I am in need of new tires very soon. I am been researching for months and almost thought I had decided, but then I think of something else.
I have a wagon that is currently on factory shocks/springs.
We have owned a 2004 Mazda6S wagon since the spring of 2006, and have put a lot of miles on it, mostly spirited driving. We live west of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, where it rains a lot; therefore, soon after we purchased the car, seven years ago, we really had no reasonable alternative but to threw away the OEM all-season tires, even though they still had a lot of tread depth on them, because on wet roads, all
all-season tires are dangerous.
Does it rain frequently where you are? Then narrow your selection to tires that were not designed with tread compounds that intentionally
retain water on the tread, i.e.,
all-season tires, that employ a hydrophilic (water-loving) tread compound to enable the tread to stick to snow. The safe
way to drive on wet roads is to drive on tires that evacuate as much water as possible from the interface between tread and pavement; but all-season tires are intentionally designed to do exactly the opposite.
We have had several exotic and expensive tires on the wagon over the years that we have owned it, some more successful than others. For pure bang for the buck, you could hardly do better than the Hankook Ventus V12 tires. We had a really good run with those. We also had a good, if short, run with Yokohama ADVAN Sport tires. Excellent handling, excellent braking, short life. Goodyear F1 Asymmetric? Meh. Not bad. Similarly, Pirelli P Zero Nero. Both the Pirellis and the Goodyears were satisfactory, but not exceptional. The much less expensive Hankooks were the equal of both, but from a performance standpoint at least a notch below the ADVAN Sports.
The Continental ExtremeContact DW were a major disappointment. They have single-ply carcass construction ("sidewall plies" in UTQG-speak): strike one; and that single ply is polyester: strike two. We have had SIDEWALL failure with the Contis. Trust me: you do not want your tires to suffer sidewall failures. Stay away.
The BEST overall tires that we have had on the wagon were -- are
, as they are on it now -- Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT tires. (The Dunlop nomenclature can be confusing: you need all of the qualifiers, all the way to the TT, because Dunlop has several similarly named tires.) The 'TTs have two rayon plies in the carcass; rayon is better than polyester in every way: check out just about any major manufacturer of high performance tires and you will see that the top of the top of the line tires of that manufacturer are built around rayon. And two plies in the sidewall are better than one. We can commend the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT tires without reservation.