Pros: Excellent treadwear, price, design, warranty
Cons: Heavy, Noise issues
I purchased a set of Falken ZE-512s 215/40/17s for my 2004 Honda Civic EX Coupe as a replacement for the worn-out Pirelli tires that came with this car when I purchased it. Admittedly, the price of these tires played the biggest role in my decision to buy them; they were the cheapest 17s I could find that would fit. So, did it pay to be frugal?
The Ziex ZE512s offers an attractive and sporty tread design. According to Falken the design is fully functional, helping enhance performance while reducing tire noise. You should take note that the ZE-512 is an uni-directional design (can only be rotated front to back and visa versa).
Specs Ziex ZE512 -215/40/17s
Treadwear rating 360 A-A
Approved rim width 7.0-8.5"
Temperature rating A, Traction rating A.
Tread depth- 10/32"
Maximum pressure- 50psi.
Maximum load rating- 1201lbs.
Dry Traction A
Dry traction is excellent and surpassed all my expectations from a tire near the bottom of the price rack. Though the ZE-512s aren't exactly the sportiest tires on the planet, they do an excellent job keeping my vehicle glued to the road without squealing or making a big fuss on twisty roads. I now have a set of Kumho KU25s in the same size, and the Falkens ZE512s are, without a doubt, the better choice when it comes to dry traction. I usually drive aggressively on twisty roads and have rarely been able to reach these tires' limits to adhesion.
Wet Traction - A
Wet traction was a big concern when buying a tire that was designed for both performance and all season driving. Why? A lot of tires on the market claim to be both high performance and all-season, but fail to offer adequate traction for rainy/winter weather. The Falkens do a wonderful job keeping my car in check on wet road surfaces, no matter how wet the road surface is. We had some really bad rainstorms last year and not once did I feel my vehicle hydroplane. Handling in the rain is also good. There are a few overpasses in my area where the slightest rainfall will make just about any car do the jitterbug. With the Ziex ZE-512s I can take these sharp turns in wet weather and not feel that my wheels are going to lose traction.
Winter Weather Traction A.
Living in North Carolina, we don't see too much snow or ice, however we do get some. The ZE-512s do a good job in this department as well. Though these tires are no substitute for full fledged winter tires, they do an adequate job keeping my car on the road when there is a dusting of snow or patchy ice on the pavement.
The ZE512s are a quiet tire at freeway speeds, especially compared to the Pirelli's that were originally on this vehicle. In comparison to the Pirelli's and my new Kumho AST KU25s, the ZE512s rank somewhere in the middle, being quieter than the Pirelli's but not as quiet as my new Kumho AST KU25s. When it comes to noise, the only rants I have with the ZE512s are their tendency to store small rocks in the center tread. Having pea gravel driveway, every morning I would hear little clicking sounds from the tires until all of them eventually get kicked out (up to 3 miles later). I never had these problems with the Pirelli tires or my new Kumho tires.
Overall handling. A
Handling has improved dramatically over the Pirelli tires and equals that of my new Kumho KU25s. After switching to the ZE512s body roll was reduced, turn-in was smoother, and overall these tires did an excellent job making my Civic a more enjoyable car to drive on twisty roads.
Ride Quality: B
When buying new tires I was debating whether or not I should go with a smaller rim and a tire with a larger sidewall due to the extreme behavior of the Pirelli's. I was very impressed with how the ZE512s absorbed bumps and road imperfections for being a low profile 40 series tires, much better than the Pirelli's and even the stock 60 series Firestone tires I had on my old 2004 Civic LX.
When I sold my rims, I decided to keep the Falken Ziex's on them so I can only comment how well these tires wear for up to around 21,000 miles. At 21,000 miles, they still had "like new" tread. I am guessing they would have lasted another 20-30K had I kept them on my Civic. They also wore evenly across the width of the tire, even though I didnt maintain them as well as I probably should have.
The price for the Falken ZE-512s range anywhere form 40 -120 bucks. I paid 80 dollars each for my 215/40/17s, which at the time was less than just about any tire on the market in that size, with the exception of Kumho and Hankook. Falken warrants these tires for 60,000 miles in 60-65 series and 30,000 miles for 40-55 series.
The Falken ZE512s offer excellent traction, an attractive tread design, and are one of the best all-around sub $100 40 series tires that I have owned. If you are on the market for all season performance than I highly suggest checking out the ZE-512s. Note: You also might want to check out the new Kumho Ecsta ASTs, which offer similar characteristics for even less money.
Thanks for reading!