Road Hugger Tire Reviews and Buying Guide
Road Hugger tires have been around since 1999. Their budget-friendly prices ensure there’s always that one consumer segment that prefers them over their pricier competitors. But don’t let their dirt-cheap asking price blindside you from these tires’ excellent road manners.
In fact, as anyone who has ever used Road Hugger tires would tell you, they offer excellent traction and reliable grip on dry and wet surfaces. Cornering grip is another area where these tires shine, while their steering response would never let you guess their actual price.
In this article, we’re going to review the best Road Hugger tires currently on the market. These include Road Hugger GT Ultra, GTP A/S and GT Eco. All these tires have earned rave reviews from their users. But each of them has flaws every potential buyer must know.
We’ll also be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about Road Hugger tires. If you ever wanted to purchase one of these tires for your vehicle, but didn’t because of one reason or the other, this article has everything to help make up your mind.
#1. Road Hugger GT Ultra
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The Road Hugger GT Ultra is a high-performance all-season tire. This makes it a nice option to have for all types of crossovers, sedans, and sports coupes. However, the presence of an all-season tread compound means that owners of sports cars and powerful muscle cars should look elsewhere.
When it comes to dry performance, you won’t have any complaints with the GT Ultra. It’s no Michelin Primacy Tour A/S, that’s for sure, but it’s good for the price. The tire provides a good steering response than almost all other tires in this price range, offering an enjoyable driving experience.
Compare this tire with the GTP A/S, and you’d realize that its grip is many times higher, although the best-in-class tires offer more traction at high speeds. Still, as long as you aren’t that type of driver who attacks every bend on the road with maximum ferocity, you’d be happy with the cornering grip on offer.
The GT Ultra performs reliably in rainy conditions as well. Multiple grooves keep the hydroplaning resistance high enough to ensure constant and consistent contact with the road, while the longitudinal traction is also on the higher side, meaning the braking distance won’t be disturbingly long.
For added grip on wet pavement, Nitto and Kumho (this tire’s manufacturers) have provided it with four circumferential grooves and multiple 3-D sipes around the tread. The 3-D sipes are a nice addition. They look as if they’d help the GT Ultra keep your vehicle stable on light snow and ice as well.
That said, GT Ultras aren’t designed for driving fast on snow-covered roads. Nothing in these tires’ construction could give us any hope that they would be reliable in extreme winter conditions. If you live up north, and are looking for a dedicated winter tire, invest in Mastercraft Glacier Trex.
The GT Ultra’s load range is XL, with a load index of 88.
To make up for this shortcoming, Road Hugger offers a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty. That is something you don’t usually get with reasonably-priced tires. Especially the ones that offer high-performance. So you can count on these tires to last years with everyday driving.
- 50,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Excellent cornering performanc
- Above-par dry and wet traction
- Not for snowy and icy roads
#2. Road Hugger GTP A/S
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The Road Hugger GT A/S leaves no confusion about the market segment it wants to target. It is a standard touring/grand touring tire for family cars and passenger vehicles. Whether you’re going home for Christmas or planning a cross-country family trip, the GTP A/S will be a dependable companion.
That isn’t to say that the GT A/S would deliver you the best performance overall. For that, you’d be better off with a set of Bridgestone or Michelin tires. That is something owners of new cars would do well to keep in mind, as this tire exhibits the sort of understeer you won’t get with premium tires.
The GT A/S works best with older models of mid-size cars, such as Honda Accord, Toyota Civic, Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford Fusion. Owners of Corolla and Focus from the 2010s would also do well to have a look at these, especially if budget is a concern (it costs 30 – 40% less than premium tires).
This leads us to the real question: how well the GTP A/S performs on the road? Pretty good, as it turns out. Its steering response is surprisingly good for a budget-minded tire. The tire’s longitudinal traction isn’t bad, either, meaning the braking distances won’t be worryingly wrong.
Rainy performance is very good, too. A silica and resin tread compound ensures that the tire expands to hug the surface beneath it in wet conditions. And the small-sized voids between the tread area help this tire boast a respectable hydroplaning resistance, too.
That said, you’d be wasting your money on these tires if you intend to drive them in snowy conditions. The traction that the GTP A/S offers – both in the corners and longitudinal – is nowhere near enough to keep your vehicle safe in harsh wintry conditions.
The fact that it comes with a 55,000-mile warranty should erase any doubts you may have in your mind about this tire’s durability. Sure, there are tires out there that offer bigger warranties, but none of them comes close to competing with the GTP A/S in terms of price point.
