If you’re looking for a tire that works on and off the road no matter the season, consider a Nexen. The brand has tons of excellent tires you can browse at a highly affordable price, too. However, we’re going to delve into it and figure out just how good this brand is in this Nexen tires review.
The bottom line about Nexen tires is that they’re excellent. They perform far better than their affordability dictates and last a fantastic amount of time. Drivers particularly like their prowess in snow, whether you choose all-season tires or winter ones.
These are some of the things we’ll cover in this Nexen tires review:
- Who is Nexen?
- Nexen tire review.
- Can we recommend Nexen tires?
- What we like about Nexen tires.
Nexen Tires: Who Is Nexen?
Nexen is a Korean tire company founded in 1942. The tires are neither the cheapest nor the most expensive in the world, and although not regarded as a premium brand, the company is well-respected.
You may have heard of Nexen first as Woosunf or Heung-A Tire Company, as these are both former names of the company. It’s been Nexen since 2000.
Outside of the name changes, Nexen has had quite a quiet history. The company has had its one manufacturing facility in Korea since 1985, and in the early 2000s, the company’s popularity and demand grew, so it opened a second factory in China.
In 2012, a third dedicated plant, this one in Korea like the first, came into the mix, so clearly, the company is in high demand. Alongside those three Nexen-exclusive factories, other mixed manufacturing plants make Nexen, including some in the US.
Despite flying under the radar with these factories and its other prowess, Nexen exports to 120 companies and is doing quite well in the global market. As of 2013, the company is worth $1.68 billion.
The company’s growing popularity and worth only work to have the manufacturers create better tires at affordable prices, leading us to the Nexen products that we have today. They’re widely regarded as budget tire models but apparently perform like much, much better ones.
Nexen Tires Review: All Season, All Terrain
Like all tire companies, there’s more than just one tire model on offer at Nexen. So, to be fair to the entire (ha, get it?) brand, we’ve chosen one that can do it all. The Nexen Roadian AT Pro RA8 is an applicable candidate, comes in a range of sizes, and users praise it highly as far as we’ve seen.
Thankfully, we’re starting off strong as customers report that the Nexen Rodian tires perform well on dry tarmac. The tires are grippy, providing excellent traction, even when cornering at speed.
As well as this, the tires have fantastic handling thanks to their design, and users found no issues with them. There was no palpable drag or body roll with the vehicle. Instead, the tires cut smoothly down the roads, even at highway speeds.
Some users say that the Nexen tires gave some new life to older vehicles, and others go on to say they’re the best tires they’ve ever driven on dry roads.
However, you should be aware that most customers saying these things are comparing Nexen to other budget brands in their feedback. There’s no way these can live up to something more premium.
Still, if dry road performance seems so fantastic with no negative feedback early on, with particular compliments paid to city street performance, what else can they do?
Customers say that the Nexen tires perform wonderfully in the rain, no matter how heavy it is. The traction remains as steady as ever when rolling over wet roads, and some customers recommend these tires for rainy areas in particular.
Although they do note that braking isn’t as quick and easy on wet roads as it is on dry, but that’s mostly when you’re driving at speed. Once you reach about 43 miles per hour, you start to see larger braking distances.
Any capable driver will be able to account for braking distances, though. It takes getting to know your tires and how you should be driving with them. Remember, you can’t throw any old tires on your vehicle and expect them to perform exactly like your last pair. Everything is a learning curve.
Thankfully, customers feel the learning curve is well worth it with these tires. Even with the braking distances, some customers feel these tires out-perform other budget tires they’ve used. Some even say they work better in the rain than some pricer tires they’ve tried.
Winter performance was a big expectation for many customers, and thankfully, the tires passed the test. The sides are decked out with some sipes that help with traction on ice and snow.
Some customers waited to leave feedback on the tires until they’d used them in snow, and they weren’t disappointed. One customer even used them in snow over 10 inches deep and had no concerns. The tires didn’t stick or lose traction. Well, they lost no more traction than you’d expect any well-performing tire to lose.
