Nankang N889 Mudstar Review

Nankang N889 Mudstar Review

  • Dry 80%
  • Wet 80%
  • Snow 85%
  • Comfort 70%
  • Noise 70%
  • Treadwear 80%
  • Overall 77%
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 Review: Features

The Nankang N889 Mudstar M/T is a mud terrain tire for off-road vehicles and 4x4 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.

Nankang N889 Mudstar Review: Test Drive

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.

Dry Traction

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.

Wet Traction

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.

Snow Traction

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.

Comfort

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.

Noise

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.

Treadwear

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.

Conclusion

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.

Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 H457 Review

Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 H457 Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 80%
  • Snow 70%
  • Comfort 90%
  • Noise 80%
  • Treadwear 90%
  • Overall 84%
If you compare the Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 with the Hankook Ventus Noble2, the latter is an ultra-high performance tire with the genes of a touring tire. However, the Ventus V2 Concept2 is a bit different since it prioritizes sporty handling over comfort and road silence.

I wanted to find out if the Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 is able to offer a sporty driving experience despite the friendly price tag. The tire starts at below $70 each and a full set of four tires will only cost below $300. Considering the sporty and aggressive tread design of the tire, this is probably one of the best all-season tires when it comes to value for money.

My test car for this review is a 2008 Infiniti G35 sedan. While the previous model G20 was simply an improved version of the Nissan Sentra, the Infiniti G35 begs to differ. It is a true sports sedan that offers a roomy cabin and decently comfortable ride.

My test car came fitted with bone stock 17-inch wheels and Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 tires. However, the tires were more than a year old and have seen their fair share of abuse from the owner. There were signs of tread wear on all four corners of the vehicle. Let’s see if the tires are still capable of giving me a sporty drive despite the age of both the tires and my test vehicle.

Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 Review: Features

The Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 is a sporty tire for sport sedans and sport coupes. The tire is equipped with a solid center rib block with a 3D point effect on the block edge to deliver excellent handling and braking on wet and dry roads.

The treads are blessed with an optimal profile design that provides an even contact patch on the road. This means the tires will offer better high-speed stability while minimizing deformation on the shoulder and center patch. The shoulders of the tire are further enhanced with noise care blocks to suppress road noise and tire roar.

The tire is also equipped with four wide straight grooves and a V-shaped pattern design to improve traction, grip, and water evacuation on wet roads. The tire also came with an uneven wear protection system so you can easily check the presence of abnormal wear on the face of the treads.

Constructed using a longer mileage carbon compound to improve wet grip with lower rolling resistance, this is a performance tire with the wear characteristics of a touring tire.

Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 Review: Test Drive

My test car might be old, but it still felt tight as a drum. I also think the design has aged gracefully despite the onslaught of new cars with a funkier exterior profile. I guess this will be my first time behind the wheel of the Infiniti G35 so I was a bit excited as well. I got the keys and drove off to acquaint myself with the characteristics and behavior of the car.

Dry Traction

You have to remember the tires in my test car are more than a year old, but traction and grip on dry roads were still impressive. I did find the steering to be a bit talkative on the highway but this can be attributed to the steering system of the Infiniti G35.

If you push it harder you will feel the tires squirm as they hunt for much-needed grip and the rear of the car has a tendency to slide out if you are not careful with your steering or throttle inputs.

Overall, the tires were okay in the dry. But if you demand more, you better get a better set of summer tires.

Wet Traction

I only got to the drive in the wet upon returning the car to the owner. There was nothing dramatic as I sped on a wet highway, and the braking was unaffected by the slippery nature of the road. I did feel the ABS system kick-in as I pressed hard on the brake pedal, but the tires were able to bring the car to a halt without much fuss.

Snow Traction

I didn’t have the chance to test the tires on snowy roads. However, the owner of the car was more than willing to share his experience when he drove the car in the snow.

The Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 performed well on light snow, but you better slow down if the roads are completely covered in ice or more than 2-inches of snow. In fact, he had to purchase a separate set of snow tires when the winter season was in full swing.

