Nankang Tires Review

Nankang Tires Review

Nankang Tires Review

It is unfair to classify Nankang tires as one of those cheap Chinese brands. In fact, the brand is the longest established tire manufacturer in Taiwan and was established in 1940. Nankang has two main tire manufacturing plants in Taiwan. The company expanded their tire manufacturing in a new production plant in Jiangsu China back in 2003. Nankang tires are exported to over 100 markets worldwide.

My first experience with Nankang tires was way back in 2007 when I took a much deserved vacation in South East Asia. My daily driver was a Mitsubishi Lancer fitted with low profile Nankang Ultra Sport NS-II tires. Those were the ones with the directional V-tread design. I found the tires to be above average in terms of wet and dry grip, and they weren’t bad in terms of comfort, either.

However, I did find a few minor gripes with the tires, and I actually have two: less than stellar durability and mediocre wear. But given the low price of the tires, I guess it is par for the course since you are paying half the price compared to a new set of Goodyear or Bridgestone tires.

But that was more than ten years ago. Nankang is now offering a new range of tires for cars, crossovers, minivans, trucks, and off-road vehicles. According to some insiders, the brand has vastly improved the quality of their tires without hiking up prices. For this reason, Nankang tires are still a popular choice for car owners who are on a tight budget.

Why Choose Nankang Tires?

  • Low price

There are tires that are average in price, and there are those that can be considered dirt cheap. Nankang tires are in the middle of the range. You can still find cheaper alternatives in the market, but you can expect to pay less than $500 or lower for a brand new set of Nankang high-performance tires.

  • Tread design

I am aware that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but Nankang tires are endowed with sporty and aggressive tread designs. Case in point the Nankang AS-1 and the NS-1. The former is equipped with a hybrid directional tread design while the latter boasts an asymmetrical tread pattern. It’s no secret that the right set of tires can either make or break the styling of your vehicle, so it’s good to know that Nankang tires provide sporty good looks despite the affordable price.

  • Available in different sizes

Nankang tires are also created to fit a wide variety of vehicles and applications. All Nankang tires are offered in a bevy of sizes, making it easier to choose the perfect set of rubber for your ride.

2018 Nankang Tires Review

Here are the reviews of the most popular offerings in Nankang’s lineup of performance tires.

Nankang Noble Sport NS-20

Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 - 2

The Nankang Noble Sport NS20 is a high-performance summer tire that is perfect for fast sedans and high-performance coupes. The tire is engineered with a solid center rib to improve the steering feel and handling of your vehicle.

The tire has a directional tread pattern with wide sectioned shoulder blocks to enhance cornering and driving stability. The tire is also equipped with four wide circumferential grooves to provide better traction on wet and slippery roads.

The best thing about the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 is the price tag. If you happen to be searching for an affordable summer tire that won’t break the bank, you better check out the Noble Sport NS-20 from Nankang.

Nankang AS-1

Nankang-AS-1-review-2

Perfectly designed for sporty or luxurious midsize sedans and crossover vehicles, the Nankang AS-1 is a high-performance all-season tire that is blessed with the attributes of a touring tire. The tire is equipped with an aggressive and sporting asymmetrical tread design with wider circumferential grooves and angled tread blocks.

The Nankang AS-1 is manufactured utilizing a silica-enriched compound to offer higher levels of traction on wet and dry roads. Equipped with multiple sipes and a rigid shoulder pattern to improve handling and cornering, the Nankang AS-1 also delivers a quiet and comfortable ride similar to a proper touring tire.

Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport

Nankang SP-9 Cross-Sport

Specifically designed for crossover vehicles and small SUVs, the SP-9 Cross Sport is one of the most highly-regarded touring tire in Nankang’s lineup. This is the type of tire that offers excellent all-season traction and grip with higher levels of comfort and road silence.

The Nankang SP-9 is endowed with a symmetrical tread pattern with angled tread blocks and lateral grooves. These features are designed to optimize the handling and stability of your vehicle while reducing road noise as well. The tire is also equipped with a large number of sipes on the face of the tread to promote better traction and grip on wet and snowy surfaces.

