Kumho Ecsta PA51 vs Continental ExtremeContact DWS06+

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Both the Kumho Ecsta PA51 and the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06+ are situated in the ultra-high-performance all-season tire segment. Although they share excellent traction and responsive steering, there are essential details worth noting. Let me give you a clear idea about them.

Mazda RX8 installed with Kumho
Kumho is the quietest tire in its category.

Main Highlights

So overall, the Kumho Ecsta PA51 is better at:

  • Lateral Grip: Demonstrating superior side-to-side traction, due to its well-designed shoulder blocks.
  • Noise Reduction: Utilizing advanced pitch sequencing technology for a quieter ride.
  • Impact Comfort: Thanks to its pliant internal construction.
  • Snow Acceleration: With its laterally oriented biters.

Whereas the Continental DWS06+ is better at:

  • Linear Grip and Braking: Offering shorter braking distances due to its effective rubber composition and tread design.
  • Wet Performance: Offers the best overall performance, particularly in wet handling, among others in its ultra-high performance all-season category.
  • Winter Performance: Providing superior traction on snow and ice, with numerous biting edges and snow vices.

Tread Design

To fully understand both tire’s performance, its best we explore their tread design first.

Kumho Ecsta PA51
Kumho Ecsta PA51 has 4 circumferential grooves.

Now starting with Kumho PA51, the tire features an asymmetric tread design.

It features 5 block columns (also called ribs), where the middle most is continuous-running (and of unbroken design).

This rib features a combination of notches and linear sipes.

And adjacent to this, one side has defined lateral voids linking the outer circumferential grooves, while the other side displays curved notches oriented towards the center.

Examining the outer shoulder ribs, each side presents a unique design.

One side features more simplistic lugs with straightforward linear sipes, while the opposite side showcases wave-like sipes connected by longitudinal slits.

So, the design of the Kumho Ecsta PA51 includes an asymmetric tread pattern, easily identified by its five unique ribs or block columns.

Moving towards the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus, this tire also features an asymmetric pattern but with a more aggressive stance.

Continental DWS06+
ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus comes with a lot more biters.

It comprises four ribs, with the central one particularly striking.

This rib has curved grooves running both in lateral and longitudinal directions, creating a web of voids.

It comes with a block structure, adorned with plus-shaped sipes, snow vices, and sharp offset edges for enhanced grip, particularly on icy and snowy surfaces.

Moving towards shoulders, despite the tread being asymmetrical, there’s not much of a difference on both sides.

Though if we look deep, we find that although both sides have lateral grooves, and sipes parallel to them, one side is additionally equipped with extra snow vices.

FYI: Snow vices are sharp saw-toothed edges, made for biting into icy and snowy roads.

Let me point you in the right direction: My main all-season tire page is the treasure map to your perfect pick.

Info on Sizes

The Kumho Ecsta PA51. comes in 16 to inches rims. And these sizes have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: V and W only.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10.5 and 11/32″.
  • Weight: 18 to 42 lbs.
  • UTQG: 500 A A.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles.
  • Internally, tire comes with 2 ply polyester, 2 steel belts, and a single nylon cap ply.

Review Kumho’s tire here: https://tiredriver.com/kumho-ecsta-pa51-review/

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06+ come with sizes in 16 to 22 inches rims, having following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL only.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 18 to 35 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 560 AA.
  • Internal Construction: 2 ply polyester with twin steel belts, reinforced by a single ply nylon.

Review Continental’s tire here: https://tiredriver.com/continental-extremecontact-dws-06-plus-review/

Winter Traction

When it comes to handling winter roads, both the Continental and Kumho tires do a pretty good job, even though they don’t have the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certifications.

Though still, things are much better on ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus.

This is because the tire features numerous biting edges, including snow vices (missing in Kumho), which effectively trap snow particles, enhancing snow-on-snow contact.

This is a big deal because snow sticks better to other snow than it does to rubber.

On the other side, the Kumho Ecsta PA51 faces challenges due to its less effective biters and siping, a result of its stiffer rubber composition.

So, with freezing temperatures, its biters gets a lot more stiffer, compared to Continental, hindering tire’s ability to offer/maintain good performance.

And with its biters only laterally arranged, it also doesn’t offer the multi-directional grip, which is pretty useful on ice.

This is unlike the DWS06+, which offers in-groove notches running in all directions, (as discussed in its tread design section).

Nonetheless, the lateral arrangement of Kumho’s sipes and notches does provide the tire with good enough snow-acceleration capabilities.

Side Note: Out of all the UHP All-Season tires I’ve reviewed so far, the BF Goodrich g-Force Comp-2 A/S+ (review), is taking the lead, in terms of winter performance.

Noise Dampening Performance

Road noise in tires is influenced by various factors, including rolling resistance, groove resonance, and overall tread design.

And among all the top tires I’ve reviewed, in its category, Kumho Ecsta is notably superior in providing a quieter ride. See my list of of top ultra high performance tires here.

This is attributed to its closed up shoulder lugs, with ridges placed in between.

But why is that important? Well, because noise is primarily generated by air particles striking the tread walls, which typically enter in, through the shoulder voids.

Moreover, the PA51 tire also provides a very well engineered pitch sequencing tread.

With this, air particles hitting the tread walls, generate a spectrum of tones and frequencies, which then (try to) cancel out each other.

Fuel And Tread Life

Fuel efficiency and tread life in tires are significantly influenced by factors such as rolling resistance, weight, tread depth, and material composition. In these aspects, both the tires in question perform above average.

Now both tires here keep the rolling resistance low, with features like reinforced foundations under all lugs and stable internal construction, contributing to overall satisfactory fuel economy.

