Continental ExtremeContact DWS Review

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Review

  • Dry 85%
  • Wet 90%
  • Snow 80%
  • Comfort 90%
  • Noise 80%
  • Treadwear 90%
  • Overall 86%

It is difficult to choose a tire if you live in areas with annual heavy rains and snow. With that being said, it can get a bit costly to buy two sets of tires for all-season and winter driving conditions. But the Continental ExtremeContact DWS tire is different.

In this review, we got the chance to test these tires in real world conditions. We wanted to find out if all the hype surrounding the Continental ExtremeContact DWS is true. If you’re not that much into cars (or tires for that matter), here’s what you need to know: the Continental ExtremeContact DWS is one of the top ultra-high performance tires engineered for true year-round and all-season driving.

For this review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS, we got the chance to test drive a 2017 Mazda CX-5 Touring fitted with Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires on stock 17-inch wheels. I’m not biased when it comes to cars, but the SKYACTIV Mazda CX-5 is one of the best crossover SUVs in my book. I think it not only looks better than the current Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, or Subaru Forester, but it really handles like a sporty compact, which I definitely appreciate in a car-based SUV.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS review: Features

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS is a sterling choice for sporty sedans, sports cars, sporting coupes, and even sporty trucks or crossovers. The DWS nomenclature simply means Dry, Wet, and Snow, which speaks highly about the capabilities of the tire. It is primarily engineered to satisfy the demands of year-round and all-season driving with highly capable snow or winter performance.

The tire is constructed using twin internal belts that are further reinforced with spirally wound jointless cap plies. This technique reduces the overall weight of the tire and ensures long-term integrity in sustained high-speed driving. The rubber is a blend of advanced silica, high grip, and all-season tread compound to produce a tire that performs extremely well in dry, wet, and snow.

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS features an attractive and sporty asymmetrical tread design equipped with stable shoulder blocks and a continued notched intermediate rib to enhance stability, cornering, and steering feel on wet or dry roads. Independent blocks on the center tread are equipped with high-angle crisscross grooves to provide more biting edges as the tire rolls over slippery or snowy terrain.

What makes the Continental ExtremeContact DWS unique are the built-in Tuned Performance Indicators. They are basically visible letters molded in the second rib from the outer shoulder that provides visual warnings on the condition of the tire. The DWS marking means the tire has sufficient tread depth to perform admirably on dry, wet, and snow. When the S marking fades away, the tire is only good for dry and wet. Stay on dry roads if you notice only the D marking on the tire.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS review: Test Drive

Our test vehicle was originally purchased in sunny California. The owner had to relocate to Minnesota for career-related issues, hence the abrupt need to change the tires. He told me the Continental ExtremeContact DWS gave his Mazda crossover the ability to survive the harsh Minnesota winter. That is high praise given the ExtremeContact DWS can also outrank other performance-biased tires in dry and wet roads.

Dry Traction

I have nothing but high praises for the Continental ExtremeContact DWS on dry tarmac. Traction was excellent and the grip was immense as I tossed the Mazda CX-5 hard towards a winding left-hand bend. Man, this SUV can really scoot like a Mazda3! Although body roll is still evident if you really push it, the tires never gave up on me even if the surface is peppered with fine sand and bits of loose dirt. Braking is also excellent as I was able to haul the CX-5 to a complete stop without peeing in my pants.

Wet Traction

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires were unperturbed by water puddles and heavy rain. Dare I say the tires felt better in the wet than on dry land? Maybe it’s just me, or maybe because the tires were really that good. Braking in the wet was also drama-free provided the tires are cooled down by the heavy downpour.

Snow Traction

I only tested the tires over moderately icy roads and I was able to travel at a moderate pace without skidding or losing traction. Braking was also admirable but not as strong as in the wet. You need to react faster and brake earlier if you want to avoid a collision. Overall, I am impressed on how the tires felt ‘normal’ when driven over snow.


