Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 Review

Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 Review

The Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 is a high-performance summer tire that is applicable to drivers of sporting coupes and fast sedans. This tire is also a popular upgrade over the usual touring or all-season tire.

If you have a nice compact and you want to upgrade to larger wheels and tires for sportier handling, the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 is also a good choice, mainly due to the low price.

The Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 belongs to the fast-rising popular brands of cheap and affordable tires. How cheap? An 18-inch Nankang NS-20 starts at under $75, where other brands can command prices upwards of $120 each for a comparable high-performance summer tire. This means you can buy a complete set of 18-inch Nankang NS-20 tires for less than $350 to $400. You can expect to pay more if your vehicle is equipped with smaller 16” or 15” wheels.

In my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong in buying a cheaper set of tires for your car, unless your car is modified for racing or track applications. But if you are looking for the best possible wet and dry performance along with durability and longer wear, you are barking at the wrong tree.

This doesn’t mean that cheap tires like Nankang are flimsy, unreliable, or offer mediocre wear characteristics. But the primary reason why Bridgestone, Michelin, Continental, and Goodyear tires are so expensive is the fact that their tires offer a better overall balance of traction and grip with low noise and longer wear characteristics, not to mention better driving comfort.

In this Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 review, we will put this high-performance tire to the test to see if it offers better value for money than other cheap tires in the market.

Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 Review: Features

According to Nankang, the Noble Sport NS-20 is engineered for performance enthusiasts who want a set of tires that can improve highway stability and handling without compromising traction and ride comfort. The tire is equipped with a solid continuous center rib that improves handling and high-speed stability. It is also equipped with four large circumferential grooves to further improve handling and steering response on slippery wet roads.

The Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 is also equipped with a sporty directional tread pattern to further enhance traction and grip on wet pavement. The wide-sectioned and notched shoulder blocks are designed to enhance cornering stability and grip for a sportier and more responsive driving experience.

Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 Review: Test Drive

My test vehicle for this review of the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 was supposed to be a Scion FR-S equipped with larger and wider 18-inch wheels. However, the car suffered a blown rear tire and the gorgeous rims were lightly damaged in the process.

The incident was caused by the wider wheels that stretched the NS-20 tires a bit further than expected. The owner of the FR-S also owns a 2013 Scion xB wagon fitted with aftermarket 17-inch wheels and the same Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 tires. He gave me the keys to his daily driver so I can begin my test drive.

Dry Traction

My test vehicle was riding on lowering springs and wider wheels to achieve a gorgeous stance. This also tells me the car is not exactly suited for the sporty of aggressive type of driver.

My test vehicle, however, was the perfect epitome of cool. The tires felt competitive on dry roads as the tires provided excellent feedback to the steering wheel.

Braking, acceleration, and cornering is also good despite the presence of loose sand and dirt on an empty stretch of road.

However, the car felt a bit nervous at higher speeds. You can feel the tires hunting for more grip as you push the car faster.

Wet Traction

I spent half of an entire day driving on wet roads. I wasn’t expecting the tires to perform admirably on extremely wet roads, and I was right.

The tires felt a bit unsettled if you try to push your vehicle at higher speeds on a wet highway. Braking and cornering were also a bit compromised in the wet.

But if you drive at low or average speeds, the tires are more than adequate for the task. I was expecting better performance in the wet since the NS-20 is an ultra-high performance tire, but who am I to complain for a set of tires that starts at around $70 each?

Snow Traction

I didn’t get the chance to drive in the snow, but the owner of my test vehicle prohibited me for doing so. He told me the tires are not designed to handle light snow or winter driving as proven by his experience during the winter holidays.

It was noting drastic, but the tires had a difficult time searching for some much need traction on a mild snowy road.

Comfort

The comfort levels of the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 is higher than average, and that’s a good thing. Even though my vehicle is fitted with stiffer lowering springs, I can fell the tires were doing their best in soaking up road imperfections without upsetting the composure and steering feel of the vehicle.

Noise

Cheap tires have a common complaint: excessive road noise. It’s the same with the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20.

The tires will emit a louder roar as you push the throttle and gain higher speeds, but the tires were able to silence themselves at low to average speeds.

