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Starting in the early 70s, the rotary engine (aka the Wankel) would be the next big thing in the automotive world. It was compact and lightweight, with an excellent power/weight ratio, fewer moving parts, and a great torque curve, and it could run on lower octane fuel (a considerable advantage during the days of leaded gas). Mazda was a proponent of rotary engines in those days, and when it debuted in 1978, Mazda’s RX-7 two-seater was revolutionary. Rotary power and a small package made the RX-7 a strong performer and made the Car & Driver Best list five times over its production run. The RX-7 was available in Base, LX, SE, GS, GSL, and GTU trim levels before it was discontinued in 2002. Interestingly, the third generation of the RX-7 was a 2+2 coupe with a turbocharged version of the rotary, with 252 hp for sharp performance.
Here at SimpleTire, our team has reviewed the catalog and picked out some of the best tire choices for your Mazda RX-7, including summer, all-season, and UHP tires. We then ranked them in Best/Great/Good order and used our SimpleScore system to assign a numerical value for each tire's handling, traction, and longevity categories. Ready? Let’s go in for a closer look:
1. Kumho Ecsta PA51 - Best All-Season Tire
Let’s kick this list off with the Ecsta PA51 from Kumho, another all-season tire designed for extended wear, low noise, a forgiving ride, short braking distances, and crisp and responsive handling. The Ecsta PA51 delivers year-round grip along with the kind of cornering and overall handling you’d expect from a UHP tire. The Ecsta PA51 resists hydroplaning on wet roads with wide circumferential grooves that channel water through and behind the tire’s contact patch. Wide shoulder blocks help resist the stresses of complex maneuvers for excellent cornering ability (and a SimpleScore of 9.4 in handling), and road manners, steering response, and straight-line stability all get a boost from a solid center rib. The PA51 is designed with an advanced, custom-blended tread compound for long, even wear, superb traction, and stiffness for enhanced cornering. Kumho backs the Ecsta PA51 with a 45,000 mile manufacturer’s tread life warranty. When it’s time to get through winter weather, a combination of sipes and specially designed tread blocks delivers the grip you need. SimpleScore for traction is 8.9, and the SimpleScore for longevity is 8.6, with an overall SimpleScore average of 8.8. The Kumho Ecsta PA51 might be a tire at a somewhat more affordable price point, but that doesn’t mean you have to give away any serious tradeoffs in performance or quality.
2. Yokohama ADVAN Sport AS+ - Best UHP All-Season Tire:
Next up on our list is a tire that’s an outstanding balance of year-round traction with breathtaking performance, the ADVAN Sport AS+ from Yokohama. The Yokohama ADVAN Sport AS+ is covered by a 55,000 mile manufacturer’s treadwear warranty – it’s definitely in it for the long haul with a high-turnup sidewall, long-wearing silica-rich tread compound, and durable internal construction for a SimpleScore of 9.1 for longevity. Extra-large outboard shoulder blocks and 2-in-1 intermediate blocks all help deliver steering responses that are accurate, immediate, and sharp, with precise cornering, registering a SimpleScore of 8.7 for handling. In wet or dry weather and road conditions, the ADVAN Sport AS+ is dependable and tenacious with circumferential grooves, lateral grooves, Z-shaped grooves, and Yokohama’s innovative Wavy Sipes. These tread features all work together to resist hydroplaning on wet pavement and provide mechanical grip and adhesion on dry roads. SimpleScore for traction: 8.8. All in all, the Yokohama ADVAN Sport AS+ would be an excellent choice for your Mazda RX-7 and a variety of sporty coupes, sedans, and crossovers.
3. Continental ExtremeContact Sport 02 - Best Summer Tire:
The ExtremeContact Sport 02 is Continental’s latest MaxPerformance summer tire, a next-generation design for drivers of performance cars, sports cars, and muscle cars who are looking for the right balance of traction, handling, tread life, and comfort. Although the ExtremeContact Sport 02’s +Silane tread compound is intended for summer use only, Continental covers this tire with a 30,000 mile manufacturer’s treadwear warranty. Treadwear properties like that are pretty admirable for a summer tire, and we give the ExtremeContact Sport 02 a strong SimpleScore of 8.5 for longevity. Wide tread blocks, a solid center rib, and a wide, optimized footprint contribute to capable cornering ability and steering response (also thanks partly to the sticky +Silane tread formulation), which is enough for a best-in-class SimpleScore of 9.6 for handling. Deep, wide circumferential grooves give standing water a pathway through the tire’s contact patch, routing it behind the footprint to resist hydroplaning. This tire’s SimpleScore for traction is a hard-to-beat 9.8. It’s important to note that with summer tires like the ExtremeContact Sport 02 from Continental, temperatures lower than 40-45 degrees F will cause the rubber compound to stiffen and lose traction (possibly be damaged from cracking). Continental advises these tires not to be used on colder days.
These tires would be a great fit for your Mazda RX-7, but we’re not yet finished. Here are two more fantastic tire options for you to think about:
4. Toyo Extensa HP II - Great All-Season Tire:
Next up on our list is the Extensa HP II from Toyo, a great value in a performance-oriented all-season tire. We’ve been pretty impressed with everything from the Toyo line for a while now, and the Extensa HPII is no exception. We give the Extensa HP II a very respectable SimpleScore of 8.7 for traction, with its two circumferential grooves, V-shaped lateral grooves, and innovative all-season tread design that incorporates 3D multi-wave sipes that all work together to resist hydroplaning by channeling standing water through and behind the tire’s contact patch. Handling is precise and predictable (SimpleScore of 8.7), with large shoulders and outer tread blocks with double and single-cut tapers that resist the stresses and inertia of cornering with enhanced block stiffness and road contact. With a 45,000 mile manufacturer’s treadwear warranty, the Toyo Extensa HP II has great wear properties, with two steel belts, a polyester casing, and a nylon reinforcement ply. SimpleScore for longevity: 9.4.
5. Good All-Season UHP Tire: Falken Ziex ZE950 A/S
If you’re looking for a little sharper performance in an all-season tire for your Mazda RX-7, the Falken Ziex ZE950 A/S is a great way to get there without cleaning your checking account. The Ziex ZE950 A/S registers a very respectable SimpleScore of 8.5 for longevity, with its wear-resistant tread formulation and 65,000 mile manufacturer’s treadwear warranty. Year-round traction is also a strong point with this tire, thanks to an innovative all-season tread pattern incorporating 3D canyon sipes, circumferential, and angled/lateral grooves for dependable grip in wet, dry, or light wintry conditions. The Ziex ZE950 A/S comes in with a SimpleScore of 8.5 for traction. We’re also pretty blown away with the cornering properties, steering response, braking performance, and road feedback of the Ziex ZE950 A/S, with its asymmetric tread design and reinforced shoulder that stands up to the stresses of momentum and inertia during spirited driving. SimpleScore for handling: 8.4.
Order Mazda RX-7 Tires Online
Buying tires online can be stressful, but it doesn't need to be. SimpleTire offers a simple approach to finding the best tires for you and your Mazda RX-7. Select your Mazda RX-7 below, then tell us more things, such as year and trim level, to determine your tire size. From there, we'll show you tires that fit your vehicle and are the best match based on performance characteristics, but you can also look for the best value tires, tires that are on sale or part of a promo, have the most extended tread life, and much more