Nankang N889 Mudstar

Nankang N889 MudStar MT All-Terrain Radial Tire

Mud tires are only good for off-road driving environments, right? They can perform admirably over tough and unforgiving terrain but they fail miserably when driven on paved roads. However, the Nankang N889 Mudstar begs to disagree. This mud tire is perfectly capable of tackling the most demanding off-road terrain with the solid ride quality and comfort of a highway-terrain tire.

The Nankang Mudstar N889 is engineered with aggressive tread blocks with a rigid sidewall and shoulder design to improve stability and riding comfort. The tread blocks are designed using variable pitch technology to provide a quiet ride on smooth roads.

Nankang NS-2R

Nankang-NS-2R

The Nankang NS-2R is available in two flavors: track and street versions. The former is constructed using a stickier tread compound to deliver outstanding levels of traction and grip. The street version is more subdued but still offers elevated levels of performance on dry or wet roads.

The Nankang NS-2R is equipped with an optimized track footprint to ensure better handling, faster acceleration, and improved cornering. The tire has a unique slotted groove design to enhance the lateral stability of your vehicle.

Conclusion

Check out our comprehensive Nankang tires review so you can easily discern if Nankang tires are the best choice for your car, SUV, truck, or minivan.

Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport Review

Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport Review

  • Dry 80%
  • Wet 70%
  • Snow 70%
  • Comfort 80%
  • Noise 75%
  • Treadwear 75%
  • Overall 77%
The Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport was introduced in 2015 to 2016 and quickly gained a following for being a capable and comfortable tire with an affordable price tag. The Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport is designed to handle the demands of larger sedans, small crossovers, and midsize sport-utility vehicles.

The Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport is designed to be tougher than an ordinary touring tire without compromising handling, traction, comfort, and road noise. If you find all of this hard to believe for a tire that starts at less than $52 each, you are not alone. I was also a bit apprehensive during the start of this Nankang SP-9 review, so I was really excited to give it a go.

For this review, I was lucky enough to get my grubby paws behind the wheel of a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox LT with the 2.4-liter four-banger and six-speed automatic transmission. My test vehicle came equipped with stock 17-inch wheels and a relatively new set of Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport tires.

The owner of the Chevy Equinox is a young man in his early twenties. The car was actually a hand-me-down from his mother who is now the proud owner of a 2017 Chevy Traverse SUV. He chose the Nankang SP-9 tires because they were more affordable than the old Michelin tires in his ride. Due to the tight constraints of a college budget, he decided to gamble with Nankang tires since they were the only ones available that he could afford.

Did the owner of my test vehicle made the right choice in choosing the Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport tires? That’s what I intend to find out in this review.

Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport Review: Features

The Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport is designed to offer all-season traction and grip with the purported refinement of a performance touring tire. The tire is equipped with four circumferential grooves to enhance the handling and cornering prowess of your vehicle while immediately dispersing water from the face of the tread to provide better traction on wet pavement.

The symmetrical tread pattern of the Nankang SP-9 is nothing to write home about, but this feature will make it effortless to rotate the tires to promote even wear. The angled tread blocks and lateral grooves are designed to improve handling and high-speed stability. This design is also meant to reduce road noise for a more refined driving experience.

The Nankang SP-9 is also equipped with an optimized siping pattern that will enhance wet traction and improve the steering feel. The sipes will also serve as numerous biting edges on slippery or snowy pavement.

Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport Review: Test Drive

The first thing I noticed was the smooth and comfortable ride of the Chevy Equinox. I also raved about the premium-looking cabin and spacious backseat. The Chevy was also a quiet highway cruiser. If not for the numb and dead steering, this car would have been on the top of my list of crossover vehicles.

Dry Traction

The Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport tires felt magnificent on dry roads. Traction and grip came in large numbers as I wrestled the uncommunicative steering while tackling a sweeping corner at speed.