- Offers massive cost savings
- Delivers good longitudinal traction
- Helps you stay safe in rainy conditions
- Poor ice traction
#3. Road Hugger GT Eco
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The GT Eco has many things in common with the Kumho KH30. That is the biggest compliment anybody could give to this tire – the KH30 is known for the smoothness of its ride, even wearing (all the way to the wear blocks) and lower fuel consumption than other tires in the same class.
Turning our attention back to the GT Eco, a special tread compound helps it offer a lower drag coefficient than other tires in the same price range, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering CO2 emissions. This makes the tire more environmentally friendly than the competition, justifying the ‘Eco’ in its name.
A five-rib pattern helps this tire offer a combination of dependable traction and sporty handling. The rib pattern utilizes interlocking tread blocks that boost the tire’s stability/handling throughout the speed range. The credit for helping the tire retain its shape for long also goes to the same rib pattern.
Close inspection of the tire will reveal an apex filler going up into the sidewall. It’s there to provide the GT Eco with enhanced handling and cornering performance. Furthermore, four highly visible circumferential grooves and crossover grooves reduce the risk of hydroplaning and increase traction in wet conditions.
Unfortunately, while this tire does feature full-depth sipes around the tread, they’re only capable of offering some extra grip in light snow conditions. Try to drive this tire in harsh wintry conditions (something we don’t recommend), and its performance as well as wear will quickly go south.
Inside everything mentioned above are two steel belts and a polyester cord. They provide the tire with extra durability and strength, while also improving ride comfort. Road Hugger offers this tire in 15 to 17 inches size and immediately makes up for this shortcoming with a 60,000-mile tread warranty.
- Best-in-class ride comfort
- Excellent cornering grip at this price point
- Brilliant dry and wet traction
- Poor winter handling
- Available in a limited number of sizes
Road Hugger Tires Buying Guide
Road Hugger tires are a dream come true for everyone on a budget. They deliver better traction in dry and mildly wet conditions than most tires in their price range. Though not the best in business, these tires grip and steering response are still dependable.
You can only find Road Rugger tires available at Discount Tire. However, you can shop tires from many different brands with the extensive collection over at Discount Tire Company (online or in-store).
In this next section, we’re going to highlight the pros and cons of Road Hugger tires. We’ll start by looking at the various positive aspects of these tires. Next, we’ll turn our attention to some of their shortcomings, which may prove to be deal-breakers for some of you.
Why Buy Road Hugger Tires?
Here are the positive aspects of Road Hugger tires:
1. Affordable Price Point
Although they are not as budget-friendly as OEM tires, Road Hugger tires are still pretty affordable. Road Hugger likes to boast that these tires cost 20 – 30% less than premium tires. That, too, while offering dependable dry handling, reliable rain performance and much more.
Sure, some corners have been cut to keep the price low. These tires aren’t as good as some of the other ones in harsh wintry conditions. But when you compare their road manners with tires in the same price range, you’d have to be extremely lucky to find a better option.
If your budget restricts you, Road Hugger tires are the best choice.
2. Dependable Dry Handling
All three Road Hugger tires reviewed above offer good grip and traction on dry surfaces. The GT Ultra A/S, in particular, is a stickler for when it comes to dry handling. Even at high speeds, these tire doesn’t give them the jitters that put people off other budget tires.
That said, don’t expect the same performance from these tires as you might be getting from premium tires. That comparison would be akin to ‘apples-and-oranges’. A full set of Road Hugger tires sets you back $500 or even less, whereas you’d have to four out an entire grand for four Michelin tires.
Consequently, keeping their asking price in perspective, these tires’ dry handling is pretty good.
3. Reliable Rain Performance
Most budget-friendly tires you see on the market literally suffer in the rain. The absence or shortage of circumferential grooves means that once water enters their tread area, it stays there for a long time. This ruins those cheap tires’ chances of building a big audience.
Fortunately, Road Hugger’s products perform admirably in the rain. All three tires reviewed above have circumferential and lateral grooves to resist hydroplaning. They also have sipes around the tread area, biting edges that ensure braking distances aren’t very long.
So while you could do much better, for the same price, their performance is excellent.
4. Brilliant Tread Compound
Ask three drivers three questions relating to tires, and you’ll likely hear three different answers. The only thing they might all agree on, provided their knowledge about tires isn’t extracted from hearsay, is that a silica infused tread compound makes a tire go in summer and stick in winter.
Granted, nothing can replace the importance of big voids between blocks as far as winter performance is concerned. But silica comes pretty close. Whether as a filler or as a tread compound, it helps the rubber expand on the road, making sure that your vehicle stays in optimal contact with the road.
Guess what? All Road Hugger tires feature a silica and resin tread compound.
