Continental ControlContact Tour AS Review

Continental ControlContact Tour AS Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 85%
  • Snow 75%
  • Comfort 90%
  • Noise 80%
  • Treadwear 90%
  • Overall 85%
If the Continental TrueContact is a tad too expensive for your meager budget, the natural choice should be the ControlContact Tour A/S. It offers a better balance of fuel economy, all-season traction, and ride comfort at a lower entry price. Mind you, the Continental ControlContact Tour A/S is not the cheapest all-season tire you can find (you can basically find cheaper China-made tires for less than $60 a pop), but it does offer a ton of great features starting at around $80 each.
My test vehicle for this Continental ControlContact Tour A/S review is a humble 2016 Toyota Corolla S fitted with a 1.8-liter four-banger and CVT transmission. It also came with stock 17-inch wheels wrapped in Continental ControlContact Tour A/S tires. I know, the Corolla is not exactly the type of car that will make you scream for excitement, but it remains a bestseller for all the right reasons: reliability, comfort, easy to drive, and relatively frugal. Let’s see if the new Continental tires made a difference.

Continental ControlContact Tour A/S review: Features

The Continental ControlContact Tour A/S is manufactured using Continental’s EcoPlus Technology. It is geared towards enhancing the reliability, wear characteristics, and wet traction of the tire. The tire is a great choice for compact sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and small crossover vehicles.

The ControlContact Tour A/S is an affordable all-season touring tire. The symmetrical tread deign enables superior performance on wet roads while enhancing silence and road comfort. The conservative tread design is also designed to maintain excellent fuel economy even as the tire wears out. Equipped with full depth sipes and traction grooves to offer more biting edges over snowy or icy terrain, the ControlContact Tour A/S is all about providing the right balance between all-season traction and touring comfort.

Continental ControlContact Tour A/S review: Test Drive

I noticed the right rear tire in my test vehicle was a bit short on air. I suspected a puncture so I drove to the nearest tire station. As it turns out, the tire was only running low on air. I had all the tires pumped to 32 psi, grabbed something to eat along the way, and proceeded with my test drive.

Dry Traction

The Continental ControlContact Tour A/S tires felt marginally better on dry tarmac compared to other cheap tires. Grip and traction were always present, but you will feel the tires gasping for dear life if you push hard in a winding corner. The Corolla, like most front wheel drive cars, had a tendency to understeer if you approach a corner at speed, but the tires managed to hold on and bring the car back in line with a simple correction of the steering. These tires are at their best at low or moderate speeds, which is exactly what I expected in a set of touring tires. If you have a fast car or if you like sporty handling, these are not the right tires for the job. But for normal driving, the tires are more than willing to perform.

Wet Traction

I was quite impressed on the Continental ControlContact Tour A/S tires behaved on wet roads. Yes, braking distances were significantly longer in the wet, but the tires managed to claw for traction even with my ham-fisted driving style. Again, not particularly brilliant at high speed but marginally talented at low to medium speeds. So far, so good.

Snow Traction

I did get the chance to test the Continental ControlContact Tour A/S tires over light snow. Traction was acceptable given the dreary road conditions, but you will need a major tire upgrade if you are looking to drive in places with more than 2-inches of snow or ice. I can feel the sipes and grooves hunting for traction as I gingerly tackled a snowy uphill, but the tires managed to get me home without any fuss or drama.

Comfort

The comfort level is the biggest selling point of the Continental ControlContact Tour A/S. The Corolla is not a Rolls Royce by any means, but the tires managed to further enhance the refinement of my test vehicle. I had more fun cruising down the highway than speeding on empty back roads during my test drive, and most of it had something to do with the superior comfort of the ControlContact Tour A/S tires. If all you want in a cheap tire is comfort, silence, and a longer wear life, I strongly suggest you take a closer look at the Continental ControlContact AS.

Noise

What can I say? The Continental ControlContact AS were superbly quiet and serene even as I drove over rougher patches of concrete roads. I did hear some tire roar at higher speed but it wasn’t too obtrusive to be considered annoying or uncomfortable. Of course, this may also have something to do with the NVH tuning of my test vehicle.

