Review: Hankook Optimo H426

Hankook’s Optimo H426 is a Grand Touring All-Season tire optimized for sedans and other more sporty vehicles and can be found as an OEM choice for many Hyundai, Ford and Chevrolet cars. The Optimo is designed to provide good handling and good ride quality with excellent wet/dry handling and ability in very light snow conditions, but it is by no means designed for major winter conditions.

Nylon Reinforced Twin Steel Belts

Nylon-wound steel belts stabilize the tread area to help cushion the ride.

Rib Type Shoulder Block

The outer shoulder is very lightly siped to maintain stiffness and dry grip but features a number of larger cuts between tread blocks to evacuate water quickly to improve wet grip.

Diamond Shaped Block Design

Independent diamond-shaped tread blocks are cut with both lateral and circumferential sipes for wet performance while maintaining stiffness for dry handling.

Four Circumferential Grooves

By using four smaller grooves, the Optimo maintains high water evacuation while keeping excellent tread stiffness.

Computer Optimized Profile

The casing profile is optimized for a flat surface to maintain even wear and stability in order to enhance handling performance at higher speeds.

Performance

I found the Optimo H426 quite impressive on first drive. The ride was very smooth even at relatively high speeds and various road conditions. They were also surprisingly quiet, especially given how many customer complaints I had heard online regarding road noise—the only noise I heard was a low-frequency hum, but only with open windows. For all that smoothness, however, they do have something of a hard feel against the road, with very stiff sidewalls. This does contribute to some very responsive and precise handling, not something I always experience in a Grand Touring tire.

Dry handling is excellent. The tires feel very stable at speed and accelerate well. Linear and braking grip is strong and confident. Lateral grip was only moderate and not very progressive, with a tendency to let go quickly and without much warning.

Some further driving in wet and winter conditions did change my opinion somewhat, if not too much. Winter performance is quite frankly dismal, but I never really expected it to be anything but. Wet handling is basic, certainly nothing special, but not at all bad either. All in all, this is a pretty good tire—in fact, quite a bit better than average, and better than I expected.

Pros

  • Very quiet
  • Very smooth ride
  • Excellent dry handling

Cons

  • Somewhat hard feel
  • Dismal snow performance
  • Low treadwear

The Bottom Line

Although this is marketed as a Grand Touring tire, it strikes me as a bit of a mismatch, marketing-wise, as this tire has a lot of performance hidden in reserve. The hard ride may put off those who think of Grand Touring as all about ride comfort, and the springy, powerful performance may come as a surprise to the same customer. This really seems to me like more of a performance tire than a Grand Touring, and while it doesn't really rise to the level of a UHP tire like the Potenza RE970, it's also not really anything like the Ecopia EP420. So while it may not do well on the Porsches or Mustangs of the world, it does have a lot of grip for moderately sporty cars while not causing such a big hit to the wallet.