I was talking to the guys at the local tire shop about the Nankang N889 Mudstar tires. Someone was quick to point out the Mudstar was better than a comparable mud terrain tire costing upwards of $300 each. But with the N889 Mudstar, you only need to pay half that amount.
But price should not the only consideration when choosing new tires for your vehicle. In terms of looks, the Nankang N889 Mudstar is on top of the heap. The large and aggressive tread blocks are sure to improve the rugged go-anywhere stance of your SUV or pickup truck.
The guys at the tire shop were able to hook me up with a customer who drives a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 motor and 6-speed manual tranny. The Jeep was riding on aftermarket 17-inch wheels and Nankang N889 Mudstar tires. In fact, the Jeep is being sold by the owner so he can make room in the garage for a new family-oriented SUV.
I agreed to help the owner to find a buyer for his Jeep in exchange for a lengthy test drive. We shook hands before he gave me the key to his off-road SUV. The next day, I brought my cousin along for the ride. He was saving money to fuel his off-road passion and needed a new ride that is capable of tackling more challenging terrain. He took a particular liking to my test vehicle since it is equipped from the ground up with all the mods required to tackle the most demanding off-road terrain.
But first, we need to review the performance of the Nankang N889 Mudstar tires.
Nankang N889 Mudstar Features
The Nankang N889 Mudstar M/T is a mud terrain tire for off-road vehicles and 4×4 pickup trucks.
The tire is designed to provide unwavering levels of traction on all types of road conditions, even on deep mud or snow. The tire is equipped with extra-large and aggressive tread blocks to offer better grip and traction on a variety of on-road and off-road terrain.
The tire is also equipped with a rigid shoulder and sidewall design to provide better riding comfort and better control. The tire also has large and open tread voids to effectively flush out water and mud from the face of the treads.
The tread blocks on the Nankang N889 Mudstar are not only meant to provide ruggedly handsome good looks and superior traction. The tread blocks also benefit from variable pitch technology to reduce the noise levels of the tire when driven on smooth tarmac.
We took the Jeep out for a whole weekend of testing to find out if the Nankang N889 Mudstar is capable of brilliant off-road performance and refined on-road manners. I’m not what you would call the biggest fan of Jeep vehicles because I find them too uncivilized for the real world, but driving it off-road instantly made me a fan.
The Nankang N889 Mudstar tires felt stable and secure as we navigated over dry patches of rough roads. There were sharp stones, loose vegetation, and a moderate sprinkling of sand but the tires were unfazed by the potentially hazardous elements. We took the Jeep for a high speed run on the highway to find out if dry grip is as good off-road as it is on-road, and we weren’t disappointed at all. If not for the fuzzy and disconnected steering feel of the Jeep, the vehicle would have felt better when driven on well-paved roads.
The Nankang N889 Mudstar tires had no problems dealing with soaking wet pavement. The tires were also magnificent as we climbed over a muddy hill. Wet tarmac posted no problems for the tires as we never felt the tires broke traction even as we were pushing the Jeep to higher than average speeds.
Since the Nankang N889 is a proper mud tire, we were confident it can handle more than 2-inches of snow. We were able to safely steer and stop the Jeep even on deep snow. In fact, our test vehicle felt relentless as we were able to go over roads that were deemed unpassable.
When it comes to comfort, it is sort of a mixed bag. The tires felt busy when driven on smooth and paved roads, but the comfort levels are better when driving over uneven patches of rough terrain. The tires also felt a bit stiff in the city, although potholes and minor road undulations can be attacked with utmost confidence without unsettling the vehicle. It is hard to complain about the ride comfort if you are behind the wheel of a rugged off-road vehicle, but it is good to know the Nankang N889 Mudstar was able to deliver a bit more comfort when we needed it most.
The Nankang N889 Mudstar is not the quietest mud tire I have personally tested so far, but it’s not as bad as other cheap alternatives. You will hear tire roar on the highway at anything above than average speeds, and the tires will also make themselves known if you drive aggressively on tight city streets. But given the low price point of the N889 Mudstar, I would have to say that refinement is above average.
The owner of the Jeep bought the Nankang N889 tires before the start of the winter season. The tires were still good as new at the time of this review. There was no evidence of damage or accelerated wear on the treads, but we did find a few scuff marks on the sidewall of the rear tires. We asked the owner about this and he told us the scuff marks were a result of aggressive driving on his previous off-road excursions.
The Nankang N889 Mudstar mustered good traction on all road surfaces while offering higher levels of comfort and grip on the most demanding off-road terrain.
Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for DrivingPress.com