Welcome to my review of the Kumho Ecsta AST. The Ecsta AST is Kumho’s high-performance all-season tire. It also happens to be easy on the budget, which is surprising given the aggressive tread design.
The Kumho Ecsta AST is meant to look fast. In this regard, it gets a high score in terms of styling. The unique tread design will give your vehicle a more aggressive, racing-inspired look. Very few tires can offer the sporty styling of the Kumho Ecsta AST.
But you don’t buy a tire for how it looks, right? I mean the styling is one thing, but a tire should be more than just a looker. This is where things get interesting. The Kumho Ecsta AST is classified as an ultra-high performance tire for all-season driving, and that’s great. But high-performance tires are supposed to have incredible amounts of grip, which is not the best trait of the Kumho Ecsta AST.
Is the Kumho Ecsta AST ideal for fast cars?
Here’s the lowdown. The Kumho Ecsta AST is great for fast cars because of how it looks. Again, the aggressive directional tread pattern with dual-angle cross grooves will significantly increase the sporty factor in your ride. You can put this tire in a bone stock Toyota Corolla and it will still make a difference.
But fast cars are engineered to deliver exhilarating performance. At low to medium speeds, the Kumho Ecsta AST feels like a winner. It will also enhance the steering feel without the numbness associated with some high-performance tires at slow speeds. But once you push it, you will feel the tires are not meant for point-and-shoot driving. The tires have a tendency of skipping a beat especially when pushed hard around a sweeping corner.
Summing it all up, the Kumho Ecsta AST may look like a sporty tire for hardcore driving. But at its core is an all-season performance tire that offers limited performance for fast driving.
What are the features of the Kumho Ecsta AST?
Besides the directional dual-angle cross grooves, the Kumho Ecsta AST is also equipped with unique shoulder blocks. Look closely and you will find the blocks have a sharper leading edge and a rounded trailing edge. This feature is designed to prevent the occurrence of heel and toe wear.
Each tread block is adorned by multiple sipes. This adds the necessary biting edges to motivate the rubber over slippery or icy roads. The sharper leading edges of the shoulder blocks will also act as anchors over icy roads.
The Kumho Ecsta AST is constructed from a carbon-based all-season tread compound. This enables the rubber to remain pliable in extreme hot or cold weather. The unique tread compound delivers high levels of grip whether driving over dry or wet roads.
What vehicles will fit this tire?
Due to the sporty nature of the Kumho Ecsta AST, it is a good choice for compact cars and fast sedans such as the Acura 3.2 TL, BMW 3-Series, Subaru Impreza WRX, Toyota Corolla, Acura Integra, and the Honda Civic.
How does the tire perform over dry roads?
In all honesty, the Kumho Ecsta AST feels much like a performance tire than a proper ultra-high performance rubber in terms of dry performance. Like I previously mentioned above, the tires feel great at slow to moderate speeds. But if your vehicle is equipped with prodigious amounts of horsepower, the grip levels in the dry will feel severely short.
In fact, you don’t even need a fast car to fully exploit the capabilities of the Kumho Ecsta AST. Stabbing the throttle pedal hard will induce a lot of tire spin if you drive like a loon. Cornering feels a bit loose and not as confidence-inspiring as you might expect.
Mind you, I’m not saying the tires are bad. For normal everyday driving, this tire is more than capable. But I was expecting more from an ultra-high performance tire, especially from something with such a radical tread design.
Is it any better in the wet?
Yes. The Kumho Ecsta AST is a solid performer on wet roads. It feels unperturbed when rolling over standing water and handling remains strong even if the steering has a hint of nervousness. It’s sort of a mixed bag if you drive fast in the wet with the Kumho Ecsta AST. But then again, if you stay within the speed limits, the tires are more than willing to oblige.
Is it any good in the snow?
Yes, but not by much. Don’t expect the grip levels of a snow tire, though. The Kumho Ecsta AST is only good for mild snow, and that’s it. If the weather gets really bad and the roads are covered in inches of snow, it is better to place your bets on a proper set of winter tires.
How about comfort and refinement?
The comfort level of the Kumho Ecsta AST is higher than average, and that’s a good thing for an ultra-high performance tire. However, I have an issue with the road noise. Tires with aggressive tread designs are usually noisier than similar tires with straight grooves. The Kumho Ecsta AST is quiet in the city but is noisy on the highway. The faster you go, the louder the tire roar.
Is it economical?
Again, not by much. The wear characteristic of the Kumho Ecsta AST is not as good as other all-season tires. But then again, this will all depend on your driving habits.
You also have to consider the price. The Kumho Ecsta AST is a budget performance tire, although you can find tires with better overall performance (minus the looks) at a lower price.
Should I buy the Kumho Ecsta AST?
With the Kumho Ecsta AST review above it is definite that if you like to drive fast in a not-so-fast car, why not? But if you happen to be the proud owner of a properly fast saloon or sports coupe, you better look elsewhere.
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