Are the Continental TerrainContact A/T all-terrain tires really quieter on road and capable off road?
Continental has released its first all-terrain tire. Although Continental is an established player in the automotive tire market, the company has focused its SUV and truck tire efforts on on-road comfort and foul-weather performance rather than off-road driving.
Dubbed the Continental TerrainContact A/T, the company claims the new tire “is a perfect balance of on- and off-road performance for light truck and SUV owners.” The tire is said to offer “off-road durability and traction combined with [a] quiet, comfortable ride on-road.” The new tire is also suitable for dry or wet pavement, dirt, gravel, grass, and even snow.
We decided to take on Continental’s claim by swapping on a set of TerrainContact A/T on/off-road all-terrain tires on our long-term 2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X Crew Cab 4×4 powered by the 310-hp, 555 lb-ft 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V-8 backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Our Titan XD Pro-4X came stock with a set of General Grabber APT on/off-road all-terrain tires sized LT275/65R18.
First, I refamiliarized myself with the original equipment General rubber by taking our Titan XD PRO-4X off-road in Antelope Valley just outside of Palmdale, California. The Grabber APTs handled the off-road terrain well at about 30-40 mph (48-64 km/h)—enough to leave a dust cloud behind me. When a few deep ruts appeared ahead, I slowed down to a crawl in order to prevent slamming down on the Pro-4X’s underbody skidplates. The O.E tires had no issue with the terrain.
A few days later, we swapped on the new TerrainContact A/T tires in the stock size. The new tires feature TractionPlus Technology—large aggressive tread blocks, which are said to contribute to its off-road traction and durability. Additionally, Traction Grooves are said to improve on-road performance in wet conditions.
Upon leaving the tire shop, I immediately noticed a much quieter ride and reduced road noise versus the stock rubber. Not that the factory General tires were noisy—nothing like a set of dedicated mudder tires—but the Continental tires were nearly imperceptible even at highway speeds.
After roughly 300 city miles (483 km), I finally made my way back up to Antelope Valley to see how well the new tires would do on the same trail. There was no discernible difference off-road compared to the stock rubber. In fact, I drove around a little farther to see how they handled the rutty dirt road. And as I did with the General tires, I finished my off-roading with a few dirty donuts in an open clearing, kicking up enough dust to nearly lose visibility.
Once the dust settled, I returned back to Los Angeles impressed with the new Continental TerrainContact A/T tires — winner of the Best New Tire award at the 2016 SEMA Show — because they lived up to the manufacturer’s claim.