Comfort

It is hard to fault the Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 in terms of riding comfort. I am aware the Infiniti G35 is a sports sedan, but it behaves very much like a luxury car on the highway. In my opinion, the Hankook Ventus Noble2 is a more comfortable alternative if what you really want is a comfortable all-season performance tire.

Noise

I also noticed the Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 were a bit noisier on the highway, but this can be attributed to the age of the tires. Road noise and tire roar is not really that bad, but they are easily noticeable at higher than average speeds or when traversing over rough patches of road.

Treadwear

The wear characteristics of the Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2 was impressive given the age of the tires fitted to my test car. The owner made sure to have the steering and suspension components checked before fitting the tires more than a year ago, and it shows. The tread wear was evenly distributed across the contact patch of the tires, and there were no signs of cuts or damage on the treads. It is hard to find a better set of low rolling resistance tires at this price range.

Conclusion

Do you need a sporty set of all-season tires but is short on cash? Take a closer look at the Hankook Ventus V2 Concept2. This is the type of tire that delivers optimum all-season performance with the style of a more expensive set of rubber.

Yokohama Tornante Review

Yokohama Tornante Review

  • Dry 85%
  • Wet 85%
  • Snow 70%
  • Comfort 90%
  • Noise 85%
  • Treadwear 85%
  • Overall 84%

The Yokohama Tornante is a performance tire designed for all-season driving. It is the perfect performance-oriented alternative to a touring tire while still having confident handling and traction on slippery roads. The tire is also backed by an 85,000-mile limited treadwear warranty to prove that it can outlast the competition as well.

I was looking forward to driving a sporty compact car for this review of the Yokohama Tornante, and my prayers were answered. I got hold of a 2013 Mazda 3 hatchback equipped with 17-inch aftermarket wheels and Yokohama Tornante tires. The owner of the Mazda is a young fellow in his early thirties and was actually having problems with the check engine light in his ride.

I brought the car over to my buddy who was obsessed with deciphering the check engine codes on OBD-II equipped vehicles. It only took a couple of minutes to determine the cause of the fault: it was a bad MAF sensor. No wonder the Mazda was having intermittent hiccups during ide.

I was driving shotgun with the owner of the Mazda 3 on our way to purchase a brand new MAF sensor. After the new sensor was installed, the engine purred like it was revitalized from the inside-out. No more hesitation, no more hiccups on idle. The owner was so happy that he agreed to loan me his car over the course of the weekend.

Yokohama Tornante Review: Features

The Yokohama Tornante might look ordinary from the outside, but it has the DNA of a proper sporty tire. The tire was manufactured utilizing a blend of advanced silica and Orange Oil Compound to bring out the best in the rubber. The compound is formulated for a longer treadlife, low road noise, and competent all-season performance.

The tire is equipped with four deep circumferential grooves with sweeping cross grooves to quickly channel water away from the face of the tread. The asymmetrical tread design features wider outer blocks to elevate traction and grip in the dry. The inner blocks are designed with an increased groove area to improve traction on wet and snow-covered pavements.

The inner blocks are equipped with cross supporting tread blocks that work in unison like a continuous shoulder block to deliver excellent grip and handing in all-season driving. The tire is also equipped with constant contact ribs that increases contact with the road to deliver precise steering and better handling.

Furthermore, the Orange Oil Compound in the Yokohama Tornante is the most durable tire compound that Yokohama has ever created but it has less rolling resistance to increase the tread life and fuel economy of the vehicle as well.

Yokohama Tornante Review: Test Drive

I’m a huge fan of the Mazda 3. I am particularly fond of relatively small and agile compact cars that can handle like a sports car. While my Mazda 3 is bone stock except for the wheels, you will feel the car come alive from the moment you disengage the parking brake and step on the gas pedal.

Dry Traction

I was impressed with the amount of traction on dry roads. The Yokohama Tornante tires will give you the feeling that it can take more power and more abuse from engine and the driver respectively. Initial turn-in was crisp and sharp, and braking distances were relatively short given the speed that I was driving before I stabbed the brake pedal. The steering was spot-on and the chassis felt it can certainly handle more power.