Treadwear

The Continental ControlContact AS tires fitted to my test vehicle were still fairly new. I found no traces of accelerated wear and tear and the grooves were as fresh as the morning dew. I had a brief conversation with the guy at the tire store and he told me his customers were amazed on the wear characteristics of the ControlContact AS. Of course, it always helps to have the wheel alignment checked when buying new tires.

Conclusion

The Continental ControlContact Tour A/S remains a stellar choice if you need a comfortable, quiet, and dependable all-season touring tire without spending a ton of cash. I was hoping for a bit more grip and a sprinkling of sporty handling, but it seems you can’t have it all unless you want to spend big bucks in a new set of tires. Overall, I was very impressed with the Continental ControlContact Tour A/S. It remains a bang for the buck alternative to other cheaper tires that are only second-rate in terms of performance and refinement.

Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus Review

Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus Review

  • Dry 75%
  • Wet 75%
  • Snow 70%
  • Comfort 85%
  • Noise 85%
  • Treadwear 90%
  • Overall 80%

Similar to the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus, the P4 Four Seasons Plus is also an all-season touring tire that is perfect for sport coupes, small and midsize sedans, and even family minivans. But unlike the Cinturato P7, the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus is primarily designed to deliver a comfortable life and exceptionally long tread life. In fact, the P4 Four Seasons Plus is backed by a 90,000-mile treadwear warranty compared to the Cinturato P7’s 70,000-mile warranty.

For this review of the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus, I was able to acquire a 2010 Mercury Grand Marquis as a test vehicle. This will be my first time to drive a Mercury Grand Marquis. From what I heard, the car handles like a boat, which is typical of an ancient American sedan. But despite the nautical handling characteristics of the sedan, my colleagues told me the car can cruise effortlessly due to the soft and compliant suspension set-up.

My test vehicle was fitted with stock 17-inch wheels and Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus tires, which were acquired about 3 months ago. Also standard was the 4.6-liter V8 motor paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Mercury Grand Marquis had a spacious interior and can accommodate six passengers inside the cavernous cabin. My test vehicle was particularly in good shape, save for some paint oxidation and a couple of dents on the equally enormous body.

Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus Review: Features

The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Tire is equipped with a more aggressive tread pattern compared to the conservative and bland tread design of the Cinturato P7 all-season touring tire. The P4 is equipped with a CAD-optimized tread profile which is designed to promote long wear. The silica-rich tread compound is also designed for longevity and low rolling resistance to further increase the life of the tire. The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus is designed with reinforced shoulders to enhance handling and cornering. The tire is engineered with central longitudinal grooves and a wide center rib to enhance stability and performance on wet pavement. The treads are designed with variable angled grooves to offer better performance in all types of weather, hence the name ‘Four Seasons’. The treads are equipped with computer-designed sipes to offer solid traction on wet and snowy roads. It seems the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus has got all the bases covered, except the price. This tire is a bit more costly compared to the Cinturato P7, but in exchange, you get the promise of longer tread life and better fuel economy.

Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus Review: Test Drive

However, fuel economy was the farthest thing in my mind as I hopped aboard the Mercury Grand Marquis. My test vehicle is equipped with a primitive 4-speed automatic and burly V8 motor so it is rather absurd to expect good fuel economy. With that being said, it is time to find out how the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus performs in a variety of road conditions.

Dry Traction

The tires offered high levels of traction and grip on dry roads. Even though the suspension of my test vehicle was more oriented towards comfort (hence the floaty sensation), the tires were able to deliver solid traction and grip even as I pushed hard on the pedal. The steering is not what you would call precise, and the brakes felt spongy to say the least, but the tires were able to corner and stop my test vehicle without much fuss and drama. Of course, handling was a different issue altogether. Even if you equip the Grand Marquis with high-performance rubber, you will need balls the size of Mount Rushmore and the abilities of a racing to corner the large vehicle at speed.

