Whenever we talk about tire brands, we usually associate the older ones with premium and high quality. This is mainly because, with decades of experience, they have proven to be as good as they claim.
The tire industry isn’t standing still and we see a new brand pop up occasionally. In many cases, the newer brands that we see are more affordable than the premium ones. Also, they are usually owned by some of the larger companies. One such name is Laufenn.
Many people may not have heard of it and I don’t blame them. The name first appeared less than a decade ago and was announced by Hankook. This company usually covers the mid-range segment, but often makes tires that can compete with some of the premium models. With Laufenn, the company aims to target the lower tiers.
As a relatively young brand, Laufenn aims to cover a segment of affordable tires. We have talked about some of those and that usually meant that they are poor in performance. With that said, can the Hankook-backed company offer something that most of its rivals cannot? Let’s find out.
Laufenn Tires Review
Here are the best Laufenn tires currently on the market:
#1. S FIT AS
I’m kicking off this list with an all-season UHP model. The Laufenn S FIT AS is a tire that’s designed to offer high-performance levels, without a massive compromise on refinement or fuel economy.
The all-season rubber compound is molded into an asymmetric tread design should offer excellent performance in multiple conditions. By utilizing tie-bars between the blocks, Laufenn aims to make the S FIT AS excellent in the corners without sacrificing longevity. The tread block design with variable pitch stiffness and noise reduction blocks should help keep the noise levels as low as possible.
In dry conditions in summer, the S FIT AS is an excellent tire. It can offer solid grip and traction levels, considering that it’s an affordable model. Things are completely the opposite on damp surfaces, as the traction levels reduce drastically. It will take a while to get some heat into the tire, at which point it will do better. The aquaplaning resistance is much better and the tire will remain stable even at higher speeds. In winter, the snow traction is limited, and you’d only get some usable performance in lighter conditions.
Performance tires aren’t the best in terms of comfort, so you can expect some slight drawbacks with the S FIT AS. It’s decently comfortable for an affordable UHP tire and will deal with bumps acceptably well. The noise levels aren’t the lowest in this category, but the tire should be quiet enough for most people.
As a performance tire, you’ll expect sporty handling, and the S FIT AS delivers up to a point. The tire is well-responsive and sharp, so enthusiasts will be thrilled. With that said, the feedback could use a bit of work, as you may struggle to figure out what the front tires are doing. The tire comes with a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is on the same level as some of Michelin’s models.
- Excellent dry performance
- Acceptable refinement
- Premium-like treadwear warranty
- The traction on cold damp roads isn’t the best
- It doesn’t offer a lot of feedback on the limit
#2. G FIT AS
As part of the grand touring segment, Laufenn offers the G FIT AS. This is an option for people that are looking for a good blend of performance and refinement. The company also has another model from this lineup, the 4S, which despite being advertised as an option in the US, it’s a bit scarce.
The G FIT AS is made from an all-season rubber compound designed to offer performance throughout the year. As part of the design, the tire features 4 circumferential grooves aimed to help channel water and improve aquaplaning resistance. The optimized design aims to keep tire wear as even as possible, which should also help keep the traction and grip levels consistent.
When it comes to performance, the G FIT AS is a solid contender. In dry conditions, the tire’s grip and traction levels are pretty good for an affordable model. It puts the power down nicely and doesn’t slip unless you get overly aggressive. Damp roads can be tricky, but the tire remains solid in these conditions. It will slip a bit more than the premium models, so that’s to be expected. The aquaplaning resistance is decent, as long as you don’t expect wonders. It will be fine up to highway speeds. As an all-season tire, the snow performance is acceptable. There is some usable traction in lighter conditions, as long as the snow is unpacked. On packed snow, you’ll need to be a bit more careful.
In the refinement department, the G FIT AS has some drawbacks. The comfort levels are pretty good and the tire will provide a smooth ride. You will notice some vibrations and a jolt here and there, but it’s not horrible. The noise levels aren’t as good. I wouldn’t classify it as a loud tire, but unless you’re driving around town on a smooth road, you will notice the hum.