The Mazda CX-5 is one of those stiff-riding crossovers that offers the right balance between handling and ride comfort. Yes, it’s not floaty like a Lexus but it doesn’t wallow over bumps, either. The Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires gave my test vehicle a smooth and consistent ride quality even over rough patches of concrete roads. Mind you, it’s not as comfy as a set of touring tires, but it still gave my test vehicle a refined feel.


The Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires rolled silently over harsh city roads and was eerily quiet on the highway as well. Only at silly speeds will you notice some tire roar, but it wasn’t as harsh as other tires. If you drive sedately, the tires can deliver a noise-free driving environment.


The Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires in my test vehicle were driven for 4,000 miles before the S marking on the wear indicator began to fade. However, I think it’s an anomaly since my test vehicle is mostly driven in the city.


This review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS gave me a new perspective on the capabilities of a true all-season tire. It is safe to say it is one of the best choices if you need a high-performance sporty tire that won’t give up at the first sign of snow.

This tire is available in:

Sporty sedans/coupes/crossovers, 16” to 22”, Ultra-high performance, All-season

OHTSU FP0612 A/S Review

OHTSU FP0612 A/S Review

  • Dry 85%
  • Wet 80%
  • Snow 70%
  • Comfort 80%
  • Noise 75%
  • Treadwear 75%
  • Overall 80%

Does your car need a set of quality and affordable all-season tires? You might want to check out this review of the OHTSU FP0612 A/S. This tire is designed and manufactured to meet the demands of sporting sedans, coupes, and crossover vehicles. OHTSU tires are also renowned for their near dirt-cheap price.

Don’t get me wrong. It is easy to find truly dirt cheap tires, but the Otsu brand slots a notch above those Chinese-made tires with no reputation for quality. Did you know that Falken tires were created as a high-performance brand under the OHTSU Tire and Rubber Industry brand? OHTSU tires are the high-performance brand of tires in Japan under the Sumitomo Rubber Corporation. The OHTSU brand has been in the market for more than 30 years. If you have any concerns or issues with the reliability and quality of the OHTSU name, the facts above will put all of that to rest.

My colleague hooked me up with a 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE with the 2.4-liter four-banger and 6-speed automatic transmission. The car was equipped with aftermarket 18-inch wheels and OHTSU FP0612 A/S tires. As luck would have it, my test vehicle was also riding on aftermarket lowering springs. I am not the biggest fan of the Sonata’s styling, but with gorgeous wheels and a lowered stance, the vehicle had a different vibe that looks ready to be driven fast.

In this review of the OHTSU FP0612 A/S, I took the tires for a lengthy test drive to find out if the tires can perform as advertised given the affordable price. I am also aware that various testers from other tire review sites are in awe of the OTHSU FP0612 A/S. Let’s see if I share the same sentiments with my other colleagues in the business.

List of OHTSU Tires Review

» OHTSU Tires Review
» OHTSU FP7000
» OHTSU ST5000

OHTSU FP0612 A/S Review: Features

The OHTSU FP0612 A/s is a high-performance all-season tire with the DNA of a touring tire. What this basically means is the tire is a sporty alternative that won’t give you backaches over extended drives. This tire won’t make you broke since it starts at approximately $70 each. Barring cheap Chinese tires, where else can you buy $70 high-performance tires with a non-directional tread design?

The OTSU FP0612 A/S is constructed with an all-season tread compound to provide better traction and grip on both wet and dry roads. The asymmetrical tread design is equipped with angled grooves to enhance grip on snowy, slippery, or icy roads. The tire has four wide circumferential grooves to enhance water evacuation and further improve grip on extremely wet or slippery pavement.

The tire is also equipped with variable shoulder tread blocks that improves handling and cornering while reducing road noise. It is available from 14” to 18”.

OHTSU FP0612 A/S Review: Test Drive

Despite the larger wheels and lowered suspension, my test vehicle still felt like a proper Korean luxury car on smooth roads. The owner of the Sonata gave me the entire weekend to test the vehicle. In exchange, I offered him some discount coupons for car parts and body mods.

Dry Traction

The OHTSU FP0612 A/S tires were surprisingly good on dry roads. Traction and grip were persistent even as I pushed the car harder on tight turns. Acceleration and braking felt strong and I never felt the tires lose their composure as I drove like a lunatic over twisting mountain roads.