Wet Traction

Wet performance was also pretty impressive, to say the least. The steering was still responsive on wet pavement even as I applied abrupt changes in direction. Braking performance was virtually the same in the dry, and that’s really impressive. I encountered no problems as I applied firm gas pedal pressure on rain-soaked tarmac. My test vehicle was able to successfully navigate a slippery left-hand corner at moderate speed without feeling the tires hunting for traction.

Snow Traction

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to drive the car in the snow. The owner of the Mazda 3 told me the tires were decently able to conquer mild snow. If you throw in a bit of ice or sleet, you are in for challenge.

Comfort

The Mazda 3 is not really known for its supreme ride comfort. However, the Yokohama Tornante gave my test vehicle a smooth and well-controlled ride. The tires were comfortable in the city despite the presence of jarring potholes and road undulations. The tires were also calm on the highway and it allowed me to enjoy some driving music as I drove home after the test drive.

Noise

There was no need for me to pump up the stereo volume as I sped on coarse patches of tarmac. The Yokohama Tornante tires were surprisingly muted at high speeds. But the tire roar was still there, although it wasn’t annoying as before. The owner of the Mazda can attest to that fact. This was par for the course unless I compare the Mazda 3 to the NVH tuning of a Mercedes S-class.

Treadwear

The Yokohama Tornante tires in my test vehicle were purchased over 5 or 6 months ago but the tires were still good as new. I found mild traces of wear on the front tires compared to the rear. I contacted the owner about this, and he told me he forgot to have the tires rotated. He said the tires have been used for approximately 3,000 miles prior to my review and have not been rotated ever since.

Conclusion

Searching for a quality set of all-season performance tires for your car, crossover, or minivan? Consider the Yokohama Tornante. The tires were more than adequate on dry or wet roads and delivered the type of riding comfort that will make you think your car is rolling on a set of more expensive rubber.

Toyo Versado Noir Review

Toyo Versado Noir Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 90%
  • Snow 80%
  • Comfort 95%
  • Noise 90%
  • Treadwear 95%
  • Overall 90%

The Toyo Versado Noir is a premium all-season touring tire designed specifically for luxury or sporty sedans and coupes, with particular emphasis on ‘touring’ rather than pure sporting apprehensions. This tire is reputably quiet and smooth on all road surfaces while offering fantastic tread wear for the price. This review of the Toyo Versado Noir will try to prove just that.

Talking about price, the Toyo Versado Noir is not exactly what you would call dirt cheap. My test car was equipped with 17-inch wheels and the Toyo tires fitted cost approximately $125 each. The price is still not bad considering the reputation of Toyo tires in the motorsports industry, but there are cheaper variants that can undercut the Versado Noir in terms of price.

I had the privilege to test drive a 2009 Lexus GS350 equipped with the standard 303-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 motor. I know this car is geared more towards cosseting the driver rather than making your hairs stand from end to end, so I was confident to take full advantage of the touring capabilities of the Toyo Versado Noir.

The owner of my fine Lexus test car is an engineer in his early 50s. He also owns a Nissan 350Z and a Chevrolet Silverado truck that he utilizes to haul his construction equipment. The Lexus actually belongs to the wife, but they are planning to sell the car for a more fuel-efficient compact in the coming months.

Toyo Versado Noir Review: Features

The Toyo Versado Noir is engineered with a rather bland asymmetric tread design with a more rigid outside tread. This will serve to stabilize the blocks for improved handling, better wear, and a quiet and stable ride.

This tire is equipped with a higher density of sipes on the inside tread that provides more biting edges for enhanced traction on mild snow. Constructed using an improved silica compound to promote better traction on dry and wet roads, this compound is also formulated to resist wear while improving the fuel efficiency of your ride.

The Toyo Versado Noir is also equipped with an array of multi-wave sipes that will also serve to improve traction while reducing road noise at speed.

Toyo Versado Noir Review: Test Drive

I like the Lexus GS350 because it behaves like a true German sedan but is a thousand times more reliable than a Merc or Audi. I got in and grabbed some breakfast before proceeding to test the tires on a mixture of city and highway driving.

