Kumho Ecsta PA51 Tire Review and Rating (2022 Update)

Last Updated July 8, 2022

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Wet
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Snow
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Comfort
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Noise
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Treadwear
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Pros

  • Usable in light-snow
  • One of the best price per performance ratios
  • Excellent dry and wet performance
  • Responsive and provides plenty of feedback

Cons

  • Braking distances are average
  • Not designed for comfort

It’s no secret that if you want the best performance out of a tire, you should go for the premium models. While that is true, there are cheaper alternatives with a pretty good performance worth looking into. One of those tires is the Kumho Ecsta PA51.

Kumho Ecsta PA51 Tire Review

All-season ultra-high-performance tires are tough to get right, and Kumho seems to achieve that on paper. It should have excellent performance in all weather conditions.

To achieve that, Kumho used a special rubber compound that doesn’t harden as the temperature drops. In addition to that, the asymmetrical tread design helps improve the levels of grip. The central ribs and outside shoulders are designed for stability and better traction.

For wet conditions, the Ecsta PA51 has 4 circumferential grooves and plenty of sipes that work together to move the water aside. The result should be excellent performance in the rain and great aquaplaning resistance.

As an all-season tire, the Ecsta PA51 is designed to be usable in snow. Don’t expect performance like with winter tires, but the zig-zag pattern on the grooves should help out a bit.

Kumho has a technology called variable pitch, which is used on the Ecsta PA51. This technology should help reduce the noise and give this tire a touring-like feel. 

Overall, it seems like a good option for performance in multiple conditions.

How does it behave on dry tarmac?

On dry tarmac, the Ecsta PA51 performs as you’d expect – excellent. It’s not on par with the premium models, and there are some downsides.

I’ll start with a few positive notes, the handling, and stability. The ribs and shoulders are doing their job at higher speeds, and the tire feels stable and planted. When you start to push the tire at the absolute limit, you may notice that the Ecsta PA51 doesn’t like it, but it’s not something you’ll be doing regularly.

Cornering is another positive for the Ecsta PA51. It grips very well, and even spirited drivers will be surprised by the responsiveness. This comes from the steel belts, which are reinforced by nylon ply. Enthusiast drivers will also like the fact that the tire provides a decent amount of feedback.

Up until this point, the Ecsta PA51 is excellent at what it does. Kumho managed to design it to be among the best in its class. In some areas, you may even compare it with some of the premium tires.

While the driving performance is exceptional, the Ecsta PA51 disappoints a bit when it comes to stopping. The tire is safe, and the stopping distances are not terrible, but I think that they should be a tad shorter.

How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?

The Ecsta PA51 is excellent on wet and slippery roads, almost as much as on dry. Wet conditions are not ideal, and nearly all tires of this class will perform a bit worse. 

In light rain, when the roads are more slippery, the Ecsta PA51 drove like a champ. The tire could be pushed quite a bit, and it would still grip pretty well to the road. Once it does lose traction, you can control it, giving you the confidence to push even more.

The grooves and sipes help a lot when the rain starts to pour. In these scenarios, aquaplaning is a severe difficulty, and the Ecsta PA51 can resist it marvelously.

Like the dry braking, the wet one takes a hit. The stopping distances are still relatively short, but it’s not class-leading like with some of the other aspects.

How is it over snow?

In some areas, the Ecsta PA51 performs very well in snowy conditions, and in some, it’s average.

The traction is where the tire surprised the most. During testing, the Ecsta PA51 managed to maintain traction and easily compete with some premium models.

Once you hit the corners, things get a bit worse, and the tire falls back into its category. It’s a similar story with the braking distances, showing average results.

All of the above is in light snow, and the results are not too bad. In heavy snow conditions, the Ecsta PA51 will struggle, at which point I wouldn’t recommend driving it.

Is it comfortable and refined?

Surprisingly, the Ecsta PA51 is not the most comfortable in its class, but it is quiet.

In terms of comfort, it’s not the harshest tire, and you shouldn’t expect too much comfort since it’s an ultra-high-performance one. Things get a bit worse if you have tires with a lower profile.

What surprised me the most was the noise levels. The Ecsta PA51 passed my expectations and proved to be a very quiet tire. It is among the quietest in this price range and can go head-to-head with some touring tires.

Is it good for off-roading?

The Ecsta PA51 is not a tire that you should take off-roading. The tire isn’t designed for those kinds of surfaces, so the performance would be terrible.

Occasionally you could drive on some country dirt roads, and it should be fine. In terms of mud, don’t expect any performance as the Ecsta PA51 can get stuck if the mud is deeper.

Is the Kumho Ecsta PA51 ideal for sporty driving?

Yes, the Ecsta PA51 is excellent for sporty driving, and I would recommend it for anyone on a budget. The levels of grip in the corners, combined with the high-speed stability, make it perfect even for taking it on a track. Keep in mind the slightly longer braking distances and brake a tad early.