Most customers found the excellent performance, unsurprisingly. After all, these tires are three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) certified. What does this mean? Well, it means the model qualifies for severe snow service, and the tires meet all the criteria put on them by some of the most difficult tests in North America.
This is fantastic for people who live in areas that get deep and severe snow in winter, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the tires to those customers. Keep in mind; we always recommend real, dedicated winter tires first if you have snow for most of the year.
Nexen has some winter-centric tire models, too, if you’re in love with this brand. Given the all-season tires’ prowess in snow, we don’t doubt that any dedicated winter tire from the brand will get the job done safely and securely. Don’t forget to look for ones with that 3PMSF certification.
Surely if these tires work well in snow, they’ll work for off-road conditions. Well, you’d be right in that assumption. The tires aren’t the best for off-roading, which is a given since they’re all-terrain and they’re a budget buy, but they do the job well.
On dirt roads, rocks, gravel, and some light sand, the Nexen tires perform well and provide more traction than most people require. They crunch over rocks with ease and don’t skid, skip or jump. The ride remains relatively smooth with off-roading, too.
Some customers feel that the feel and performance of these tires off-road is on-par with high-end brands, although they don’t name specific comparable names. They simply state that if you’re choosing the Nexen tires after a lifetime of high-end, you won’t feel disappointed or like you’re missing out on anything.
Given that these tires apparently don’t feel like a downgrade from something more premium, we’re going to say these are a solid choice for off-roading and otherwise.
Road Noise and Comfort
Customers report very low road noise, with some saying the Nexen tires are virtually silent. This is impressive for tires like these that boast a rather aggressive tread for cutting through snow and off-road conditions.
Along with the lack of noise, you’ll find the tires ride smoothly, as long as your vehicle does. Pair these tires with a vehicle that has a solid suspension, and you’re unlikely to feel the majority of regular small debris and even some larger potholes on the road.
A handful of users report that the noise is louder than some competitors, and that the ride is slightly harsher, but this is mainly customers who’ve had these tires for a long time. Therefore we can theorize that noise increases and smoothness decreases with time.
This isn’t an unreasonable expectation, especially with tires that are so affordable and not from a premium brand. Most customers don’t seem to mind the performance decrease, and many barely notice it.
So, if it’s a solid and comfortable performance you’re after, then you can’t go wrong with Nexen, especially this tire model.
The Nexen tires have a decent tread life, according to both customers and their design. These Roadian tires, in particular, have some sipes on the sides, which help dissipate heat build-up. This leads to the tires wearing down slower.
Customers feel that the tread life can easily live up to or surpass the tread life warranty we’ll be talking about in a moment.
Unfortunately, customers don’t go into a ton of detail about how long their tires lasted if they’re on their second or beyond pair. Those who insult the tread life don’t talk much about why they were disappointed either.
All we can do is go with the fact that the tires are smartly designed, customers are mostly satisfied, and the warranty designates that they should last at least 50,000 miles. That’s a pretty good amount of data to suggest a lengthy tread life in our book.
These, and most Nexen tires, have a 50,000-mile tread life warranty, as mentioned above. This is solid compared to most competitors and not much lower than the best warranties we’ve seen.
Most tires of this caliber and price seem to come with a 50,000-mile tread life warranty, so Nexen sticking to the norm is good. It means the tires can live up to competitors both on the road and with the warranty.
Alongside the high tread life warranty, Nexen adds further peace of mind by assuring you they’ll reimburse you for any tire-related problems along the way before the tread life wears out.
Would We Recommend Nexen Tires?
With the criteria on the table, let’s get down to it. Would we recommend Nexen tires? Absolutely.
Every tire brand and model is going to have one or two horror stories, and realistically no brand can live up to something that the world views as a premium. Even so, we’ve seen very little talk of horror and not living up to the best with this brand.
We wouldn’t jump out and recommend this brand straight away if someone asked. We would go for a more premium one first, like Michelin, which we talk about in this Michelin Defender vs Premier review. But for a decently affordable budget brand? Right now, Nexen would be our top pick.
We’d also recommend Nexen for people specifically searching for:
- High-performing all-season tires for winter.
