- Excellent all-round performance
- Works well in light snow
- Plenty of grip and traction
- Decently long treadwear warranty
- Isn’t the most responsive
- It can get quite loud on the highway
Ask anyone that’s ever driven a tire on a track, and you’ll get the same answer – high-performance summer tires are the best. For the most part, I would agree with that. Tires designed for specific weather enable the manufacturer to fine-tune the compounds to get the most out of the rubber.
In recent years, we have been witnessing performance-oriented tires that can be driven in multiple conditions. My thoughts on all-season tires are that they are decent performers in summer and winter. I say decent because they won’t be as good as a dedicated tire for a specific condition. Recent models have begun to make to question that, as the performance gets quite close.
Among the youngest reputable tire manufacturers today is Falken. Founded in 1983 in Japan, the manufacturer quickly gained a reputation for making some excellent tires that we love today. Falken’s lineup consists of various types of tires, and as you may have guessed, today I’ll be talking about a high-performance all-season one.
The Ziex ZE960 A/S is designed to replace the ZE950, which was already an excellent tire. It offered dependable performance in most conditions but sometimes felt a bit rough around the edges. Falken claims to have remedied some of that and made some improvements to the new model.
Are the upgrades even noticeable, and is the Ziex ZE960 A/S a better tire than its predecessor?
What are the features of the Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S?
Falken has plenty of experience in the motorsport department, so you should expect to have a tire with some racing pedigree.
Over time tires wear down, and some models may start to lose their performance after a while. The good news is that the Ziex ZE960 A/S is designed to counteract that. Flask Sipes in the tread design keeps the performance on wet surfaces optimal and should also help improve the aquaplaning resistance. Here, you also have the circumferential and lateral grooves that additionally help in that regard.
On the handling side of things, Falken designed the tread so that enthusiasts can enjoy the driving dynamics of the tire. The construction of the blocks, along with the design work to offers more dynamic drivability. It achieves that by having a more robust construction and stiffer blocks.
As an all-season tire, the Ziex ZE960 A/S should be good on snow, so Falken thought of that as well. On the op the existing edges that can bit into the snow, the tire also features a technology called Canyon Groove. Down the middle groove, the tire is designed with ridges that improve the biting force on snow. Since they are inside the groove, it shouldn’t hurt the noise or comfort levels too much.
While I’m not the all-season subject, the Ziex ZE960 A/S is designed with Falken’s special rubber compound to offer better driving characteristics in summer and winter. The way it’s achieved is by using a silica-enriched rubber compound that makes the tire pliable in wintery conditions.
Treadwear Rating: 4/5
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
The Ziex ZE960 A/S has excellent performance on dry tarmac. It’s not the best in the world, but it’s good enough to be called a high-performance tire.
Grip and traction levels are phenomenal, and the tire doesn’t disappoint in this regard. More aggressive acceleration doesn’t result in a lot of slip, and the braking distances are relatively short. Going into a corner, the levels of grip will hold the line wonderfully. If you want some sideways action, you can without too much risk. The loss of grip feels progressive, and you can feel when you need to take action.
The biggest disappointment is the driving dynamics. Even though Falken tried to improve it over the previous generation, the responsiveness is still not particularly impressive. It will follow your inputs, but not as sharp as some of the other competitors in this class.
Dry Rating: 4/5
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
To my surprise, the Ziex ZE960 A/S performed very well on wet and slippery roads as well. I do have to mention that you will notice the tire slip at a certain point, but only if you push it really hard.
Regular driving on wet roads is just as you’d expect, civilized with excellent performance. When you put your foot down, the Ziex ZE960 A/S continues with the same amount of performance, giving you the confidence to push it. Traction and grip levels are well above average, meaning that you can have a lot of fun even if it starts raining.
The tread design and grooves seem to be doing their job properly, as the Ziex ZE960 A/S has excellent aquaplaning resistance.
