Continental TerrainContact A/T Review: Better On-Road than Off-Road

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Wet
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  • Outstanding drivability and handling on dry pavement
  • Shortest braking distances on dry tarmac in the category
  • Exceptional wet handling
  • Best-in-class wet braking
  • Well-controlled ride, even when it hits a larger pothole
  • One of the quietest all-terrain tires out there
  • Good performance on hardpacked surfaces, such as dirt and gravel
  • Exceptional treadlife and long treadwear warranty
  • Doesn’t perform well in mud
  • Large rocks are a big obstacle for the tire
  • Not the best option for hardcore off-road enthusiasts

I’ve heard many owners of crossovers, SUVs, and trucks ask me the age-old question: “what are the best tires for my vehicle?” That’s a question that you can’t answer right away, though. Some tires might be great for me, but very bad for you.

It all depends on your needs. If you mostly drive on the street, then touring or highway tires are the best option. If you want a mix of on-road and off-road performance, then you need all-terrain tires. If you’re an off-road enthusiast, you’d want off-road tires.

The problem is, even if you decide to purchase all-terrain tires, there is a big difference between various models. For instance, the Continental TerrainContact A/T is clearly designed with street and highway driving in mind, unlike the Goodyear All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.

Does that make it bad? Of course not! The TerrainContact A/T absolutely has its place on the tire market. To see where it belongs and if it’s the best tire for you, read my detailed Continental TerrainContact A/T review down below. I’ll cover every aspect of the tire, including on-road dynamics and comfort, snow traction, off-road traction, and durability.

Before we do that, though, let’s see what features Continental utilized in the tire to make it stand out from the competition.

According to Continental, the TerrainContact A/T is the “ideal all-terrain tire for CUV, SUV and Light Trucks with the durability to conquer dirt, gravel, and grass while providing a quiet, comfortable ride on pavement.”

To make those things possible, the German tiremaker utilized a +Silane enhanced all-season tread compound. The advanced rubber extends the treadlife of the tire while also increasing wet grip.

The compound is molded into a mild all-terrain pattern, which shows that Continental mostly focused on street dynamics here. However, the TerrainContact A/T does feature TractionPlus Technology, which enhances the off-road traction and durability.

Meanwhile, the tread design features stable tread blocks for enhanced steering feel. Moreover, the closed shoulder blocks help with increasing treadlife and uneven wear.

The tire also features full-depth sipes and edge-of-the-block traction grooves for increased traction in wet and snowy conditions throughout the life of the tire.

The internal construction of the tire features only a two-ply casing, unlike some competitors, which feature a three-ply one. Therefore, this tire isn’t the best option for driving over sharp rocks and at lower pressures.

Continental TerrainContact AT Review

What are the maintenance indicators?

Continental utilized the regular TWI’s (tread wear indicators) on the TerrainContact A/T. The company has better solutions for monitoring tread depth, but those are only available in its touring tires right now.

The treadwear indicators are narrow rubber bars positioned inside the grooves of the tire. As the rubber wears down, the rubber bars become more visible.

The TWI’s help you monitor the tread depth and are crucial for keeping you safe. That’s because, without sufficient tread depth, the tire won’t be able to provide you with safe traction in wet and snowy conditions.

The minimum tread depth on the TerrainContact A/T is 2/32-inch. When the tread reaches that point, the TWI’s will be completely flush with the surface. To retain wet and snow traction, you should immediately replace your tires. However, you might want to replace them sooner if you plan to go off-roading.

Fortunately, the treadlife of this tire is exceptional. It should easily last you for 3-4 years, even if you go off-roading. Moreover, Continental provides a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which, along with some other premium tires, is the best result in the category.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

Continental clearly designed the TerrainContact A/T with greater emphasis on paved roads. Unlike hardcore all-terrain tires, such as the BFGoodrich T/A KO2 and Goodyear All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar, this tire wants to spend the majority of time on the street and highway.