Though if we’re splitting hairs, the Continental DWS06 Plus has a bit of a upper hand. This advantage is primarily due to its lighter construction, and relatively shallower tread depth, compared to the Kumho tire.

So with this, the ExtremeContact prevents excessive bending of its lugs (on tread), ensuring that energy is utilized for rolling the tire, rather than reshaping of the tread.

And as this also helps in reducing heat buildup within the lugs, it also lowers the wear of the tread. That’s why it makes sense why you get 5k greater miles warranty on Continental, comparatively.

For Your Info: Out of all UHP tires, I’ve personally tested, the Pirelli All Season Plus (review), offers the best tread longevity.

Dry-Road Performance

Two main criteria define the tire’s dry performance: linear and lateral grip, and steering response. Let’s analyze each of these with more details.

Linear Grip

There are a bunch of factors that influence how well a tire grips the road in a straight line, like the tread composition, how much rubber actually touches the road (especially in the middle), and the weight of the tire.

And as linear grip is a directional metric, it gets measured best, with braking distances (when stopping from 60 mph, in case of my tests).

On this front, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06+ is the clear winner, as it showed 5 feet shorter braking distances (on average), compared to Kumho, on my tests.

This is mainly because of its fine-tuned rubber composition, which is more adhering to the roads, and a tread pattern, equipped with a lot more biters.

I mean if you recall the discussion, in the tread design section (above), the tire features angled lateral and longitudinal grooves that work like notches, giving you grip in all directions.

On the other hand, the Kumho Ecsta PA51, although features a continuous-running ribs, forming consistent rubber to road contact, it falls short is in providing enough bite.

So it lacks a lot when it comes to directional grip. In fact, its the tire’s weakest performance aspect.

Overall Handling

Evaluating dry handling involves considering both lateral grip and steering responsiveness.

Speaking of Lateral grip first, its the tires side-to-side traction. And a big player here is the tire’s shoulders.

But why shoulders? Well, because when you turn, the weight of the car presses these shoulders against the road, more (compared to central area).

That’s why it makes sense why the Ecsta PA51 excels in this aspect, thanks to its relatively more compact, and well designed shoulder blocks, offering slightly better traction, as evidenced by its (slightly) better lateral g forces measurements.

Basically it offers greater rubber-to-road contact with its shoulders, and with interlocking and linear slits on them, combined with off-set edges, the tire is able to generate more “bite”.

However, Kumho falls short in overall handling, as seen by its 0.7 seconds slower lap times, on my tests (on average).

This is attributed to two primary factors.

  • First, its inadequate linear grip slows its entry into corners, necessitating braking way before the corner begins.
  • Second, its steering feedback is less responsive, so you get vague idea of how much traction is available.

So at high speeds, you get unsettling behavior, with this tire, primarily in the form of understeering, where the wheels tend to drift forward, instead of following the turn.

Moreover the tire’s construction contributes to these issues too. It’s a lot heavier, which puts more stress on the lugs and makes them bend more.

And with this bending, lugs waste time getting back to their shapes, and that “wasted time” translates into the “delay” in getting steering feedback.

Now, if you look at the Continental tire, it’s a very different story. Although the tire might feel a bit unnatural at times, it’s steering is still super clear and direct, especially when you’re in the middle of a turn.

That’s why the ExtremeContact DWS06+ not only outperforms Kumho here, but offers one of the quickest handling lap times, in its ultra-high-performance all-season category.

Wet-Road Performance

Wet performance revolves around the tire’s capacity to clear water from its tread, affecting traction and hydroplaning resistance.

Let’s see how both of these boys performed in these respects.

Wet Grip and Handling

In evaluating wet traction, the role of sipes is the key.

These seemingly simple slits in the tread play a critical role as they flex to suck the water particles in their slits, by creating a vacuum effect.

Now here, despite having a good number of sipes, the Kumho Ecsta PA51 still fall short in overall wet traction. This is mainly because of its stiffer rubber composition, not allowing sipes to properly flex, hampering their suction abilities.

Moreover, the tire’s laterally arranged sipes also are not able to offer that multi-directional grip, which is very important when going fast on wet roads.

In contrast, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus is designed to allow its sipes to flex more easily.

Moreover, it has less burden on sipes to begin with, because with a web of grooves, the tire provides a better water expulsion. so more water goes out of grooves, and less is there for sipes.

Resistance to Hydroplaning

So, here’s the deal with hydroplaning: it’s when your tires start to float on water because they can’t push it out from underneath. This happens because when water isn’t taken out in time, and it ends up getting stuck between the tire and the road, cutting off traction.

Now, the ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus, excels in preventing this, with its multi-angled grooves and relatively more open shoulders.

These features facilitate a more effective water clearance in multiple directions, enhancing the tire’s ability to maintain contact with the road better.

On the flip side, the Kumho Ecsta PA51, with its unbroken ribs, doesn’t interconnect the circumferential grooves (it makes) together, hampering water’s lateral evacuation.

Moreover, the tire’s stiffer rubber is also not able to create as good of a pressure differential as its counterpart, so it doesn’t push out the water with as much force.

The Bottom Line

Now out of both boys here, the Continental tire excels in linear grip, and provides better overall handling, even though it lacks behind in terms of lateral traction.

The tire also excels in wet conditions offering better performance in almost all aspects, including hydroplaning resistance.

Though it lacks to its Kumho counterpart, in terms of noise reduction, and overall comfort.

But since its one of the heaviest tires in its UHP all-season category, it makes sense why it lacks to ExtremeContact in terms of fuel economy and tread longevity.

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