For those of you who wish to be updated on the latest lineup of Falken all-season tires, it is only fitting to say that the Falken Ziex ZE329 was replaced by the new and much better Ziex ZE950. The new tire was updated by Falken to deliver better wet and dry performance and to address major complaint against the embattled Falken Ziex ZE329: mediocre tread wear.
You can read more about the new Falken Ziex ZE950 in this review.
However, if you want to find out more about the Falken Ziex ZE329, this review is right for you.
I was lucky to obtain a 2008 Mazda 3 sedan fitted with stock wheels and 15-inch Falken Ziex ZE329 tires. The owner of the Mazda 3 is thinking about upgrading to a bigger set of wheels and better tires. He told me that the Falken’s had average performance when new, but good quality of the tires soon began to fade quickly as the tires got older and more on that later.
In this Falken Ziex ZE329 review, I was able to discern while Falken saw it proper to replace this tire with the Ziex ZE950, which is many times better in all aspects while remaining in the same price range.
The Falken Ziex ZE329 is an all-season high-performance tire designed for compacts, midsize sedans, and sporty crossovers. It is available in 15” to 18” diameters and comes with a 60,000-mile limited warranty.
The Falken Ziex ZE329 is manufactured utilizing a softer tread compound to deliver maximum traction on both wet and dry road conditions. The tire is equipped with five circumferential grooves with a non-directional symmetric design.
The tire is engineered with multiple lateral grooves that help improve traction and grip on wet and snowy roads. The Falken Ziex ZE329 is also equipped with a rim protector to shield the lips of your precious wheels from scratches and curb damage.
Since this tire has a symmetric non-directional tread, you can rotate the tires in multiple ways to improve the tread life and prevent uneven wear.
I prefer the zippy handling of the Mazda 3 to the pretentious feel of other compacts like the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. In fact, I used to own a similar Mazda 3 sedan before I sold it less than two years ago. Let’s see how the Falken Ziex ZE329 performs in my test car.
The Falken Ziex ZE329 tires on my Mazda test car were approximately 6 months old. The owner told me that the handling was a bit better when the tires were new, but everything changed as the tires began to wear rapidly.
Traction and grip was average in my book, although I felt the tires could do better. I felt the rear of the car slide a bit when I attacked a sweeping corner at speed, and the tires seemed to hunt for traction as I accelerated hard when I exited the corner. The steering also felt funny which is uncharacteristic for a Mazda 3. You still feel in control, but it seems that the tires had a mind of their own as it grasped for dear life every time I pushed hard on the accelerator.
Traction in the wet was also acceptable, and that’s saying it a bit kindly. I didn’t want to speed up on wet roads since the car felt it was losing its composure upon reaching 70 mph or upwards.
I am perfectly aware that it is irresponsible to speed up on a damp public highway, but I really wanted to know if the Falken Ziex ZE329 can handle wet roads with minimal fuss or drama. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
For an all-season high-performance tire, the Falken Ziex ZE329 should perform better on wet pavement. Braking on wet roads also meant you have to say a short prayer since the tires struggled to bring the Mazda 3 to a full stop from average speed.
The snow performance of the Falken Ziex ZE329 can only be described as negligible. As long as you drive straight ahead at slow speeds, you can maintain an acceptable degree of control even if the roads are covered in snow or ice. Applying a bit more throttle will cause the tires to hunt for traction and grip, which only gets worst if you are abrupt with the steering inputs.
I know that the Mazda 3 is a comfortable car. Yes, the suspension is a bit stiff to be quite honest, but it manages to deliver a comfortable ride on the freeway.
However, it seems the Falken Ziex ZE329 managed to turn the stiff ride into something that is a bit ponderous than the norm. There was a lot of body movement at speed. City driving was also a bit raucous since the tires would hump and thump at the slightest provocation on bad roads.
The Falken Ziex ZE329 performed poorly in terms of road noise. There were perceivable amounts of tire roar at any speed, save for the occasional crawl in heavy traffic. Highway driving proved to be a bit irritating as the tires literally screamed on harsh concrete.
I talked to the owner of the Mazda 3 about the wear characteristics of the Falken Ziex ZE329. He told me the tires were wearing out faster than he expected, but he was actually looking forward to replacing the tires with a better set of all-season rubber.
The tread wear is one of the biggest complaints about the Falken Ziex ZE329. After having tested the Falken Ziex ZE950 (which happens to be the unofficial replacement for the Ziex ZE329), I was thankful Falken addressed the issue of accelerated wear and tear on the Ziex ZE329.
I wasn’t surprised that the Falken Ziex ZE329 got a very low score in this review.The tires made my test car felt like an older and less-refined vehicle from the early 1990s.
However, I am thankful that Falken managed to address all bad things about this tire by releasing the Falken Ziex ZE950.
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Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for DrivingPress.com