Kumho and Toyo are reputable brands in the tire industry. Both produce high-quality tires for passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks, and commercial vehicles. As such, if you’re looking for aftermarket tires, it makes sense to consider models from the two brands.
Kumho Rating: 4.2/5
Toyo Rating: 4.3/5
Kumho, for its part, offers a wide variety of tire lines. The most famous of which are the Solus, Crugen, and EcoWing lines, which are designed to strike an optimal balance between fuel efficiency and performance. And they don’t cost much, either.
However, Toyo isn’t always the first choice of budget-minded drivers. Renowned for its high-performance tires that offer great handling and traction, Toyo doesn’t believe in pricing its tires at the lower end of the spectrum. So don’t expect them to come cheap.
This article will highlight the major differences between Kumho and Toyo tires. We’ll kick things off by discussing the respective histories of both these brands. Next, we’ll look at their tire lineups before directly comparing these brands’ tires on multiple counts.
Kumho Tires History
Kumho Tires Company was founded in May 1960 in Gwangju, South Korea. This makes it a relative youngster in the world of global automotive tire brands, given that brands like Michelin, Continental, and Firestone have been around for well over a century.
Only six years after the company’s birth, it got its first major breakthrough as the US Department of Transportation (DOT) certified Kumho tires. The resulting DOT logo opened the doors of the US as well as the entire North American market to Kumho tires.
However, while the company enjoyed plain sailing in its first few years, there have been some turbulent times in its 60-odd-year journey. The year 2008 was particularly testing as declining tire demand forced Kumho to shut down its only North American plant.
In 2018, only two years after it had opened its brand-new $500 million tire manufacturing facility in Macon, Georgia, Kumho Tires was acquired by the Chinese tire behemoth Doublestar. As such, Kumho now operates under the umbrella of another company.
Kumho Tires Lineup
Six tire families complete the Kumho Tires lineup. These include the Kumho ECSTA, SOLUS, WINTERCRAFT, I’ZEN, CRUGEN and ROAD VENTURE.
The Kumho ECSTA line offers a wide range of tires for various types of vehicles. All-season, all-season touring, performance, and high-performance options are available. They meet the needs of both passenger and sporty cars.
For those in the market for a reliable all-season tire, the ECSTA 4XII KU22 is a great choice. It offers a refined driving experience at an affordable price. For maximum or high-performance tires, check out the ECSTA PA51 or the ECCSTA AST.
Whether you’re in the market for a set of affordable all-season tires, or you’re searching for an all-season model that won’t break the bank, Kumho’s Solus lineup has you covered.
Need proof? The Solus TA71 deserves your attention if you’re after an A/S tire. This model offers outstanding grip and traction in dry and wet conditions. That too at an affordable price. Plus, its treadwear warranty (60,000 miles) means you can easily get 3-4 years out of this model.
However, if it’s winter performance you’re after, check out the Solus 4S HA32. This model incorporates Kumho’s four season winter-approved tire compound. So you can count on it to keep you safe in mild to moderate wintry conditions.
Original equipment (OE) tires popular Kumho’s CRUGEN series. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot purchase these models on the market. It’s just to say that these tires are so good that automotive manufacturers recommend and use them on their vehicles.
Take the example of the Kumho CRUGEN HP71, a high-performance tire that comes installed on multiple trims of Nissan Pathfinder and Hyundai Santa Cruz. Then there’s the CRUGEN HT51, which is the OE tire on many light duty pickups and SUVs.
Kumho WINTERCRAFT and I*ZEN
We have grouped these tire families because both house dedicated winter tires, albeit with one key difference.
The Kumho WINTERCRAFT series only includes studdable winter tires, meaning they allow you to add studs into the tread for enhanced extreme weather performance. On the contrary, the I*ZEN family has both studless and studdable tires to give you more options.
Kumho ROAD VENTURE
The Kumho ROAD VENTURE family two types of off-road tires, including:
- All terrain Tires: These tires have a more aggressive tread pattern than the one you see/get on all-season and/or high-performance tires. As such, they can better handle the stresses of off-road use. Examples include Road Venture AT51.
- Mud-Terrain Tires: Kumho’s mid-terrain tires have large, chunky tread blocks to allow for better traction and stability in muddy conditions. However, they have a much shorter tread life than their all-terrain counterparts.
Toyo Tires History
Toyo Tires was founded in Osaka, Japan, in August 1945. A few days after its birth, two atomic bombs were dropped on cities less than 500 miles from Toyo’s headquarters, ruining the Japanese economy and with it the market for the company’s products.
However, if the inclement circumstances did anything to Toyo’s fortunes, it was only to turbocharge the company on its road to success. After all, within 8 months of its inauspicious beginnings, Toyo ended up building and opening its first manufacturing facility.
More success came this company’s way in the 1950s. After being listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, it set up its own Research & Development Lab in Hyogo. What happened next was even bigger: Toyo became the first Japanese tire company to open offices in the US.
