Kumho Ecsta V720 Leaving Marks on the Street Tire Competition…
Article by John Yoder | August 3rd, 2015
The amount or lack, may be a better word, of quality tire reviews that are available is quite unimpressive. A simple search on Google illustrates this fact even more when I went to find any kind of information about the new and relatively unknown Kumho V720 tire. It is the second, as far as I know, iteration of Kumho’s Ecsta lineup using much of the same ‘know how” from its predecessor the V710. If your one to believe the reviews on car forums, then the V720’s older brother seems to have a pretty good reputation, which is good news for the new kid.
Legitimate tire reviews, the ones from credible racing or car establishments, seem to focus only on the tires that everyone deems the “industry standard”. And, you as the reader can help confirm or deny, it seems most of these outlets like Tire Rack only want to review the tires that eat at the popular kids table so of course their reviews are going to be skewed.
I have really no idea as to why this new 200 tread wear rated Kumho tire is not at least one of the top five on everyone’s tire review radar this year, especially since groups like the SCCA have enshrined the 200 tread wear rating as now the gold standard for street tires.
My 2006 Mini Cooper S, yes the “S” I wear it with pride, needed some new rubber for the 2015 autocross season. As per usual, I went looking down the same avenues of tire selections I had a season earlier. Called my local shop, Hoosier Performance, and wanted to order what has become the go to tire for most. I’ll have the BFG Rivals 205/50/15, a flash of that Mac commercial from 1984 came to mind. Had I now conformed to the fact that from now on I would only by Rivals because that’s what everyone else is using? Truthfully I didn’t want to change I knew exactly what to expect from that brand and those tires. But wait Tire Rack is sold out…that’s what I get for waiting. Or, most realistically that’s what happens when you race on a budget, and don’t have tire money until part way through an autocross season. I saw the price point on the Kumhos, I won’t lie, this spiked my interest and decided to give them a shot.
My initial impression of the Kumho Ecsta V720 tire was they at least looked the part. The tire compound seemed sticky, picking up rocks as I rolled them out to the car to take them home. Even the guys at the shop were pretty intrigued by these tires. The Tread pattern seemed to look like that would be great in both the wet and dry.
Aired to the same pressures I ran my rivals, the V720’s tires were just as predictable and responsive if not more. I could not believe the amount of grip through the corners I had, which in turn made me a very confident driver and my times were reflecting that fact. Unfortunately, during my first outing with the new rubber I had to retire early do to my CV boots no longer wanting to participate in organized racing.
In the rain these tires were in a class all their own. During the morning heat it did nothing put spit rain. I was putting down the fastest times in my class, not because I somehow conjured the spirit Senna, but due to the confidence I had from how well the tires responded in the wet.
The Kumho Ecsta V720 should be compared to every other street tire that is a must have within the autocross community. If the butt dyno has anything to say about how great these tires perform, they felt just a poised as the brands everyone flocks to.
Kumho has, intentionally or not, hit on a segment of the market that seems to need a little love, the budget minded racer. Budgets and racing don’t normally mix well, but for those guys or gals like me with a family and young kids, it’s nice to know that a tire company out there cares enough to make a great handling tire that won’t eat away at the college fund.
The Kumho Ecsta V720 tire can’t help but be the plucky underdog in what has become a bloated street tire market. They have been set up to be that way. No one will give their tire a proper place in a tire review, is just grassroots racers taking a chance on a brand and coming out on top. My choice now is the V720. This tire is a confidence builder, with great construction and engineering coming from Kumho. Only after two events if feel like this tire is going to change the street tire game.
As far as long term wear, we shall see. After two autocrosses with a single driver they still look brand new. The wife and I are heading to a Mini Cooper event in the U.P. and I am purposely driving on the tires to see what kind of wear I will see. My guess is these tires will have a lifespan the same as every other tire I have used and last maybe a season and a half of autocross.
Stay tuned for further updates on the Kumho Ecsta V720 tires and hit up Hoosier Performance Engineering for all your tire buying needs, they are a Tire Rack certified installer.