The Motivo’s tread features 4 large circumferential grooves which are great at draining water from the tread and pavement interface in order to reduce hydroplaning. There are a lot of sipes, or narrow cut grooves, in the tread that give additional biting edges to the tread blocks. This really helps wet traction. The disadvantage of sipes is they can cause tread squirm and chunking during aggressive dry driving. However, Nitto’s sipes have an internal interlocking shape. So when subjected to braking, acceleration, and cornering forces that can force them to flex, the interlocking shape causes them to lock together and act more like a single block of rubber under load. Under wet conditions the sipes’ edges are still free to give an edge to cut through the water and grip. Another feature is that some of the sipes are placed in such a way that they will act as an early indicator of feathering, which is meant to tell you that the car is in need of an alignment before any substantial tread is worn.
Our new Nitto Motivos will be replacing some SERIOUSLY worn Kumho Ecsta 4X ii KU22’s. This one actually got tired of holding air prematurely. Admittedly I have a bad habit of neglecting stock daily driven cars. I’m so used to having to dick around with my modified cars in one way or another, that I give almost no attention to the quiet and reliable dailies [facepalm]. Learn from our mistakes folks!
As you can see here, we weren’t lying about the wheels being beat. Not only have they been repeatedly acquainted with street curbs, but the years of brake dust and just going through drive-thru car washes have taken their toll on the stock finish.
After the Kumho had a blowout and driving on the puny stock spare for a day, I found a full size spare in the form of a Volvo Pegasus wheel (grandiose noises). Though our V70 is an R-Design model, it did not come with the coveted Pegasus wheels that came with the AWD S60 R. At a quick glance they may look similar, but the Pegasus wheel is clearly the more attractive of the two. The V70 R Design wheels’ spokes have a weird angled blade design, a flatter lug area, and most importantly they don’t have the engraved R! However, finding a clean set at a price point near the cost of refurbishing the stock V70 wheels was another story. I did find a few sets locally, but they all would require some sort of refurbishing and/or refinishing. So by the time you add up the cost of the wheels and their repairs it made much more sense to refurbish the wheels we already had that we at least knew for a fact were straight.
Our V70 R-Design is no agile corner carver, but the amount of understeer we were experiencing during hard cornering was quite frustrating. You can feel the car losing grip and just push almost immediately after turn-in. This lack of front grip could definitely be attributed to the very worn Kumhos, but we wanted to ensure we increased front grip as much as we could using the stock wheels. Here we have the old 245/40/18 Kumhos and our new 255/40/18 Nitto Motivos. According to each tire’s spec sheet the Kumhos have an overall diameter of 25.7″ at full tread depth and the Nittos measure in at 25.98″. An almost negligible difference, that has had an effect of a mile per hour or two on the speedometer at freeway speeds.