- Quiet, affordable all-season tires.
- All-season tires that also work off-road.
If someone was looking for tires that work in an area that’s snowy year-round, we’d point them towards some Nexen winter tires like the Nexen Winguard Ice Plus Studless Winter Tire, part of the Winguard Ice Plus range.
What We Like About Nexen Tires
So the tires perform well, but what are their standout features that a newcomer to the brand may like? This brand has an array of desirable design features that should suit most preferences. Let’s dive into what we love.
1. The Off-Road Technology
Sometimes when a tire is “all-terrain” it means “the road, and maybe the road with a few rocks scattered along it.” This isn’t true for Nexen; its all-terrain tires really can handle all terrains.
It’s true that an all-terrain tire will never handle off-roading conditions as much as a specialized tire—but Nexen tires give it a pretty good shot. This comes from the optimized technology in the tread, which usually, you’d only see in tires optimized for mud and rural areas.
Sipes are small gloves cut into larger ones that help with everything from adding traction, preventing debris from getting stuck in the treat, and helping with mud extraction. When Nexen tires have sipes they really have sipes that are functional and found everywhere on a Nexen tire model.
Open Outside Shoulder
The design of the shoulder on Nexen Roadian tires helps reduce road wear to promote longevity and helps with mud extraction to keep your tires clean and stable.
Wide Shoulder Blocks
Wide shoulder blocks add stability and superior handling regardless of the terrain’s difficulty or variability.
Reinforced Biting Edges
These sturdy edges not only add longevity, but they’re heavy and bite into the terrain to help you grip it when off-roading.
Duel Tread Blocks
These blocks work to keep damage at bay and help shed gravel that gets stuck on or in the tires.
2. Ride Comfort
We’ve already talked about the ride comfort, but we have to highlight it again as something we adore about Nexen tires. This is because the tires exceed expectations and stay consistently comfortable and quiet for most of their lifetime.
It’s also worth highlighting after exploring the features above, seeing how well this performs off-road. Most off-road tires have a mighty roar when driven on regular tarmac, and they’ll constantly remind you of their off-road prowess, but not this.
The tires are totally optimized for mud yet somehow manage to be silent, comfortable, and easy to handle. This is practically unheard of, so it’s something we really can’t stop talking about.
3. They’re 10 Ply/E
Nexen tires can not only handle themselves and your vehicle well, but they’re great for towing, too. Most of the sizes have an E or 10-ply rating that lets you haul sizable loads.
It’s the second-best rating they could have, so you should be sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Just be sure to place the tires on a vehicle that can handle heavy loads, too, because tires can’t do everything.
Plus, trying to use these tires and a subpar vehicle will only make the tires wear down faster. This is constantly irritating, and it makes the tires seem less capable than they really are. Be mindful when driving, as failure isn’t always a tire’s or brand’s fault!
4. Roadside Assistance Eligibility
It’s easy enough to change a flat, but if you don’t have a spare and need to hire a tow truck then you’re eligible for Nexen to cover the cost. If you buy a Nexen tire, then you’re covered for 36 months after any mishap, and Nexen will reimburse you for the tow truck, new tire, and anything else you had to spend on fixing your flat or another mishap.
5. They’re Affordable
These are by no means the cheapest tires on the market, but they’re a chunk less pricey than some other brands, especially ones called premium. We actually find the price quite shocking as the tires’ performance far exceeds what you’d expect for the cost.
Many similarly-priced brands perform far worse than these tires, rendering them more costly than premium tires in the long run. Nexen is a pleasant surprise compared to them and a well-desired break from the unfortunate norm of “you get what you pay for.”
Nexen Tires Review: Final Thoughts
From what we’ve seen, these tires are top-notch. They perform well in the eyes of the customers, the manufacturers make promises that are fulfilled, and there are plenty of assets we admire in these tires.
Although we only looked at one model in detail, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the brand and encourage you to check out the various models on offer. These are total A-grade models in our minds.
Check out the Nexen Roadian AT Pro RA8 All-Season Radial Tire here.