First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 is an ultra-high performance tire that is created to suit the demands of high-performance sporty sedans, hatchbacks, and sporty coupes. From that alone, it is easy to discern this tire will have an astronomical price tag.
But in this review of the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452, I was surprised to find out that this is one of the more affordable choices in the market. Each tire will start at less than $100 and you won’t spend more than $500 for a complete set of 215/55R17 rollers. In my book, this is good value since most ultra-high performance tires will cost upwards of $120 to $150 each.
My test vehicle was a 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium fitted with stock 18-inch wheels and Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires. My test car was the EcoBoost model and it also came with a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. With 231 horsepower and 270 ft.-lbs. of torque from as low as 3,000 RPM, I was more than eager to push the car to the limit to find out if the tires are any good.
From the first time you lay eyes on the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2, you know that the tires are meant for high-performance driving. But Hankook made it clear the tires are also oriented towards a smooth and comfortable ride.
The asymmetrical tread design is equipped with a positive aqua hydro block design to provide excellent performance on wet and slippery roads. You will see a straight rib block on the outside shoulder of the tire and this feature is responsible for enhancing the cornering grip while suppressing tire roar.
Acceleration, braking, cornering, and overall handling is also enhanced via the application of a 3D Kerf design on the treads. The tire is also equipped with five rows of pitch variation to further reduce road noise and tire roar at high speeds.
The Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 is constructed using an advanced silica tread compound to deliver outstanding wet and dry performance and improved tread wear characteristics. The tire is also fitted with tie-bars on the shoulders of the tread to ensure optimal block stiffness.
Although my test car was only fitted with a humble four-banger, the turbocharged motor made the Fusion an exciting car to drive on the road. I was also impressed with the space and refinement of the sedan. I got the keys, hopped in, and proceeded to drive the entire day in order to determine the merits of this all-season tire.
Make no mistake about it. The Ford Fusion is a large sedan, but it is a capable handler as well. It doesn’t behave like a true sports car, but the tight steering and the sharp handling belies the docile nature of the car when driven on tight city streets.
Push it hard on the highway and the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires will be more than willing to oblige. I wouldn’t say that dry traction was excellent, but it was more than adequate to cope with the size and weight of my test car.
I did feel the tires were oriented more towards comfort and longevity rather than outright performance, but nobody will drive their Ford Fusion like they were inside a Nissan GT-R or Audi R8.
There was a bit of rain in the late afternoon. The dry asphalt roads were now slippery and wet with a couple of water puddles here and there.
I never felt the tires skipped a beat even as I pushed hard on the pedal. In fact, the tires felt the same on both dry and wet roads. The steering felt good and braking performance was stellar despite the slippery road conditions.
If you push it really hard in the wet, you will feel the tires squirming for grip as you attack tight corners at speed. But if you drive safely and stay below the speed limit, the tires are more than willing to obey your steering and throttle inputs.
Snow traction was also admirable given the performance nature of the tires. However, you will quickly reach the limits of traction and grip on extremely icy or snowy roads. I guess this had something to do with the advanced silica compound and advanced 3D kerf design of the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires.
In my opinion, this is the strongest argument for purchasing the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires. Ultra-high performance tires are not known for their outstanding comfort, but the Hankook Ventus S1 will beg to differ. My test vehicle felt like a more expensive luxury sedan since the tires delivered tons of comfort in both city and highway driving.
I was also pleased with the silent ride of the Ford Fusion. This can be contributed in large part to the straight rib block design of the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires. Tire roar is toned down to the bare minimum even if you happen to be driving on a rough patch of concrete. The tires were also whisper-quiet on city roads.
The tires fitted to my test car were approximately six months old and have traveled approximately 7,000 miles since they were bought brand new. The treads were still relatively fresh. They looked like they can last for another 7,000 or so miles!
This might sound a bit funny, but the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 tires are high-performance tires that are capable of exhibiting a luxurious and comfortable ride. For the price, these are magnificent tires for sports sedans and coupes and offer terrific value for the price.