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.

Kumho Ecsta AST Review

Kumho Ecsta AST Review

  • Dry 85%
  • Wet 80%
  • Comfort 75%
  • Noise 70%
  • Treadwear 70%
  • Overall 76%

I will start this Kumho Ecsta AST Review by saying that this tire is a looker. I know that looks are subjective, and the design should be the least of your concerns when you choose a new tire. But it is hard not to notice the aggressive dual-angle cross grooves of the Kumho Ecsta AST. It manages to inject an added dose of sportiness without going overboard.

The Kumho Ecsta AST is an ultra-high performance all-season tire that is designed to handle the demands of sporting sedans, sports coupes, and even small crossovers. Despite the racing nature of the design, the Kumho Ecsta AST is also engineered to deliver dollops of comfort with negligible tread wear.

My test car would have to be a fast sedan or coupe, with particular emphasis on outright performance than cruising comfort. I managed to acquire a 2010 BMW 335i Coupe equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine mated to a proper 6-speed manual. With 300 horsepower and 300 foot-pounds of torque on tap, this is going to be a fun drive.

My Beemer is fitted with aftermarket 17-inch wheels with wider lips and Kumho Ecsta AST tires. The rather dignified BMW was rendered as a more aggressive driving machine due to the tread design of the Kumho Ecsta AST tires.

Kumho Ecsta AST review: Features

The Kumho Ecsta AST is engineered with a directional tread pattern equipped with dual-angle cross grooves, similar to a proper V-tread tire. This tire is constructed using a carbon-based all-season tread compound to deliver maximum levels of grip on any type of weather.
The exotic tread design is responsible for evacuating water on the face of the tread to offer better wet driving performance. There are multiple sipes located on each tread block and this helps the tire to grip adequately on snow-covered or icy roads.

The Kumho Ecsta AST also features shoulder blocks with a rounded trailing edge to promote healthy tread wear. It is good to know that this tire is also equipped with a lip protector to protect your alloy wheels from dents and unsightly scratches.

Kumho Ecsta AST review: Test Drive

My BMW test car is bone stock except for the wheels. I would have to commend the owner for taking the necessary steps to maintain the integrity of this marvelous coupe. I am a big fan of the BMW 5-series and admittedly not smitten by the 3-series bug, but this test drive and review of the Kumho Ecsta AST will allow me to get up close and personal with one of the best entry-level German coupes that money can buy.

Dry Traction

The owner of the BMW 335i Coupe told me not to be gentle with the car. In fact, he urged me to wring the engine since it is due for servicing pretty soon. You know what I did? I searched for a deserted piece of road and drag raced myself into oblivion!

Well, not necessarily. This is still a German-engineered car, which should be tested on a proper race track and not on an improvised drag strip. But with a turbocharged 300-horsepower engine, rear-wheel drive, and manual transmission, I couldn’t help myself.

The road was dry and I was alone in this deserted piece of road. I took three runs and I managed to make the tires scream for traction a couple of times. I didn’t record the time myself during the multiple runs, but this car is fast. I got on the highway to get a better feel for the car. The Kumho Ecsta AST tires had plenty of traction and grip, but I felt it needed more, especially when the tires were spinning as I launched the BMW towards greatness (or so I thought).

Wet Traction

The rain came pouring down as I finished my lunch. Unsurprisingly, the Kumho Ecsta AST was well-mannered in the rain. I didn’t feel the car wandering or hunting for grip as I sped on the highway, wringing out every ounce of power that 5,500 rpm can give (I didn’t rev to the redline because this is not my car).

Handling and control were pretty decent given the slippery wet conditions of the road. I’m beginning to assume that the Kumho Ecsta AST performs better in the wet than on dry pavement, but I am probably mistaken here.

Snow Traction

There was no chance for me to test the Kumho Ecsta AST tires in the snow, so I talked to the owner about this. He told me the tires were fine on very light snow, but anything more would cause the tires to slide and lose grip, especially if the roads are peppered with ice.

Not bad, really, but better to avoid snow altogether if your car is fitted these tires.

Comfort

The critics were right. The BMW 3-Series is still the best when it comes to the perfect balance of ride and handling. Yes, the 335i Coupe is a bit stiff-legged if you’ll ask me, but it’s not harsh in any way. In this regard, the Kumho Ecsta AST offered a decently comfortable ride despite the aggressive nature of the tire.

Noise

In terms of road noise, the Kumho Ecsta AST is not as quiet as other ultra-high performance tires. There was a noticeable amount of tire roar over rough patches of cemented roads, but at least the tires were a bit more silent over smooth asphalt.

The tires will also emit a solid thump if you manage to run over a pothole, but it’s not something that would upset the overall driving experience.

Treadwear

The owner of the BMW couldn’t remember the exact date that he bought the Kumho Ecsta AST tires, but he’s had them for quite a while. And it shows since the tires were showing signs of wear, especially after the amount of rubber I burnt during my impromptu drag race. For the price, the owner said that the tires were aging commendably.

Conclusion

Do you want a high-performance tire with exotic good looks, affordable price, and respectable all-weather performance? Based on my experience with the Kumho Ecsta AST in this review, the tire is a solid contender in the high-performance department, especially if you’re on a tight budget.