5. Excellent Fuel Efficiency Warranty
One of the best things about Road Hugger tires is that they aren’t fuel guzzlers. Just like Kumho tires (the brand that produces Road Hugger tires), they have to endure less drag co-efficient on the road. This means that the tires won’t pose much rolling resistance, increasing your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
This is great for everyone, but especially for those who drive their vehicle for a living and are looking to save money on fuel. As long as you drive well below these tires speed rating, their fuel consumption would never blow a hole in your pocket.
6. Considerable Treadwear Warranty
Road Hugger backs the GT Ultra with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty. No matter how you look at it, the warranty period is pretty good for a budget-friendly, high-performance all season tire. Sure, some touring/grand-touring tires come with 80,000-mile warranties, but they cost a lot more.
Provided you go for the GT A/S, a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty would be on offer. And you’d get a 60,000-mile tread warranty on the GT Eco. These numbers show that Road Hugger is pretty confident about its tires’ performance. And now that you’ve read our Road Hugger tire reviews, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be, too.
Why to Steer Clear of Road Hugger Tires
Let’s look at some of Road Hugger tires’ drawbacks:
1. Zero Reliability in Harsh Wintry Conditions
Even though all three tires reviewed above have an all-season tread compound, they should never be your best choice for driving over snow and ice. The traction these tires offer is nowhere near enough, especially at high speeds and in the corners, for them to ensure your vehicle’s stability in wintry conditions.
If budget is no concern, and you’re looking for a dedicated winter tire, check out the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. Thanks to this tire’s silica-based rubber compound, you won’t face any problem driving on packed on unpacked snow, as well as loose ice. Its braking distances are among the best-in-class models.
2. Traction & Grip Could Be Better
Although the grip and traction are reliable on dry tarmac, there is zero doubt that models costing a little extra will provide you with noticeably better performance. So if money isn’t an issue, and you have to drive in extreme weather conditions regularly, check out other options.
Even tires from Kumho, the brand that manufacturers Road Hugger tires, provide better grip and traction, especially in wet conditions. That is despite the fact that the price difference isn’t huge between both these sets of tires (Kumho tires are a little pricey).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the common queries people have about Road Hugger tires:
What are Road Hugger tires?
Road Hugger tires are budget-friendly though quality alternative to premium tires. Sure, these tires cannot compete with their ultra-high-performance counterparts from Continental, Michelin, etc. But they do have excellent road manners and perform admirably in dry and wet conditions.
Another thing that sets Road Hugger apart from other budget brands is that it provides an excellent (50,000-mile or more) warranty on its tires. That is something that other cheap tires cannot claim to have, further enhancing the reputation of these tires.
Who are Road Hugger tires made by?
Road Hugger tires are manufactured by Asian tire companies Nitto Tire and Kumho Tire. Nitto Tires was once a distinct company, since obtained by Toyo, a tire and rubber manufacturer in Japan. Kumho is a subsidiary of Chinese tire giant Doublestar.
Road Hugger tires are sold in the US exclusively by the Discount Tire Company. Road Hugger GT Ultra and GT A/S are two of the brand’s highest-rated and best-selling products. The Road Hugger Eco, mainly a replacement tire, isn’t as widely used as two of its more popular siblings.
Are Road Hugger tires all season?
Yes. All Road Hugger tires reviewed above feature an all-season compound, capable of delivering dependable grip, traction and steering response in dry and wet conditions. An intelligent tread design and even tread wear also help Road Hugger tires offer all-season dependability at a great price point.
Are Road Hugger tires any good?
Road Hugger tires are an excellent option if you’re on a budget and are looking for a tire that could perform dependably in dry and wet conditions. Their extended treadwear warranties and intelligent tread design makes them durable and long-lasting.
However, these tires aren’t designed to withstand harsh-wintry conditions. Their all-season tread compound simply doesn’t have what it takes to offer enough traction over snow and ice. If money is no object, go with a dedicated winter tire.
Road Hugger tires are a cheapskate’s dream. Despite offering decent performance in normal weather conditions and backed by considerable warranties, Road Hugger tires cost 20 – 30% less (up to $500 lower) than Continental or Michelin tires.
That isn’t to say that Road Hugger has managed to do the impossible of keeping the price dirt cheap while cutting zero corners. These tires winter performance is poor, and their availability in a limited number of sizes limits their utility to family cars and passenger vehicles.
Still, if you’re on a tough budget or have just grown fed up with installing one premium tire after another, Road Hugger tires provide you with a cost-effective alternative. Just make sure to keep them away from harsh wintry conditions, and there’s no reason why these tires may disappoint you.