Writing about the Falken ZIEX ZE310 EcoRun
Driving on a combination of roads
for 300 spirited
Brought these in 205/50/R15 to fit my new "15x7 alloys (5.9kg per alloy), and in this review I'm comparing them to my old Yokohama Advan Fleva V701, Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance, and Avon ZV7's in 195/45/R16 on "16x7 alloys (9.7kg per alloy), so bare in mind this slightly skews my comparison.
For context, I brought lightweight flow-formed alloys as the TU5JP4S engine in my C2, though a brilliant, 8k-revving NA bundle of fun that it is, struggles with low-end grunt, and cutting approximately 8kg of unsprung weight on the driven-wheels, and 16kg total is a significant upgrade on a small ~1000kg car. 205/50/R15 after careful consideration was the perfect dimension for my car, though I'm disappointed that this is a rare size especially for premium performance-orientated tyres, with only dated Continental PremiumContact 2's, Hankook Ventus Prime 3's, and Yokohama Advan Fleva V701's being the only respectable options in this size, though for some reason this size is 30% more expensive than those identical models in similarly sized 195/50/R15, 195/55/R15, or 195/45/R16 accordingly...
...which leads me to the Falken ZIEX ZE310 EcoRun tyres; relatively recent design, V-rated, and a reasonable price tag of ~£90 per corner fitted; virtually identical in price to the same offering in 195/55/R15 and 195/45/R16, as it should be given the dimensions are really similar. This honest pricing combined with it being a modern design/compound is what sold me, despite it being a Premium Summer Touring tyre as opposed to UHP.
300 miles in, I think these are an excellent 'control tyre' in the sense that they are very neutral tyres in all fronts; they don't give off a 'wow-factor' in any given category of measure, but at the same time there's nothing that makes me think these are terrible tyres at all, which in itself is a complement. I can't see anyone being disappointed in these, especially at the price-point, whether you're an old grandma in an MPV seeking comfort, fuel efficiency, and safety, or a spirited driver (myself) in a warm/hot-hatch seeking performance. They're very predictable tyres which is good for any kind of driver.
They are very quiet and smooth on bumpy surfaces and motorway driving as a strength, however I would've preferred a stiffer sidewall as they offer very little sensation through the steering wheel, though once your senses adjust to it, you can feel the sidewalls twisting between the road surface and the rims when quick-flicking the steering wheel, giving a delay between steering input and direction change. For a spirited-driver, these tyres reward smooth, Prost-like steering inputs, and as long as you drive like that, you can carry pretty impressive speed in the bends, though it must be said there is more confidence-inspiring tyres out there. You can push them in the wet without feeling unsafe in the slightest. Naturally, going to a bigger aspect ratio tyre means a loss of steering response is expected, but I do think there is realistic room for improvement in this area. With that said, these are classed as a 'Premium Summer Tyre' rather than UHP, but I had little choice in this size. I would've brought the Yoko's again but I don't think paying 30% more for the same tyre in an extremely similar size is fair pricing.
On another note, can premium tyre manufacturers stop ignoring the demand for UHP tyres in sizes for old school hot-hatches and neo-classic cars? We all know that modern performance cars don't offer the engagement that old analogue cars do, yet modern performance tyres have come a long way over the past 15-20 years. A set of PS5's or Eagle Assymetric 6's in my size would be a dream, though of course in a proportionate price compared to the other sizes offered (take note Yokohama)
TLDR: Not a bad tyre but not a special tyre either, adequate enough on all fronts. Respectfully priced for what it is. Won't disappoint nor wow anyone. A safe choice of tyre to avoid disappointment.