(This is more of an argument for new tires than encouraging any specific model.)
After way too much delay, I bought four new Continental Contact Sport tires to replace my horrible OEM Dunlops. 225/45R19 tires on OEM wheels for my 2016 Mazda6 Touring stick-shift. The car is stock with 26,000 miles.
I've been a vocal critic of the overwhelming noise and complete lack of grip of the OEM garbage, and had high hopes for whatever tire I chose.
I only drive about 6,000 miles annually, mostly local suburbia. I'm in Colorado and have dedicated 18" Yokohama snow tires on Craigslist Mazdaspeed wheels, so maybe 4,000 annually on the summer tires.
I prefer local tire shops, but didn't know any, so chose Discount Tire. Talked with them: good options included Yokohama Advan Sports A/S for $164 each, Pirelli Cinturato Strada Sport for $190 each, and the Continental Control Contact Sport A/S for $185 each. The last two are exclusive to Discount Tire, whether it's a re-label or a unique tire.
There's a supposed $70 rebate on the Contis, and Discount generously gave me $25 trade-in on each of my used tires, so final cost out the door, with tax, balancing, etc., was $780. Considering my original estimates were nearly $1,000, this is great. And, since all are 40-50K mile tires, they were all pretty good value.
Just about 150 local miles on the tires, but so far I love them. Even in some pretty heavy rain. First off, they are so much quieter than the OEM tires that the engine sound is completely different. Engine is still quiet, but it's now audible. Thrilled. On the highway, accelerating, I can hear the engine and not just road noise from the rear wheels. At cruising speed, I can reduce radio volume 3-4 bars.
Grip seems great. These aren't super highperformance tires, but neither is the Mazda6. Haven't done any zoomy on or off ramps, but suburban corners that used to squeal and get tire spin from the Dunlops are now smoothly accelerating non-events. Much more confidence and grip, so less understeer.
If you're got the OEM Dumlumps, replace them now with any quality tire and you'll be much, much happier every time you drive. Best of all, I love walking into the garage and getting that new tire bouquet!
I agree, the dunlops that came OEM on the 19" wheels are truly shit. All of the 17" wheels came equipped with Yokohama Advan A83A tires, which is a truly very impressive and high performance tire especially for OEM equipment. They are not cheap either. They are noisy tires probably due to the compound these use (Silica, same as Pirelli) But the overall performance is nothing short of excellent. They feel incredibly well tuned to the Mazda 6's chassis with very precise and direct steering feel, excellent grip which is very forgiving right up to the limit, fantastic grip and feedback in the rain, overall the tire just feels really good working with the car and the steering/chassis feel is excellent. The car feels like an extension of your arms and feet on a complicated, twisty road. They are quite noisy, but treadwear has been very reasonable and they are smooth and comfortable. To anyone looking into new tires, I'd definitely give Yokohama a look. They can be a little pricey and are downright noisy, but I'd really not an issue for me because the way it feels on my Mazda is fantastic.
The Continentals seem like a popular and totally reasonable choice around here, but it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to buy A/S tires if you already have a dedicated set of winters. You should have bought something higher performance.