Wet Traction

In all fairness, the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus performed well on wet roads and slippery tarmac. Braking was also admirable given the size and weight of my test vehicle. However, you will still need to be careful if you are attacking a winding corner in the wet. The tail has a tendency to slide out if you are overly aggressive with the steering and the throttle. But if you drive it sanely, you can expect to navigate smoothly over the wettest road conditions with nary a complaint.

Snow Traction

The tires were tolerable on light snow, and that’s about it. Anything more than two or three inches of snow or ice will result in a driving sensation similar to skating on thick ice. However, the computer-optimized siping on the treads were able to provide adequate grip even on slippery road conditions.

Comfort

There is no doubt the Mercury Grand Marquis is a comfortable highway cruiser. The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus was able to elevate the comfort factor of my test vehicle by another notch. Potholes, craters, and road undulations on tight city streets were reduced to almost nothing with the Pirelli P4 tires. The tires were also comfortable on the highway.

Noise

The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus tires rolled quietly on smooth concrete and asphalt. The tires also offered a silent ride even if you happen to be traversing over crude patches of tarmac. You will still hear some tire roar as you pile on the speed, but it seems these tires are quieter than the Pirelli Cinturato P7.

Treadwear

The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus tires fitted on my test car were still relatively fresh at the time of this review. I inspected all four tires and found no signs of premature wear on the treads. The owner of my test vehicle said the primary factor he chose the Pirelli tires is the long tread life and 90,000-mile treadwear warranty. Even the hardworking fellas at the neighborhood tire store were convinced on the long wear characteristics of the P4 Four Seasons Plus.

Conclusion

The Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus is a brilliant choice for an all-season touring tire. The price may be a turn off for some buyers who are looking to save money on a brand new set of tires, but it more than makes up for it in terms of all-season performance and low wear.

Hankook Optimo H724 Review

Hankook Optimo H724 Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 90%
  • Snow 75%
  • Comfort 90%
  • Noise 80%
  • Treadwear 85%
  • Overall 85%
The Hankook Optimo H724 is one of my favorite all-season tires. I had the chance to test drive a 1968 Cadillac DeVille at a vintage car show a couple of months ago. The car was fitted with a set of white-walled Hankook Optimo H724 tires. As expected from a Cadillac, the ride was pretty good. But the tires gave the Cadillac competent handling and an eerily silent ride.
My test car for this Hankook Optimo H724 review is not a pimp-mobile like the vintage Caddy. It is a humble and mundane 2014 Hyundai Accent fitted with stock 14-inch wheels and Hankook Optimo H724 tires. These are the OEM tires of the Accent and the owner decided to purchase the same set when the tires needed replacement.

He told me the Hankook tires were virtually problem-free. The old tires lasted 47,000 trouble-free miles so it was only natural for him to stick with the Hankook’s. He praised the tires for their long treadwear, low price, and driving comfort. But I wanted to know more. I got the keys to the Hyundai Accent and I drove to the nearest highway.

Hankook Optimo H724 Review: Features

The Hankook Optimo H724 is an all-season touring tire designed for subcompact and compact cars, midsize sedans, and small crossovers. It remains to be a favorite simply because it offers elevated levels of comfort and dry performance at a lower price.
This Hankook tire is not as cheap as Chinese-made tires, but it is a bit less expensive than comparable all-season tires from Bridgestone or Goodyear. Want proof? The 14-inch Hankook Optimo H724 tires fitted to my test car were only around $55 per piece, while the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus (which is a comparable all-season touring tire) costs almost twice as that.

The tire is equipped with a tread design that was designed using advanced pitch design technology. It has something to do with the arrangements of the sipes on the tread to minimize the fluctuations of tire roar on a variety of road surfaces. The tire was constructed using single strand bead wire and a high hardness bead filler to enhance the ride and durability.