Fortunately, that means that you will get absolutely outstanding performance for everyday driving. In some tests, the TerrainContact A/T even comes close to some highway all-season tires, which is high praise indeed. I think that most amateur drivers would never notice that they drive on a set of all-terrain tires, something that I can’t say about most competitors.

The TerrainContact A/T immediately shows its on-road nature with responsive steering. The tire is fast to respond and feels very direct. Moreover, you will even get a feel from the road, as opposed to competitors, which feel dull.

Furthermore, the TerrainContact A/T impresses with the traction levels on dry pavement. It has by far the shortest braking distances in the category, beating the closest competitors by at least three feet. It also handles well in the corners, with reasonably high grip and excellent stability.

Overall, as of this moment, Continental’s all-terrain offering is the best tire in its category for driving on dry pavement.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

Continental TerrainContact AT Review

It only gets better for the TerrainContact A/T when it starts raining. Just like on dry tarmac, Continental’s all-terrain tire posts the shortest stopping distances, now with over four feet from 50mph to the closest competitor.

Cornering is outstanding as well. The tires react fast to the driver’s input, without any hint of understeer or oversteer. The hydroplaning resistance is excellent as well, even in some very heavy rain.

Overall, just like with dry traction, the TerrainContact A/T is by far the best all-terrain tire for rainy days. It feels like you’re driving on rails sometimes, which is surprising for an all-terrain product. Continental’s offering is so good that it even beats some highway tires on wet pavement.

With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?

I don’t know how Continental does that, but the TerrainContact A/T is genuinely usable over light snow as well. Most tires that perform well on dry and wet roads suffer in the winter, and vice-versa. Not the TerrainContact A/T, though.

Traction in light snow is very good for an all-season tire. The handling also feels surefooted, of course, if you drive carefully. The braking distances aren’t very long as well. And, sure, a winter tire will perform much better, but as far as all-season all-terrain tires go, the Continental is one of the best.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

It really depends on your expectations. If you only visit off-road tracks seldom, the TerrainContact A/T might be a good solution for you. Compared to highway tires or touring tires, you’ll get much better traction on hardpacked surfaces, better stability, and better braking. Actually, the Continental even compares favorably to some all-terrain tires on those surfaces.

However, larger rocks can be a big issue. There is simply not enough traction to overcome these obstacles, especially if it rains. Deep mud can be a problem, as well. The tread pattern on the TerrainContact A/T is not very deep, which limits its mud-terrain capability. You’d be better off with a dozen other all-terrain tires.

Is it comfortable and refined?

The TerrainContact A/T doesn’t stop to impress when it comes to comfort. This is one of the best all-terrain tires for traveling long distances, both in terms of ride quality and noise.

The thing that I like the most is how the tire rides over bumps. Although the ride is firm, it feels very controlled, just like on a premium grand-touring tire. This quality helps at higher speeds, where a soft tire might produce too much motion when it hits a bump.

The Continental doesn’t disappoint when it comes to noise as well. You can notice a slight tread growl at highway speeds, but nothing too objectional. Remember, this is an all-terrain tire, after all, so you shouldn’t expect miracles. Besides, the TerrainContact A/T is among the quietest tires in its category, if not the quietest.

You can see more Continental TerrainContact A/T review here: Video created by Suburban Men

Should I buy the Continental TerrainContact A/T?

Well, it depends on what you want and needs from your tires. If you’re a hardcore off-road enthusiast that wants a reliable option for driving on all kinds of surfaces, this is not the product for you. The TerrainContact simply lacks traction in mud and over larger rocks, which might be a limiting factor for some. For those people, I recommend the BFGoodrich T/A KO2, Goodyear All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar, General Grabber AT3, and Falken Wildpeak A/T3W.

However, if you only visit off-road surfaces scarcely, then the Continental might be the best tire out there. On the road, I can’t think of a better all-terrain tire. The TerrainContact A/T does everything well – it performs excellently on dry, wet, and snowy surfaces; it is supremely comfortable and quiet and lasts for a very long time. So, if you mostly drive on the street, then I highly recommend the TerrainContact A/T.

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