Kumho is among the most affordable tires in the market. So it would be great to see how their products differ from a heavyweight brand like Michelin.
In this comparison of Kumho vs Michelin tires, we will look at different categories, including performance, touring, and winter tires. I will also add some customer reviews of both companies’ products.
This way, you will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the two brands.
Table of Contents
An Overview of the Two Tire Brands
What to Know About Kumho
Kumho is a tire company founded in Gwangju, South Korea by Park In-chon in 1960. It was initially known as Samyang Tire before the name change in 1996. The brand started exporting tires in East Asia before exploring the global market.
In 1963, Kumho strengthened its connections in the US by establishing ties with Uniroyal, a US tire company. The company then proceeded to expand activities in the UK with the creation of the subsidiary Kumho Tyre in 1977.
Is Kumho a good tire brand? At present, Kumho is a popular name in the tire industry, ranking as the 16th largest in the world. The brand manufactures original equipment tires for some large car brands, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford, proving that it is trusted in the industry.
What to Know About Michelin
Michelin is one of the leading brands today in the tire industry. According to Statista, Michelin ranked 2nd globally in terms of tire-related revenue in 2020.
It started as a small rubber company in France in 1889, founded by the Michelin brothers Andre and Edouard. The brand produced a lot of innovative tires that greatly contributed to the industry.
Some of Michelin’s remarkable inventions are the removable pneumatic tire, run-flat tire, and radial tire. Currently, the company is producing products for airplanes, bicycles, and motorsport vehicles aside from their car tires.
Differences Between Kumho and Michelin
First of all, let us assess Kumho tires vs Michelin in terms of different categories. Kumho has excellent designs for all-season and performance tires. Let’s see if it can compete with Michelin.
1. Performance Tires
Despite being a smaller brand, Kumho is well-regarded when it comes to performance tires. Among the top-rated performance options of Kumho is the Ecsta PS31. I will compare it to one of Michelin’s most popular tires, the Pilot Sport 4S.
The Kumho Ecsta PS31 showed balanced levels of wet and dry traction based on the tests conducted by Tire Rack. However, its steering responsiveness is quite lacking, failing to meet the expectations for an ultra high-performance tire.
On the other hand, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S showed excellent response to steering inputs. It also got high scores overall on wet and dry performance in the Tire Rack tests. The only setback is the slight understeer on wet tracks.
The Pilot Sport 4S ended up having better performance features than the Ecsta PS31. This Michelin tire also has a higher customer rating compared to other Kumho performance tires like the Ecsta PA51 and Ecsta PS91.
With this, we can say that Michelin is the better brand when it comes to performance tires.
2. Touring Tires
To continue with the Michelin vs Kumho comparison, we will take a look at some of their touring tires.
For Kumho, I will choose the Solus TA11, an all-season standard touring tire. I will match it against a well-rounded touring tire from Michelin, the Defender T+H.
Based on Tire Rack tests, the Solus TA11 provided a great quality of comfort by being reasonably smooth over bumps on the road. It is a convincingly quiet tire as well, only producing a little amount of road noise.
The dry and wet traction is good, which is enough to provide drivers with confident turns and stops on the road. The snow traction is also decent but not optimal during winter.
As for the Defender T+H, it is quite better in every aspect. It is more comfortable and reliable in terms of driving on dry and wet roads. Although it is not that good in snow conditions, it still has better snow traction than the tire from Kumho.
Aside from their better overall quality, Michelin also has more available options of touring tires to choose from. They have several lines such as Crossclimate, Premier, Primacy, and Defender. To conclude, Michelin wins this category.
3. SUV and Light Truck tires
For this category, I will compare two popular light truck tires for the two brands, namely the Kumho Crugen HT51 and Michelin Defender LTX M/S.
Usually, truck tires are expected to handle mild off-roading. These two tires did not disappoint as both are durable, allowing them to conquer small rocks and debris on the road.
Common truck tire problems are tread noise and comfort. However, these two options are noticeably good in terms of both compared to other truck tires.
In terms of traction, the Defender tire outperforms the Crugen HT51 in wet conditions, though the two are somewhat even on dry roads. Both tires perform well in snow, but the Kumho has better traction on light to medium-packed snow due to its 3PMSF label.
Overall, this matchup is a tie for me, considering neither product completely surpasses the other on wet and snowy roads.
As one of the leading brands, Michelin provides excellent tire warranties. They even have warranties for their winter models, which is unusual among brands. Kumho, on the other hand, also provides competitive tire warranties, though with different mileage.
Here are the treadwear policies of some of their tires.
- Solus TA11 – 75,000 miles
- Crugen HT51 – 70,000 miles (P-metric sizes), 45,000 miles (LT-metric sizes)
- Crugen Premium – 60,000 miles
- Ecsta PA51 – 45,000 miles
- Ecsta PS31 – Free replacement for the first 2/32″ of wear, no mileage specification
- Defender T+H – 80,000 miles
- Defender LTX M/S – 70,000 miles (T and H speed rating), 50,000 miles (R speed rating)
- Crossclimate 2 – 60,000 miles
- Pilot Sport 4S – 30,000 miles
- Pilot Alpin PA4 – 30,000 miles
Overall, it’s impossible to conclude which company is better in this category.
It is no secret that Michelin tires are the more expensive of the two brands. You are spending for premium quality and an excellent warranty, so it is well worth the money.
On the other hand, Kumho tires are among the most affordable in the market. Their models are designed to be a low-cost option for consumers. Here is a Kumho tires price list based on Tire Rack.
- Ecsta PS31: $110 – $206
- Ecsta PA51: $121 – $208
- Solus TA11: $79 – $178
- Solus KH16: $118.39 – $238.08
- Crugen HT51: $145 – $282
- Crugen Premium: $129.76 – $244.77
- Road Venture AT51: $171 – $352.45
These prices may vary, depending on the store that you visit.
6. Customer Reviews
In this part, we will look at how customers generally view the products of these two brands. I will talk about several reviews coming from retail sites, Reddit, and Consumer Reports.
Are Kumho tires good or bad? According to some customers, Kumho products provide excellent value. Some people recommend these tires over Goodyear and Michelin for their cheaper price but decent quality.
They also recommend Kumho models made in South Korea and Vietnam because they believe the brand’s manufacturing has better quality control in these countries.
Michelin, similarly, mostly has positive feedback from customers. The ratings of their tires range from 4 to 5 stars.
One review regarding the Defender T+H said that this tire doesn’t have any real flaws and that Michelin makes the highest quality tires.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kumho Tire a good brand?
Kumho tires provide good quality for their price. Their partnerships with several large vehicle companies attest to the quality of their products. Some of their tires are also highly rated on retail sites, such as the Crugen HT51 and Solus TA11.
Are Kumho tires Noisy?
Kumho has generally quiet tires. These tires greatly absorb bumps on the ground, making the ride smooth and quiet.
How long do Kumho tires last?
Kumho tires usually last for 60,000 to 90,000 miles. However, the longevity of the products is not solely dependent on the tread compounds. It is also affected by road conditions and tire maintenance services that you avail of.
Also read: Average lifespan of Michelin tires.
Are Kumho good tires? Based on this Kumho vs Michelin tires comparison, we have discovered that Kumho tires are excellent to use. Despite the fact that Michelin is a bigger name, Kumho products are still well-regarded by consumers.
It would still be best to compare specs before buying tires. This way, you can get the best value for your money. I hope this article helped in finding the most suitable brand for you.