In the modern-day tire industry, dozens upon dozens of brands compete in various segments of the market. The high-end premium segment is covered to a great extent as a few selected high-end brands always try to one-up each other with every new product.
However, the budget segment of the tire industry is arguably even more interesting as brands try to make great products, but at a more affordable price. Kumho and Falken are both mid-spec budget-oriented tire brands, yet are large companies with a substantial global presence.
In this article, we will compare Kumho vs Falken tires and tell you why one brand is better than the other. So, if that is something that interests you, be sure to stick around and find out!
Back in the early 1960s, a company named Samyang Tire was founded in Gwangju, South Korea. The company later changed its name to Kumho Tires as it managed to increase production and was getting ready to expand internationally. They first began by manufacturing just a few dozen tires each day, but are now in the top 15 largest tire companies on the planet.
The late 1960s defined Kumho’s trajectory as they were finally approved by the US Department of Transportation which enabled them to expand to the US. This was made possible because Kumho made a deal with Uniroyal which is one of the oldest and largest US-based tire manufacturers which meant that Kumho’s production lines were starting to grow substantially.
The 1970s saw Kumho expand further to Europe and the UK. By the time the 1980s rolled around the corner, Kumho was busy making millions of tires each month. In 1990, Kumho celebrated selling its 100 millionth tire and all was going well until the 2008 recession hit which pushed Kumho back by quite some margin.
The company managed to recover, but its growth rate has stagnated. Nowadays, Kumho is taking the approach of affordability, innovation, and accessibility as they offer many different types of tires for many different types of cars, all of which are competitively priced and well-made.
Kumho Tires Families
Kumho likes to play it safe which is why you will not see them offering dozens of tire families, but rather a few selected tire families which tend to cover the most important parts of the market. As such, Kumho offers 5-6 tire families which they believe is enough.
One of the more interesting and popular families of Kumho tires is the ECSTA family which comes with a wide variety of performance and all-season tires. If you want a serious ultra-performance tire, be sure to check out the Kumho ECSTA PA51 as this tire offers an amazing price-to-performance ratio while also being usable throughout the season.
It’s more or less the same story with the Kumho ECSTA 4X II KU22 which is even better in the dry but isn’t able to hold its own in the snow. The ECSTA lineup of tires is available for passenger cars, SUVs, and crossovers.
Touring tires are notoriously difficult to make if you aren’t planning on selling them for a lot of money. Longevity, durability, quietness, refinement, efficiency, and flexibility are what make touring tires stand out. This is where the Kumho SOLUS lineup comes in as this family of tires comes in either all-season or winter form.
The Kumho SOLUS TA71 is one of the more impressive tires in the lineup as it is plenty responsive while being comfortable and refined. It also offers plenty of grip in all situations which makes this tire, and the entire SOLUS lineup, the best for those who want tires for long-distance cruising and refinement.
If you want an impressive dedicated winter tire, you should focus your attention on the Kumho WINTERCRAFT family. These come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes which means that they fit passenger cars, SUVs, CUVs, and trucks. These tires also tend to be really comfortable and refined which often tends to be an issue for winter tires.
Moreover, some of these can also be studded which will give you unparalleled traction on ice.
If you want a dedicated alpine snow tire designed for traversing mountainous snow-covered tracks, the I*ZEN family is designed exactly for that purpose. This family of tires only offers a single tire and is available for passenger cars and trucks. Deep snow shouldn’t be an issue as these are designed specifically to tackle deep snow.
The Kumho CRUGEN family of tires is made for cars with a higher ground clearance which includes SUVs, CUVs, and light trucks. There are three different models within this category, all of which offer slightly different driving characteristics. The most popular tire here is the Kumho CRUGEN HP71 tire which comes with a really good 65,000-mile warranty and can fit on literally everything.
Kumho ROAD VENTURE
Finally, if you are interested in all-terrain and dedicated off-road tires, the Kumho ROAD VENTURE family of tires is the one to get. With five different models, these tires can fit on SUVs, some CUVs, and light trucks. The most popular tire model here is the Kumho ROAD VENTURE AT51 which offers a balanced on-road and off-road experience which makes it a great daily driver tire for occasional trail hunting.
The Falken tire company was founded back in 1983 which makes it one of the youngest tire companies in the world. The reason why Falken is such a prominent name in the tire world is that the company managed to experience a growth trajectory at a pace that is difficult to match. If you want a spot of context, Falken managed to expand to the US only two years after the company was founded.
The European market came soon enough as Falken tires reached European customers by the end of 1988. Where Falken makes the most noise is the world of performance tires as they are heavily invested in the world of motorsports, especially events such as the US Le Mans series, United SportsCar Championship, Tudor United SportsCar Championship, and a whole host of smaller-scale drift competitions.
Nowadays, Falken is sponsoring many racing teams all around the planet, some of which take part in the world’s most illustrious racing series such as the 24h of Le Mans or 24h of Nurburgring. The Falken company is owned by Sumitomo Rubber North America which also makes tires for Dunlop and Goodyear.
All in all, Falken is making a name for itself lately and the company’s growth rate is outstanding. They can be easily considered on par with some much older and larger companies on the planet, but they don’t belong in the top 15, not yet at least.
