Pirelli vs Kumho Tires: What are the differences?

Last Updated July 8, 2022

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Buying tires is not the easiest thing in the world because you need to decide what you value the most. You can always go and buy a high-end premium tire that is likely to always outperform a cheaper tire, but sometimes that just isn’t necessary. The best thing you can do is buy a tire that fits your individual needs and one that offers the most value for your money.

Pirelli vs Kumho Tires

Pirelli is one of those household brands that everyone is aware of. No matter if you are a car enthusiast or not, chances are that you have heard of the Pirelli brand long ago, especially due to their connection with world-famous events such as Formula 1. Kumho on the other hand is a brand that many car enthusiasts aren’t even aware of, but being popular does not necessarily imply quality, as is the case with Drake.

As such, in this Pirelli vs Kumho tires comparison, we are going to put these two brands head-to-head and tell you why you should go for one over the other. We are also going to compare them in various categories such as performance, availability & options, price, and warranty.

Pirelli History

The Pirelli tire company was founded back in 1872 by a man called Giovanni Battista Pirelli in Milan, Italy. Being a 150-year-old company means that Pirelli has been around for quite a while and that they know a thing or two about how to make a world-class tire. Pirelli is in the top five most successful tire companies in the market because they never stopped pushing the industry forward.

One of the most notable success stories from Pirelli is that they were the ones who invented the wide radial tire. Back then, racing tires were non-existent and Lancia turned to Pirelli for a solution, and many believe that this was the world’s first true racing tire. In 1922, they managed to be the first Italian company to ever trade shares in the U.S.

Pirelli is also heavily invested in motorsports as they are the sole tire supplier for both Formula 1 and FIM World Superbike Championship. Such a huge interest in motorsport can certainly be felt across the industry as Pirelli makes some of the best road-rated and slick performance tires. As such, many world’s most prominent supercar and hypercar brands are known to wear Pirelli rubber straight from the factory.

These days, Pirelli has various production and development facilities across more than a dozen countries all around the world. With more than 31,000 employees, these tires can be sourced literally anywhere. Going against Pirelli means going against one of the greats which certainly isn’t an easy task for any tire company out there, let alone one that isn’t even premium-level.

Pirelli Tire Families

Pirelli groups its tires into six different categories depending on the usage scenario and other tire characteristics. This makes it much easier to find the tires you need as you don’t need to go in-depth about all the small details each tire family offers. Either way, all Pirelli tires are high-end which means that they are some of the world’s most capable tires.

Pirelli P Zero

The Pirelli P Zero is the hallmark Pirelli tire, it is the most popular and well-known tire Pirelli makes. These tires are designed for performance as they enable you to push your car to the limits without breaking traction. The P Zero family consists of a few different sub-variants such as the regular P Zero, a more focused P Zero Corsa version, the P Zero Nero GT comfort-oriented performance tire, and the top-end P Zero Trofeo semi-slick road tire.

Pirelli also offers the P Zero Rosso tire which is designed specifically for EVs as it emphasizes maximum range and stability. If you want a performance tire that can also hold its own during wintertime, the P Zero Winter is the one to go for.

Pirelli Cinturato

Many modern-day tire companies are focused on moving the industry forward in an environmentally-friendly way. As such, sustainable means of manufacturing, low Co2 emissions, and superior fuel economy are the three pillars of climate-conscious tire manufacturing. This is where the Pirelli Cinturato family comes in as it offers everything listed above.

The Cinturato family consists of the Cinturato P7, Cinturato P7 All-Season, Cinturato P7 AS Plus 3, Cinturato Strada, Cinturato Strada Sport, and Cinturato Winter tires which are able to do the same even in winter time.

Pirelli Scorpion

Pirelli also offers a tire family designed specifically for SUVs, crossovers, and CUVs called the Pirelli Scorpion. These tires are designed to be responsive, refined, and most importantly durable. They can also go off-roading even though they can’t match dedicated off-road tires. Steering precision is what the Pirelli Scorpion does better than most tires from this segment, at least as far as Pirelli is concerned.

Either way, this tire family consists of the Pirelli Scorpion Verde, the Scorpion Strada, the Scorpion All-Season, the Scorpion MTR, the Scorpion STR, the Scorpion Zero, the Scorpion Assimetrico, the Scorpion Winter, and dedicated Scorpion Ice & Snow tires.

Pirelli Sottozero

Pretty much every notable brand these days offers winter tires in their lineup, and most of those tires are designed to deliver when it comes to traction, stability, and safety. However, Pirelli made sure that their Pirelli Sottozero tires are great winter tires primarily, but also be the most responsive and controllable passenger car winter tires out there.

These tires are designed for snow use which means that they are a typical choice for those who love taking their supercars on ski trips.

Pirelli Ice & Pirelli Winter Snowcontrol

The Pirelli Ice family is designed with dedicated ice use in mind which means that these are the best Pirelli-made ice tires on the market. The Pirelli Winter Snowcontrol tire is somewhat of a culmination of the best Pirelli ingredients into a single tire as this one is eco-friendly, responsive, agile, and extremely capable in less-than-ideal environments.

Kumho History

The 1960s were the time when many automotive-oriented companies began their ventures and the Kumho Tires company is no different. To be exact, the company was first called Samyang Tire and it was situated in Gwangju, South Korea. The company started making tires at a modest pace which meant that they were only capable of making about a few dozen tires per day.

