Sumitomo vs Kumho Tires

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Sumitomo and Kumho share a lot in common. They both craft top-notch tires for various vehicles, like passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks, and commercial vehicles. Although they hail from Asia, they have a robust presence in the North American market.

What’s more, they’re celebrated for their high-performance tires. For example, Sumitomo shines with its HTR ZIII and HTR A/S PO2 models, while Kumho is known worldwide for its Ecsta PS71 and Ecsta 4X tires.

Given their similarities, it’s no shock that Sumitomo and Kumho tires often vie for a spot on your vehicle. So, if you’re on the lookout for new tires, pondering over these brands is a smart move.

Here’s a guide we’ve prepared to dive deeper into these tire manufacturers – exploring their history, offerings, and more. We’ll also scrutinize their tires in terms of performance, availability, price, and treadwear warranty.

Sumitomo Tires’ Journey Through Time

Sumitomo Tires kicked off its journey in 1909 in Japan, starting with the basics: bicycle and motorcycle tires. This might not come as a shock, given that giants like Michelin Tire & Rubber Company began similarly before dominating the tire world.

In its early years, Sumitomo dedicated itself to crafting tires for two-wheelers. But by the 1920s, they ventured into car tire production, marking a significant expansion. Yet, it wasn’t until the 1930s that Sumitomo began sharing its products with the world, embarking on an international export journey.

The year 1970 was a milestone for Sumitomo, with the launch of their first radial tires. These tires quickly became favorites, thanks to their superior fuel efficiency and enhanced handling. Their ability to wear evenly and maintain commendable road manners also played a huge role in attracting car owners.

It took until the late 1990s for Sumitomo to delve into the niche market of tires for high-performance and off-road vehicles. Today, Sumitomo stands tall as one of the globe’s leading tire makers, boasting operations in more than 170 countries.

Sumitomo Tire Families

Sumitomo offers six distinct tire families, each designed to meet various driving needs and preferences. Let’s explore them individually.

Sumitomo HTR

The HTR family encompasses a range of tires, including all-season, all-season performance, and maximum-performance summer tires. Designed for enhanced wet braking, superior grip, handling, and high-speed stability, these tires are offered at competitive prices.

Each HTR tire is uniquely crafted to suit different driving conditions. For example, the HTR Z5 excels on both track and street with its maximum-performance design, while the HTR 900 ensures a quiet and comfortable ride on highways.

Sumitomo Tour Plus

The Tour Plus tires are engineered to balance road manners with handling prowess.

A standout in this family, the Sumitomo Tour Plus LS, offers excellent traction on dry and wet surfaces and performs well in light snow. The added bonus of a 50,000-90,000-mile treadwear warranty, varying by tire size, enhances their appeal.

Sumitomo Encounter

The Encounter family is split into two main tire types: all-terrain and highway terrain (HT).

All-terrain tires are ideal for pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, providing versatile capability off-road at a great value, and are suitable for towing and hauling due to their high load capacities.

The HT tires, while sharing the same tread compound as their all-terrain counterparts, offer a much quieter experience on dry roads.

Sumitomo Ice Edge

Sumitomo Ice Edge tires are your go-to choice for winter. These tires are made to handle snow-covered roads, making sure you get from point A to point B without a hitch. Some tires in this range even allow for studs to be added, giving you extra grip in severe winter conditions.

If you’re on the hunt for a recommendation, the Sumitomo Ice Edge stands out. It’s a tire that can be fitted with studs and comes with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) symbol, ensuring top-notch comfort even in the nastiest of weather.

Sumitomo Touring

On the lookout for quality touring tires without breaking the bank? Sumitomo Touring Tires could be the answer. They might not match the road performance of tires from giants like Michelin, Bridgestone, or Continental, but considering their price, these tires offer remarkable performance.

Kumho Tires: A Journey Through Time

Kumho Tires is the newer kid on the block compared to some of its rivals. This global tire powerhouse took root in South Korea in 1960, a whole fifty years after Sumitomo made its debut in Japan. This meant Kumho had a significant gap to bridge.

And bridge it did. By 1966, the company not only rebranded itself but also achieved a remarkable feat: becoming one of the first tire brands from Asia to receive the coveted US Department of Transportation (DOT) mark. This achievement was no small feat, opening doors to the lucrative North American market.

The journey didn’t stop there. A second DOT certification in 1988 boosted Kumho’s standing as a reliable name in the tire industry. The brand’s commitment to innovation, especially in developing run-flat tires, quashed any skepticism about its capabilities.

Fast forward to today, Kumho Tires falls under the wing of Doublestar, a Chinese tire giant that took the reins in 2018. With a presence in over 180 countries, Kumho is celebrated for crafting top-notch, long-lasting tires that don’t break the bank.

Kumho Tires Families

At this moment, Kumho’s tire selection is divided into six unique families. These are the Kumho ECSTA, SOLUS, WINTERCRAFT, I’ZEN, CRUGEN, and ROAD VENTURE.

Kumho ECSTA

The Kumho ECSTA collection is quite varied. It includes tires for all seasons and touring for all seasons, as well as performance and high-performance options.

