Nankang AS-1 Review
- Dry 80% 80%
- Wet 75% 75%
- Snow 70% 70%
- Comfort 80% 80%
- Noise 75% 75%
- Treadwear 80% 80%
- Overall 80% 80%
If you are in the market for a performance-oriented all-season set of rubber, you should check out the Nankang AS-1. This tire is applicable to sporty and luxury midsize sedans and is touted to offer a high degree of traction and grip with the refinement and quiet comfort of a touring tire.
Contrary to popular belief, Nankang is not a Chinese brand. The company was founded and based in Taiwan in 1940 but it also has a large production plant in the Jingsu facility in mainland China. Similar to other lesser known brands, Nankang is one of those brands that you can depend on when it comes to price. The Nankang AS-1 in particular starts at an affordable $70 each in 225/40R18 configuration.
You know what this means, right? You can buy a full set of four Nankang AS-1 tires for less than $300. You can expect to pay twice that amount if you settle for a comparable tire from Continental or Michelin.
My test vehicle for this Nankang AS-1 review is a souped-up 2008 Lexus IS250 sedan equipped with aftermarket 18-inch wheels and lowered suspension.
My test car came with the smooth, powerful, and torquey 2.5-liter inline-six cylinder motor and 6-speed automatic transmission.
I am a big fan of the Lexus IS250. I actually prefer this car over the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-class from the same era.
I find the Lexus to be ‘tougher’ and many times more reliable while still remaining to be the epitome of comfort and refinement in the luxury midsize sector.
Nankang AS-1 Review: Features
The tire is also equipped with optimized siping pattern to reduce road noise and promote longer wear. The rigid shoulder pattern is designed to provide accurate steering feedback, tighter handling, and better stability.
You only need to take a single look to appreciate the asymmetric tread design of the Nankang AS-1. The tire is also sold in a wide array of sizes to fit on either old or modern cars. The tire is also backed by Nankang’s exclusive 40,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Nankang AS-1 Review: Test Drive
Credit should also go to the progressive rate lowering springs installed to my test car as the lower center of gravity was particularly helpful in settling the car as I approached a tight mid-corner at high speed.
The steering felt a bit rubbery but the tires felt stable as I sped on an empty stretch of tarmac.
Braking also felt so-so as I dropped the anchors on a wet highway. The steering felt a bit loose as I sped over water puddles as the tires gave the vehicle a sensation of floating over the soaked tarmac.
I was expecting better performance in the wet, but compromises are to be expected from a tire costing less than $70.
He said the tires offered acceptable levels of traction and grip on very light snowy roads, but don’t expect the same level of performance on snow-covered pavement.
For this reason, the owner kept the Lexus in storage during the height of the winter season and drove his trusty SUV instead.
My test vehicle may be riding on lowered suspension, but the ride quality remained smooth and plush even with bigger wheels and lower profile Nankang AS-1 tires.
Of course, you will need to avoid nasty potholes and curbs to avoid the risk of damaging the tires and those beautiful wheels, but the ride remained settled even as I drove over rough patches of concrete.
The best way to test the noise levels of a tire is to utilize the services of a refined midlevel luxury sedan such as my Lexus IS250.
With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised with the hushed silence of the Nankang AS-1.
Despite this, the tires were still fresh save for some normal signs of wear on the face of the tread.
There were also signs of wear on the sipes but I didn’t find any cuts or damage on the face of the tire.