Time for a thread revival, but of the good kind! I'll be doing a two tire reviews in two posts.
Brand and Model of Tire: Kumho Ecsta 4X
Size of Tire: 195/55R15
Class of Tire: Ultra High Performance All-Season
Treadwear Rating: 420
Traction Rating: AA
Speed Rating: V
Max Load: 1135 lbs
Max Pressure: 51 psi
Pressure You Run: 35 psi
Tread Depth (in): 10.5/32"
Tire Weight: 18 lbs
Rim Size you use: 15x6 *GSR Blades
Section Width: 7.9"
Tread Width: 6.8"
Country of Origin: Korea
Image of the Tread:
Please rate, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being perfect and 1 being abysmal, the following characteristics of the tire being reviewed.
Would you buy this tire again?: Yes
Hydroplane Resistance: 9
Wet Traction: 9
Cornering Stability: 8
Dry Traction: 9
Steering Response: 9
Light Snow Traction: 8
Deep Snow Traction: 7
Ice Traction: N/A
Ride Comfort: 8
Noise Comfort: 8
When I started looking for a tire to replace my three aging and one dead Toyo Proxes 4's, Tire Rack had done a recent review of Ultra High Performance All-Season tires, which included the General G-Max AS-03, Hankook Ventus ES H105, Yokohama AVID ENVigor, and the Kumho Ecsta 4X. After driving around on my Proxes 4's forever, I was determined to get the best tire I could for driving in any weather condition, since Illinois weather changes all the time, any time.
The test TireRack performed resulted in the 4X claiming first place, with comments like:
In dry conditions, the Kumho Ecsta 4X easily drove away from the rest of the group, feeling more like a summer than an all-season tire, with quick steering response and excellent traction.
They had tested the tires in dry and wet conditions, but not in winter. I purchased these tires in early November, somehow making my Star Specs live until then. It seemed winter snow and cold temperatures would be the first test for these tires.
At $84 a tire, they looked like an excellent bargain. I kept wondering what the catch was, what might be their Achilles heel. If anything, it might be the somewhat soft sidewall. The 4X is the replacement for the Kumho ASX which was, in some circumstances, known to literally roll off of wheels because of the soft sidewalls. I knew I was basically one of the first customers to test a somewhat unknown products, but I decided to bite the bullet and give them a shot.
The result? I couldn't be happier with them. In the 4000 miles I've put on them, they haven't failed me once. In winter, the stood up to harsh cold, snow, and slush. At times where I had to go relatively slow with my Proxes 4's in the snow, the 4X's soldiered on, unhindered. There was one point where I slid the car through a turn in complete control, and came out of it just fine. We had some oddly sticky slush at one point around here, so I took the car to an abandoned lot for a drive, doing a figure eight course around a pair of light poles. The tires responded well, holding a surprising amount of grip.
As winter turned into spring, warmer weather came, and rain with it. In the dry and wet, these tires performed above and beyond what I thought they would, behaving just as TireRack desribed. At one point in April, I hit a large puddle of standing water at about 50 MPH, which would normally mean hydroplaning into the nearest solid object. Not this time. The car went straight on, and didn't even leave the lane. I was stunned at this.
Whenever conditions are dry, I tend to be a very spirited driver, taking turns as fast as the tires, or the speed limit, can take. While understeer will eventually be noticed, especially on cars like ours, these tires do indeed perform similar to a summer tire.
These tires come with a 60,000 mile warranty, and from what I've seen in the six months I've owned them, I'm looking forward to every mile I can get out of them.