Dry Traction

The Toyo Versado Noir is not an ultra-high performance tire that offers endless amounts of grip on a dry road. The tires offered admirable performance in the dry but are not what you would call stellar. It feels rather fine in the city, but the numb steering of the Lexus will make you feel a bit tense on the highway, especially as the speedometer needle climbs to triple digit numbers.

In all fairness, the Lexus is not a sports car, and the Toyo Versado Noir is a proper touring tire after all. But I think there are other touring tires that can outperform the Versado Noir when it comes to traction and overall performance on dry roads.

Wet Traction

The first part of my test drive consisted of driving over rain-drenched roads in crippling traffic. By the time I was on the freeway, the roads dried up and the sun was up again. However, I didn’t feel any loss of traction on slightly damp roads. The owner of the Lexus agreed with me on this point. He felt confident at speed even when driving in the rain. In fact, he even told me that his old tires were nothing compared to the Toyo Versado Noir in the wet.

Snow Traction

The owner of the Lexus also told me that the Toyo Versado Noir was commendable in cold weather. The tires can cope with a bit of ice and snow but that’s about it. Anything more than 2-inches of snow will prove to be a challenge.

Comfort

There is doubt the Lexus GS350 is a refined and comfortable cruiser. It’s a Lexus! It’s what supposed to do! In this regard, I felt that the Toyo Versado Noir is a perfect fit for the Lexus GS350. The tires felt very comfortable on the highway and it traversed over minor undulations without making unnecessary noises. City driving was also pleasant since the tires can cope well with harsh tarmac and moderate-sized potholes.

Noise

I have nothing untoward to say about road noise, either. The Toyo Versado Noir simply rolled silently whether creeping over traffic or blasting on the highway. In fact, this tire scores high in terms of refinement since it is one of the most silent tires I have tested in this category. The conservative nature of the tread design might look a bit bland, but the purpose of it all was to create a tire that can give you dollops of comfort and silence without compromising traction and grip.

Treadwear

The Toyo Versado Noir tires fitted to my Lexus test car were more than six months old but the tires were showing minimal signs of tread wear. The owner of the Lexus was particularly pleased with the wear characteristics of the tires since he bought a set for less than $500, which is reasonable compared to other touring tires from well-known brands. This is a tire that is meant to last a long time. In fact, it comes with a 75,000-mile limited warranty and a 500-mile or 45-days trial offer. If you’re not satisfied with the tires, simply send them back.

Conclusion

I was not particularly impressed with the Toyo Versado Noir in terms of dry traction, but it makes up for it in comfort, road noise, and stellar tread wear.

This tire is perfect for midsize luxury sedans, compacts, and even small crossovers since it is available in 15” to 18” diameters.

If your car deserves a tire that delivers advanced levels of comfort and balanced wet and dry performance, the Toyo Versado Noir deserves to be in your shortlist.

Kumho Crugen HT51 Review

Kumho Crugen HT51 Review

  • Dry 95%
  • Wet 90%
  • Snow 70%
  • Comfort 85%
  • Noise 95%
  • Treadwear 80%
  • Overall 86%
What could be a better way to start this Kumho Crugen HT51 review rather than introducing my test car. It’s a 2009 Chevrolet Suburban LT1 SUV! Yes, it’s got loads of space, acres upon acres of comfort, and a terrific gas-guzzling 5.3-liter V8 motor. God bless America!

My Suburban is equipped with the 17-inch factory wheels and Kumho Crugen HT51 tires. These tires are designed for economical, quiet, and comfortable cruising, all of which are perfect attributes for the hulky Suburban.

The Kumho Crugen HT51 is an all-season highway tire designed for pickup trucks and midsize or full-size SUVs. This tire is available in 15” to 18” wheels and can also be used on plus-size aftermarket wheels.

However, the Kumho Crugen HT51 is geared more towards comfort and long tread wear rather than all-out traction and grip. It’s a training sneaker instead of running shoes. It’s a mid-spec laptop and not an aggressive gaming machine. You catch my drift.