As a grand touring tire, the G FIT AS doesn’t seem to be all that bad in terms of handling. It’s not the most responsive in this category, but it’s good enough. Even at the limit, it’s predictable and fairly easy to handle. The tire comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is identical to some premium models in this category.
- Decent handling characteristics
- Plenty of grip and traction on dry roads
- Solid comfort levels
- Wet performance is a bit behind similarly priced rivals
- Noise levels are average
#3. X FIT HT
As part of the touring segment, Laufenn also offers the X FIT HT. This is a highway all-season tire, intended for large vehicles like SUVs or light trucks, aiming to offer dependable performance, longevity, and refinement.
The tread pattern of the X FIT HT is made from an all-season compound designed to offer pliability on colder surfaces. As part of the design, the stiffer center blocks should offer improved handling. The snow kerfs are designed to offer better traction on snow-covered surfaces, as well as damp roads. In harsh wet conditions, the circumferential and lateral grooves should work well to evacuate water from beneath the tire.
In the real world, the performance of the X FIT HT is decent. On dry tarmac, the performance is pretty solid, with plenty of grip and traction for normal driving conditions. It’s not a performance tire, so don’t expect to push it hard. Things take a slight turn for the worse on wet roads. The traction is good enough, but you won’t have a lot of headroom, meaning you won’t be able to push it. Good news is that the aquaplaning resistance is pretty solid and the tire won’t struggle too much in harsh rain. Despite the snow kerfs, the winter performance is limited. It does an acceptable-ish job in the lightest conditions and that’s as much as you can expect.
The best part about the X FIT HT is the refinement. It offers high comfort levels, as it absorbs bumps and smooths out road imperfections. You will notice some vibrations, but only when you hit a larger pothole. It’s a similar story in terms of noise. The tire is quiet in most cases around town. You will notice a hum at highway speeds, which isn’t terrible.
Highway tires aren’t designed for precision handling, so the X FIT HT won’t offer that. It’s decently responsive and you won’t struggle too much to position your large vehicle where you want it to. With a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, this tire is premium-like, offering more than some of its more expensive counterparts.
- Solid dry performance
- 60,000-mile treadwear warranty
- High refinement levels
- Barely usable snow performance even in lighter conditions
- Traction on damp roads isn’t the best in its class
#4. X FIT HP
As part of the SUV and large truck category, Laufenn also has a performance-oriented model. The X FIT HP is a tire that should offer some sporty performance while retaining some refinement from its touring cousin.
Like most of the tires so far, the X FIT HP features an all-season compound for year-round performance. The blocks are reinforced and stiffer, meaning that we should see some improved handling. Laufenn went with a wider tread design with lateral grooves that should help with wet performance. They also work with the 4 circumferential grooves aiming to deliver excellent aquaplaning resistance.
Unfortunately, the X FIT HP is a relatively new-ish tire, so I didn’t have a chance to test it. If you are one of the few that has it, let me know your thoughts.
#5. X FIT AT
As part of the X FIT lineup, we have an all-terrain tire. The X FIT AT is a model designed to offer a blend of on and off-road performance. It won’t excel in either situation, but it should offer a nice balance.
The design of the X FIT AT offers the typical features of most all-terrain tires. For road performance, the wider tread means that more of the tire will be in contact with the road, so the traction should be good. In off-road scenarios, the stone ejectors should keep the tread clean and the performance consistent. The 3D edge blocks on the sidewall, combined with the zig-zag block edges, should offer an excellent performance on mud or snow.
When you look at the tread pattern, you’ll know that the X FIT AT is set up for the road and it shows. In dry conditions, the grip and traction levels are pretty good when you consider the price. It eliminates slip and won’t struggle too much unless you push it hard. On damp roads, the traction is a bit more limited than I’d like, but the tire still performs admirably. It’s a similar story with the aquaplaning resistance – excellent as long as you don’t expect wonders. In winter, the tire has a dual personality. If the snow is unpacked, it won’t show many signs of weakness and will offer an excellent performance. With that said, the performance on packed snow is limited.
