If you require new tires, there are many factors you ought to consider before spending your money. Be that as it may, tire quality and tire price are the two most important factors to consider and they almost always go hand in hand. This means that a lot of money is always going to buy quality, but what if you don’t have or simply don’t want to spend that kind of money?
Then you should go for a mid-level tire brand such as Kumho or Nexen as both of these try to offer the best value for money out there. Therefore, we will compare Kumho vs Nexen tires in this article and tell you which one of these two brands should be your next tire brand.
What's In This Guide?
Kumho’s beginnings trace back to the 1960s when a company named Samyang Tire was founded in Gwangju, South Korea. The company operated as Samyang Tire for the next 40-odd years until it was renamed Kumho Tires in 1997. This happened right about the same time when the company was starting to become a really big global brand.
The very initial years were fairly successful for Kumho because they managed to get involved with Uniroyal which is one of the biggest and oldest tire manufacturers in the US. This enabled Kumho to get the DOT certificate of approval which enabled the company to expand to the US and sell their tires in the US from 1975.
The 1980s were really successful for Kumho as the company managed to increase its production numbers considerably. The 1990s saw the company sell its one-millionth tires and everything was going well before the 2008 recession hit. Kumho was hit hard as was the case with most companies back then, but they did manage to bounce back and continue growing.
Nowadays, Kumho is in the top 15 largest tire companies in the world and is owned by Qingdao Doublestar, a huge Chinese tire conglomerate. All in all, Kumho is known for making affordable tires that don’t sacrifice comfort or performance.
Kumho Tire Families
Kumho covers more or less the entire car tire market with just six different tire families. Most of these families have a few subvariants as well, all of which aim for a slightly different market niche. You can buy Kumho tires that fit all types of cars including sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, and even some RVs and other types of vehicles.
The Kumho ECSTA family of tires offers performance tires in both summer and all-season forms. However, the ECSTA family of tires also tries to offer as many great touring tire characteristics which make these some of the most comfortable performance tires on the market. The all-season Kumho ECSTA PA51 is a great example as it is incredibly quiet, but offers an abundance of traction on all surfaces.
On the other hand, if you just want a serious summer performance tire, the Kumho ECSTA 4X III KU22 has got you covered as it offers and even better dry traction. All in all, you can buy ECSTA tires for passenger cars, SUVs, trucks, and crossovers.
The Kumho SOLUS family of tires is the Kumho touring tire family. This family aims to offer longevity, comfort, refinement, efficiency, and flexibility as most of these are all-season tires. However, the SOLUS lineup also offers dedicated touring winter tires which is often an overlooked market niche as most people are used to having slightly less comfortable winter tires.
The Kumho SOLUS TA71 is a tire that tries to offer everything in one package which means that it offers good snow performance, yet is really good in all other environments. The SOLUS family is also available for passenger cars, SUVs, crossovers, and trucks.
Even though Kumho does offer certain winter tire variations within other tire families, the Kumho WINTERCRAFT family of tires offers winter tires exclusively. These are available for a wide variety of cars including passenger cars, sedans, SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. The best thing about these tires is that they are also really comfortable. Some of these can also be equipped with studs that offer unparalleled ice traction.
The I*ZEN tire family is one designed for alpine winter driving which is not a category you’ll often see with most tire brands. Kumho recognized that there are many people out there who want a tire that is specifically designed for driving on snow-covered mountain roads which is exactly what this family of tires offers. These are also available for passenger cars, SUVs, CUVs, and trucks.
Kumho also offers a tire family dedicated specially for SUV, truck, and CUV tires and is called the Kumho CRUGEN family of tires. This family of tires offers mostly all-season touring tires, but some models can tackle moderate off-roading as well. The Kumho CRUGEN HP71 is an SUV/truck/CUV touring tire with good traction and great refinement.
Kumho ROAD VENTURE
The Kumho ROAD VENTURE family of tires offers off-road and all-terrain tires exclusively which means that these can only fit SUVs, trucks, and some CUVs. There are five different models to choose from depending on how serious you are about off-roading. The Kumho ROAD VENTURE AT51 is often referred to as the golden standard of the ROAD VENTURE family because of its great road-driving and off-road prowess.
Nexen is also a South Korean tire company, but one that was founded in 1942 in Yangsan, South Korea. The Nexen company was first called Heung-A Tire Company and it also changed its name to Nexen sometime in the 1990s. As the company was founded during troubled times, interest in car tires wasn’t all that big which is why they were first in the business of making rubber products.
However, when the Korean war ended, the company saw great potential in the car tire market which is why it shifted almost all of its efforts to making car tires. The next 40 or so years saw Nexen making tires at a decent pace, but they weren’t near the top of the industry. However, the company was taken over by Woosung Group in 1986 when Nexen even struck a partnership with Michelin which was already one of the biggest brands in the world back then.
The 1990s saw the company push its efforts to later become a global brand which it did right around when the 2000s hit. The company also got heavily invested in various racing and lifestyle events such as Pike Peak which pushed its brand value a few notches.
These days Nexen still isn’t at the top of the industry but is a strong mid-level contender perfectly capable of trading punches with a brand like Kumho.
