In 2002, I replaced the tires that my Mitsubishi Galant ES came with (195/65HR15 Goodyear Eagle LS) with Kumho Ecsta 716 HP4 in size 205/60HR15. The tires were $53 apiece from Discount Tire Co./America’s Tire Co. including mounting, balancing and valve stems.
Additionally I paid $1 per tire in environmental fees, $2 per tire for disposal of the old tires and bought road hazard warranty. The total was $279 for four tires (mounted, balanced) with free lifetime balancing and rotation and road hazard warranty/insurance. Amazingly, the tire change process took only 15 minutes.
The Kumho Ecta 716 HP4 tires that I got are speed-rated H (up to 130 mph) and carry 50,000-mile treadwear warranty. They have initial tread depth of 10/32" and maximum inflation pressure of 35 psi (I used 31-34 psi in front and 29-32 psi in the rear).
Choosing The Tire
I wanted an inexpensive tire that would have good traction and low noise, good ride comfort and good treadwear. Unfortunately, the majority of tires sold in Sam’s Club, Tire Pros, Pep Boys, etc. are expensive and either wear out quickly or don’t have good grip. Some chains sell tires that you cannot get information on because they have their own names (Pep Boys).
Touring tires like Michelin MXV4 and MXV4 Plus cost $100+ a tire and are not that great in terms of grip or treadwear, the Goodyear Eagle LS is costly too and squeals in turns and wears fast. I realized I shouldn't look for “touring” tires, but rather for high-performance ones.
Well, I am happy to report I found what I wanted. The Kumho 716 seems to be a very good choice in all respects.
Handling, Comfort and Noise
The Ecsta 716 is considered by Kumho to be a high performance all-season tire, which means it should have better grip/handling than that of the touring tires but possibly less comfort and more noise.
The fact that my new tires grip much better and handle better is no surprise. Even though the width increased by 10 mm (from 195 to 205), the grip level is definitely much better than Goodyear Eagle LS – more than the simple size increase would give.
The Kumhos don't squeal in turns the way the Goodyears used to and grip much better. The sidewall height is about the same, yet they seem to be much stiffer than Eagle LS's and give better steering response.
The surprising part is the fact that they also seem to be less noisy than Goodyears and "feel softer". In other words, the ride and noise level is better even though the performance also increased.
The Ecsta 716 carries 50,000-mile treadwear warranty (OEM Goodyear Eagle LS carry no treadwear warranty).
In July of 2006: I have sold the car with these tires having 46,000 miles and they still had at least 4/32" left. This is after occasional driving in the mountains on twisty roads as well as city/freeway combined driving. They were not handled particularly carefully. But I rotated them every 7K or so. I expected them to last 50-55K overall.
The ride and noise got somewhat worse at 45,000-mile mark, but were still bearable. The wet traction has not decreased enough to warrant replacement. The dry traction increased significantly: with 4/32" of tread left the tires developed amazing grip in turns. The more they wore, the better they gripped (probably due to the tread getting less flexible due to decrease of its height).
Here, in LA area, it doesn't rain often, however when it does rain, the Kumhos provided excellent stopping power and were much better than Goodyear Eagle LS, which were losing traction in the wet easily and unpredictably, especially when they had more than 25,000 miles on them. I have never hydroplaned with the Kumho HP4, unlike the Goodyear Eagle LS.
The tread looks good, but the sidewall is a little too simple-looking. The Kumho's K-band sidewall looks somewhat cheap.
Pros: Low price, great value, warranty, performance/handling/grip, low noise, good ride
Cons: Sidewall could look better
The Kumho 716 HP4 was an excellent tire at a great price. Not only did it perform great and was civilized, but it also carries 50,000-mile treadwear warranty. These tires lasted me over 45K (until I sold the car) and performed very well throughout.