If you have a sporty SUV and you want a highway tire that prioritizes sportiness and grip over tread wear or comfort than you should take a look at the Kumho Crugen Premium KL33. That’s the right tire for your SUV or truck.

But if what you want is a good mid-spec highway tire that can probably perform better or last longer than the factory rollers fitted in your SUV, you should definitely check out the Kumho Crugen HT51.

In this review, I was fortunate enough to acquire a true American V8-powered SUV in the form of the Chevy Suburban. It was equipped with Kumho Crugen HT51 tires in mint condition. Let’s see how the tire fares on all categories.

Kumho Crugen HT51 review: Features

The Kumho Crugen HT51 is engineered with a stiff center block to improve the straight-line performance of your SUV. This feature will make the steering more responsive while enhancing the stability of your vehicle. This also means you get more grip and traction on wet and dry roads.

Engineered using an all-season tread compound, this tire comes with a symmetrical tread design with a unique geometric block layout on the tread. This design will presumably increase the tread life of the tire without sacrificing traction and grip.

You will find four wide circumferential grooves with a zigzag design that improves wet weather performance. The grooves are also designed to increase the biting surface of the tire so that you can drive over mild snow without compromising traction and vehicle control.

What particularly stands out is the new sidewall design. This gives the tire a more dynamic and energetic vibe. But looks should take a backseat over all-weather performance, right? Let’s see how the Kumho Crugen HT51 performs in real-life driving conditions.

Kumho Crugen HT51 review: Test Drive

Dry Traction

Let me give it to you straight since this is a critical part of our review. The Kumho Crugen HT51 is not particularly stellar in terms of dry traction. It’s not pretty bad, but sporting apprehensions inside a big and hulky SUV will only serve to water down your confidence with these tires. Traction was acceptable and it felt magnificent on the highway since this tire is designed for straight-line driving at higher than average speeds, but that’s about it.

Push it hard and you will feel the tires squirm for grip, even at moderately aggressive speeds. Weirdly enough, I felt the tires performed a bit better on wet roads.

Wet Traction

Like I said, the Kumho Crugen HT51 was calm and composed on wet roads, even in strong rains. This might have to do with the water-evacuating properties of the 3D-designed tread since the Suburban simply glided over the water puddles on the highway.

Of course, if you push it a bit hard then you can probably expect a slight loss of traction. I’m not an idiot to push the Suburban above 80 or 90mph on the rain-drenched pavement, but all in all, the Crugen HT51 was a revelation on wet roads.

Snow Traction

Pity there was no chance for me to test the Kumho Crugen HT51 on snow, but I heard good things about this tire on icy or slushed roads. I talked to my pals at the tire dealership and the manager had a neighbor who bought the Crugen HT51 for his pickup truck. He took the truck to Detroit last December and he had no problems with the snow performance of the tires. Of course, we’re talking about very light to light snow here.

Comfort

Well, what can I say? The Chevy Suburban is a comfortable vehicle. It makes you feel like you are driving while sitting on a sofa. The Kumho Crugen HT51 felt good on the highway and it gave dollops of comfort even when harassed by crude expansion joints on concrete roads. The tires were also comfortable in city driving. It made potholes feel smaller than the actual craters that you see while driving.

Noise

The same can be said for the road noise. The Kumho Crugen HT51 was silent as a Tibetan monk on the highway. It also felt refined in urban driving even as the tires were navigating over badly-engineered city roads.

Treadwear

The Kumho Crugen HT51 tires fitted on my test car were still relatively fresh. But I had no doubts on tread wear since Kumho designed the HT51 to have a long service life. It is also important to note that the tires are backed by Kumho’s sterling 45,000-mile to 70,000-mile limited warranty.

Conclusion

In this review, the Kumho Crugen HT51 tires lived up to the promise of comfort and refinement at a friendly price. For an all-season tire, this is not bad at all. Traction in the dry was a bit middling but the tire can more than make up for it in straight-line highway cruising. It was also comfortable and quiet on varied road surfaces. Perhaps the biggest consideration is the price. You can get four of these tires for less than $500. And since Kumho designed the Crugen HT51 to last for many thousands of miles, that’s great value right there.