Hankook Ventus V12 ... That said, the current fronts are not even to the wet bar yet and they are noticeably more worn than the current rears.
*edit*Part of the reason for getting the V12's was their wet weather performance, I would recommend a UHP or max performance summer tire just on the grounds of how much better they handle rain.
Among the many tires that we have had on our wagon were a pair of Hankook Ventus V12s, which -- unusually for us -- we ran only at the front; we never had them at the rear. (We tend to buy tires in pairs, mount the new tires on the rear, and move the formerly rear tires to the front, where we run them until they wear out; that is the extent of our "rotation.") There is some water dispersal advantage to a directional tread design (such as the V12's) mounted at the front, but no advantage at the rear, when the tires will be running in the tracks cleared by the front tires a small fraction of a second before. OTOH, asymmetric tires make sense at all four positions, as the inner and outer sidewalls of a tire have different tasks in lateral acceleration.
Back to the V12s: ours wore better than other tires we have run that had the same UTQG Treadwear rating. Also -- and we may have just been lucky with our specific pair -- the V12s required less compensatory weights on the wheel than most other tires we have mounted have required, and, throughout their entire life, the V12s never leaked any air. All tires leak some
air, of course, but we check all of our tires every two weeks or so, and we very rarely had to add any compensatory air to the V12s to keep them right where we want them (34.5 psi to 35 psi for the rear tires, 36.5 psi to 37 psi for the fronts). All in all, the V12 was a satisfactory tire for us, and certainly a bargain at its price.
The Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT tires now mounted at the rear are perhaps the best tires we have had on this wagon -- and that is saying a lot, because, among the tires that we have mounted are included some exotic (and expensive) Yokohama ADVAN Sports, which are fantastic handlers, but wear very rapidly.
In over five decades of driving, where I have had literally hundreds of tires on my cars, we have had only four tires that failed in the sidewall
; three of those four were Continentals, the most recent being a Continental ExtremeContact DW that failed on us this past summer with only about 1,000 miles on it. Even with the number of tires that we have run over the years, we comprise a small sample, so such statistics are anecdotal only; but I finally have learned my lesson: the replacement tire that I bought last summer to replace the ExtremeContact DW was another DW, to match the other almost-new tire across the axle, but it will be the last Conti I ever buy. The DW is built around a casing ("sidewall ply" in DOT-speak) of a single layer of polyester, which makes it supple and weak. In contrast, the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT uses a two-ply carcass construction -- and the material is rayon, which is superior to polyester both in strength and linearity over a wide temperature range. The only reason any tire maker would use polyester for the casing is price -- it is a sign that the tire maker is cheaping out on you, just as a Macpherson strut front suspension tells you that the car maker would rather save $5 in the construction of the car than give you a superior double-wishbone link.