Hankook Tires

Hankook Ventus V4 ES H105 Tire Review

Our 2007 Infiniti G35s sedan was in need of some new shoes. Visiting the local Infiniti dealership I queried the Service Manager as to suggested replacement tires for the car. My requirement was a tire that handled well in the dry and wet yet would be acceptable in 2-3" of snow. With my prior vehicle, a 2002 Nissan Maxima SE, I had already learned the hard way that all-season tires do not necessarily mean they are actually usable when driving on snow. Luckily, no accidents were involved during that learning process.

The tires recommended were Hankook Ventus V4 ES H105's in 225-45-18 front and 245-40-18 rear as I have the sport edition G35. The tire was a relatively new "Ultra High Performance All-Season" thus no major reviews were out at the time. The dealership had very good experiences with the summer version of the Ventus tire and Hankook's are mid-priced as well, thus, I was out the door in the $700 range. Not too bad.

Initial views on the tires were that they were quiet, at least compared to the Bridgestone RE050A's I had on my 2008 G37s coupe which I use as a 3-season vehicle. They handled rain on the expressway relatively well. On dry they were fine in cornering and had good traction. The wife seemed happy with them, yet the more I used them in certain situations the less confident I was.
As I put more time behind the wheel I noticed it was relatively easy to step the back out while the roads were wet. Yes, the G35 has good power but it was much easier than my more powerful coupe. I initially chalked it up to all-season vs. summer tire grip. I then had a couple of experiences of unexpected hydroplaning on the expressway during medium-heavy rain. My first snow encounter was after 2-3"+ of snowfall. Leaving my home the main road has an up-grade and was covered with slush underneath. The sedan barely made it to the top of the hill which I found ridiculous in such conditions. I turned around and went home instead of taking chances.

I had two more winter issues with the tires. The first was during a cold morning while driving a hundred miles to a nearby city. Temp was in the teens but the highway was clear. I had been traveling for over half an hour and was doing within 5mph of the 70mph speed limit at the time I went over a bridge and traction control immediately started flashing and the car started a slow drift sideways. Luckily, the bridge was relatively short and the car straightened out quite easily. Quite the "butt clencher". Sure, this could easily be attributed to ice with no blame on the tire itself. While I'm sure there is some aspect to this I have driven that same highway an average of once a week for over 10 years and have never had a single issue with other tires, even in worse/colder conditions and driving on summer tires.

The next occurence was a trip for a weekend away. The wife and I took out to the country to spend some time in a cabin rental for a few days. The trip took place a couple of days after a 4" snow event yet the roads themselves were clear by this time. Unfortunately, the cabin itself was up a gravel hill that still had some snow on it and was packed decently with frozen earth between the gravel. You could see that other vehicles had been up the hill yet I made it less than 1/2 way before I had to roll backward down the hill due to no traction. After some phone calls the cabin owner's had a pickup with a plow scrape the grade so there was no standing snow or packed earth around the gravel. We made it, but not after still having traction issues up the hill. We didn't leave the cabin the whole time.

Now, how many of the issues above were due to the tires simply being all-season? As a consumer, when I am looking at tires and see something listed as all-season, I assume they should be at least "good" for any medium or less "event" that I may run into. Light snow, even heavy rain should be handled relatively safely. Unfortunately, this is not always true. When researching tires I view TireRack.com survey results as they are a relatively good indicator of how a tire performs.

Hankook Ventus V4 All-Season Since the purchase of the tires others results have been coming in and I tend to agree with most of them. As seen in the image to the left, tire performance for winter is NOT what I would expect from an all-season tire with this tire not being able to handle even light snow, as I had experienced myself. I do agree with the other ratings although I would actually rate them a bit lower on wet traction.

Final thoughts on usability: I'm in the mid-central and travel the states of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, We don't get a lot of snow and rain is acceptable. For normal driving conditions these tires are fine. If you live in the lower half of the US or warmer regions then these tires, for their price, may work quite well as long as you know their limits. For northern regions I would not consider these anywhere near a winter season tire and would refer them as 2.5 season capable.

I kept the tires on for another summer and have since had them replaced with ContiExtreme DWS, which I will review at a later timeframe. They sit in solitude inside my shed waiting for me to decide what to do with them.

Tire: Hankook Ventus V4 ES H105
Miles on tires: Less than 20,000
Treadwear at mileage: >50% remaining

Review by: Matthew Moody (audtatious), NICOclub Administrator