Treadwear

The Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 tires fitted to my test vehicle were bought more than 5 months ago but the treads were aging gracefully. There were noticeable signs of wear on the face of the tread but I didn’t find any cuts, damage, cupping, or uneven treadwear.

Conclusion

If you want to upgrade from a conservative set of touring tires to a sportier set of high-performance tires, why not give the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 a try? The tires are good for everyday driving and that’s that matters in the real world, right?

Yokohama YK-HTX Review

Yokohama YK-HTX Review

  • Dry 95%
  • Wet 90%
  • Snow 80%
  • Comfort 90%
  • Noise 90%
  • Treadwear 85%
  • Overall 90%
At first glance, the Yokohama YK-HTX may look like an all-terrain tire, what with the rugged and aggressive tread design. In truth, the tire is similar to a hybrid between a highway-terrain and all-terrain tire. This may look good on paper, but how does it behave on a real road?

I managed to grab hold of a 2012 Ford Explorer Limited AWD equipped with stock 20-inch wheels and Yokohama YK-HTX tires. I was excited to begin the review because the sun was out and it seemed like a great day for a test drive.

You can say what you want about the Ford Explorer. Some people might say the Explorer has become too refined or too classy to tackle extreme off-road terrain, but I don’t agree with them. You don’t buy an Explorer to go off-roading, much in the same way you buy a dual-core laptop for gaming. In fact, the vehicle is still highly competent in mild off-road driving but is much more refined than the original.

The owner of my test vehicle is an adventurous guy in his late forties. He loves the Explorer but is planning to upgrade to a bigger truck in the near future. He told me that he tows a 23-foot RV, a boat, and a cargo trailer on any given day in his Ford Explorer. He purchased the Yokohama YK-HTX tires about 5 months ago and was so satisfied with the performance and longevity of the tires that from then onwards, he swore to only buy tires from the Yokohama brand.

It seems we have a big fan of the Yokohama YK-HTX. Let’s see if the tires can turn me into a believer as well.

You can say what you want about the Ford Explorer. Some people might say the Explorer has become too refined or too classy to tackle extreme off-road terrain, but I don’t agree with them. You don’t buy an Explorer to go off-roading, much in the same way you buy a dual-core laptop for gaming. In fact, the vehicle is still highly competent in mild off-road driving but is much more refined than the original.

The owner of my test vehicle is an adventurous guy in his late forties. He loves the Explorer but is planning to upgrade to a bigger truck in the near future. He told me that he tows a 23-foot RV, a boat, and a cargo trailer on any given day in his Ford Explorer. He purchased the Yokohama YK-HTX tires about 5 months ago and was so satisfied with the performance and longevity of the tires that from then onwards, he swore to only buy tires from the Yokohama brand.

It seems we have a big fan of the Yokohama YK-HTX. Let’s see if the tires can turn me into a believer as well.

Yokohama YK-HTX Review: Features

In my opinion, the Yokohama YK-HTX is the brand’s attempt to make a more rugged highway-terrain tire. Manufactured using a silica-enriched compound mixed with Orange Oil technology, the tire is rated to deliver excellent all-season traction even on light snow. The treads are equipped with multi-sipe blocks that provide more biting edges for high levels of traction on snowy or slippery roads and loose gravel.
The tire was also developed with Triple 3D sipes that change shape as the tire wears down. This will ensure that the tire will continue to have biting edges even if the tread wears off. The optimized sidewall construction and adaptive shoulder blocks are all designed to enhance the stability of the tire to give you sure-footed handling. The shoulder blocks are designed to form a continuous outer rib to reduce tire roar at higher speeds.

The Orange Oil and silica compound will also reduce the rolling resistance to maximize the wear characteristics of the tire. The treads were also designed with an optimized contact patch to promote even wear.

The Yokohama YK-HTX is available in 15” to 22” diameters and is applicable to rugged crossover vehicles, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

Yokohama YK-HTX Review: Test Drive

My test vehicle was equipped with large 20-inch wheels so I was expecting the ride to be a bit jiggly. I hopped in and drove into the warm sunlight to get a feel for the vehicle before the actual test.