Falken Tire Families
Falken focuses primarily on either the performance tire market or the all-terrain tire market which means that they don’t offer too many more ordinary tire families. However, they are constantly making strides and are slowly starting to make tires that are perfect for everyday commuters, not just sports cars and off-road machines.
The Falken AZENIS family of tires presents Falken’s take on high summer/performance tires which means that these are designed primarily for sporty vehicles with a lower center of gravity. For example, the Falken AZENIS FK510 is designed for both wet and dry conditions, but its snow performance is really underwhelming.
The AZENIS lineup offers three different tire models, some of which are near-on slick tires while others are adequate for both wet and dry surfaces.
The Falken ESPIA family of tires is designed with all-weather capabilities in mind. These include two different models, one is designed for passenger cars while the other one is designed for SUVs. Both are adamant when it comes to low temperatures, snow, and all the other variables that come with winter driving.
Be that as it may, they are not all that good when it comes to summertime and higher temperatures as that can shorten the lifespan of these tires significantly.
If you live in Europe and you want a tire that is specifically designed for European driving conditions, the Falken EUROWINTER HS01 is the tire for you. It is a tire that can tackle all kinds of weather and is designed for both passenger cars and SUVs/CUVs. It is slightly more dynamic than the ESPIA line of tires while also having a substantially more aggressive tread pattern.
If you are used to all-season tires, the Falken PRO family of tires is exactly what you need. This family of tires includes five different options, and the two most popular ones are the Falken PRO G4 A/S and the Falken PRO G5 CSV. The former is designed for passenger cars while the latter is designed for SUVs and CUVs respectively.
Both come with decent warranty coverages, offer decent grip in both wet and dry, and are really affordable for what they are.
The Falken SINCERA family of tires is designed with touring in mind which means that these tires aim to be dependable and relatively refined for a fraction of what you’d usually pay for a proper touring tire. The Falken SINCERA SN250 may not be as comfortable or responsive as its costlier counterparts, but it is extremely balanced with good all-weather performance and great aquaplaning resistance.
As far as extreme winter tires are concerned, Falken offers the WINTERPEAK family of tires designed to tackle everything winter can throw at it. These tires are intended for studs as well which means that deep snow and ice driving shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
The Falken WILDPEAK lineup of tires is where Falken tends to excel as these off-road tires can be seen on numerous off-road SUVs and trucks all over the country. The Falken WILDPEAK M/T is the most popular tire in this family as it is capable of traversing immensely challenging terrain while also being surprisingly quiet.
However, if you want the best daily driver, yet serious off-road tire, you should focus your attention on the Falken WILDPEAK A/T3W tire.
All-terrain tires are also represented by Falken through their RUBITREK family of tires. These tires are extremely versatile as there are a few models within this family of tires that all focus on different aspects of all-terrain driving qualities.
We recently talked about how Falken is trying to adapt its lineup for a wider variety of environments which is why it came out with the ZIEX family of tires designed for capable luxury sports cars. The Falken ZIEX ZE960 A/S is the most popular tire in this lineup as it comes with good all-weather traction and decent warranty coverage.
Differences Between Kumho And Falken
As far as dynamic performance tires are concerned, Falken’s entire name is built upon making affordable, yet extremely capable performance tires which can definitely be seen in this comparison as well. Even though the Kumho ECSTA family of tires offers some immensely capable performance tires, Falken does take it in this regard due as their value-to-performance ratio is really hard to beat.
As far as off-roading tires are concerned, Falken wins here as well because they offer a wider variety of off-roading and all-terrain tires, but Kumho’s ROAD VENTURE lineup is not far behind. Touring tires is where Kumho makes up for its losses as Kumho touring tires are better-rounded and feel more consistent on most roads.
Winter driving is also closely matched, but I’d give Kumho a lead here as well because they offer more dedicated snow and ice tires which are usually the types of tires that make all the difference in the winter.
Price and Warranty
Pricing between these two brands is similar, but Kumho seems to be selling its tires at a slightly lower median price than Falken. Kumho’s average warranty coverage ranges between 45,000 and 55,000 miles while Falken seems to be slightly better, especially due to certain performance and off-road tire models with warranties up to 80,000 miles which is more than what some premium tires offer.
As far as availability is concerned, both of these brands are excellent, but Falken takes the cake here as well because they are constantly broadening their catalog with all kinds of tires, all of which are available in multiple sizes. You can see in this comparison that Falken has nine different tire families while Kumho has six. Be that as it may, Kumho does manage to cover the majority of the market with these six tire families.
Advantages Of Kumho
- Slightly Cheaper
- Better Touring Tires
- Better Winter Tires
- Better Snow Tires
Advantages Of Falken
- Better Performance Tires
- Better Off-Roading Tires
- Slightly Better Warranty Coverage
- More Options
Which Brand To Choose?
At the end of our Kumho vs Falken comparison, we can easily conclude that both brands have their ups and downs. If you own a sports car or an off-roading car, and you want good warranty coverage, you should go for Falken tires. On the other hand, if you want great all-season drivability, better touring tires, more comfort, and slightly cheaper prices, go for Kumho.