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The Kumho Ecsta lineup of high-performance tires is designed for sporting coupes, sedans, and small crossovers. The Ecsta 4X II KU22 is the successor of the Kumho, which happens to sport the same asymmetric tread design.
It seems Kuhmo is one of the leading tire makers when it comes to versatile all-weather performance. I am a bit familiar with the first-generation Kumho Ecsta 4X, I had the tire fitted test on a 2004 Mitsubishi Eclipse a couple of years ago. That particular test car was fitted with 17-inch wheels and lowering springs, but the ride was still smooth and civilized due in large part to the KuhmoEcsta 4X tires.
However, for this test drive and review of the second-generation Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22, I was able to find a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro fitted with 18-inch aftermarket wheels. The Camaro was also equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 motor and a 6-speed manual transmission.
I had a lengthy chat with the owner of the Camaro. He basically told me that he bought the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 tires after reading tons of reviews online. He wanted his muscle car to remain quiet and composed on the highway, but he also wanted dollops of traction and grip when the car is pushed near the limits of adhesion.
Apparently, he made the right choice. But before we get to the review of the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22, here are the features of this ultra-high performance all-season tire.
First things first. This tire looks amazing. Yes, looks can be subjective, and it is unwise to judge a tire based on the tread design alone. But in terms of looks, the aggressive asymmetric tread design will definitely enhance the sporting nature of your sports coupe, muscle car, or sports sedan.
The Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 is equipped with extraordinarily stiff tread blocks that retain its shape even when the car is pushed hard towards a winding corner. The tread design is engineered with noise-canceling characteristics to reduce road noise and vibration even as the car is driven at high speed. This tire is also engineered with an oversized footprint to increase the contact patch on the road. This means that you get sure-footed handling and traction on all types of road conditions, whether wet or dry.
The advanced rubber compound of the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 is designed to perform cooler than ordinary tread compounds which greatly improves the wet traction of the tire. This also enhances wear so you can expect the tires to retain the same level of performance with minimal tread wear.
Did I wish that my test Camaro came equipped with a V8 engine? Of course! No turbocharged inline-four or six-cylinder motor can match the machismo and low-rpm torque of a proper V8, but the equally impressive V6 engine in my test car is more than adequate for daily driving.
I fired up the engine and headed to the highway to do some high-speed runs. The Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 tires exhibited high levels of traction and grip which seemed to get better as I pressed on the accelerator pedal.
I was calm and composed as I piloted the Camaro over a tight right-hand corner at above average speeds. I didn’t notice the tires break traction but I did feel the rear wheels slide a bit due to the presence of sand and dirt on the road.
I presume that the Kumho Ecsta SPT or PS31 will offer higher levels of grip on dry pavement, but they won’t offer the same levels of comfort and tread wear as the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22.
Sadly enough, I wasn’t able to test the tires in the rain. However, the owner of the Camaro told me that his car remained supple and composed even if the roads are besieged with an inch or so of rain puddles. I had no doubts about the wet performance of the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 since it is designed for all-season driving.
I had no chance to test the tires in the snow, either. Even the owner of the Camaro has no idea how the tires will perform in cold weather. I did some research and found out that the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 was able to perform well on slippery and icy surfaces as long as the road was not entirely covered with sleet or snow.
Yes, the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 is an ultra-high performance tire, but it manages to remain extremely comfortable like a proper grand touring tire.
I didn’t feel any unwanted body movements or shudder over concrete expansion joints, and the tires were able to muffle the thumps and bumps caused by rutted patches of road.
I must admit the firm suspension of the Camaro is not what you would call plush, but even the owner of the Camaro noticed an improvement in the overall comfort of his muscle car after installing a new set of Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 tires.
The Camaro is a muscular sports car even in V6 guise, so it would be untoward to expect Mercedes S-Class levels of refinement. However, the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22 tires rolled quietly and smoothly with very minimal tire roar.
Mind you, the roar was still there, but it is not as intrusive as before (the owner can attest to that). You don’t need to raise your voice when talking with a person in the passenger seat, and we’re talking about traveling at moderately fast speeds.
Kumho engineered the Ecsta 4X II KU22 to deliver minimal wear characteristics. The tires fitted on my Camaro test car were still fresh. Even the owner wanted to find out if Kuhmo’s claims will bear fruit.
I had a lot of fun testing and reviewing the Kumho Ecsta 4X II KU22. It had something to do with the exhilarating driving feel of the Chevy Camaro, but it was mostly due to the pleasantness of the total experience. That car was awesome. I am looking forward to reviewing the next ultra-high performance Kuhmo tire, which will hopefully be fitted to a Camaro SS with a proper V8 engine.