In this review of the Kumho Ecsta PS31, I got the chance to test drive one of my favorite muscle cars of all time: the S195 Ford Mustang, particularly a 2015 Mustang V6 Coupe equipped with stock 17-inch wheels.
The owner of the Mustang is a kind lady in her early forties who loves to drive stick. She told me that her pony used to be fitted with aftermarket 18-inch wheels, but she decided to put back the stock rollers after the left front wheel was damaged (and the right rear wheel was cracked) when she drove over a nasty pothole.
Purists will scoff at the Mustang V6, and I’m sure that you’ll hear a wide array of nasty comments upon mentioning the 4-cylinder Mustang EcoBoost. I have driven the V8 for a couple of times and I think it’s a great car. But in my honest opinion, the V6 model is better for city dwellers and traffic-congested roads. This car is perfect for the daily drive. Why would I complain about 300 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque, right?
Anyway, the tires fitted to my muscular test car were Kumho Ecsta PS31 ultra-high performance summer tires. Not to be confused with the Kumho Ecsta PA31 (which is a grand touring all-season high-performance tire), the Ecsta PS31 is engineered to deliver enhanced grip on wet and dry roads with a particular emphasis on better comfort and less road noise.
The owner gave me six hours to test the car, which is enough to fulfill the requirements of this Kumho Ecsta PS31 review. My test car was also fitted with Borla cold air intakes and oversized axle-back mufflers from the same brand, so let’s get cracking.
There is no need to question the ultra-high performance capabilities of the Kumho Ecsta PS31. The sidewalls are equipped with a checkered flag design that makes the tires look more aggressive. This tire is engineered with a solid center rib and wide lateral grooves that improve braking and control on wet surfaces while enhancing the steering response of your ride. This feature will also maximize traction and grip on both dry and wet surfaces.
There are four circumferential grooves with multiple channels to resist hydroplaning at speed. Kuhmo incorporated a 3D dimple design into the Kuhmo Ecsta PS31 to significantly improve the high-speed durability of your vehicle.
This tire is engineered using a unique summer compound blended with micro silica and high grip resin. The Ecsta PS31 has a directional tread design which means you can only rotate the tires from front to back.
The Kumho Ecsta PS31 is an ideal summer tire for high-performance sedans and sports coupes.
My test car had a deep and barrel-chested sound, and that’s only at idle. Revving the motor allows the exhaust to emit a sharp bark that always seems ready for action. I love driving stick although I haven’t driven one for quite a while. These are just some of the reasons why I was excited to hit the road.
Luckily for me, the test drive was arranged on a Sunday, and this meant the roads will be free from the usual rush hour traffic. It was also a bright and sunny day but the weather turned rainy in the late afternoon. The Kumho Ecsta PS31 was a revelation on dry tarmac. Traction and grip were excellent and I didn’t feel any loss in traction even as I pushed the car hard into a sweeping corner. So far, so good.
The rains poured hard while I was driving home from the test drive. The Kumho Ecsta PS31 tires never lost their composure even when traversing over an endless stream of water puddles on the freeway. I didn’t get the chance to properly test the high-speed performance of the tires in the wet, but I felt a solid sense of security that the tires won’t let you down when the roads turn slippery.
On this note, it is important to mention that the Kumho Ecsta PS31 is not designed to be used on icy roads or snow, but it offers an impressive level of grip even on wet tarmac.
My test car was riding on stock OEM-spec suspension so the ride was commendable on the highway. However, it’s a different story when driving on pothole-infested urban roads.
The thing I don’t like most about summer tires is the degree of ride comfort. It’s not what you would call uncomfortable, but they are a bit stiffer compared to touring tires. I may be nitpicking here, but if you demand higher levels of riding comfort then the Kumho Ecsta PA31 might be more to your liking.
The same can be said for the road noise. The Kumho Ecsta PS31 tires were hushed in city driving, and they weren’t particularly boisterous on the highway, either. But higher speeds tend to create a bit more tire roar than the usual. Still, not bad. But in this regard, if you are looking for a bit more comfort and a bit less road noise, the Ecsta PA31 is better.
The owner of the Mustang had the KuhmoEcsta PS3 tires installed less than 3 months ago. During that time, the car has traveled 1,500 miles so the tires were still relatively fresh. I didn’t see signs of advanced or rapid tread wear on both the front and rear tires of the Mustang.
My favorite part of this Kumho Ecsta PS31 review were the times when I was accelerating hard on dry tarmac.
These are great summer tires that demands more than just a second look since they are also priced lower than other expensive brands.
The noise of the exhaust was intoxicating and the intake note was visceral as well.
The comfort and the road noise was not so bad, but if you’re driving a sports coupe or high-performance sedan, shouldn’t comfort be the very least of your worries?
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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