Looking at Hankook’s tire lineup is like choosing a treat at the candy store. But one variant that should not be overlooked is the Hankook Kinergy ST (H735). Now there might be some confusion between this tire and the more expensive Kinergy PT H727.
The difference between the two (besides the price) is the tire compound. Since the Kinergy PT is a premium touring tire, Hankook blended silica with carbon black compound. This enables the tire to perform well in changing weather conditions with no sacrifices to comfort, fuel economy, and wear.
But even though the Hankook Kinergy ST has a lower price, it still benefits from tons of high-tech features. With all things being equal, both tires share the same attributes and are both intended for compact cars, sporty hatchbacks, midsize sedans, small crossovers, and family vans. This means the Hankook Kinergy ST performs just as well as the Kinergy PT albeit at a lower price.
What are the features of the Hankook Kinergy ST?
Remember the unique tire compound in the Kinergy PT? Hankook did the same with the Kinergy ST. But instead of utilizing carbon black molecules, the Kinergy ST is constructed using a dual-filler compound. This maintains the flexibility of the rubber when exposed to changing weather conditions.
The tire comes with a solid center tread rib to improve stability and steering feel. It also benefits from stiffer tread blocks to ensure even wear and better handling. The treads come with variable traction grooves to improve wet braking and snow traction. This feature works alongside the multiple notched sipes and variable angle sipes with extended kerf lengths to further enhance traction in wet or icy roads.
In order to maintain a steady and quiet ride, the Hankook Kinergy ST features a noise-optimized sipe design along with an optimized pitch sequence to cancel out road noise. This tire may be the standard option, but it doesn’t skimp on features to give you a better driving experience.
Is the tire durable?
Hankook utilized all the tricks in the book to fortify the strength and longevity of the Hankook Kinergy ST. The tire is equipped with a strong jointless bead wire and high-stiffness bead filler. It is built using wider twin belts and a jointless full cover reinforced belt to optimize the strength and stability of the tire in high-speed driving.
How does it behave on dry and wet roads?
Surprisingly, the Hankook Kinergy ST behaves similarly to the Kinergy PT on wet and dry roads. I like the fact that Hankook’s touring tires have the grip levels of a sportier performance tire, and that’s a huge compliment for what is conceived to be an ordinary set of tires. You will also appreciate the strong braking performance of the tire even in the wettest of roads.
However, it is easy to unsettle the tire if you really push it. I guess this is one of the major difference between the Kinergy ST and Kinergy PT. The former offers tons of grip but doesn’t like to be pushed hard as you enter the corner. On the other hand, the latter is more adept for sportier driving.
It’s basically the same story in the wet. Similar to the Kinergy PT, the Kinergy ST has deeper circumferential grooves to effectively prevent aquaplaning. Braking performance remains unaffected in the wet as the tire maintains traction without breaking a sweat.
How does it perform in snow or cold weather?
The Hankook Kinergy ST H735 is M + S rated. This means the tire is designed to handle light mud and snow, although to a slightly higher degree than ordinary touring tires. And while this remains true, the Hankook Kinergy ST is not ideal for prolonged cold weather driving. I also found out it can only handle very light snow. You will feel the tires spinning and hunting for traction if you force it to roll over deep snow or icy terrain.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Touring tires are supposed to be quiet and comfortable. The same can be said for the Hankook Kinergy ST. However, it’s not as quiet as advertised. It’s the same issue with the Kinergy PT. Both tires are serene at low and moderate speeds, even when rolling over rougher patches of tarmac or concrete. But as you approach higher speeds, the tires will be noisier than usual, but nothing to be considered alarming or annoying. This will also depend on the NVH tuning of your ride.
How about tire wear?
Whereas the Hankook Kinergy PT comes with a 90,000-mile warranty, the Kinergy ST comes with a shorter (but still excellent) 70,000-mile mileage warranty. Both tires utilize low rolling resistance tire compounds to help deliver increased mileage. This is probably the difference between a premium and standard touring tire. It just so happens the high-structure carbon and silica compound of the Kinergy PT is able to squeeze out more life from the rubber compared to the dual filler compound in the Kinergy ST.
But then again, tire wear is dictated by many factors including vehicle type, alignment settings, and driving style.
Should I buy the Hankook Kinergy ST?
I guess the question should rather be why not? The Hankook Kinergy ST offers excellent year-round performance at a lower entry price. If you have a minivan, small crossover, or compact car for a daily driver, the lower price of the Hankook Kinergy ST is reason enough to take the plunge.
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