The car felt magnificent as I sped on dry tarmac. It really felt like my test vehicle was riding on a more expensive set of all-season tires.

However, I noticed the tires were squirming a bit as I pushed hard over those twisting turns. I guess you can blame this to my ham-fisted driving style rather than becoming an inherent fault of the tires.

Wet Traction

This might sound a bit unbelievable, but the OHTSU FP0612 A/S tires also felt remarkable in the wet. Braking and acceleration felt confident as the tires mustered the courage to find tons of grip even on slippery wet asphalt.

There’s one minor caveat: the steering felt a bit looser in the wet. I think if the tires were fitted with a solid and wider center groove, it could have been a whole different story altogether.

Snow Traction

I didn’t get the chance to test the tires in the snow due to time constraints. However, the owner of my test vehicle was more than willing to chalk up a couple of stories about driving on snow and ice.

He told me the OHTSU FP0612 A/S tires were great on very light snow, but you can expect things to change if you attempt to drive over ice or hard-packed snow.


My test vehicle was riding on lowering springs so it is a bit hard to judge the tires based on comfort. However, the tires felt taut and forgiving when driven on smooth highways.

Things will start to jiggle up a bit if you drive over rough patches of tarmac or potholes, but the tires were basically refined despite the sporting apprehensions.


The noise levels of the OHTSU FP0612 A/S are just about average. The tires are silent at slow to medium speeds but you can expect more tire roar as you approach highway speeds. But considering the low price point, I was mightily impressed with the low noise characteristics of the OHTSU all-season tires.


The OHTSU FP0612 A/S tires fitted to my test vehicle were installed about five months ago and have been used for about 2,000-miles. The tires already had signs of wear. The sipes on the shoulder blocks were beginning to fade along with the angled sipes on the center rib.


I’ve been testing tires for the better part of my adult life, but I have never been this impressed with a cheap tire before I got the chance to try the OHTSU FP0612 A/S. If you are looking for a sporty set of all-season rubber that won’t leave you bankrupt, you know what to buy.

Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 Review

Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 85%
  • Snow 60%
  • Comfort 95%
  • Noise 80%
  • Treadwear 80%
  • Overall 82%
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 is an ultra-high performance tire that is created to suit the demands of high-performance sporty sedans, hatchbacks, and sporty coupes. From that alone, it is easy to discern this tire will have an astronomical price tag.
But in this review of the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452, I was surprised to find out that this is one of the more affordable choices in the market. Each tire will start at less than $100 and you won’t spend more than $500 for a complete set of 215/55R17 rollers. In my book, this is good value since most ultra-high performance tires will cost upwards of $120 to $150 each.

My test vehicle was a 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium fitted with stock 18-inch wheels and Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires. My test car was the EcoBoost model and it also came with a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. With 231 horsepower and 270 ft.-lbs. of torque from as low as 3,000 RPM, I was more than eager to push the car to the limit to find out if the tires are any good.

Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 Review: Features

From the first time you lay eyes on the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2, you know that the tires are meant for high-performance driving. But Hankook made it clear the tires are also oriented towards a smooth and comfortable ride.

The asymmetrical tread design is equipped with a positive aqua hydro block design to provide excellent performance on wet and slippery roads. You will see a straight rib block on the outside shoulder of the tire and this feature is responsible for enhancing the cornering grip while suppressing tire roar.

Acceleration, braking, cornering, and overall handling is also enhanced via the application of a 3D Kerf design on the treads. The tire is also equipped with five rows of pitch variation to further reduce road noise and tire roar at high speeds.

The Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 is constructed using an advanced silica tread compound to deliver outstanding wet and dry performance and improved tread wear characteristics. The tire is also fitted with tie-bars on the shoulders of the tread to ensure optimal block stiffness.

Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 Review: Test Drive

Although my test car was only fitted with a humble four-banger, the turbocharged motor made the Fusion an exciting car to drive on the road. I was also impressed with the space and refinement of the sedan. I got the keys, hopped in, and proceeded to drive the entire day in order to determine the merits of this all-season tire.