Dry Traction

It is hard to fault the Yokohama YK-HTX tires in terms of dry traction. The steering felt planted and precise while the vehicle was calm and composed as I sped on the bone-dry highway. The tires felt relentless as I took a detour to some badly paved roads peppered with loose rocks, sand, and dry soil. I got back on smooth tarmac and continued my journey with nary a complaint.

I never felt the tires break traction even as I was coaxing the SUV to attack a moderately tight corner at speed. Of course, you will feel the tires squirm for grip if you are insistent with your throttle inputs, but I was not driving a sporty sedan, so what’s the point?

Wet Traction

The roads were a bit damp as I was on my way home to deliver the SUV back to its owner. I didn’t get a chance to test the tires at top speed on wet roads, but the performance was satisfactory overall. What I did notice was the steering remained tight and precise even on slippery wet tarmac. It seems the 3D-designed sipes and the Orange Oil compound worked wonders to elevate the wet driving performance of the tires.

Snow Traction

There was no way for me to test the tires in snow. I asked the owner about this and he was in awe of the tire’s ability to tackle ice and light snow. He was supposed to buy a separate set of snow tires for his SUV but it was totally unnecessary. The Yokohama YK-HTX tires were more than enough for anything lower than 2-inches of snow.

Comfort

The Ford Explorer had a decently comfy ride, and the tires were a big part of the overall refinement of the vehicle. Even the owner can attest to the fact that the Yokohama’s were more comfy than his old set of tires. Large potholes and moon-size craters will still make themselves felt inside the cabin but it wasn’t too much to upset the composure of the vehicle.

Noise

You would probably think the Yokohama YK-HTX will be a bit talkative given the aggressive nature of the treads, but this was not the case. The adaptive shoulder blocks with continuous outer ribs did their job well to suppress tire roar at speed. The tires were also whisper silent on city streets. However, there will be some tire roar if you’re really pushing it on the highway, but it still sounds a bit muted compared to other highway-terrain tires.

Treadwear

The Yokohama YK-HTX tires on my test vehicle are not what you would consider brand new, but the treads were still relatively fresh at the time of this writing. That is pretty impressive for a tire that carries the weight of a large SUV.

Conclusion

The Yokohama YK-HTX tires are not the cheapest or most affordable highway terrain tires you can buy, but it performs admirably on both wet and dry roads with no penalties to ride comfort and wear.

Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 Review

Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 Review

  • Dry 95%
  • Wet 95%
  • Snow 90%
  • Comfort 95%
  • Noise 90%
  • Treadwear 80%
  • Overall 93%

The Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is just one of the many types in the Geolandar family. Yokohama has designed and engineered an immense variety of truck and SUV tires to cope up with the ever changing road conditions. In this review of the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015, I wanted to find out if the hybrid between a mud tire and highway-terrain tire is something that people should consider given the relatively high price.

Yes, the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is an expensive tire. But when you think about it, the tire is designed to offer superior traction and grip on both wet and dry roads while still remaining capable enough to handle mild off-road terrain, even in severe winter and snow conditions. While the tire may look ultimately rugged upon first glance, Yokohama claims the tire is capable of a smooth and silent ride on paved roads.

I find that hard to believe since all the A/T tires I’ve tested in the past were chatty and noisy when driven on smooth concrete and tarmac. I mean, if you really want a silent and smooth ride, you can always choose a set of highway-terrain tires, but what if you like the best of both worlds? Is there such a tire than can meet both demands?

In order to find out, I got myself a 2010 Toyota Sequoia SR5 equipped with stock 18-inch wheels and Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015. I took it out for a test drive so I can come up with a comprehensive review. The owner was thinking about selling the SUV so he can have room in the garage for a newer pickup truck. He bought the Geolandar A/T G015 during the last quarter of 2017, so the tire has seen a lot of action since then.

Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 Review: Features

Like I said before, I think the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is a cross between a mud tire and highway terrain tire. Want proof? Yokohama claims every size of the Geolandar A/T G015 received the Severe Snow designation. When you think about it, there isn’t a lot of A/T tires that can fulfill that claim.

