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Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S Tire Test - Value, Comfort, and Safety For Crossovers

In our initial report, we overview the Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S and provide our early impressions of this value-oriented crossover tire.

With America’s family vehicle having shifted from sedans to crossovers, it only makes sense that tire manufacturers now develop tires specifically for crossover SUVs. For most crossover owners, off-pavement and severe winter duty are not high priorities. Rather, value, comfort, and a satisfying ride top the priority list. It was with these main goals in mind that we selected the new Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S tire for a long-term test. Toyota Highlander with Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S tires. Our test vehicle is a much-loved member of our fleet, a 2007 Toyota Highlander Sport V6 AWD. Over its 120,000-mile life to date, the Highlander has worn five sets of tires by our count. These include its original OEM tires, two replacement three-season tires, and two sets of Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires on their own rims. We have never had the Goldilocks tire for this vehicle. By that we mean one which really felt like it checked off every box. Some were too stiff, others sloppy in their handling, and the Blizzaks, though amazing in snow, hum and roar their way down the road so loudly we can't wait to get them off the rig in spring.

Value A Main Priority, But Not Our Only Priority For this test, we were not looking for high performance, a three-peak-mountain snowflake severe snow duty rating, or any sort of run-flat or self-sealing technology. The Highlander is a cruiser, not a bruiser, we still have a couple of seasons left on our Blizzaks for winter, and it has a full-size matching spare tire on a matching alloy rim under its cargo area. Our main priorities were, in order of importance, the following: Value Satisfying driving experience Quiet highway ride Safe and secure wet-weather and light snow performance

Breaking Down Value of the Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S Tire We should define value. Our value goal was that the tire have a low price point and be available widely for easy replacement if one should be damaged in the future. The tire should be made by a brand we know and trust, have a long treadlife rating, and a warranty we believe in. We have come to trust Falken after testing the brand's tires, speaking with installers, and doing our own reading of many owner reviews. Falken does not try to be all things to all vehicle owners. However, where it does play in the market, it does an admiral job. Falken’s new(ish) WildPeak tire series has garnered a lot of attention lately, as the brand continues to be selected by OEMs for off-pavement-oriented crossovers and SUVs like the Ford Bronco Sport, Toyota RAV4 Woodlands and Mazda CX-50 Meridian. The Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S Tire has a 65,000-mile tread life rating and warranty. In addition, the tire comes with a 30-day ride guarantee and also a two-year Road Hazard Protection guarantee at no added cost. This is a very respectable package of included warranties. We priced out the ZIEX CT60 A/S in our Highlander’s size, 225/70R16. We found prices as follows online: Walmart $121.36 Tire Rack $135.00 Priority Tire $143.99 These prices are among the lowest for any all-season touring tire from a respectable brand. This low price point makes the Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S an easy choice. Image of Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S tire by John GorehamFalken ZIEX CT60 A/S Tire Design The ZIEX CT60 A/S is a touring tire specifically designed for crossover and SUV use. It employs a modern all-season tread compound formulated to provide shorter stopping distances in wet and snowy weather. Falken says that its goals were to create a tire that would be durable and trustworthy in year-round use. The ZIEX CT60 was designed by Falken to accommodate the ride height of modern crossover platforms. Its crossover-specific tire construction enables the tire's footprint to always remain firmly in contact with the road. This ensures optimal handling, stability, and defense against obstacles. An example of the tread design working to keep this tire in optimal shape when driven is the 3D canyon sipes. (the little zig-zag slits in the outside tread blocks). They can interlock to resist the uneven wear exhibited by car-tire-design tires applied to crossovers and SUVs. The ZIEX CT60 is an asymmetric tire and comes with the outside of the tire clearly marked for installers. Image of Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S tire by John GorehamInitial Driving Impressions Our OEM tires are long gone and a faded memory, so a comparison to them is not really appropriate. However, we can say that the ZIEX CT60 A/S seem to fit this vehicle hand in glove. The rounded tread design near the sidewall is the same as the OEM tires and the Continental tires we most recently used as our 3-season rubber. This design seems to fit the vehicle’s needs.

Handling The Highlander is not sports-car sharp in its handling, nor would we expect any similar crossover model to be. Yet, the vehicle does handle quite nicely. After about 300 miles with the new Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S tires, we found that there seems to be no break-in period needed. We detected no tread squirm and no slippery feeling from residual mold-release compounds. Our first miles felt just right.

Noise We are happy to report that the tires are extremely quiet on the highway. We could detect no tire noise at all. By contrast, we just tested a similarly-sized 2023 premium-branded crossover which had a lot of annoying tire noise on the highway. It also wore all-season touring tires from a well-known brand, but they were not Falken brand tires. The contrast was surprising to us. Falken clearly made low tire noise a priority. Mobile tire serviceBalancing The Falken tires balanced well, according to Jay Condrick of Boston Mobile Tire, our go-to on-site tire service provider. No unusual amount of balancing weights were required, and all four tires were quick and easy to make perfect. There is zero highway vibration from this now 16-year-old crossover SUV with these new tires.

Looks The look of the ZIEX CT60 A/S tire mimics that of the original OEM tires. So we have no improvement to report in that regard. Unlike the Falken WildPeak A/T tires, which look bad-azz on our other test vehicle due to their aggressive tread pattern and sidewall protection, the ZIEX CT60 A/S seems to blend in nicely with the Highlander’s conservative styling. Tire tread depth toolTread Depth We measured a nominal initial tread depth of a bit over 8mm, normal for a tire of this style. We will track our tread depth over the coming miles, but we do not intend for our tread wear reporting to be indicative of what another owner might experience.

Initial Rating With a few hundred miles of urban, suburban, and highway driving now under our belt, the Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S tire seems like an ideal choice for those seeking value, longevity, comfort, and a quiet ride. Watch Torque News for updates as the seasons unfold. We expect our next report to include wet-weather performance and any changes in fuel economy.


Test Note: The tires in this test were provided by Falken, and as always, we have offered to return them following our long-term test. On-site mounting and balancing were paid for by the author ($200). Images of Falken ZIEX CT60 A/S tire by John Goreham.

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his ten years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin