Hankook Ventus RS4 Review

Hankook Ventus RS4 Review

  • Dry 80%
  • Wet 85%
  • Comfort 70%
  • Noise 70%
  • Treadwear 70%
  • Overall 75%
You only need to take one look at the Hankook Ventus RS4 to discern the tire means serious business. The Ventus RS4 is the successor to the defunct Ventus RS3, but it improves on the strengths of its predecessor while adding more of that aggressive style.

In this review of the Hankook Ventus RS4, I was lucky enough to obtain a 2013 Ford Focus ST as my test vehicle. The car was fitted with aftermarket 18-inch wheels wrapped in a relatively new set of Hankook Ventus RS4 tires.

But it was not your run-of-the-mill Focus ST. The engine was fitted with a larger turbo and intercooler to produce around 300 horsepower. The suspension was upgraded to street-spec coilover suspension for a better and more comfortable ride compared to full-spec racing coilovers. The car is mostly driven in the street, but the owner partakes in weekend track sessions with his buddies as well as long cross-border trips.

I asked him why he considered the Hankook Ventus RS4 tires over other brands, and he was quick to point out two factors: the style and the price. The Ventus RS4 is certainly far from being cheap, but it delivers incredible value considering the looks and performance of the tire. Starting at around $130 each, it is way less than what you would pay for a Bridgestone or Michelin summer tire.

Hankook Ventus RS4 Review: Features

The most prominent feature of the Hankook Ventus RS4 is the wider center block. This helps the tire to maintain a steady grip on the road while also improving the steering response of the vehicle. The main groove is equipped with a pair of wider channels to quickly dissipate water and prevent hydroplaning on soaking wet pavement.

The directional treads are designed using variable groove angle technology to optimize the block stiffness of the tire. The Ventus RS4 also benefits from stiffer shoulder blocks to further enhance the steering response while improving cornering grip as well.

The Hankook Ventus RS4 is constructed using a new carbon black and silica racing compound to increase the overall stiffness of the carcass while improving traction and grip on wet pavement. The tire is equipped with a pair of wider steel belts and a dual layer joint-less nylon full cover to optimize durability and vehicle handling.

Hankook Ventus RS4 Review: Test Drive

My test car came fitted with a six-speed manual. It’s been a while since I drove a manual-equipped car, much less a Ford Focus ST. I was excited to get on the road because I was curious to find out the effects of the engine mods to the overall performance and drivability of my test car.

Dry Traction

As I found out, the effects were immensely intoxicating. The larger turbo spooled faster as the car accelerated hard from a standing stop. It is hard to compare the Hankook Ventus RS4 with an ordinary set of all-season tires in terms of dry traction. It was simply superior!

The added horsepower of the motor was a perfect match to the traction and grip of the tires.

The steering also felt more stable and more precise as I was able to position the nose of the car perfectly as I attacked a winding corner.

Braking was also a fuss-free affair since the tires were able to stop the car confidently without much fuss or drama. The car felt composed, and the tires seem they were asking for more. It felt that the tires can stand up to bigger and better engine mods. They were that good in the dry.

Wet Traction

I got the chance to drive on wet patches of smooth concrete on my way to the test track. I didn’t get the chance to push it, but the Hankook Ventus RS4 had acceptable levels of traction and grip on wet roads. I slowed down whenever the tires encountered deep water puddles since I felt the tires were not up to the task of dealing with such nuances.

Snow Traction

Um, no. I didn’t get the chance to drive the car in the snow, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing it either. The Hankook Ventus RS4 is a summer tire designed for extreme driving, but that’s about it. This tire was not designed to be driven on snow. Frankly, so was my test car.

Comfort

The street-spec coilovers gave my test car a more civilized ride, but it was still a bit too firm for the daily drive. In fact, if you’re the type of person who has never experienced driving a car fitted with stiff coilovers, you will probably be annoyed by the stiff and bumpy ride. The tires didn’t help in this regard either.

Noise

The road noise of the Hankook Ventus RS4 is not that bad to be quite honest, but it’s not the most refined either. Credit goes to the European levels of refinement of the Ford Focus ST, but the tires are not what you call silent by any means. You will hear the tires roar on the highway, and you will feel them whispering at slow speeds as well. These are not the set of tires to consider if you are looking for ride silence and refinement.

Treadwear

The Hankook Ventus RS4 tires fitted to my test car were approximately 3 months old with a mileage of around 3,000 or so miles. The tires already had signs of wear on the treads. But considering the extreme nature and power of my test vehicle, I guess this is not bad.

Conclusion

The Hankook Ventus RS4 is a good choice for an extreme performance summer tire. It offers the highest levels of dry grip at the lowest possible price. If you are searching for an affordable set of summer tires, the Ventus RS4 should be on top of your list.

Kumho Ecsta PS91 Review

Kumho Ecsta PS91 Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 90%
  • Comfort 70%
  • Noise 85%
  • Treadwear 85%
  • Overall 86%
I was terribly curious about the Kumho Ecsta PS91. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this ultra-high performance summer tire. Some are even saying that it performs quite as well as the Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position, but the Kumho undercuts the Bridgestone by at least $90 each.