The ECSTA PA51 and ECSTA AST are high-performance tires known for their excellent stability at high speeds and their ability to maintain traction and grip, no matter the weather. On the other hand, if you’re after tires that behave more politely on the road, the ECSTA 4XII KU22, which is an all-season tire, might be the one you’re looking for.

Kumho SOLUS

Looking for dependable all-season tires that won’t break the bank? The Kumho SOLUS family might have just what you need.

But if you’re short on time to sift through the options, the SOLUS TA71 could be a great choice. It’s $100 cheaper than its premium counterparts, yet it offers road performance and fuel efficiency that could easily make anyone think it’s priced higher.

Kumho WINTERCRAFT

Kumho’s WINTERCRAFT tires shine when the weather turns tough. They boast a special tread pattern that grabs onto snowy and icy surfaces like a pro. Plus, their rubber stays flexible even when the thermometer drops below freezing.

What sets WINTERCRAFT tires apart? They’re armed with metal studs. These tiny warriors dig into ice, offering unbeatable traction. And, they have a broader shoulder compared to A/S tires, giving you extra grip on snow-covered roads.

Kumho I*ZEN

The I*ZEN family from Kumho has four members, each dedicated to keeping you safe during the winter months. They cater to different rides—from family cars to SUVs and light trucks.

But here’s a twist: not all I*ZEN tires can wear studs. This detail separates them from their WINTERCRAFT cousins.

Kumho CRUGEN

Kumho’s CRUGEN lineup has really put them on the map.

To get specific, two CRUGEN models have stolen the spotlight. The CRUGEN HT 51 is a beast of a highway tire, boasting a lifespan of up to 70,000 miles.

Then there’s the CRUGEN HP71. It’s a top pick for an all-season tire on a budget, so much so that Nissan and Hyundai have chosen it for many of their SUVs.

Kumho ROAD VENTURE

Kumho’s ROAD VENTURE lineup features various off-road tires, catering to different driving needs.

Among these, some are all-terrain tires designed for both highway driving and off-road adventures. They offer the advantage of durable performance on the highway with little noise. The Road Venture AT51 stands out in this category. It’s engineered for a balanced performance both on and off the road, though it might not be the best choice for very muddy conditions.

On the other hand, the lineup also includes mud-terrain tires specifically made for extreme off-road conditions. Unlike the AT51, which keeps noise levels down on the highway, these MT tires tend to make their presence known with a distinctive growl when driving on dry roads.

Sumitomo vs Kumho Tires: Differences

Performance

Kumho tires are known for excellent handling and grip on both dry and wet roads. This makes them a favorite among drivers who love a sporty, responsive ride. That’s why you’ll often see Kumho tires at track days. Muscle car enthusiasts trust Kumho’s high-performance tires to give them that extra edge.

On the other hand, Sumitomo tires are not lacking in handling. However, they’re not as responsive as Kumho tires, though they do offer a much quieter ride.

Availability

When it comes to finding the right tire, both Kumho and Sumitomo have you covered. Both brands boast a wide selection for cars, SUVs, light trucks, and commercial vehicles. They offer tires for every season (all-season, summer, and winter) and even models for off-roading. So, in terms of variety, it’s a draw between the two. There’s plenty of options no matter what you’re looking for.

Price and Warranty

Sumitomo tires are a bit pricier than Kumho tires. However, they offer something to balance out the cost: longer treadwear warranties. From what we’ve seen in Sumitomo tire reviews, it’s not rare for their tires to come with promises of lasting up to 90,000 miles. That’s an impressive figure by any measure.

On the flip side, you won’t find a Kumho tire guaranteed to last over 75,000 miles.

Advantages of Sumitomo

  • Longer warranties for treadwear
  • A broad selection of tires suitable for various vehicles
  • Tires tend to last longer and offer a quieter ride

Advantages of Kumho

  • Superior handling and grip, whether the road is dry or wet
  • More agile than Sumitomo’s competing models
  • Generally, Kumho tires are more wallet-friendly than those from Sumitomo

Sumitomo Vs Kumho Tires: Which Brand to Choose?

Sumitomo Tires might be your go-to if you’re seeking tires that stand the test of time. These tires usually come with longer treadwear warranties, ensuring they last. They’re also known for providing a smoother and quieter ride on all types of roads, whether it’s sunny or rainy.

On the other hand, Kumho Tires should catch your eye if performance is your top priority. While they might not be the quickest off the mark, compared to Sumitomo, Kumho tires shine when it comes to enhancing your steering experience. They bring an edge to your drive, making each turn more engaging.

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Lucas Liam

Hi, I'm Liam, the enthusiast behind Off Road Genius. With more than 10 years of conquering diverse terrains, my experience with Jeeps extends beyond the ordinary. I've mastered the intricate details of these off-road champions, pushing their capabilities to the limit. Through this platform, I share my profound knowledge and lessons learned from countless miles on the trail. I'm here to inspire, educate, and guide you through the thrilling world of Jeeps. So, buckle up for this adventure-filled ride!

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