Acceleration and braking also felt strong as the tires were able to motivate and stop my vehicle on a dime without screeching.

Wet Traction

Traction and grip on wet and slippery roads will all depend on how fast you’re going.

At slow or average speeds, the tires felt confident enough to harness the weight of my test vehicle as I braked abruptly to avoid a large pothole.

But if you speed up on a soaking wet highway, you will need to grip the steering wheel tightly as the tires felt they were floating over stagnant water puddles.

Braking was also a bit compromised at high speed so you will need to drop the anchors earlier than usual to grind the vehicle to a halt on wet roads.

Snow Traction

The Nankang SP-9 tires felt marginally better on light snow compared to other cheap tires. However, you will need to be judicious with the gas pedal in order to maintain a respectable degree of grip on slippery pavement.

Don’t expect the tires to perform well on anything with more than 2-inches of snow.

Comfort

This is where the Nankang SP-9 truly shines. Driving comfort was top notch on both wet and dry roads.

The tires also felt refined in the city as the rubber was able to absorb minor road irregularities without upsetting the cozy feel inside the cabin.

My favorite part of the test was when I cruised on the open highway. The tires felt like proper touring tires in high-speed straight-line driving.

Noise

I also like the low noise characteristics of the Nankang SP-9 tires. In fact, I think this is one of the most subdued cheap tires that you can buy today.

You will still hear a bit of tire roar at silly speeds but the tires remained muffled even when driving over rough and coarse patches of tarmac.

Treadwear

The Nankang SP-9 Cross Sport tires fitted on my test vehicle were purchased over 4 months ago and have traveled approximately 2,000 or so miles.

I found evidence of wear on all four tires as the multiple siping pattern were beginning to fade into oblivion.

The owner of the Chevy Equinox told me he does most of his driving in the city and feels the wear characteristics of the Nankang SP-9 tires were a bit poor compared to his old set of rubber.

Conclusion

The Nankang SP-9 is not the best all-season touring tire for your crossover or SUV but it offers the right balance of wet and dry traction along with heaping levels of ride silence and comfort.

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?

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.

Nankang AS-1 Review

Nankang AS-1 Review

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

Does it all sound too good to be true? In this Nankang AS-1 review, we will find out the strengths and weaknesses of the tire to accurately determine if this is the better choice for your vehicle.

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 Nankang AS-1 is a performance all-season tire with the inherent attributes of a touring tire. It has a rather gorgeous and sporty looking asymmetrical tread design equipped with angled tread blocks and wide circumferential grooves. The tire is manufactured using a silica enriched compound for enhanced traction on wet and dry roads.

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

My test vehicle looks many times sportier and more aggressive than stock, but the engine is basically untouched. Let’s find out how the Nankang AS-1 performs in a variety of road conditions.

Dry Traction

The Nankang AS-1 tires were a revelation on dry roads. Acceleration and braking felt top notch while the high levels of traction and grip gave my Lexus the handling characteristics of a more aggressive track machine.

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.

Wet Traction

The tires felt different on wet pavement. I felt a lack of grip as I sped on a right-hand corner and I felt the tail kick out a bit as the rear tires were desperately hunting for traction.

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.

Snow Traction

There was no time to test the Nankang AS-1 tires in the snow so I decided to ask the owner of my test vehicle for some feedback.

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.

Comfort

The Nankang AS-1 may be mediocre on wet and snowy roads, but it is hard to fault the tire when it comes to road comfort.

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.

Noise

The Nankang AS-1 tires are not the epitome of silence but they performed better in this regard compared to other cheap tires.

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.

Treadwear

The Nankang AS-1 tires on my test vehicle were bought 7 months ago and have traveled at least 2,500 miles.

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.

Conclusion

Want a cheap performance tire for all-season driving? Take a closer look at the Nankang AS-1. The tire is great to use in the dry but I feels a bit compromised in the wet. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the Nankang AS-1 is a Godsend.