Given the trajectory of its meteoric rise, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Toyo is currently ranked among the 10 largest tire manufacturers in the world. And if you’re interested in movies, you may have seen a Toyo tire or two in the first ‘Fast and Furious’ film.
Toyo Tire Families
The Toyo family tree includes 8 branches. They are Proxes, Celsius, Open Country, Nano Energy, Observe, Snowprox, and Transpath. Let us discuss all the Toyo tire families.
Many people think that Toyo’s tires are only designed to be driven on challenging roads. Many people, as it turns out, haven’t seen what the Proxes series models are capable of.
Whether you opt for the summer-performance tires in this family, or you end up with the Proxes Sport A/S, there are a few things that would be constant. These include exceptional high-speed stability, enhanced steering response, and superb cornering performance.
If you want to verify for yourself, check out the Proxes R1R or ST III. While the former is an extreme-performance tire designed for summer conditions, the Proxes ST III can offer phenomenal driving capabilities 365 days a year, unless there’s snow on the roads.
If you really want to check the capabilities of Toyo’s Open Country tires, all you need to do is inspect the AT2 and AT3 tires. Both models offer a puncture-resistant tread compound that won’t let sharp objects through, helping them conquer the most challenging off-road conditions.
The reason why we’re mentioning two tires out of many is because both the AT2 and AT3 are the market’s favorite off-road tires for years. In fact, even though it’s now been replaced by the AT3, the Open Country AT2 can still be easily found, a rarity for a tire that has been replaced.
Every member of Toyo’s Nano Energy lineup is designed to protect the environment. They do that by outputting fewer emissions than standard tires.
Bear in mind, though, that these tires aren’t lightweight. Since they are developed to carry the extra weight of batteries, Nano Energy tires are much heavier than your standard tires. So, if you opt for them, your non-electric car’s mileage may take a notable hit.
Celsius and Snowprox
As the name implies, the Toyo Celsius family harbors dedicated winter tires. Think of short braking distances on snow and ice and minimal skidding or slipping as you drive from point A to point B in harsh wintry conditions. That’s what tires with the term ‘Celsius’ in their name offer.
What’s more, compared with winter tires from the big-three brands, Toyo’s Celsius tires are much less expensive. Even though these models can keep you safe when the weather conditions are bad out there. The same could be said about Toyo’s Snowprox tires.
There are only two tires in Toyo’s Observe family.
The first in no particular order is the Observe GSI-6. This is a studless performance winter tire that you can push to its limits when there’s snow on the road. Next comes the G3-Ice, a studded model that is developed to go on passenger cars, SUVs, CUVs, and light trucks.
Similar to Kumho’s Crugen family, Toyo’s Transpath lineup is populated by OE tires.
Take the example of the Transpath AA 11, which you can find on multiple trims of Toyota Lexus. The same could be said about the Transpath A14, the OE tire on various Nissan cars. The Transpath R23 is popular tire, the brand-new Mazda Primacy comes with this model.
Toyo Vs Kumho Tires: Differences
Here are the major differences between Toyo and Kumho tires:
Toyo Tires are a much better option in the performance department.
That is especially true in the ultra-high-performance (UHP) category. Toyo tires are designed for sporty and luxury vehicles, and offer top-of-the-line handling and traction in both dry and wet conditions. Bear in mind, though, that a set of Toyo UHP tires might blow a hole in your pocket.
Availability of Options
Both Toyo and Kumho offer a wide variety of tires for passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks.
Toyo’s tire lineup includes dedicated all-season, high-performance, ultra-high-performance, winter, and even off-road tires. The same could be said about Kumho, which sweetens the deal even further by offering dedicated tires for electric vehicles.
As such, as far as the availability of options is concerned, there isn’t much to distinguish these two world-renowned tire brands.
Price and Warranty
Kumho Tires are normally the first choice of budget-minded drivers, whereas Kumho tires tend to entice the well-heeled driving crowd. So, if you’re on a tight budget, Kumho tires may be a better option, especially if all-season capabilities is what you’re after.
Surprisingly, the price different cannot explain why Kumho tires come with bigger warranties. As noted in our Kumho tires review, it isn’t uncommon for this brand’s tires to be backed to last up to 75,000 miles. In contrast, Toyo tires come with much shorter warranties.
Advantages of Kumho
- Better all-season capabilities
- Good option for budget-minded drivers
- Reliable performance in light wintry conditions
Advantages of Toyo
- Excellent high-performance capabilities
- Exceptional handling and traction in dry and wet conditions
- Long-lasting tread life and durability
Kumho Vs Toyo Tires: Which Brand to Choose?
Kumho tires deserve your attention if you’re looking for enhanced all-season capabilities or you’re on a tight budget. Conversely, if it’s high-performance or extreme-performance capabilities that you’re after, Toyo tires deserve to be higher on your wish-list.