In off-roading scenarios, the X FIT AT does a decent enough job for the casual off-roader. It can handle dirt roads with ease, keeping your SUV or truck in check and eliminating slip. Driving in mud is a solid experience, if you don’t expect a low. In shallow patches, the tire has no issues and will struggle with the deeper sections. Rock-crawling is off the table, as the tire may go over some smaller rocks, but you risk damaging it.
The refinement of the X FIT AT is weird. Comfort levels are pretty good and the tire can provide a smooth ride. Smaller imperfections and cracks in the road are not a problem and it will soften the larger potholes. It’s not as smooth as a premium model, but it’s good enough. The noise levels, on the other hand, aren’t as great. Considering the less aggressive pattern, I was expecting a quieter tire. It’s far from a loud option, but you’ll hear a hum on the highway.
All-terrain tires aren’t made for superior handling, so the X FIT AT won’t do so well on a twisty road. It’s not the least responsive tire in this category, but I’d still put it in the average section. The weakest point of the tire is the warranty. Laufenn offers it with a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is behind even some of the mid-range options.
- Decent road performance
- Usable in lighter off-roading conditions
- Solid performance on unpacked snow
- Treadwear warranty is behind its rivals
- There is a noticeable hum at highway speeds
#6. I FIT Ice
The last tire on this list is a dedicated winter model, which is a rare sight with these affordable brands. Laufenn offers the I FIT Ice as a studdable option, meaning that I should be very surprised with the performance it can offer.
Laufenn went with a V-shaped tread pattern, featuring claw edges and snow slits which should help on packed snow and ice. As part of the tread design, there are small holes that work with the aqua slant to help with aquaplaning resistance. Since we’re talking about a studdable tire, we have a 16-row stud technology implemented into the tire, which should help in the harshest winter conditions.
The performance on dry roads with the I FIT Ice is pretty good. It delivers more than enough performance for daily driving scenarios, giving you a bit of headroom to push it. It’s not a performance mode, so don’t expect wonders here. In wet conditions, the tire continues to deliver very good results. The traction levels on damp roads are decent, but it won’t feel too planted at higher speeds, at least compared to the premium rivals. Going into a corner isn’t a problem and the grip will keep your car in check. The tread pattern does an excellent job at evacuating water, so the aquaplaning resistance is very good.
Snow performance is what the tire is for and it does that very well. Regardless if we’re talking about packed or unpacked snow, the traction levels will be more than enough. There is a point where you’ll notice that it’s not a premium tire, but for the average driver, that’s not an issue. Driving on ice without the studs is acceptable, but you won’t get a lot of traction. You can bump that up with the studs and get excellent traction, almost on the same levels as some of the more expensive options.
The refinement levels are as you’d expect from a winter tire. In terms of comfort levels, the I FIT Ice doesn’t disappoint and offers a smooth ride. It can absorb a good amount of bumps and minimize vibrations. The noise levels aren’t the best, but they are acceptable. There is the wintery hum even at slower speeds, which doesn’t go away when you get on the highway.
Considering that it’s not a competitor of the Pilot Alpin lineup, the I FIT Ice offers acceptable handling. It’s as responsive as a winter tire is and the feedback isn’t the most pronounced.
- Plenty of performance on snow
- Excellent aquaplaning resistance
- The traction on damp roads is average
- Lacks just a bit more responsiveness
Laufenn Tires Buying Guide
What is there to like about Laufenn tires? What is it that distinguishes these tires from the chasing pack? Are there areas where Laufenn tires could or should have done better? Any shortcomings that could potentially be deal-breakers? This section has all the answers.
Why Should You Buy Laufenn Tires?
Here’s why Laufenn tires should be on your short list of tire brands to buy next:
1. Budget-oriented options
As much as we praise the premium models as the best, there are situations where you may not need them. Regardless if you’re on a tight budget or you have an older car, that’s not very powerful, Laufenn’s affordability is tough to beat. The prices of these tires are affordable even when compared to some of the other mid-range models, which is what makes them so attractive.