Hankook Optimo H724 Review: Test Drive

It’s been a while since I last drove a manual-equipped modern car. The Hyundai Accent is one of the popular choices in the subcompact category not only because it is cheaper than other variants, it actually drives like a more expensive car. It has the composure and ride of a midsize sedan, and it handles better than other small cars. However, the engine is a bit of a letdown and the manual stick is a bit finicky to slot in gear.

Dry Traction

In terms of dry traction, I have nothing bad to report about the Hankook Optimo H724. The tires were more than adequate for the size and weight of the Accent. I never felt the tires were hunting for grip as I sped aggressively on a tight and winding right-hand corner.

The tires also felt good as I drove at high speed on the freeway. If the Accent was fitted with bigger wheels and wider tires, I think the handling will be many times better, but that’s just me. Who needs bigger and sportier wheels if you don’t care about high-speed stability and handling?

Wet Traction

The Hankook Optimo H724 tires were also impressive on wet patches of road. I felt the traction went down by just a tiny bit as I drove a bit aggressively on the wet highway, but nothing too grave to give it a low score. Given the narrow 175/65/R14 configuration of the tires in my test car, I would have to say that the tires felt impressive even when the roads turned slippery.

Snow Traction

There was no time for me to test the Hankook Optimo H724 tires in the snow. However, the owner told me had no problems with the tires on light snow. Traction and grip were present even on snow-covered roads, but don’t expect the tires to acquit themselves when the road turns to an icy slush. The new Hankook tires were installed a month before the start of the snow season so the owner had plenty of time to play with these tires in winter conditions.

Comfort

Despite the lackluster motor and the clunky gear changes, the Hyundai Accent is a comfortable car to drive around town. I guess the ride comfort had a lot to do with the Hankook Optimo H724. The tires remained unperturbed even when rolling over coarse road surfaces. On the highway, the tires were in their element as the car simply wafted over road undulations.

Noise

I find it rare for cheap tires to deliver a perfect balance of handling, comfort, and road noise. It seems the Hankook Optimo H724 managed to deliver in all aspects.

The tires were silent on city roads and they were whisper-quiet on the highway as well. However, you will hear a bit of tire roar at higher than average speeds, but it is not enough to distract you from the driving experience.

If you drive your car like a true law-abiding citizen, you will be impressed with both the comfort and ride silence of the Hankook Optimo H724 tires.

Treadwear

Like I previously mentioned above, the old Hankook tires on my test car lasted approximately 47,000 miles. That’s not bad considering the price and performance of the tires.

The Hankook Optimo H724 tires fitted to my test car were relatively new and fresh as a daisy with almost no signs of visible treadwear during my test.

It is nice to know that an affordable set of all-season tires can have impressive wear characteristics since most cheap tires will ultimately fail in this regard.

Conclusion

Now you know the reason why the Hankook Optimo H724 is one of my favorite all-season touring tires. It is hard to ignore the entry-level price, but it is easy to overlook the multifaceted capabilities of this tire. If your needs a basic all-season tire, you can’t go wrong with the Hankook Optimo H724.

Yokohama Avid Touring S Review

Yokohama Avid Touring S Review

  • Dry 95%
  • Wet 95%
  • Snow 80%
  • Comfort 95%
  • Noise 85%
  • Treadwear 90%
  • Overall 92%
The Yokohama Avid Touring S is the next-generation all-season touring tire designed for sedans, sport coupes, small crossovers, and minivans. What makes the Yokohama Avid Touring S more desirable is the budget-friendly price tag. Depending on the size, prices can start as low as $65 each and is a great choice for discerning car owners who want great attributes in a cheap tire.
I managed to borrow a workhorse 2007 Toyota Corolla LE sedan equipped with a 1.8-liter four banger and 4-speed automatic transmission. My test car was fitted with aftermarket 17-inch wheels and Yokohama Avid Touring S tires. The owner of the Corolla is a good friend of mine who also owns a modified Toyota MR2 that he drives on track days. As a matter of fact, the MR2 is fitted with Yokohama Advan Neova tires, which I will get the chance to drive for my other review.

