When you are a pro in any industry, you have certain views that can be hard to sway. One of those for me is off brand tires. The P5’s summer boots were pretty much finished, so I started making some calls. The first (and only really) was to Gord Cullen at Tire Depot.
Gord is a long time tire industry guy, with an equally long history in road racing. In other words, this guy knows his way around rubbers. Ok, so he knows his way around tires too. The Protege5 comes fitted with a slightly odd size, 195/50R16 which is not all that common. Of 3 sizes, one was the original Dunlop which we weren’t all that happy with to begin with. It’s not that it was a bad tire, it just didn’t really do anything all that well. To make matters worse, it’s expensive as hell.
Cullen suggested the Taiwanese made Nankang EX500. I’ll be honest, the thought of a Taiwanese tire on my wife’s car made me shudder. I did a bit of a search online and couldn’t find any negative reviews. The tire is fully half the price of the Dunlop and two thirds the price of a Kumho. Upon inspection, it looks like a quality product, so I figured it was worth a try. Besides, Tire Depot’s rep is riding on this recommendation!
The sidewalls are quite stiff, making them a bit tough to mount, but beyond that they balanced up with no problems. On the road, they feel smooth and are quite quiet with very little noise over rough pavement. I haven’t had a chance to get them into the twisties yet, so we’ll have to reserve judgement on the performance feel. So far though, I’m pretty happy with the decision.
Good choice Gord.