Kumho stepped it up a few notches in the late 1960s when their tires were finally approved by the US Department of Transportation which meant that Kumho was now able to sell their tires in the US. This was possible primarily because Kumho struck a deal with Uniroyal which is one of the largest and oldest tire manufacturers in the entirety of the United States.

This partnership was certainly a smart business decision on both ends as Kumho tires were now slowly becoming available all across the globe. Kumho expanded to the UK and other European markets which enabled them to ramp up production at an impressive pace. Before the mid-1980s, Kumho has already made more than a few dozen million tires.

The success kept on ramping as the 1990s were the time Kumho sold its 100 millionth tire. All was well and good until the world economy took a dive in 2008. Kumho was hit hard and the company has been recovering ever since. The reason why Kumho Tires managed to survive 2008 at all is that they invest vast amounts of resources into R&D.

Kumho Tires Families

We are aware that Kumho is a fairly large tire manufacturer, but it seems like Kumho likes to keep it simple as they only offer around 6 available tire families at the moment. However, these six tire families are more than enough to satisfy 99% of customers.

Kumho ECSTA

If you want a Kumho tire that is able to deliver superior traction, responsiveness, and feedback, you should focus your attention on the Kumho ECSTA performance tire family. The good thing about these tires is that they encompass pretty much the entire spectrum of cars as they are available for small cars, mid-size cars, large cars, and SUVs.

The ECSTA lineup is incredibly versatile as these tires are not only great performance tires but are also refined and long-lasting. These can be had in either summer or all-season form and also include low-profile tires.

Kumho SOLUS

If you want a tire that can do it all, the Kumho SOLUS touring family is the one for you. As such, most Kumho SOLUS tires are made with all-season use in mind, but they also offer a dedicated winter tire. These tires come with a higher price tag when compared to other Kumho tires, but that makes perfect sense as these are some of the best Kumho tires on the market.

These are the type of tires one should buy if they want a dedicated no-nonsense touring tire that can happily last a few years.

Kumho WINTERCRAFT

The Kumho WINTERCRAFT tire family is designed specifically with winter use in mind. As such, these tires can be studded. They are also available for passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks. The best thing about the Kumho WINTERCRAFT family is that it offers great traction in the snow & ice, but with more than adequate comfort and refinement.

Kumho I’ZEN

It seems like Kumho has a thing for winter tires as they also offer the Kumho I’ZEN winter tire. This tire family only offers a single tire designed for alpine driving. Therefore, these are best for deep snow and are available for both passenger cars and trucks.

Kumho CRUGEN

The Kumho CRUGEN tire family is designed for everything with higher ground clearance. There are three different CRUGEN sub-models to choose from depending on what you value the most. As such, these cover a wide variety of situations mostly associated with SUV use.

Kumho ROAD VENTURE

The Kumho ROAD VENTURE is a tire family designed for SUVs and trucks which are intended to go off-roading. The ROAD VENTURE lineup consists of five different sub-models, all of which emphasize different aspects of off-roading.

Differences Between Pirelli and Kumho Tires

This is the part of our Pirelli vs Kumho tires comparison where we will square these two brands and tell you why one is better than the other.

Performance

First of all, Pirelli is the brand to go with if you want a performance tire as there are only a handful of brands out there that can truly compete with Pirelli, and a budget brand certainly isn’t one of them. That is not to say that Kumho makes bad performance tires, it’s just the fact that Pirelli invented the performance tire and they have been on top of the game ever since.

Touring tires are surprisingly evenly matched between Pirelli and Kumho, especially because the Kumho SOLUS line costs not all that much less than some Pirelli Cinturato tires. Some say that the Kumho SOLUS is one of the best touring tires you can get for the money, so we will give this one a tie which certainly goes a long way to considering Kumho a serious tire brand.

Kumho makes tires that can go where Pirelli tires can’t, but Pirelli off-road tires are all better in everything else. Given the fact that most people with off-road tires use their trucks and SUVs on a daily basis, we can certainly give this one to Pirelli. Finally, winter and snow tires also go to Pirelli as Pirelli offers a large selection of dedicated winter tires while Kumho’s winter lineup is almost as impressive.

Available Options

Both of these brands offer a wide selection of tires which means that you can find the tire you need without any issues. However, sourcing Pirelli tires is easier, and more tire shops sell Pirelli tires as opposed to Kumho tires. Sizing is also in favor of Pirelli, but not by much as some Kumo tires are available in more sizes than some Pirelli tires.

Price & Warranty

Price-wise, this one is easy as Kumho takes it with room to spare. Pirelli tires are some of the most expensive tires out there because they are a premium brand and Kumho is not. Warranty is also where Pirelli leads the charts as some Pirelli models come with significantly longer warranty coverage.

Advantages Of Pirelli

  • Better performance tires
  • Better winter tires
  • Longer warranty coverage
  • More options and easier to find

Advantages Of Kumho

  • Great touring tires
  • Great extreme off-roading tires
  • Great value
  • Decent availability and options

Which Brand To Choose?

At the end of our Pirelli vs Kumho Tires comparison, we can easily say that Pirelli is the better brand overall. Even though Kumho is certainly a strong adversary, Pirelli is simply a premium tire brand while Kumho is just a budget tire brand.

This makes Kumho more impressive than most budget tire brands as not many non-premium brands can even be in the same sentence with Pirelli, let alone rival Pirelli.

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