Nankang NK Utility FT-4 Review & Rating
- Traction on dry and wet pavement
- Steering response
- Value for the money
Balanced between all-season handling, driving comfort, and stability, the Nankang NK Utility FT-4 is built to deliver confident performance at a lower price for drivers of light trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. We took this tire for a test drive to see how it stands up against the competition by testing it in several key areas.
Traction and handling on both even and uneven dry surfaces was very good for the most part. Regardless of where we drove during our traction test, the tires still held fast to the road on dry surfaces. The F-4’s outer shoulder grooves coupled with its larger footprint allowed for a great deal of stability on both wet and dry pavement.
Speaking of wet pavement, although its handling in this regard wasn’t quite as impressive as its dry-road performance, it’s still remarkably solid, and we’ve no complaints about how well the NK F-4 performed in rain. What’s more, Nankang has incorporated angled tread blocks to greatly reduce the risk of hydroplaning in damp conditions.
Cornering – Steering
Cornering on the F-4 was excellent, and the tire gripped extremely well, even at high speed. What’s more, the tire’s response time and communication were near that of tires costing much more. The vehicle quickly and smoothly went wherever we steered it, and demonstrated great stability while it did so.
Like many all-season tires, winter handling on the F-4 is sub-par. This is unfortunate, given the tire’s performance in other regards, but not unexpected. While it handled well enough in light snow and slush, driving with a minimal loss of grip and control, performance sharply fell off in more extreme conditions. With heavier snowfall the tire’s traction suffered severely; it was nonexistent on ice. This was the only real area where this tire rated poorly.
Ride Comfort – Road Noise
Nankang’s gone to great lengths both to improve comfort and reduce road noise with the F-4, and their efforts are noticeable. The tire, which incorporates a 5-pitch tread design and a noise prevention bar, is virtually noiseless while on the road. Further, it provided us with a smooth and stable ride, even on uneven pavement. The sidewall is reasonably stiff, though softer than some other all-season truck tires.
The same design which improves the tire’s noise and stability goes great lengths towards increasing the Utility FT-4’s tread life, providing even treadwear along with its other benefits. As a result, although the Utility FT-4 has a UTQG rating of 460, which should make it good for around 45,000 miles. The tire could last a great deal longer without wearing down depending on driving habits and maintenance. This greatly improved durability means the tire’s already-reasonable price is even more of a steal.
Nankang provides a limited tread guarantee on the FT-4. A uniformity warranty covers the first 10% of tread-wear. Materials and workmanship are also warranted for a prorated amount down to the final 2/32 inches of tread depth.
All in all the Nankang Utility FT-4 is a surprise in all-season truck, SUV and crossover tires. The performance is better than you might expect, and the price is lower to save you some money.