It is safe to assume my friend is a huge fan of the Yokohama brand. In this review, I want to find out if the Avid Touring S performs better than other tires in the same price range. My friend also told me the tires are one of quietest and most comfortable touring tires he has ever tried, so I want to dig deeper on this as well.

Yokohama Avid Touring S Review: Features

The Yokohama Avid Touring S has all the great qualities of a proper touring tire. The twin-rail stability rib offers better stability in straight-line driving and helps to minimize the noise patterns of the tire as it rolls on the road. The silent shoulder design utilizes variable tread blocks and extra sipes to cancel out the tire roar to deliver a smooth and comfortable ride.

The tire is manufactured using the Tri-Plex Compound that is formulated to improve all-season traction while increasing the tread life of the tire. This made me wonder why Yokohama didn’t use the proprietary Orange Oil Compound in the Yokohama Avid Touring S. I guess it all boils down to lowering production costs. It must be true since the tires with Orange Oil are more expensive than those without.

Equipped with tapered rain channels and cross traction sipes, the features will enable the tire to promote traction and grip on wet or snow-covered roads. Also worth noting is the luxury sidewall construction of the Yokohama Avid Touring S. This feature utilizes a tapered hard rubber insert to better absorb bumps and vibrations even in low-profile configurations.

Yokohama Avid Touring S Review: Test Drive

Based on the features listed above, it is clear the Yokohama Avid Touring S is geared more towards comfort and balanced all-season performance rather than outright traction and grip. I grabbed the keys to my test vehicle and proceeded to enjoy an entire weekend of driving.

Dry Traction

Traction in the dry was acceptable given the comfortable nature of the Yokohama Avid Touring S tires. I did feel the tires were hunting for some much needed traction as I drove aggressively on an empty backroad.

My test vehicle will prevent you from driving too aggressively since body roll was pretty much evident no matter the angle or depth of the turn, but the tires will remain composed as long as you remain judicious with the throttle and steering. Truth be told, I wish the tires offered more in terms of dry traction. If you are a sporty driver in an equally sporting sedan or sports coupe, this is not the tire for you.

Wet Traction

It’s a good thing the Yokohama Avid Touring S also performed decently on wet roads, but not by much. Traction was acceptable given the slippery conditions but braking is a different matter altogether. I felt the tires were struggling to stop the car in the wet as I pressed hard on the brake pedal.

Snow Traction

The owner of the Corolla had a story about driving his car in the snow. He took it out one snowy morning to get some breakfast. Everything seemed fine until the snow began to fall to further aggravate the road conditions. By the time he finished his breakfast and morning coffee, the snow was thick enough to prevent him from driving home. With that being said, the Yokohama Avid Touring S is only capable of tackling very light snow.

Comfort

In terms of comfort, it is hard to fault the Yokohama Avid Touring S. The Corolla felt like a more expensive car on the highway, and it felt comfy in the city as well. Potholes and expansion joints will still emit a loud thud inside the cabin, but it’s not enough to upset the composure of the vehicle. True to form, the riding comfort is one of the strongest traits of the Avid Touring S.

Noise

The same holds true for the road noise. The Yokohama Avid Touring S were eerily silent in the city and they were also much refined on the highway. Tire roar will slowly creep inside the cabin as you approach the speed limit, but I was impressed how the tires remained silent even on poorly-paved concrete and tarmac.

Treadwear

Yokohama claims the Avid Touring S is designed to deliver better wear characteristics, but my test vehicle seems think otherwise. The tires were approximately 5 months old at the time of this review, and the car has traveled roughly 3,000 miles since the tires were bought brand new. However, I found early signs of wear on the front tires upon closer inspection. It was nothing too drastic to merit attention, but it is important to mention it nevertheless.

Conclusion

The Yokohama Avid Touring S is an affordable set of touring tires that are capable of offering balanced performance and luxury levels of comfort. If all you want is a tire that will roll silently and comfortably while still offering acceptable levels of traction and grip in all-season driving, the Yokohama Avis Touring S should be on top of your list.