Falken Ziex S/TZ-05 Review & Rating
- Dry and wet traction
- Cornering and stability
- Ride comfort
- Tread life
While there are a number of choices in the all-season tire market for truck and SUV owners, Falken has come out with a new model for 2013 that is really getting some attention. Their new all-season model, the Ziex S/TZ05, is built to not only provide dependable year-round traction and handling, but also some of the best cornering grip and ride performance in its class.
In fact this tire is a blend of practicality and high performance. Optimized for sport trucks, it lets you go almost anywhere while also giving many less versatile models a run for their money in the handling stakes. It doesn’t compromise on comfort either. If you drive a high-end truck or SUV and don’t want your vehicle’s performance held back by agricultural rubber this could be exactly the tire you’re looking for.
The Ziex tread pattern is quite aggressive looking, making it a very good esthetic match for more rugged vehicles. It’s a symmetrical and non-directional tread pattern, which makes it easier to rotate – a maintenance point that many people forget. The intermediate bands are made up of interlocking blocks separated by generous sipes, so the STZ05 has no problem in clearing water away from its treads. This shows in its excellent wet weather traction.
Grip in dry conditions is also outstanding, and in a tire designed for big, heavy vehicles that makes the Falkens very reassuring in use. We never felt a shortage of grip when testing these, even when pushed hard. In fact we even tried them out in a muddy field, with some patches of wet grass just for variety, and came away very impressed. These really do handle any surface, wet or dry.
Cornering – Steering
Like many recent tires we’ve seen the Falken S/TZ05 has a continuous center rib, designed to improve cornering performance by giving the tread more lateral stiffness through a turn. It certainly seems to work. With these fitted on a truck or SUV it’s likely you’ll reach the vehicle’s stability limit long before the tires lose their grip. Steering response was nice and sharp too, with none of the vagueness sometimes found on heavier tires.
The tread compound on the Ziex is a modern all-season blend, and it proved its worth on icy roads and wet slush. It also performed well in snow, probably due to the aggressive, chunky blocks and the wide shoulders. The tread pattern offers plenty of cutting edges to improve grip, and the shoulder blocks are deep enough to add some extra traction at the sides of the wheel ruts when the snow gets deeper. These still aren’t a match for proper snow tires of course, but compared to most other all-season designs they’ll keep going much longer as the snow piles up. Highly recommended for winter driving.
Ride Comfort – Road Noise
We had fairly low expectations when it came to road noise, but the actual performance of the S/TZ05 was much better than anticipated. In fact it was good, period. Even at high speeds these tires gave no hint of their rugged design, instead providing a very quiet ride.
Comfort was also good. The nylon-reinforced belts add a degree of comfort, and overall driving on the Ziex’s was an extremely pleasant experience. Even on a longer journey there’s no risk of arriving at your destination worn out by noise and vibration.
If there is one knock on this tire it might be tread life. We feel it is not all it could be. That said, this model is still too new at the present time to have much in the way of user reports yet, but with a UTQG rating of only 460 it’s not likely they’ll last much beyond 50,000 miles. Of course, this is not terrible by any means and for the performance this tread gives, it isn’t unacceptable in the least.
Falken offer a 50,000 mile warranty on the S/TZ05, which fits with its UTQG rating. It’s not the best on the market, but reasonable enough. There’s a 5 year warranty on materials and workmanship, and free replacement within the first 2/32 of tread wear.