wallet some respite at the pump.
Another thing they have in common is that all of them are incredibly cheap. The Kinergy PT H77’s prices, for instance, start at around the $70 mark. This seems like an absolute steal when you look at what you’re getting for this price.
Hankook I*Cept and I*Pike
I*Cept and I*Pike families comprise dedicated winter tires.
Yet, while I*Cept tires are designed to withstand mild-to-moderate wintry conditions, I*Pike tires can safely carry your car from point A to point B through a snowstorm.
Kumho Tires History
Kumho Tires Company is two decades younger than Hankook Tire Corporation. The multinational tire brand was founded in Gwangju, South Korea, in 1960 as Samyang Tire. A name change followed six years later, in 1966, and the Kumho name appeared on the market for the first time.
It was also in 1966 that Kumho tires acquired the US Department of Transportation (DOT) mark. This was a major milestone as it allowed Kumho to market its tires within the US market. Twenty two years later, in 1988, another DOT certification further cemented Kumho tires’ excellent reputation.
However, not everything has been smooth sailing for Kumho over the past 6 decades. The 2008 financial crisis, for instance, hit the company so hard that it had to cease operations in its US-based tire plant. It took eight years for the company to open another tire making facility in the US.
At the time of writing, Kumho Tires is the 2nd largest tire manufacturer in South Korea, with Hankook enjoying the view from the top spot. It is currently operating under the umbrella of Chinese tire manufacturer Doublestar, which acquired Kumho Tire in 2018.
Kumho Tires Families
At the time of writing, Kumho harbors six tire families. These include the Kumho ECSTA, SOLUS, WINTERCRAFT, I’ZEN, CRUGEN and ROAD VENTURE.
The Kumho ECSTA family is pretty diverse in that it encompasses all-season, touring, performance and high-performance tires. Let’s illustrate this with the help of a few examples.
The ECSTA PA51 and ECSTA AST are both high-performance tires. The duo delivers outstanding steering response and plenty of traction on dry and wet surfaces. However, unlike the ECSTA 4XII KU22 (an all-season tire), neither of them can be said to have refined road manners.
Kumho’s SOLUS family is populated by affordable all-season tires. Most of them come with an all-season tread compound for dependable year-round performance. There is one SOLUS tire, though, which can perform in harsh wintry conditions.
In case you’re wondering, the SOLUS TA71 is the flagship model of this family. This tire is as comfortable and refined as premium all-season tires, despite costing less than $100. It also offers plenty of traction on wet roads, but has limited traction on snow and ice.
As the family’s name makes clear, WINTERCRAFT tires are designed solely for when the outside weather gets too rough for ordinary tires. These tires’ unique selling proposition – that they are studdable – comes across as a double-edged sword.
On the one end, the metal inserts that you will push into these tires’ tread areas will help them navigate the toughest weather conditions. On the other hand, the presence of studs means you won’t be able to use these tires on all public roads.
Four tires complete the Kumho I*ZEN family.
All four of them have one thing in common – they are all designed to safely carry you the distance in harsh wintry conditions. Yet they have their differences based on the vehicles you can install them on. Some of them work with passenger cars, while others are designed for SUVs and light trucks.
The Kumho CRUGEN family features various OE tires. This lineup’s tires are mainly designed for SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks. All the models are available in various size ranges – a fact proved by the CRUGEN HP 51, which comes in 35 sizes across 15″ to 20″ range.
The CRUGEN HP 71 is the most popular tire in this family. It has been picked for Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Cruz and various other SUVs. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that not many affordable all-season tires are backed with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Kumho ROAD VENTURE
All the Kumho ROAD VENTURE tires are designed for off-roading. These tires can be installed on SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks. Examples include Road Venture AT51, MT71, AT52, MT 51, among others.
Hankook Vs Kumho Tires: Differences
Here are the major differences between Hankook and Kumho tires:
Hankook tires are a much better choice for racing, motorsports, and the enthusiast crowd.
These tires’ steering response, high-speed stability and cornering performance cannot be rivaled by their counterparts from Kumho, which are busy delivering a comfortable and refined driving experience on the highway.
Availability of Options
Once again, it’s Hankook that leads the line.
If you glance at Kumho tire families, one thing that might strike you is that all of them are designed to be installed on fossil fuel cars. There is no mention of EVs in Kumho’s tire lineup. In contrast, Hankook has an entire lineup (Hankook iON) dedicated to electric vehicles.
Price and Warranty
Kumho tires generally tend to be cheaper than Hankook tires.
However, when it comes to the warranty department, Hankook once again inches forward. The Optimo H727, for instance, is backed with a market-leading 100,000-mile treadwear warranty. In contrast, 70,000 miles is the maximum warranty you could get on any Kumho tire.
Advantages of Hankook
- Weigh less heavy on the pocket
- Touring tires reduce emissions
- Come with respectable warranties
Advantages of Kumho
- Affordable asking prices
- Extensive tire lineup
- Reliable tires on a budget
Hankook Vs Kumho Tires: Which Brand to Choose?
Given how this Hankook Vs Kumho tires comparison has panned out, it shouldn’t be surprising for anyone that our vote goes in favor of Hankook tires, regardless of whether you’re in the market for an all-season touring, performance, all-terrain, or even an EV tire.
That is not to say that Kumho tires are of poor quality. It’s just that we don’t see many reasons why anyone might want to prefer them over Hankook tires. And as their position in the ranking ladder shows (Hankook is ranked above Kumho everywhere), the public largely agrees with us.