In order to provide excellent all-season traction, the Geolandar A/T G015 was manufactured using the Enduro compound with Orange Oil for strength and durability. The Orange Oil was also utilized to resist wear and lower the rolling resistance of the tire. There are a plethora of Triple 3D sipes on the face of the tread. The sipes are designed to change their shape to maintain sufficient biting edges even as the treads wear down.

The Geolandar A/T G015 is equipped with four circumferential grooves to prevent hydroplaning on severely wet road conditions. The EDGETEC grooves between the treads are shaped to create even more biting edges to provide excellent traction on deep snow.

The tire received a full nylon cover for added protection against cuts and punctures. The built-in sidewall protectors will also protect the tire from sidewall cuts and surface abrasions.

Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 Review: Test Drive

It was not my first time to drive the Toyota Sequoia so I was already familiar with the quirks and nuances of the SUV. I particularly enjoyed the power and torque delivery of the 4.6-liter V8 motor and 6-speed automatic transmission, but I despised the bland and cumbersome steering feel. Let’s see if the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 tires are any good.

Dry Traction

On smooth roads, the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 tires exhibited high levels of traction and grip. I drove over a coarse patch of isolated backroad and the tires never skipped a beat. It felt it can do more than just roll over a couple of sandy soil and loose rocks. The grooves on the tire are deep enough to handle some mud, too. I got back on smooth tarmac and drove my way to the nearest diner. I never felt the tires were lacking in terms of traction in the dry, and that’s a good thing.

Wet Traction

It’s the same story when you’re driving in the wet. I actually think the tires were a smidge better in the wet than on smooth and dry roads. It’s as if you can feel the multiple 3D sipes and EDGETEC groves working their magic on slippery tarmac. I wish I had the chance to test the tires on a wet off-road trail, but I think the results will be the same.

Snow Traction

The Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 gave me the confidence to maintain my composure on icy and snow-covered roads. The tires were in their natural element as I sloshed my way on roads covered with slush and 3 or 4-inches of snow. There were times that I felt the steering became loose over thick icy roads, but the tires will regroup themselves quick enough so you can maintain control.

Comfort

The Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 tires were surprisingly comfortable on the highway. The stiff carcass of the tires were not enough to upset the ride quality of my test vehicle, but I did feel the ride was a bit taut compared to a proper set of highway-terrain tires. Comfort is not the strongest suit of the Geolandar A/T G015, but I’m glad to know the tires were not as harsh as other A/T tires.

Noise

In terms of road noise, it’s a mixed bag. The tires were not as talkative on city roads as they were on the highway. Tire roar is more evident as you add speed, but it’s not as annoying as other A/T tires. But if you’re the type of driver who gets annoyed easily by tire roar, the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is not for you.

Treadwear

The Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 tires are made to last. In fact, it comes with an impressive 60,000-mile warranty. The tires fitted to my test vehicle have traveled at least 2,000 or so miles but they still look new.

Conclusion

The Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is a brilliant choice for an all-season and all-terrain tire. It may demand a higher price tag over lesser known brands, but it is hard to find a tire that can deliver the same level of performance as the Geolandar A/T G015.

Toyo Open Country A/T II Review

Toyo Open Country A/T II Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 80%
  • Snow 70%
  • Comfort 80%
  • Noise 75%
  • Treadwear 80%
  • Overall 84%

Can an all-terrain tire roll as smoothly and quietly as a tire with highway treads? That was the big question I was looking to answer in this Toyo Open Country A/T II Review.

I am not particularly favorable of large trucks and sport-utility vehicles. I find them too big and too complicated for my city-based lifestyle. I have nothing against these behemoths. In fact, I appreciate the macho and rugged appeal of pickup trucks, and I admire the space and cargo carrying capabilities of large SUVs.

If I were to have a truck, I would most certainly choose all-terrain over highway-terrain tires. Chunkier tires will enhance the go-anywhere capabilities of your Silverado, RAM, or F-150 while making them look more aggressive on all sides.

My test vehicle for this Toyo Open Country A/T II review is a 2014 Ford F-150 STX 4-door SuperCab. The rig is equipped with a lift kit, aftermarket off-road suspension, and the 302-horsepower 3.7-liter EcoBoost V6. The truck is also fitted with 20-inch wheels and Toyo Open Country A/T tires. In short, the truck means business.

