Grand touring tires are supposed to offer a longer tread life, quiet ride, and high levels of driving comfort. The Hankook Kinergy GT is an all-season tire designed to offer all of those and more.
In this review of the Hankook Kinergy GT, I got the chance to test drive a 2011 Honda Accord EX with a DOHC 2.4-liter motor and 5-speed automatic transmission. The car was fitted with gorgeous 17-inch aftermarket wheels and Hankook Kinergy GT tires. It is also worth noting my car was also equipped with a lowered stance courtesy of aftermarket progressive-rate lowering springs.
But wait, if my test car was clearly dressed-up for sportiness, why give it a humdrum set of grand touring tires? I asked the owner about this and the answer was pretty straightforward: he can’t stand the road noise of sportier tires. The 2011 Honda Accord is not what you would call ‘insulated’ since the car is known for lacking the necessary insulation to keep tire roar at bay. The owner is also a high-mileage driver and he needed a set of tires that will roll silently and deliver incredible wear characteristics.
I guess it all makes sense. But what I can’t understand is the price of the tires. The Hankook Kinergy GT starts at less than $120 each, which is a bit steep if you’ll ask me. But if the tires can roll silently and comfortably without penalties in dry and wet traction, then it is probably worth it. You can also expect to get good mileage out of the tires since they are in grand touring spec after all.
The Hankook Kinergy GT is equipped with a rather conventional tread design. But take a closer look and you will see the tires are equipped with four circumferential channel grooves that are wider than the norm. This feature alone speaks volumes about the wet driving capabilities of the tire. Wider grooves mean better and faster water evacuation so the treads are always in contact with the road.
The tire is also equipped with a wider lateral groove to further improve traction and braking on wet surfaces. The rigid center rib improves the stability of the tire while also enhancing handling and braking performance.
The Hankook Kinergy GT is constructed using a high-grip silica compound that offers better performance in winter conditions while enhancing the grip and traction of the tire on dry pavement. The tire is also equipped with a stiffer sidewall to improve the steering feel of your vehicle.
I got in drove off. The Accord will always have a special place in my heart because it is an economical, spacious, and roomy sedan that handles like a sporty compact vehicle. I was expecting a stiffer ride courtesy of the lowering springs, but the car remained decently comfortable despite the lowered stance.
Since the Hankook Kinergy GT is a premium grand touring tire, I really wasn’t expecting much in terms of extreme traction. But again, my expectations were shattered by the abilities of the tire. I wouldn’t say the tires offered superior levels of dry traction, but it wasn’t bad either.
I pressed hard on the gas pedal on a sandy highway and the tires simply soldiered on with nary a complaint. I attacked a right-hand corner at higher than average speeds and the tires managed to grip the road without breaking traction. But if you really push it too far, you will hear the tires squirming for grip as the rubber tries to maintain contact with the road.
I drove the car over slippery asphalt and I had no problems with the steering and the braking. I got to speed on a deserted and damp piece of highway and the tires felt confident tackling the greasy pavement. I never felt the tires lost traction even with my ham-fisted steering inputs. In fact, the car felt pretty planted even if you drive it hard in the wet. Of course, this was in large part to the lowered ride height of my test car.
I never had the chance to drive my test car in the snow. The owner told me he spent a lot of time in Detroit during the holidays and the tires were more than equipped to handle ice or light snow. He even drove on roads covered with more than an inch of snow and the tires were able to navigate the car safely despite the dreary road conditions.
The Hankook Kinergy GT tires were very comfortable on the highway. They were also a revelation on pockmarked city roads. Yes, I had to avoid large potholes due to the lowered stance of my test vehicle, but the car remained planted and composed even in the presence of poorly paved roads.
The riding comfort and lower noise levels are the strongest attributes of the Hankook Kinergy GT tires. True to the grand touring nature of the tires, the Kinergy GT offered a silent and hushed ride. You will still hear a bit of tire roar when you’re cruising at high-speed, but this is due in part to the poor NVH characteristics of my test vehicle.
The owner told me his old tires were simply unbearable on the highway due to the presence of a constant droning sound in the cabin. The Hankook Kinergy GT tires offered him some much needed relief from the road noise.
The Hankook Kinergy GT tires fitted to my test car were still relatively new at the time of this writing. The tires were approximately 5 months old and had traveled a distance of around 4,000 or so miles. The treads were still fresh and there were no signs of accelerated wear on the tread surface.
The Hankook Kinergy GT is an excellent grand touring tire that delivers higher levels of all-season traction and comfort. It is a bit more expensive compared to other tires of the same caliber, but the excellent wear characteristics and low noise levels of the Kinergy GT is hard to ignore.