Nexen Tire Families
As far as Nexen tire families are concerned, they sure are a bit confusing compared to most other brands as many tire models overlap within a specific family which means that you can find performance tires in the touring tire family and vice versa. Either way, we will try and make it as simple to understand as we can.
The Nexen N’Fera is the most common Nexen tire family as it offers quite a few performance tire models which can be seen on many sports cars out there. These can be had for all types of cars which includes passenger cars, SUVs, trucks, and CUVs, and also come in a wide variety of sizes, even reaching up to 20+ inches in diameter.
Models like the Nexen PRIMUS and the Nexen SUR4G are designed solely for performance which means that they aren’t the most durable nor the most comfortable tires in this family. The Nexen Supreme and the AU7 are a bit more comfortable, some would even say too comfortable for performance tires.
The Nexen N’Priz family of tires is designed with touring tires in mind, but some of these also offer traction levels you’d usually find on dedicated performance tires. The N’Priz does not offer as many models as you’d find with the N’Fera, but these can also be had for SUVs/trucks and passenger cars. The RH7 is a popular SUV Nexen touring while the Nexen N’Priz AH5 is really popular with hatchbacks.
Moreover, the N’Priz tire family offers most tires as all-season tires, but there are some summer tire options only which are the more performance-oriented touring tires.
The Nexen N’Blue tire family is a more affordable touring tire family which means that it is really similar to the N’Priz, but not quite on the same level. The main difference between these two families is that the N’Blue family does not offer tires with the same levels of responsiveness and feedback which means that these aren’t as capable, but are equally as comfortable.
These are available for a wide variety of cars including SUVs, trucks, crossovers, and passenger cars and also come in a wide variety of sizes. The HD Plus and the 4Season are the two most popular models here. The first one is a dedicated summer touring tire while the other one is an all-season tire.
The Nexen WinGuard is also a fairly popular tire family by Nexen and it consists of winter tires exclusively. For example, the Nexen WinGuard Winspike is a model that offers great refinement and comfort levels and is perfect for those who don’t often tread into heavy snow and ice. The Nexen Winguard Sport 2 is an even more road-biased winter tire and likely one of the best winter tires in its entire class.
These are also available for SUVs, passenger cars, trucks, and CUVs. We also need to mention that the Nexen WinGuard Ice can be equipped with studs for those who want the best ice traction.
The Nexen Roadian tire family is designed for SUV and light truck tires and offers a wide variety of tires for many different environments including off-road and all-terrain tires. The Nexen Roadian AT Pro RA8 is the most popular all-terrain tire from this family and also one of the best premium all-terrain tires in its class.
The Nexen Roadian HTX RH5 is designed primarily for trucks and is comfortable both on a highway and off the pavement. The Roadian MTX is also a really good off-road tire model while the CT8 and the CT8HL are both designed for touring purposes.
Differences Between Kumho and Nexen
As far as outright performance tires are concerned, it’s a tough choice between these two brands as both are really impressive. Ultra-performance tires do seem to be more of a Nexen specialty while all-season performance tires seem to be better with Kumho. No matter which one of these brands you choose for your next performance tire purchase, you are not going to regret it as both are top-notch.
The touring tire is a bit more different as Kumho offers impressively comfortable touring tires while Nexen can be a bit all over the place. I’d give the upper edge to Kumho because it offers better touring tires, even though Nexen offers more touring tire families.
Kumho’s winter tires are more versatile, more capable, and can fit on a wider variety of cars while Nexen has good winter tires as well. With more winter tire families on offer, Kumho also offers a wider variety of different winter tire subvariants.
Off-roading is very much the same story as far Kumho offers more capable off-road tires. Be that as it may, Nexen off-road and especially all-terrain tires are also immensely capable, but way more comfortable than Kumho off-road tires.
As far as options and sizing are concerned, this is also an area where Kumho is much better as it offers more variety, more tire families, and more models in general. Kumho is a younger tire brand than Nexen, but Nexen expanded to the US about 30 years after Kumho did.
This made it easier for Kumho to better dial down its market and is thus more present in tire shops all around the country.
Price and Warranty
Nexen tires do tend to be a bit cheaper compared to Kumho across the board. However, it seems like Kumho has the upper edge when it comes to warranty coverage. For example, Kumho offers up to 80,000-mile in warranty coverage while Nexen tops out at around 60,000 miles, but many models can last over 80,000 miles if maintained correctly.
Advantages Of Kumho
- Better All-Season Performance Tires
- Better Touring Tires
- Better Winter Tires
- Better Warranty
Advantages Of Nexen
- Slightly Cheaper
- Better Summer Performance Tires
- More Comfortable Off-Road Tires
- More Comfortable All-Terrain Tires
Which Brand To Choose?
At the end of our Kumho vs Nexen tires comparison, we can easily conclude that both brands offer impressive tires at a really affordable price point. Kumho does seem to have an upper edge when it comes to availability, market saturation, warranty coverage, all-season performance, touring tires, and winter tires.
Nexen on the other hand is slightly more affordable compared to Kumho, but is also better with summer ultra-performance tires and has much more comfortable off-road and all-terrain tires which are perfect for those who love taking their daily driver SUVs and trucks on occasional strolls in the wild.