The Hankook Optimo H426 is a premium all-season tire designed for passenger cars and small crossovers. It is designed to offer elevated levels of comfort and ride silence without compromising wet and dry traction. In this review of the Hankook Optimo H426, I wanted to find out if this tire offers more than just a comfortable ride. Hankook made it clear the Optimo H426 is geared more towards comfort rather than sporty driving even though it is equipped with a sporty-looking tread design.
My test car for this review is a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta equipped with the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-banger and 6-speed automatic transmission. The owner of the Jetta was thinking about selling the car to make room in the garage for a family-oriented SUV. The car is still relatively new and came fitted with stock 15-inch wheels and three-month-old Hankook Optimo H426 tires.
I’ve always liked Volkswagens since they are more refined than comparable Japanese or Korean cars. But are the Hankook Optimo H426 tires a good match for the refinement of the Jetta?
The Hankook Optimo H426 is designed to be marginally better than the entry-level Optimo H724 all-season tires. The Optimo H426 is also priced a bit more than the H724 but it comes with a sportier-looking set of treads to improve the styling of your ride.
The Hankook Optimo H426 is equipped with a computer-optimized tread pattern that is designed to deliver enhanced handling on dry and wet roads. It has four circumferential grooves to assist water displacement and prevent hydroplaning. The tire is also equipped with rib type shoulder blocks to further improve handling and grip on wet roads. The tire also benefits from a diamond-shaped block design to improve the all-season capabilities of your ride.
The Volkswagen Jetta offers the creature comforts of a larger sedan. If not for the dull steering, the car would have been more enjoyable to drive. But since the Hankook Optimo H426 are geared more towards riding comfort, I felt the tires were a perfect match for the capabilities of my test car.
I have nothing bad to say about the dry traction of the Hankook Optimo H426. But if you’re the sporty type of driver, you will find the dry traction to be a bit lackluster especially as you pile on the speed. But if you drive normally at average speeds, the tires won’t disappoint.
However, I did feel the rear tires sliding a bit as I approached a tight corner at speed. In fairness to the tires, I was applying abrupt steering corrections during the turn, but everything was sorted out as I applied more throttle pressure. Again, if you want a sporty type of tire, this is not for you.
Weirdly enough, I felt the tires were in their element as I cruised quietly on a wet highway. It started to rain in the middle of the day so I had to content myself with an open stretch of highway as I was thinking about a nice place to grab some lunch. The tires remained composed even as I pushed the throttle pedal to gain more speed. The steering remained precise and I never felt the tires skip a beat even in the presence of water puddles and loose dirt.
I had the chance to test the Hankook Optimo H426 on snowy roads. True to the all-season nature of the tires, traction and grip were marginal as long as you don’t push it.
On light snow, the tires felt the same like you were traversing over wet roads. But if the roads are covered with thicker patches of snow, it is best to get a set of proper snow tires.
The owner of the Jetta told me the tires were more than capable on icy conditions but anything with more than 2-inches of snow should be avoided as much as possible.
When it comes to riding comfort, it is hard to criticize the Hankook Optimo H426 tires. This is due in large part to the base tread compound utilized in the construction of the tire.
The tread compound is designed to absorb shock to deliver better riding comfort. I drove the Jetta over a mixture of pockmarked city roads and smooth highway, and the ride remained smooth and comfortable all throughout my short journey. This might have something to do with the overall refinement of the VW Jetta, but the tires certainly played a large part when it comes to riding comfort.
I have nothing bad to say about the noise levels of the tires, either. The Hankook Optimo H426 tires had the same low levels of road noise as the Optimo H724.
I only heard some tire roar as I approached silly speeds on the highway, but it wasn’t much. The tires were also quiet in the city. I was expecting this level of refinement from the Optimo H724 and I wasn’t disappointed at all!
The Hankook Optimo H724 tires fitted to my test car were still new and had no visible signs of accelerated wear. I talked to my favorite tire dealer about this and they told me the cheaper Optimo H426 has a tendency to last longer than the Optimo H724, though not by much. I guess this has something to do with the elevated levels of grip, but the wear characteristics of the Optimo H426 is on the average side of the spectrum.
The Hankook Optimo H426 is a solid contender for an all-season tire. It managed to ride comfortably and silently while still performing well on wet and dry roads.
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Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for DrivingPress.com