Dry Traction

Make no mistake about it. The Ford Fusion is a large sedan, but it is a capable handler as well. It doesn’t behave like a true sports car, but the tight steering and the sharp handling belies the docile nature of the car when driven on tight city streets.

Push it hard on the highway and the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires will be more than willing to oblige. I wouldn’t say that dry traction was excellent, but it was more than adequate to cope with the size and weight of my test car.

I did feel the tires were oriented more towards comfort and longevity rather than outright performance, but nobody will drive their Ford Fusion like they were inside a Nissan GT-R or Audi R8.

Wet Traction

There was a bit of rain in the late afternoon. The dry asphalt roads were now slippery and wet with a couple of water puddles here and there.

I never felt the tires skipped a beat even as I pushed hard on the pedal. In fact, the tires felt the same on both dry and wet roads. The steering felt good and braking performance was stellar despite the slippery road conditions.

If you push it really hard in the wet, you will feel the tires squirming for grip as you attack tight corners at speed. But if you drive safely and stay below the speed limit, the tires are more than willing to obey your steering and throttle inputs.

Snow Traction

Snow traction was also admirable given the performance nature of the tires. However, you will quickly reach the limits of traction and grip on extremely icy or snowy roads. I guess this had something to do with the advanced silica compound and advanced 3D kerf design of the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires.


In my opinion, this is the strongest argument for purchasing the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires. Ultra-high performance tires are not known for their outstanding comfort, but the Hankook Ventus S1 will beg to differ. My test vehicle felt like a more expensive luxury sedan since the tires delivered tons of comfort in both city and highway driving.


I was also pleased with the silent ride of the Ford Fusion. This can be contributed in large part to the straight rib block design of the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires. Tire roar is toned down to the bare minimum even if you happen to be driving on a rough patch of concrete. The tires were also whisper-quiet on city roads.


The tires fitted to my test car were approximately six months old and have traveled approximately 7,000 miles since they were bought brand new. The treads were still relatively fresh. They looked like they can last for another 7,000 or so miles!


This might sound a bit funny, but the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 H452 tires are high-performance tires that are capable of exhibiting a luxurious and comfortable ride. For the price, these are magnificent tires for sports sedans and coupes and offer terrific value for the price.

Primewell Valera Sport AS Review

Primewell Valera Sport AS Review

  • Dry 80%
  • Wet 70%
  • Snow 65%
  • Comfort 85%
  • Noise 70%
  • Treadwear 70%
  • Overall 74%
The Primewell Valera Sport AS is an all-season ultra-high performance tire that comes with a friendly and affordable price tag. This is one of the newest tires in Primewell’s lineup and is designed to meet the sporting demands of sports coupes and sporting sedans.

Other ultra-high performance tires will cost you an arm and a leg, but not the Valera Sport AS. I’ve been testing tires for a long time, and I always know that cheap tires will have certain compromises in road noise, wet handling, or tread wear.

With that being said, my test car for this Primewell Valera Sport AS review is a 2015 Honda Civic SI sedan. It is equipped with a slightly more powerful 1.8-liter four-cylinder motor and 17-inch aftermarket wheels. The tires fitted were the Primewell Valera Sport AS and were purchased a couple of months ago.

The owner of the Civic bought the tires simply because they cost less than other brands. He had no intentions of buying Chinese tires that are flooding the market these days since he wanted something with a bit more brand credibility. The owner also had a first-generation Honda CR-V that were fitted with Primewell tires so he is entirely familiar with the Primewell brand.

Primewell Valera Sport AS review: Features

Unlike other ultra-high performance tires with an asymmetrical tread design, the Primewell Valera Sport AS is equipped with a directional tread pattern. The grooves are designed to maximize wet driving performance to deliver excellent all-season traction.

The tire is also equipped with four wide longitudinal grooves to enhance water evacuation from the treads. The all-season compound is formulated for improved traction and grip in all-season driving while enhancing the wear characteristics of the tire.