The Kumho Ecsta PS91 sounds like the real deal. Is this the right summer tire for your sports car, supercar, or Nurburgring-tuned German sedan? In this Kumho Ecsta PS91 review, I was interested to find out if a tire tuned for maximum grip is not just a one-trick pony with alarmingly low levels of comfort and refinement.

Ultra-high performance summer tires are usually engineered to compromise tread wear and comfort in exchange for maximum traction and grip. Call me old school if you like, but I want my supercar or sports sedan to behave nicely on normal roads, and the tires used will definitely spell the difference between highway comfort and a sore back.

It is only fitting to test the Kumho Ecsta PS91 tires on a proper sports car. Sadly, I had no access to a Porsche 911 Turbo or Audi R8 V10, so I had to make do with the original supercar slayer – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. In this case, it was a 2014 MR sedan equipped with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

My test car is fitted with the usual cold air intake and street-tuned coilover suspension. It is also fitted with aftermarket 18-inch wheels which gave the car a drool-worthy appearance. I used to dream about owning an Evolution during my younger years so I was very anxious to get behind the wheel of this pampered Japanese high-performance sedan.

The owner of the Evo is in his late 30’s. He fitted the Kumho Ecsta PS91 tires about five months ago. The car used to be his daily driver but is now strictly a weekends-only machine, particularly on track day runs with his buddies who drive equally exceptional Japanese sports cars like the Honda S2000 and Subaru Impreza WRX STi. This is the reason that the tires were already showing signs of wear.

Kumho Ecsta PS91 review: Features

Kumho engineered a handful of technological advancements into the Kumho Ecsta PS91. Inspired by the demands of Formula 3 racing, the Kumho Ecsta PS91 was constructed with a carbon black and silica compound along with max grip performance resins to deliver the ultimate in traction and grip.
This tire is also equipped with a continuous center rib and an asymmetric tread design with 3D dimple designs to keep the tires cool and composed even during extreme duress. There are four extra-wide circumferential grooves that are designed to easily dissipate water for enhanced wet handling.

The sidewall of the Kumho Ecsta PS91 has a checkered flag design that clearly portrays the ultra-high performance intent of the tire. Admittedly, the Ecsta PS91 is not the best-looking tire in the business. In fact, it looks a bit ordinary. But thanks to the checkered flag indentations on the sidewall, the tire manages to acquit itself well in terms of looks.

Kumho Ecsta PS91 review: Test Drive

The owner of the Evo was brave enough to hand me the keys. I was given the entire afternoon to test the capabilities of both the car and the Kumho Ecsta PS91 tires. But as luck would have it,  it was raining the whole afternoon and the roads were soaked to the brim. However, this was not a hindrance to test the capabilities of the Kumho Ecsta PS91.

Dry Traction

Like I said, it was raining pretty much during the entire time I was testing the Kumho Ecsta PS91. I asked the owner regarding the dry traction of the tires and he was quick to reply that these are one of the best tires that he ever bought for his Evo. He used to play around with Dunlop and Bridgestone tires but decided to go for a cheaper brand due to budget constraints.

Wet Traction

It’s no secret that the handling of the Evolution X can be compared to driving a car on rails. This thing is basically a point-and-shoot machine, and the same can be said even if you are driving in the rain. Of course, I didn’t get the chance to drive the car at illegal speeds in the wet, but traction and grip were never absent as I sped on the rain-soaked highway. The Kumho Ecsta PS91 is a true summer tire and is not designed to be used in cold climates or near-freezing temperatures.

Comfort

It would be an overstatement to call the Evolution X as a comfortable car. Yes, the suspension offers a reasonable amount of compliance on smooth and straight roads, but city driving is a different story altogether. The Kumho Ecsta PS91 tires offered acceptable levels of comfort, but it is hard to accurately judge the tire since my test car is fitted with aftermarket coilovers, albeit it’s the street-tuned variety.

Noise

Surprisingly enough, the Kumho Ecsta PS91 were particularly silent on average cruising speeds. It’s a shame that I didn’t get the chance to perform a high-speed run on dry tarmac, but I always give credit when it’s due. The tires were above average in terms of road noise, and that’s saying a lot.

Treadwear

Given that my test car has seen a lot of track days, it is understandable that the Kumho Ecsta PS91 tires will be showing signs of wear. But given the pocket-friendly nature of these tires, I have to say that the wear qualities are good for the price.

Conclusion

The rain was not enough to stop me from savoring the experience of driving a Lancer Evolution X. Of course, I was a bit disappointed the heavens were pouring down during the entire time I had the car, but at least I was able to test the capabilities of the Kumho Ecsta PS91 in the wet. For all those out there who happen to be lucky enough to drive a sports car, supercar, or high-performance sedan, the Kumho Ecsta PS91 is a stellar summer tire that won’t burn a large hole in your pocket.