Wet Rating: 4/5
How is it over snow?
As an all-season tire, the Ziex ZE960 A/S is decently good in snowy conditions. I say decently good because it cannot be compared with a proper winter tire.
Falken’s tweak to the rubber compound paid off, and the tire has an excellent performance in lower temperatures. Light snow conditions won’t be an issue, and the tire will have a decent amount of grip for a safe drive. Ice performance also is relatively good, and you can use it on frozen roads.
In terms of the braking distances, they are not breaking any records but still remain at the top of the class.
Harsher winter conditions are the biggest enemy of all-season tires, and it’s the same with the Ziex ZE960 A/S. It will struggle in deeper snow, so regardless of how good the tire is, it will struggle.
Snow Rating: 4/5
Is it comfortable and refined?
High-performance tires aren’t known for being comfortable, but the Ziex ZE960 A/S surprisingly is. I won’t be comparing it to a touring tire anytime soon, so don’t expect the plushest ride of your life. Despite that, the tire seems to do a pretty good job of softening up road imperfections or bigger holes at higher speeds. You will feel some vibrations in the cabin, but they won’t be as terrible as I initially thought.
The downside in the refinement department is the noise levels, which shouldn’t be a surprise. These kinds of tires are designed for maximum performance, sacrificing refinement. While the comfort levels are good, the noise levels aren’t so much. Around town, the noises are not too bad, but things get a bit worse when you get on the highway.
Comfort Rating: 3.5/5
Is it good for off-roading?
You can do some off-roading with the Ziex ZE960 A/S as long as you don’t expect too much from it. It can cope with dirt roads or shallow muddy patched decently, but anything more than that, and you can get in trouble. Not only will it not perform exceptionally well, but you may also end up damaging it.
Is the Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S ideal for sporty driving?
The Ziex ZE960 A/S isn’t the best for sporty driving, but it does have those properties.
The grip and traction levels are excellent throughout the year, except for some extreme winter conditions. As a result, you’ll have no problem pushing the tire to its limits and have some fun. While it will perform like a champ, some enthusiasts may not like the tire’s lack of sharpness. It’s not as slow or as numb as some grand touring tires, that’s for sure.
Noise Rating: 3/5
Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S Warranty
Speaking of touring, even though the Ziex ZE960 A/S is a high-performance tire, Falken offers it with a touring-like warranty. The tire comes with either a 65,000 or 45,000-mile treadwear warranty depending on the speed rating. You get the shorter warranty on the tires with the higher speed rating, which is expected.
Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S Pricing: Is it worth the money?
When you consider the overall package, the Ziex ZE960 A/S is worth the money. The starting price is around $75, which isn’t too high a price for a tire that can be driven throughout the year. As a bonus, you get a decent amount of performance.
If you feel like you want more, you will need to pay more, in which case the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 is a great option.
Value Rating: 4/5
Should I buy the Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S?
Yes, the Ziex ZE960 A/S is an excellent high-performance all-season tire for people that are on a tighter budget.
As a package, the tire is an excellent choice, as long as you’re willing to make some compromises. On the performance side of things, there are no faults. Grip and traction are excellent throughout the year, and the tire feels confident and safe on the road. The downside is that you will have to settle for some more noise and not so sharp responsiveness.
If you feel like you can spend the extra money, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 will be able to offer more in terms of performance, and you’ll have fewer drawbacks. If your budget isn’t as flexible, then the Ziex ZE960 A/S is an excellent option.
Overall Rating: 4/5
What Vehicles Will the Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S Fit?
Here’s a sample list of cars that the WinGuard Sport 2 will fit:
- Acura TLX
- BMW 3, 4 series
- Chevrolet Impala
- Dodge Challenger, Charger
- Honda Accord
- Infiniti Q50
- Lexus IS
- Mazda 6
- Mercedes C Class
- Tesla Model 3
- Toyota Camry
Tire Sizes for Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S
List of Falken Tire Reviews