Is the Primewell Valera Sport AS a good choice for sporting coupes and sedans? Can it deliver a higher level of performance without sacrificing comfort and treadwear? Those were the questions in my mind as I drove off to test the tires.

Primewell Valera Sport AS review: Test Drive

My initial impressions of the Primewell Valera Sport AS was the tires were comfortable in both city and highway driving. I did feel the sidewalls were a bit soft compared to other ultra-high performance tires and this gave the steering a rather dull feel.

Dry Traction

Traction on dry roads was good, but it wasn’t great either. I accelerated hard and the tires launched the car fairly well. But as soon as the corners piled up, I felt the tires were skipping a beat, especially as I was traversing over sandy tarmac. But all of this happened only at higher speeds. I also felt the tires were losing a bit of traction if you make abrupt changes to the steering.

Wet Traction

It’s the same story as in the dry. The tires felt okay on wet roads, but it didn’t exactly give me the confidence that I was expecting. Again, the rear tires began to slide as I attacked a corner at moderate speeds on wet roads. I was expecting a bit more traction and grip since the Valera AS is marketed as an ultra-high performance derivative.

Snow Traction

I was able to test the Primewell Valera AS tires on a bit of icy road. The car felt stable, and I didn’t feel the tires hunting for traction. But it is foolish to expect these tires to perform admirably in light to moderate snow. For what it’s worth, the Valera AS tires were surprisingly behaved on icy or snowy roads as long as you maintain average speeds.


I was also a bit surprised when it comes to the driving comfort. The Honda Civic SI is far from being a luxury car, but the Primewell Valera AS tires fitted to my test car were decently comfortable despite the low-profile configuration. I guess this has something to do with the soft sidewalls of the tires, which also explains why the steering feels a bit lifeless as slow to moderate speeds. However, you can traverse over concrete expansion joints and rough patches of tarmac with nary a complaint. Weirdly enough, the Valera AS felt like a touring tire in terms of comfort. Whether that’s good or bad, I guess it will all depend on the owner of the car.


Road noise and tire roar was relative to the speed of the vehicle. The Primewell Valera AS tires were surprisingly quiet and docile at average speeds, but the tire roar piles up as you approach the upper reaches of the speedometer. This is not exactly an issue if you do most of your driving in the city. But if your car is a certified highway cruiser, you can find tires that are a bit quieter than the Valera AS.


The Primwell Valera AS tires fitted to my test car were still relatively new, but I have to admit that there were already visible signs of wear. I guess this is par for the course since cheaper tires have a tendency to wear quicker than a more expensive set. The tread wear is not that bad, but considering the age of the tires fitted to my test car and the amount of miles accumulated so far (which is around 1,500 miles), I was expecting the treads to be fresh as a daisy.


In my opinion, the Primewell Valera AS is a good choice, although I wish it had been better. The tires had good traction on dry and wet roads, and they were decently comfy as well. But if the tires had a bit more traction in the dry and had less road noise, it would have gotten a higher score.

For the price, it is hard to argue with the Primwell Valera AS. It is still a solid choice if you are looking for an ultra-high performance tire with a price that won’t break the bank.

Falken Azenis FK450 Review

Falken Azenis FK450 Review

  • Dry 100%
  • Wet 90%
  • Snow 75%
  • Comfort 95%
  • Noise 90%
  • Treadwear 90%
  • Overall 90%

There are car owners that know what they’re doing when it comes to dressing up or modifying their rides. These are people I admire the most since they carefully think about each and every aspect of the mod before actually buying them. One such person is the owner of my test car for this Falken Azenis FK450 review.

The vehicle is a 2014 Dodge Challenger SXT. Yes, it’s the one with the 3.6-liter V6 motor. From that statement alone, it would be overkill to equip the car with an aggressive set of racing tires.

The owner upgraded from the stock 17-inch wheels to a quality set of aftermarket 18-inch rims. He paired the new wheels with a set of Falken Azenis FK450 tires since the Challenger is a daily driver. He also demanded a set of tires that will do well in the snow. It seems he made the right choice.

