Pros: Price, Wet traction, Dry traction, Performance, Economy
Cons: Not exactly a snow tire.
I purchased a set of Falken Ziex ZE-912's (size 215/40/17s) a little over a year ago as a replacement for the Kumho ECSTA's on my Civic Coupe. I was initially going to get a set of Falken Ziex ZE-512's (an excellent all-season tire, especially for their low price tag), but my local tire shack had a huge sale on the supposedly better Ziex ZE-912's. Since I had been satisfied with the ZE-512s, I figured that I couldn't go wrong with the ZE-912's...
About the Ziex ZE-912:
Falken deems the new Ziex ZE-912 as an all-season/performance/touring tire. In other words, the ZE-912's are geared for those who need a performance tire without completely sacrificing all-season protection and ride quality. The Ziex ZE-912's feature a new hybrid-asymmetric pattern that is designed to whisk away water while at the same time providing the traction and stability of a high performance tire. The 912's come in a variety of sizes for rims between 14-18": ranging from skinny 185/65/14s all the way to beefy 265/35ZR/18s.
The Ziex ZE-912's hybrid-asymmetric pattern is styled aggressively enough for most vehicles, however if you prefer a super-aggressive looking tire you will need to look elsewhere. Personally, I like the look of an unpretentious tire, and that is exactly what the 912's tread design offers. This being the case, the 912's tread design is suited for a wide variety of vehicle types on the market, whether it be an economical Civic or a high performance BMW.
Specs: Falken Ziex ZE-912 - Size 215/40/17's (specs will vary depending on tire size)
Tread wear rating 360
Temperature rating A
Traction rating A
Speed Rating Z
Tread depth- 10/32"
Weight- 22.1 lbs
Maximum pressure- 50 psi.
Maximum load rating- 1102lbs.
Dry Traction and handling: 9/10
Having owned a set of Falken Ziex ZE-512's and having been thoroughly impressed with their performance offerings, I had high expectations from the new and supposedly improved Ziex ZE-912's. Similar to the Ziex ZE-512's, the Ziex ZE-912's do an excellent job keeping my Civic glued to dry pavement: not once have I been able reach these tire's limits to adhesion on dry pavement. The 912's also are more than happy to whip through turns without audible complaint. In the 20,000+ miles that I have had the 912s on my Civic, I have never heard any complaint from these tires: I can't say the same about the squeal-happy Kumho ECSTA's that were previously on my car. What I have found most impressive about the new 912's is their resistance to wheel hop. Inexpensive tires will oftentimes get tossed off course when traveling over bumps/road imperfections at high speeds; this hasn't been the case with the 912's. Despite their basement price tag, they do an excellent job keeping my vehicle on track, no matter how poor the road surface is. Overall, the Ziex ZE-912's have made my Civic a more enjoyable car to drive on twisty roads: body roll has been reduced, turn-in is much smoother: and as mentioned, wheel hop is virtually non-existent.
Wet/icy Traction: 9/10
It's hard finding an inexpensive tire that offers both good performance and good winter weather traction. The Kumho ECSTA's that were previously on my Civic did an decent job keeping my car glued to the road on dry pavement, but they seemed to break away if moderately provoked on wet surfaces. I have driven with the Falken Ziex ZE-912's in virtually every weather condition imaginable, and save for some moderate loss of traction in snowy weather, I have never had an issue with losing traction on wet or moderately icy surfaces. Off-the-line acceleration has also improved greatly on wet surfaces over the Kumho's. Where the Kumho ECSTA's resulted in excessive tire spinning due to traction loss on wet surfaces, the Falken 912's always provide smooth acceleration with only minimal spin under full throttle take-off on wet road surfaces. Needless to say, I feel much more confident driving in inclement weather with the 912's than the Kumho ECSTA's that they replaced.
An unfortunate sacrifice that many consumers must deal with when purchasing an inexpensive all-season or performance tire is excessive tire noise on the highway. The Falken Ziex ZE-912's are, by far, the most quiet sub $100 tire that I have owned; they are much quieter than either the Falken ZE-512's or the Kumho ECSTA's. Even at highway speeds upwards of 75+ MPH, I never have an issue with tire noise and, as mentioned, the 912's are also quiet while driving on twisty roads, with no humming or squealing while driving aggressively through the twistys.
Ride Quality: 8/10
A punishing ride pretty much comes with the territory when you choose a tire with a sub 50 series side wall. While the Ziex ZE-912s aren't quite as soft on rough road surfaces as the Kumho ECSTA's or the Falken Ziex ZE-512's, the ride quality of the 912's isn't jarring by any stretch of the imagination. With the exception of driving over deep potholes or over extremely harsh road surfaces, I rarely become conscious that my Civic is riding on low profile tires.
Tread wear: 10/10
I currently have a little over 20,000 miles on my 912's and they still are at a tread depth of 7/32" (down from 10/32") evenly across every tire: that is pretty amazing considering the types of roads I drive on. If the 912's continue to wear at this rate, I should be able to easily get 50,000 miles out of these tires before it's time to recycle them.
Price and warranty: 10/10
Depending on sizing and where you are shopping, the price tags for the Ziex ZE-912's range anywhere form 50 dollars for a 65 series 14" tire to 160 dollars for 265/35/18s (about 5% more than the ZE-512's of the same size). Though a bit more cash than the Falken ZE-512's, the ZE-912's are still some of the lowest priced tires on the market. I paid just over 80 dollars each for my 215/40/17's, however some online stores, i.e. Discounttire.com carry them for nearly 10 dollars less, so it may be smart to shop around. Falken offers a generous warranty for its Ziex ZE-912 tire. Falken provides this tire with a 40,000-mile warranty (60,000-mile for 60-65 series) against defects and materials to the final 2/32" of tread.
The Falken Ziex ZE-912's are some of the best all-season tires that I have owned. The 912's offer excellent wet traction, excellent dry traction, good looks, longevity, a relatively supple ride, and a price tag that can't be beat. If you are on the market for an inexpensive all-season tire that also offers high levels of performance, I recommend the Ziex ZE-912s 100%. I would definitely purchase these tires again.
A Special Thanks to Scmrak for adding this tire to our database!