While there are better options with more performance, the Ecsta PA51 is still an excellent choice for sporty driving.

Should I buy the Kumho Ecsta PA51?

Yes, you should. The Kumho Ecsta PA51 is an excellent all-season ultra-high-performance tire aimed at people with sporty coupes. You could even fit it to a sedan if you want to give it some better driving characteristics.

The dry performance is exceptional, and there aren’t too many faults that I can mention. In the straight, the Ecsta PA51 remains very stable, and it corners surprisingly well. A similar story is the performance in the wet, where on top of the traction, you also have a decent aquaplaning resistance. the stopping distances are a bit off, but it will stop in a safe distance.

Snow performance is as you’d expect – good enough to get the job done but far from a winter tire. It will find traction thanks to the zig-zag tread design and will offer average stopping distances.

As an ultra-high-performance tire, the comfort takes a hit and can get a bit bumpy from time to time. The biggest surprise is in terms of noise. The Ecsta PA51 is among the quietest in its class, and you have Kumho’s variable pitch technology to thank for it.

Kumho Ecsta PA51 Warranty

In terms of warranty, some people may be disappointed. The Ecsta PA51 comes with a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is not a lot.

I agree with that, but considering that it’s an ultra-high-performance tire, it’s not that bad. These tires are designed to be driven hard and won’t last as much as a touring tire would.

Is the Kumho Ecsta PA51 ideal for sporty driving?

Yes, the Ecsta PA51 is excellent for sporty driving, and I would recommend it for anyone on a budget. The levels of grip in the corners, combined with the high-speed stability, make it perfect even for taking it on a track. Keep in mind the slightly longer braking distances and brake a tad early.

While there are better options with more performance, the Ecsta PA51 is still an excellent choice for sporty driving.

Kumho Ecsta PA51 Pricing: Is it worth the money?

The Ecsta PA51 is definitely worth the money when you look at the entire package. An ultra-high-performance all-season tire with some touring features with a starting price of $85 is not something you’ll find with premium models.

You get a superb dry and wet grip in corners, responsive steering, and a decent amount of feedback. All of this makes it a good bargain.

In less ideal situations like light snow, the Ecsta PA51 will perform adequately. The comfort is not the best, but the noise levels are low.

When you combine the level of performance that the Ecsta PA51 has and the price, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a better balance in other tires in this class.

Conclusion

Kumho is known for making affordable tires with excellent performance, and the Ecsta PA51 is one of those. 

As an all-season tire, it has plenty of grip and traction in all weather conditions, which is combined with some properties found in touring tires. On the performance side of things, the Ecsta PA51 delivers as an ultra-high-performance tire, meaning you won’t be left wanting for more.

I do have to admit that the premium models are capable of delivering more performance. With them, you are also looking at a higher price tag, meaning that the Ecsta PA51 has an excellent price-per-performance ratio.

What Vehicles Will the Kumho Ecsta PA51 Fit?

  • Acura Integra
  • BMW 3, 5 Series
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Dodge Neon
  • Honda Jazz, Accord, Civic, City
  • Mazda 2, 3, 6, MX-5
  • Mini Cooper
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Toyota Yaris, Corolla, GT-86
  • Lexus IS, ES
  • Volkswagen Polo, Golf, Passat

Considering the number of hatches, sedans, or sporty coupes available, compiling a complete list is almost impossible. The list above is like a guideline to get an idea of which cars can have the Ecsta PA51 fitted to them

Tire Sizes for Kumho Ecsta PA51

16″

  • 195/55R16
  • 205/50R16
  • 225/50R16
  • 185/55R16

17″

  • 235/45R17
  • 215/55R17
  • 225/45R17
  • 215/50R17
  • 215/45R17
  • 225/50R17
  • 205/40R17
  • 245/40R17
  • 205/50R17
  • 205/45R17
  • 235/50R17
  • 245/45R17
  • 255/40R17
  • 275/40R17
  • 245/50R17

18″

  • 215/45R18
  • 225/45R18
  • 235/40R18
  • 245/45R18
  • 225/40R18
  • 245/40R18
  • 255/35R18
  • 265/35R18
  • 235/50R18
  • 255/45R18
  • 215/40R18
  • 255/40R18
  • 275/40R18
  • 275/35R18
  • 245/50R18
  • 235/45R18
  • 225/50R18

19″

  • 245/35R19
  • 245/45R19
  • 245/40R19
  • 255/40R19
  • 275/40R19
  • 255/35R19
  • 285/35R19
  • 275/35R19
  • 225/40R19
  • 225/45R19

20″

  • 245/35R20
  • 255/35R20
  • 245/40R20
  • 245/45R20
  • 255/45R20

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