If you find that the Kumho Ecsta PS31 is a bit too dedicated in the realm of ultra-high performance, the Kumho Ecsta PA31 offers a bit more refinement for the money. The Ecsta PA31 is classified as a high-performance all-season tire designed to meet the needs of mid-level sports coupes and sports sedans. The wide range of sizes available also makes this tire a good choice for sporty crossovers.
I want to find out if the Kumho Ecsta PA31 delivers on the promise of comfort and all-weather performance. I am also anxious to determine if this tire will wear slower than the Ecsta PS31. The Ecsta PA31 has the same directional tread pattern as the Ecsta PS31, but it is equipped with large cross grooves and a multitude of heavy sipes to perform better on snow-covered roads.
In my opinion, this is one of the many marvelous assets of the Kumho Ecsta PA31, although I was certain that there was no chance for me to test this tire in the snow. But in this Kumho Ecsta PA31 review, I was able to obtain a mid-level sedan equipped with a powerful V6 engine and had lots of time to play with the car on dry tarmac and rain-soaked asphalt.
My test car happened to be a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 motor and six-speed automatic transmission. The Chevy comes with OEM 18-inch wheels and Kumho Ecsta PA31 tires. The Malibu used to be fitted with a set of touring tires from another brand, and the owner wanted a bit more traction and grip in his new tires without sacrificing comfort.
At the time of this writing, the Kumho Ecsta PA31 tires in the Malibu will be approximately four months old. It had accumulated about 900 or so miles since the tires were fitted. That’s a lot of mileage in four months if you’ll ask me, but the owner is a highway cruiser who frequently visits his daughter across the state.
I know some of you might scoff at the idea of testing a high-performance tire on a mundane Chevrolet Malibu. If this were the Kumho Ecsta PS31, you could call me aheretic. In my opinion, the Kumho Ecsta PA31 is a solid match for the power and weight of the Malibu since this tire is designed primarily for sporty family sedans and sports coupes.
Before starting with the test drive and review of the Kumho Ecsta PA31, allow me to discuss some of the features of this tire. The Kumho Ecsta PA31 is developed using an advanced tread compound that combines the merits of long wear, better handling, and excellent all-season performance.
The directional tread design is engineered to improve handling, cornering, braking, and high-speed stability courtesy of the four circumferential grooves with a multiple cross design. The high sipe density of the Kumho Ecsta PA31 provides essential biting edges to effectively propel your vehicle over light snow.
Enough about the specs and features. Time to do some driving.
I have never driven the Malibu V6 before. I had some time behind the wheel of a Malibu four-cylinder, but this will be my first time to get intimate with the 2012 Malibu LTZ V6.
My test route will allow me to cover an extensive length of freeway mixed with pothole-infested city roads. The rain was non-existent during my test drive so I will not discuss the wet capabilities of the Kumho Ecsta PA31. However, all my driving time was spent on dry tarmac so I can definitely give you a fair assessment of the dry performance of the tires.
I was surprised by the power of my test car. The 3.6-liter V6 made good use of the 252 horsepower as I accelerated hard to overtake a line of slow vehicles. This car can scoot hard when pushed, even with the 6-speed automatic. The Kumho Ecsta PA31 had good traction and grip at high speeds despite the fact that the roads were sprinkled with generous amounts of sand and loose dirt.
The steering was fairly responsive and overall handling was pretty good. No fuss, no drama. I know that driving on the track at insane speeds will reveal a different story, but in terms of dry traction, the Kumho Ecsta PA31 performed admirably.
Where was the rain when I needed it most, right? Apparently, the owner of the Malibu has a lot of experience driving in the rain. He told me that the Kumho Ecsta PA31 was many times better in the wet than his old set of touring tires. He felt the car gained a renewed sense of confidence in the rain and this allowed him to drive at faster speeds even during a moderate downpour.
Like I said above, I had no time to test the Kumho Ecsta PA31 on snow-covered roads. In order to get an idea of how this tire behaves on slippery roads, I made a couple of phone calls and met up with my favorite tire dealer to talk a bit more about the Kumho Ecsta PA31. He had clients come back and thank him for helping them choose the KumhoEcsta PA31 since it performs well in light snow.
The Kumho Ecsta PA3 paired well with the comfort-tuned suspension of the Chevrolet Malibu. Admittedly, this is not a car designed to conquer twisting mountain passes, but it behaves reasonably well on the highway. It is not what you would call plush, but the comfort factor is obviously engineered into the DNA of the car.
The Kumho Ecsta PA31 is both comfortable and relatively quiet on the highway. I heard a bit more tire roar when the speedometer was approaching higher-than-average speeds, but it wasn’t enough to upset the calm nature of the car.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Kumho Road Venture AT51 is the price. You can buy a more expensive set of all-terrain tires from Bridgestone or Michelin and expect the tires to perform better than other cheaper alternatives. However, the Kumho Road Venture AT51 offers almost the same level of wet, dry, and snow performance while costing almost half as much.
You also get an aggressive go-anywhere style, which will perfectly match the rugged nature of your truck or SUV. I am aware that style should take a backseat when choosing a brand new set of tires, but there’s nothing wrong with choosing a tire that looks the part as well.
This Kumho Ecsta PA31 review allowed me to spend some time driving a car that I would have previously overlooked. This tire should be included in your shopping list if you are the proud owner of a mid-level sedan or sports coupe.
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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