Kumho Solus Xpert KH20 Review & Rating
- Dry and wet traction
- Ride comfort
- Tread life
- Cornering performance
All-season tire have to meet a wider range of challenges than a dedicated summer or winter design, so it’s reasonable to have some worries about how this can be done on a low-budget. Some manufacturers seem to be achieving it though, and one of those tires that do it very well is the Solus Xpert KH20 from Kumho.
The Solus Xpert is an innovative design that offers balanced performance in all weather conditions at a very affordable price. It’s built for sedan and coupe drivers who want a capable tire that can handle any conditions with a reasonably high level of performance. The Xpert is available for rims from 14 to 16 inches and has an H-speed rating, so it’s ideal for owners of smaller cars who are looking for a good all-round performer at a more budget-friendly price.
The Xpert has a fairly dense tread pattern based on Kunho’s ESCOT technology, which maximizes the amount of rubber in contact with the road. A solid center rib and large shoulder blocks work to maintain grip in curves.
The intermediate ribs on this symmetrical tread pattern have a distinctive scalloped shape designed to quickly shift water into the four circumferential grooves, which works to prevent hydroplaning and keep the contact patch dry. We found it worked very well, certainly better than we expected from a tire at this price point.
Cornering – Steering
Continuous center ribs are becoming more popular in tires today because of their contribution to stable cornering. In the case of this tire the intermediate ribs have continuous sections too; the tread pattern is concentrated on the outer scalloping, leaving the inner section in constant contact with the road. This seems to work very effectively as the tires corner with predictable confidence.
The large and rigid outer blocks also contribute, and while the KH20 certainly doesn’t match the grip of more expensive offerings from Michelin or Bridgestone they are more than capable enough for the average driver.
Like most all-season tires the Xpert uses a tread compound that’s a compromise between the grip of a winter tire and the wear resistance of a summer one. Not everyone gets the balance right – we’ve seen some “all-season” models that are far too hard to get a good grip on ice – but Kumho seems to have done a very good job of it.
While not quite as good as a winter tire of course, the Solus Xpert handled icy roads perfectly well and we felt in control at all times. We were also pleasantly surprised at their performance in light snow. The chunky shoulder blocks might be a factor here; with their full-depth sipes they provide plenty of cutting edges to bite firmly into snow or slush.
Ride Comfort – Road Noise
One of the downsides to this model would be tread noise. These aren’t the quietest all-season tires on the market. There is a noticeable level of road noise, especially at higher speeds. That said, it is not too distracting and most drivers will not be bothered with it.
We were much more positive about the ride comfort. The Solus Xpert gave a smooth and comfortable experience, and isolates the driver from fairly rough surfaces without compromising either grip or steering feel.
As well as a durable compound, the Solus Xpert benefits from dual steel belts and nylon reinforcement, which combine to keep wear to a minimum. The chunky shoulder blocks and full-depth siping should also preserve useful tread depth for as long as possible. The 440 UTQG rating means you should expect 40-50,000 miles from the tread.
Kumho are offering a 50,000 mile limited tread warranty on the Solus Xpert KH20. We would like to see more, but it’s pretty much the standard for budget tires and it fits well with the predicted life of rubber in this price range. Materials and workmanship are covered for 6 years.