First Drive: Continental Terrain Contact A/T Tire

Jul. 29, 2016 By Josh Burns
Continental set up a wet course on the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort's private runway to prove its wet stopping power.

After testing 1,500 tires, 100 hours of computer simulation and 2 million miles of combined machine and on- and off-road testing, Continental Tire is ready to take on an entirely new tire segment with its new TerrainContact A/T, the companyís first all-terrain tire. It took more than three years to complete the new TerrainContact A/T, but Continental is confident it is bringing to market next month a great all-around tire for SUVs and light trucks.

To get a feel for the new tire in person, Continental Tire invited us out to Pennsylvania to the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort to see first-hand how its newest tire performs against the competition. The tire was unveiled in conjunction with the launch of General Tireís new mud-terrain Grabber X3, a tire thatís more acutely focused on the hard-core off-roader (check out more here).

Continental pulled out all of the stops at our event by creating a wet course on the resortís private runway, much to the dismay of a few golfers we met who were forced to fly into another airport (sorry, guys). Continental also conducted back-to-back road-noise testing against competitive tires, and we also had a few hours behind the wheel of Ford F-250s fitted with TerrainContact A/Ts and competitive products to get an impression of Contiís newest endeavor.

The TerrainContact A/T is described with a whole bunch of trademarked features and technology, but weíll try to break down the specifics to highlight the key points. TractionPlus is the term used to describe the tireís open tread pattern that feature large blocks designed to provide a balance of on- and off-road traction. Wet traction is a key point of the tire, which Continental says is aided by its +Silane compound. The tireís noise blockers and pattern-shifting design were shown to provide a quiet ride as well during our early morning pass-by test; although we werenít equipped with sound equipment we could confirm the TerrainContact is on par with the quietest competitive tire on the highway.

Continental points to the treadís gripping teeth and full-depth sipes for snow and ice traction, although this wasnít something we could test first hand in the summer; although rated for snow use, the TerrainContact does not have the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake rating. For added tread lift, Continental designed the TC AT with a flat contour shape and a strong tread shoulder. To reinforce this, the TerrainContact A/T is backed with the Total Confidence Plan, which provides the customer with a 60-day satisfaction trial, road hazard coverage for the first 12 months or 2/32Ē of the tireís wear, a 72-month limited warranty, and a 60,000-mile limited mileage warranty and three-year flat tire roadside assistance.

A fleet of Ford F-250s served as our test trucks for the event.

The TerrainContact A/T will be available in 20 metric sizes that cover wheels sizes ranging from 16- to 22-inch diameters, while 15 LT metric sizes will be available as well to fit wheel sizes 16 to 20 inches in diameter. Pricing will be announced shortly, with availability of the first round of tire sizes hitting dealerships in September.

Of course Continental also owns General Tire, which offers a more aggressive all-terrain tire with its currently available AT2, but the TerrainContact is the first A/T under the Continental brand. For off-road enthusiasts, the TerrainContact A/T wonít be the best fit for serious trail adventures since itís on the milder side of the all-terrain spectrum. For those looking for something more suited for the trails, the Grabber X3 is or AT2 from General Tire is a better fit. It is, however, a great fit for tow rigs and vehicles that spend the vast majority of their time on pavement and fire roads. Our road test time proved the TerrainContact A/T offers a quiet ride, provides good dry traction in our 3/4-ton test truck, and it has confident and controlled stopping power in wet road conditions. Overall, it's a solid road tire that won't be completely out of place for short ventures to the dirt.

Our first look at the TerrainContact A/T proved Continental clearly did its homework to offer a well-rounded truck and SUV tire, and most importantly they built a product that is on par or better than its direct competitors. Look for the TerrainContact A/T to be available this fall.

MORE: General Tire Unveils Mud-Terrain Grabber X3 Newsletter
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