Most tire shoppers in North America, but also in other areas in the world, probably don’t know much about Sumitomo tires. And, that’s understandable, since the company doesn’t invest as much in advertising as companies such as Bridgestone and Michelin.
However, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. is actually a very well-established Japanese tire company that has many brands under its portfolio. The most popular are certainly Dunlop and Falken, which often compete with premium manufacturers for top honors in their respective categories. Sumitomo also owns Ohtsu, a budget brand, and produces tires under the name Sumitomo.
So, is the company legit? Well, for starters, it’s the fifth largest tire manufacturer in the world. Yes, you read that right. It even beats industry heavy hitters, such as Pirelli, Hankook, and Yokohama in terms of overall sales. And, you don’t get to be the fifth-largest company in your respective sector by producing low-quality products.
Besides, Sumitomo has a well-established dealer network and a plethora of options already on the market. You can find the brand’s tires in most online shops but also physical stores. So, are Sumitomo tires any good? Well, they are very good tires, that’s for sure.
However, you probably arrived here to hear just that – you want a real comparison with other tire brands, and you’ll get that. First, we’ll cover every tire category Sumitomo offers and give you some insight, and then we’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the tires. Let’s discuss!
Quick disclaimer: in this article, we’ll look closely at tires under the brand Sumitomo. For other brands from the conglomerate, such as Falken and Dunlop, we’ll have separate articles.
Sumitomo Tire Lineup of 2021
Sumitomo offers tires for passenger and commercial vehicles, and in both categories, they have numerous subcategories and products. The company’s portfolio is really large, and we’ll only scrape the surface here. For detailed reviews on each tire, follow our website closely – we strive to cover every tire that means something.
1. Sumitomo Passenger Tires
Sumitomo’s portfolio of passenger tires covers most cars that grace our roads today, including compact cars, sedans, crossovers, SUVs, light trucks, and sports cars.
a. Regular Car Tires
Currently, Sumitomo offers seven different models for passenger vehicles with normal ride height. With the range, the Japanese tiremaker covers everything from small compact cars to fast sports cars.
The range starts with the Sumitomo Tour Plus, an all-season tire designed for a comfortable ride and long treadlife. It also comes at a much lower price point than the premium competition, making it a tempting choice for budget-minded buyers. The best thing about the Tour Plus, though, is durability – T-rated models come with a 90,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is simply outstanding for the price.
Further up the range, the Sumitomo Touring LS all-season offers much better handling and performance overall, both in dry and wet conditions. However, it also comes with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty (T-rated). That’s not bad, especially considering the budget pricing, but still lower than the Tour Plus.
For even better handling and high-speed performance, Sumitomo offers the HTR Enhance WX2. This tire comes with a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty, but it’s also a W-rated tire, meaning it is designed for faster cars. If you own a mid-size sedan with a V6, then this tire is for you.
Meanwhile, the Sumitomo HTR Enhance LX2 is a similar tire in terms of handling, but it also comes in lower speed ratings. As a result, it gets a much higher treadwear warranty in the T-rated model at 90,000-miles, but the W-rated models still come with only 55,000-miles. Still, excellent for the price.
For people that want even better cornering grip and precision handling, the HTR A/S PO2 and HTR A/S PO3 are an excellent choice. Despite the sticky rubber compound, which helps with traction in dry and wet conditions, these are still very durable tires. Both come with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty for H & V-rated Sizes, outstanding for the category and price. Between the two of them, the HTR A/S PO3 is the newer and improved model, although it’s also slightly more expensive. Both are great value, though.
At the top of the range sits the Sumitomo HTR Z5, the brand’s max-performance summer tire. Like most tires in this category, it doesn’t come with any treadwear warranty, which is not a surprise. It does grip very well, though. In terms of overall performance, it won’t beat the likes of Michelin and Bridgestone for sure, but it’s still outstanding for the price. If you want an autocross or track-day tire on a budget, it’s an excellent choice.
b. SUV, Crossover, and Light Truck Tires
Sumitomo’s crossover, SUV, and light-truck lineup are also very comprehensive. It starts with the Touring CX, an all-season touring tire for small and compact crossovers. It comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty and good performance in most conditions.