2. Wide range of covered vehicles
At first glance, Laufenn doesn’t offer a lot of models, which some people may see as a disadvantage. With that said, even with a handful of models, the number of sizes for each means that you’ll cover a wide range of vehicles. This includes anything from smaller and older hatchbacks to SUVs and light trucks.
3. Solid performance for the money
With these affordable models, the main thing to note is that you don’t have top-notch performance. Some people may be fine with that, again, depending on the specific situation, so Laufenn isn’t the worst choice in the world. There are some drawbacks which I’ll talk about shortly, but overall, the performance isn’t terrible.
4. Treadwear warranty
This covers the road-going models, but it’s important to state that Laufenn’s treadwear warranty is excellent. Most of the tires in its lineup offer similar or sometimes better warranties than their premium counterparts.
Why Should You NOT Buy Laufenn Tires?
Here’s why Laufenn tires may not be a good choice for you:
1. Wet performance is a bit behind
I mentioned that the performance in general is good, and that’s true. If we do a deep dive, we’ll see a pattern with wet performance, especially on damp surfaces. Laufenn’s tires aren’t poor in these conditions and for most people, they will be more than enough. With that said, even in this class, some options can offer more.
2. The performance models aren’t as performance-oriented
I’m not trying to rain down on Laufenn’s parade, but the performance models could use a bit more work. The grip and traction levels are behind the premium models, which is to be expected. I’m talking about the handling, specifically the responsiveness. A performance-oriented tire should be shaper and direct, something that these models lack a bit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the common queries people have about Laufenn tires:
Who makes Laufenn tires?
Laufenn isn’t just a new name in the industry. Behind this brand stands Hankook, which operates as a parent company. This means that even though Laufenn makes its own tires, the company exists under Hankook.
Where are Laufenn tires made?
In 2013, Hankook made a sizable investment in Indonesia, building a factory where the Laufenn tires are made. Despite that, most of the manufactured models are exported.
How long do Laufenn tires last?
If we look at the treadwear warranty of Laufenn’s models, except for the all-terrain one, we’re looking at numbers we see with other mid-range models and some premium ones. This means that we should expect to see these tires last for a long time. The second aspect we look at is online reviews. We don’t get a chance to test the tires for thousands of miles, so we cannot know how they do throughout the years. Most people say that they last at least as long as the treadwear warranty, which is a good sign.
Is Laufenn a good brand?
Coming from a group of companies that don’t offer a lot, Laufenn is a brand that I can call good. It’s not comparable to the likes of Michelin or Continental, but it has its advantages.
You may not get the same performance levels as the premium tires, but you also won’t be paying as much. Laufenn seems to balance the price and performance excellently and, considering that it’s backed by Hankook, it’s not a brand that offers terrible tires.
Are Laufenn tires noisy?
Talking about all Laufenn tires and their noise levels is difficult because they don’t perform the same. Overall, the noise levels are acceptable, despite being higher in some cases. This is one of the few tradeoffs you make when you go for a budget-oriented brand.
Are Laufenn tires good for snow?
The all-season options are acceptable and you shouldn’t expect much. There is usable traction in lighter conditions and they will perform a bit better on unpacked snow than on packed one. With that said, having a dedicated winter model is a nice touch, so you have the option to get a better performance on snow and ice.
There are plenty of affordable brands in the tire industry, but not all of them are ones you should consider. Laufenn is one such exception.
The tires you’ll get may not perform as well as their premium counterparts, but you will still have a safe experience. For the most part, these will offer more than enough for average drivers that don’t tend to push their cars to the limits. This comes in a package that offers solid refinement levels and a treadwear warranty that’s almost at a premium level.
Laufenn is an affordable brand that offers solid tires. While I wouldn’t recommend them for a sports car, the rest of the car owners will find a use for them. The price and performance ratio is excellent, which is why I can recommend this brand to some people.