For starters, the Falken Azenis FK450 is an all-season high-performance tire with the sterling characteristics of a summer tire. This means the Azenis FK450 will provide the same level of adhesion whether on dry or wet roads.

Since the Challenger is a sedan, the owner also wanted some highway comfort. It wouldn’t hurt if the tires roiled silently, too. In this Falken Azenis FK50 review, you will find out why this is one of my favorite tires for sports coupes or high-performance sedans since it makes no compromises in terms of road adhesion and refinement.

Falken Azenis FK450 review: Features

The Falken Azenis FK450 is constructed with a 4D nano-designed tread compound that improves the flexibility and pliability of the rubber in both low and high temperatures. You need to understand the Azenis FK450 was also designed to handle winter driving in colder environments so the rubber will need to be flexible enough to cope with the changing weather.

The asymmetric rib with block hybrid tread design is responsible for improving the stability and handling of your ride. You will find supporting tread block bars between each tire block that minimizes squirming under hard cornering and acceleration. There are vertical notches integrated onto each tread block which serves to maintain contact with the road as you enter a tight corner. This tire is definitely engineered to improve the handling of your vehicle.

The Falken Azenis FK450 is equipped with wider shoulder blocks to further enhance cornering and steering feel. The sweeping tread grooves are designed to dissipate water to improve traction on wet roads while the tapered notched grooves provide additional biting edges on snowy or icy roads.

Enough about the specs and features. Time to do some driving.

Falken Azenis FK450 review: Test Drive

I hopped onboard the Challenger and proceeded to immerse myself with the smooth power delivery of the 3.6-liter V6 motor and the capable 8-speed automatic transmission.

Dry Traction

The Falken Azenis FK450 felt good on the sun-drenched tarmac. The traction and grip characteristics of this tire can definitely handle more power. The V6 motor was potent enough to accelerate the Challenger from zero to 60mph in about 7 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to overwhelm the Azenis FK450. Braking from a full stop was well-controlled as the tires didn’t have second thoughts once I pressed hard on the brake pedal.

The Falken Azenis FK450 allowed me to enter a corner at higher speed. It also enabled me to exit the corner at full throttle without the rear tires hunting for grip.

Wet Traction

I had to deal with a bit of rain on the freeway but the roads dried up quickly as I approached the exit. I didn’t get the chance to exploit the wet capabilities of the Falken Azenis FK50, but I have to say the tires felt wonderfully composed on the rain-drenched highway with no issues of hydroplaning or wheel slip.

Snow Traction

The snow performance of the Falken Azenis FK450 was a bit of a surprise. The tires felt magnificent in the snow, but only at low or lower than average speeds. You will also feel the tires hunt for traction if you decide to test them on more than 3 or 4-inches of snow. Overall, this is not bad considering the tires can also perform admirably on dry or wet roads.


The tires were comfortable in both city and highway driving. I would have to commend Dodge for the suspension tuning of the Challenger. The car had a premium ride similar to more expensive German sedans without the annoying tautness that you get on pockmarked roads. The Falken Azenis FK450 is not perfect when it comes to overall comfort but it is above par for the course.


I heard a bit more road noise as the Challenger was reaching triple-digit speeds, but that’s about it. The Falken Azenis FK450 has the road silence of a top-notch touring tire at cruising speeds, and that’s what really counts, right?


The Falken Azenis FK450 tires on my test car were fitted approximately two months ago, but the tires were still fresh upon inspection. The owner was wise enough to have the alignment checked immediately after fitting the new tires to avoid any issues with accelerated wear. Falken claims the tires have above average wear characteristics for the price, but there was no way for me to substantiate that claim since the tires were still relatively new.


It seems hybrid tires are all the rage these days. The Falken Azenis FK450 is the perfect example of a hybrid tire done right. It combines the merits of an all-season touring tire and the grip levels of a summer tire. Falken also made sure to give the tires an affordable price so it is within reach of the average consumer.

Now you know the reasons why I consider the Falken Azenis FK450 as one of my favorite high-performance tires. I had fun testing the Dodge Challenger but everything went well due to the fantastic capabilities of the Azenis FK450.