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Numerous tire manufacturers go to great lengths in trying to cater for a variety of driving needs. While this is meant to increase sales, it is the specialized brands that have enjoyed marked success. This can be said of the tire in our Hankook Optimo review. Aimed at luxury sedans, this touring tire has gained acclaim as a premium product for those looking to complement their high end luxury with ride comfort.
Lab Generated Refinement
With a computer conceived tread outline, the Optimo embraces new age technology to meet the highest specifications. The tire boasts technical gremlins such as Carbon Compound Technology (CCT) and Footprint Shape Optimization (FSO) all aimed at achieving a silent and seamless ride for the driver and passengers.
The considerations have not been limited to the ride quality alone. Numerous tread grooves, numbering in the hundreds, are engraved on the tire to allow for an unremitting grasp on road surfaces in dry and soaked conditions. These sipes incorporate a quad circumferential structure that makes for rapid water removal away from the tire. The same configuration assures confident traction in snowy driving as well.
The good news doesn’t end there. Hankook have put a lot of effort in ensuring a quiet ride that complements the elegance characteristic of luxury sedans. The surface area of the tire’s expanse is littered with converging lateral slits which reduce noise output. In addition to that, they also give heightened stability.
The Optimo is however not without its flaws. One area in which the tire falls short is tire wear. Pushing the tires beyond 30,000km can result in the wear bars making a premature appearance. Any further and blowouts become inevitable. This happens, regardless of the level of maintenance regime followed, including rotating and balancing.
The other weakness of the Hankook Optimo relates to dry rotting. As the distance covered wears on, particularly for wintry driving conditions, hairline cracks on the perimeter of the tire sidewalls slowly develop. The hard rubber compound suffers a fade, from black to a dreary gray. This can lead to the tire rapidly releasing air, when driving. In grave scenarios, the entire sidewall may rip apart potentially separating the tire from the rim.
In the face of such groundbreaking innovation, countered by the possible drawbacks, it is critical to assess the merits and disadvantages that come with the Optimo.
- Firm midline strut that enhances the overall driving experience and stability.
- Unrivalled traction that does not wane on icy and wet roads
- High performance handling with minimal road noise at high speeds
- Rapid wear resulting in ‘balding’ and possible sidewall failure / dry rot
- Unbearable noise output levels as tire wears on
- Off-road or rocky driving can result in sidewall damage
It is undeniable that Hankook put in a lot of research and development into coming up with the Optimo tire. This has resulted in a refined product that meets the high standard of sophistication demanded by the cars it serves. This fine-tuning does not, however, extend to longevity and safety.