The owner of the badass F-150 is an off-road enthusiast who does a lot of highway driving on a daily basis. He particularly chose the Toyo Open Country A/T because of two main factors: cost and on-road capabilities. The looks alone will leave no doubts about the off-road capabilities of the tire, but is it also capable to silently and comfortably cruise on the highway? Not all tires designed for all-terrain driving can boast that claim, and that’s what I’m here to find out.

Mind you, the Toyo Open Country A/T tires fitted on my test vehicle were not exactly cheap, but they cost less than variants from Michelin or Bridgestone. A 20-inch Open Country A/T II from Toyo will set you back about $340 a piece. Of course, you will pay less if your truck or SUV is fitted with smaller diameter stock OEM wheels.

Toyo Open Country A/T II Review: Features

Toyo claims unparalleled versatility with the Toyo Open Country A/T II. They did it by combining a wear-resistant tread compound with an open tread block design. The tire has deep tread grooves with specially-designed stone-ejecting blocks to offer superior off-road performance and durability.

The tire is engineered with tie bars between the tread blocks that improves wet and dry braking while helping to reduce irregular tire wear. If this sounds like the features of a highway tire then you’re right. The Toyo Open Country A/T II is a highway tire in disguise since it rolls silently while offering impressive off-road capabilities.

The Toyo Open Country A/T II is available in three shoulder designs. You can choose P-Metric, LT-Metric, and Xtreme sizes in 15” to 22” diameters for a wide array of applications.

Toyo Open Country A/T II Review: Test Drive

Since I am not exactly an off-road type of driver, I had no plans to test the Toyo Open Country A/T tires on challenging terrain. I was more particular about the on-road behavior of the tire. However, the owner of the F-150 brought me to a rough country road near the end of our test drive. This gave me the chance to discover all the fascinating merits of the tires.

Dry Traction

I have nothing bad to report when it comes to dry traction since I never felt the tires skipped a beat. Whether you’re on the highway or traversing over rough patches of terrain, the Toyo Open Country A/T II tires will give you the confidence to forge ahead. But not on deep mud or anything that will resemble thick slush.

Wet Traction

Wet traction was admirable. In fact, it was pretty good. But don’t expect the Toyo Open Country A/T II to grip like an ultra-high performance tire in the wet, particularly at above average speeds. It also performed well on loose, damp soil peppered with sharp rocks and wet sand.

Snow Traction

I didn’t get the chance to test the Toyo Open Country A/T II in the snow, but the owner told me the tires can handle inches of snow with no problems at all. Deep snow will prove challenging but it still offers a modicum of grip so you can inch forward without feeling the tires losing traction.

Comfort

I was pleasantly surprised about the ride comfort of the Toyo Open Country A/T II tires. It can also be attributed to the magnificent off-road suspension fitted to my ride, but the tires were compliant on all types of road surfaces, whether on-road or off-road. But this tire is not the best in terms of comfort, and I think the Kumho Road Venture AT51 still offers better on-road comfort overall.

Noise

Toyo made good on the promise of lesser tire roar in the Open Country A/T II. The tires rolled silently on city streets and they managed to remain muffled as I sped on the freeway. Due to the lifted nature of my test vehicle, I wasn’t brave enough to climb to silly speeds, but the tires were quiet enough on moderate speeds to merit a high score.

Treadwear

The Toyo Open Country A/T II tires fitted on the F-150 were purchased three months ago. At the time of this writing, the tires have accumulated an estimated 1,200 miles. The owner of my badass test vehicle had nothing bad to say about the durability of the tires, either. He’s never had a flat or a puncture, and he never had cuts or abrasions on the tires.

Conclusion

I was impressed with the on-road and off-road capabilities of the Toyo Open Country A/T II. I guess this tire is one of the reasons why some people are still apprehensive in purchasing a cheaper set of all-terrain tires from a relatively unknown brand.

Yes, the Toyo Open Country A/T II commands a higher price but it delivers on all fronts. It now belongs in my shortlist as one of the best all-terrain tires for trucks and SUVs.