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Nexen Tires review

Nexen tires may not be manufactured in the US, but the combination of low cost and reasonable quality means they're worth considering. Here's our review.

Our Verdict

With a solid range on offer, Nexen Tires proves that sometimes you can get more for less. Unfortunately, when it comes to customer satisfaction Nexen doesn't quite hit the right note, particularly in recent years. However, both the Aria and Roadian range offer great value and impressive performance.

For

  • Pay less for more
  • A couple of good ranges

Against

  • Low customer satisfaction in recent years

Nexen tires come in a wide range of styles to suit all possible terrains and weather conditions. Some hit the spot, others fall quite short of the mark, but on the whole, Nexen makes good tires that are competitively priced and always worth considering when you need fresh rubber. 

We’ve carefully researched Nexen’s full range and feature the best Nexen tires in this review. We explain what they’re best suited for and how they compare to the best tire brands around. We also bring together user-reviews and expert opinion to assess each range and highlight which models to go for. Here's our Nexen tires review.

1. Nexen Aria AH7: All-season passenger cars and CUVs

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Nexen Aria AH7

Nexen Aria AH7 (Image credit: Nexen)
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Nexen Aria AH7

Nexen Aria AH7 (Image credit: Nexen)
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Nexen Aria AH7

Nexen Aria AH7 (Image credit: Nexen)
Key features

- Price: From $60 to $91
- Up to 80k miles limited warranty
- Increased block stiffness
- Noise distributing 5-optimal pitch arrangement
- Uniformly designed center to aid wear and handling 

Pros:

  • All-round, all-season goodness
  • Long-lasting tread
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Could offer better rolling resistance

The Aria is unusual because it’s an all-season touring tire that really does perform well in all the seasons: it’s great in snow and ice braking, delivers the goods in both dry and wet conditions, handles well, it’s quiet and comfortable, economical, resistant to hydroplaning and all of this for almost half the cost of the Michelin Defenders. Lastly, it comes in plenty of sizes so if you’re the owner of a family car, the chances are they’ll be a set to fit yours. Enough said.

2. Nexen Winguard: Winter tires 

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Nexen Winguard Sport2

(Image credit: Nexen)
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Nexen Winguard Sport2

(Image credit: Nexen)
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Nexen Winguard Sport2

(Image credit: Nexen)
Key features

- Price: From $91.28 to $123
- 36-month roadside assistance
- High-density multi-sipe
- Large wide grooves
- Directional tread for snow, dry and cornering traction

Pros:

  • Excellent for traction on snow
  • Good ice braking
  • Resistant to hydroplaning

Cons:

  • Average wet braking
  • High rolling resistance
  • Average handling 

The Nexen Winterguard range has six options (three studded and three studless), but our top pick - Nexen Winguard Sport 2 - falls into the studless category and is regarded as one of the best winter tires on the market, only bettered by the Vredstein Wintrac Pro. However Nexen's tire is cheaper, making it a sensible option for those with an eye on the purse strings. 

Excelling in ice braking, noise and resistance to hydroplaning, they set the benchmark for the other tires in the Winguard range. The others perform well, but vary between excellent and poor in the same tire. For example the Winspike (a spiked tire winter tire) is outstanding on the snow, but poor when braking in the wet. It’s a similar story with the studless, Ice-Plus: bad when it comes to wet-braking and handling, outstanding in snow, ice-braking, ride comfort and noise. 

3. Nexen Roadian: All-terrain tires for light trucks and SUVs

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Nexen Roadian HTX

(Image credit: Nexen)
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Nexen Roadian HTX

(Image credit: Nexen)
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Nexen Roadian HTX

(Image credit: Nexen)
Key Features

- Price: $102.93 to $157.75
- Up to 70k mile limited warranty
- 36-month roadside assistance
- Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake certified
- Enhanced draining to prevent hydroplaning
- Designed to resist wear

Pros: 

  • Low noise
  • Long tread life with warranty
  • Hydroplane resistant 

Cons:

  • Some models not great when braking

The Nexen Roadian range is quite a broad church. On the one end there's the unassuming GTX targeted at CUV/SUV ‘touring’, on the other two chunky sets of rubber for ‘mud terrain’, the MTX and MT, that look as if they’re designed for all-out war. Filling the gap is the all-season ‘street sport truck’ HP for high-end customers and HTX and RT, for ‘highway terrain’ or ‘all-terrain’ respectively. We’ll focus on the last two as they offer the best all-round performance.

Despite being physically different, both come from the same school of thought and they are equally matched in their performance and ability. For an all-terrain tire, both tested very well for noise and hydroplaning resistance and did well in all categories, though the AT is only moderately capable during wet braking. Once again, if it boils down to cost, these are a great option and come with 70,000 mile tread-life warranties - they're comparable to Continental tires here, but cheaper. However, the all-terrain loving AT tire is pointless if you’re not going off-road.  

Other Nexen tires to consider

Nexen contributes to the summertime ultra-high-performance class with the Nfera SU1. On paper, it can do the business just as well as the Bridgestone Potenza but for just two-thirds of the cost. The only tire in this class that beats the Nfera on price is GT Radial’s excellent Champiro HPY. Like its contemporaries its down on ride comfort, though not as bad as some (e.g. Potenza), but it still has some way to go to match the impressive specs of the Michelin Pilot 4. In our opinion, Michelin tires are the best in the world right now.

Nexen tires: User reviews

JD Power only rated Nexen in the Passenger Car category, a rather lowly 11th which is so far down the list as to be irrelevant. However, in 2017 Nexen fared far better so it’s a long way from throwing in the towel just yet.

According to Consumer Reports, Nexen is doing rather better. It sits joint fifth on the Tire Brand Report Card with Goodyear and Bridgestone tires on 65%. Michelin comes first with 71% ahead of Continental 70%, General 69%, and Pirelli 66%.

Overall - Should you buy Nexen tires?

Nexen manufactures a full range of tires, not all are noteworthy, but the ones that are, like the Aria AH7, stand up well to their contemporaries and often undercut them on price. This, it could be argued, is Nexen’s strong point. It doesn’t have manufacturing facilities in the US and they’re the new kid on the block, a foreign one at that, in a market dominated by household names with homeland plants. 

Taking into consideration that Nexen is relatively new it’s achieved a huge amount in a short space of time and we've no doubt that, despite a little lull in recent ratings, it’s probably the manufacturer that bigger tire manufacturers should be most wary about. If you need more motor advice, check out our guide to the best auto insurance in 2020.

Nexen Tires review

Nexen Tires are great budget options (Image credit: Nexen)

Nexen Tires: company history

Established in 1942 as Heung-A Tire Company, Nexen (named changed in 2000) is a relatively late player to the tire game. Its business really kicked off in 1985 with a dedicated plant in Yangsan, South Korea, making (Michelin invented) Radial tires. Six years later, after allying with OHTSU Tire & Rubber in Japan, it began to focus on improving its range of tires. 

In 2005 Nexen was awarded a patent for the technology to manufacture rubber silicate nano-composite tires. After developing a popular SUV tire in 2006, Nexen opened a plant in Qingdao, China and sales rocketed and today Consumer Reports put Nexen as the highest-rated tire without a dedicated manufacturing plant in the USA. It currently exports to over 120 countries, including, of course, the USA. 

Nexen has four main brands, NFera for performance, NPriz for car passenger, Roadian for SUV and Light truck and Winguard for snow/ice. These brands are further broken down to deal with the style of motoring i.e., performance or grand touring and weather i.e., all-season, summer or winter, with a handful of dedicated brands that do one thing well, very well it would seem.