Further down the line, there is the Tour Plus LX all-season touring tire, which is designed for a supremely comfortable ride and long treadlife. It comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is outstanding for the price and provides safe and reliable traction in most conditions.
Meanwhile, the HTR Enhance CX2 is an all-season touring tire designed for durability and high-speed stability. It comes with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty, better than most competitors in the price range.
For owners of high-performance crossovers and SUVs, Sumitomo has the HTR Sport H/P. It’s a high-performance all-season tire with very good cornering grip, both in dry and wet conditions. However, Sumitomo doesn’t offer a treadwear warranty on this tire, although many of the competitors do.
Owners of trucks have the option of the Encounter HT and Encounter AT. The former is a highway all-season tire with very good stability at higher speeds, even with a trailer attached. It also comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, excellent for the price.
The Encounter AT, on the other hand, has a more aggressive tread pattern for off-roading but keeps the excellent 60,000-mile treadwear warranty. It’s also very stable on the road, especially considering the price.
c. Winter Tires
Currently, Sumitomo offers one winter tire, the Ice Edge. It’s a studdable winter tire that works outstandingly well over snow and ice, especially after you attach the studs. It’s not as durable as the premium competition, but considering the price, it’s a great value. You can read our detailed review of the Sumitomo Ice Edge here.
2. Sumitomo Commercial Tires
The Japanese tiremaker has a very comprehensive range of commercial tires. It consists of tires for line haulers, regional trucks, urban trucks, busses and RVs, and mixed service trucks. With its lineup, Sumitomo offers more options than most budget brands. Moreover, its tires are of reasonable quality, with long warranties and good performance overall. If your company is tight on budget, these tires might be a very good option.
Sumitomo Tires Review: Buying Guide
1. Sumitomo Tires Positive Aspects
Sumitomo tires have more advantages than disadvantages. The company found a great middle-ground – its products are durable and safe while also being reasonably priced.
- Great value for money
Okay, so the biggest advantage of Sumitomo tires is that they are cheap. Not dirt cheap like some Chinese tiremakers, but still much cheaper than the premium competition, including the likes of Hankook, Kumho, and Cooper. The savings you are going to make might be very significant – Sumitomo’s tires are sometimes 30-40% cheaper than the premium competition.
- Long treadlife
Some cheap tires can become more expensive in the long run due to the simple fact that they don’t last long. Not Sumotomo’s, though. These tires come with excellent treadwear warranties, sometimes similar to what premium tire manufacturers would give you. Moreover, owners of Sumitomo tires are very happy with how long they last and with the performance overall. Therefore, Sumitomo tires aren’t only a cost-effective option when you buy them, but also in the long run.
- Safe traction in most conditions
Sumitomo has its own R&D center and tests every tire rigorously before it puts it on the market. Most makers of cheap tires don’t do the same and instead use existing tread designs and rubber from suspicious quality. Thus, these tires provide safe traction in most conditions, and especially for what they are designed. In other words, great daily drivers.
2. Sumitomo Tires Negative Aspects
Obviously, Sumitomo tires aren’t perfect, and they have some disadvantages. They are not bad tires per se, but you should still keep the disadvantage in mind. That is, worse performance than premium tires. It comes as no surprise, but Sumitomo tires can’t compete directly with competitors from Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, and Pirelli, but also Cooper and Hankook. Put simply, Sumitomo tires will always lag slightly in terms of overall traction and grip. But, considering the price, that’s okay.
Sumitomo is a tire manufacturer that you can fully trust to deliver high-quality tires. Its products are one of the most durable in their respective categories, especially when compared to other low-cost options. They are also safe for daily driving and provide a quiet and comfortable ride. If you’re on a budget, Sumitomo tires are an excellent option, as long as you don’t expect miracles.