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New Falken performance tire delivers bang for the buck

The Ziex ZE950 A/S ultra-high performance all-season tire continues where the ZE912 A/S left off

Published: September 17, 2014 02:00 PM

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Falken’s niche has always been offering impressive performance at an attractive price—sometimes at the expense of tread life. For consumers wanting the most performance bang-for-the-buck, the Falken Ziex ZE512 A/S and its successor, the Ziex ZE912 A/S were great choices. But in the world of performance tires, the competition is always pushing the envelope toward better overall performance. And, as our latest test results show, Falken isn’t sitting idle, either.

The Ziex ZE912 A/S was a top-rated, ultra-high performance, all-season tire in 2007, but in last year’s review, it fell to the lower-half of our ratings charts, placing 18th out of 21 models.

Replacing the venerable ZE912 A/S, the Ziex ZE950 A/S is now out, backed by manufacturer claims of better wear, snow traction, handling, and wet braking. To verify, we purchased and put the new model through our suite of tests, including braking,  handling on dry and wet pavement, hydroplaning resistance, ride, and rolling resistance. We also performed a 12,000-mile vehicle tread wear test.

Based on this extensive testing, we can say the new ZE950 A/S is better in every way claimed and then some.

Wet braking and handling have improved, winter grip is now plausible, and for those seeking value, tread life goes from a fair score for the ZE912 A/S to an average rating. Even dry braking is better.

Although the new ZE950 A/S shines in our latest ratings, the ZE912 A/S felt a bit more precise, with character skewing toward a true sporty performance tire. In contrast, the ZE950 A/S feels more like a touring tire. For most consumers, that image should suit them just fine. Our overall score backs up that impression, as the ZE950 A/S climbs to midpack in our ratings with a solid 62 overall score—six points higher than our old friend the Ziex ZE912 A/S.

The Falken Ziex ZE950 A/S as tested had a W-speed rating (168 mph), and it is classified by Consumer Reports as an ultra-high-performance all-season tire. These tires are designed to optimize cornering, stopping grip, and handling, and they are typically found on sports and high-performance luxury cars.

In this speed rating, the tire has 45,000-mile tread wear warranty. The ZE950 A/S is also available in H (130 mph) and V (149) speed ratings with a 65,000-mile tread wear warranty. We will probably be testing the H- and V-speed-rated models in our performance tire review next year.

Gene Petersen

Check our detailed report on the Falken Ziex ZE950 A/S and dozens of other tires.

Falken’s niche has always been offering impressive performance at an attractive price—sometimes at the expense of tread life. For consumers wanting the most performance bang-for-the-buck, the Falken Ziex ZE512 A/S and its successor, the Ziex ZE912 A/S were great choices. But in the world of performance tires, the competition is always pushing the envelope toward better overall performance. And, as our latest test results show, Falken isn’t sitting idle, either.

The Ziex ZE912 A/S was a top-rated, ultra-high performance, all-season tire in 2007, but in last year’s review, it fell to the lower-half of our ratings charts, placing 18th out of 21 models.

Replacing the venerable ZE912 A/S, the Ziex ZE950 A/S is now out, backed by manufacturer claims of better wear, snow traction, handling, and wet braking. To verify, we purchased and put the new model through our suite of tests, including braking,  handling on dry and wet pavement, hydroplaning resistance, ride, and rolling resistance. We also performed a 12,000-mile vehicle tread wear test.

Based on this extensive testing, we can say the new ZE950 A/S is better in every way claimed and then some.

Wet braking and handling have improved, winter grip is now plausible, and for those seeking value, tread life goes from a fair score for the ZE912 A/S to an average rating. Even dry braking is better.

Although the new ZE950 A/S shines in our latest ratings, the ZE912 A/S felt a bit more precise, with character skewing toward a true sporty performance tire. In contrast, the ZE950 A/S feels more like a touring tire. For most consumers, that image should suit them just fine. Our overall score backs up that impression, as the ZE950 A/S climbs to midpack in our ratings with a solid 62 overall score—six points higher than our old friend the Ziex ZE912 A/S.

The Falken Ziex ZE950 A/S as tested had a W-speed rating (168 mph), and it is classified by Consumer Reports as an ultra-high-performance all-season tire. These tires are designed to optimize cornering, stopping grip, and handling, and they are typically found on sports and high-performance luxury cars.

In this speed rating, the tire has 45,000-mile tread wear warranty. The ZE950 A/S is also available in H (130 mph) and V (149) speed ratings with a 65,000-mile tread wear warranty. We will probably be testing the H- and V-speed-rated models in our performance tire review next year.

Gene Petersen

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