Continental PureContact LS vs Goodyear Assurance MaxLife

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The Continental PureContact LS is a Grand Touring All-Season tire, optimized for comfort and year-round traction, while the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife comes in a Standard Touring All-Season category, where it focuses on fuel efficiency and tread life. Let’s see what else they have to offer.

Goodyear Assurance MaxLife
Both tires were tested on a Toyota RAV4.

Based on my evaluations as a tire engineer, the Continental PureContact LS stands out in wet and winter conditions, and benefits from remarkable ride comfort. In contrast, the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife shines in dry settings, delivering extended tread durability, improved fuel economy, and a quieter driving experience.

Available Sizes

The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife comes in 15 to 20 inches wheels, and all of those sizes have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: 11 to 12/32″.
  • Weight range: 20 to 36 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 85k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 820 A B.

On the other side, the Continental PureContact LS comes in 16 to 20 inches rims, with following sizes’ specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 18 to 32 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 70k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 700 AA.

Inner and Outer Construction

The Assurance MaxLife offers a pretty straight forward symmetric tread structure, with a 5 rib design, with 2 outer shoulder ribs and 3 inner ones.

Goodyear Assurance MaxLife
Goodyear Assurance MaxLife has biters/siping mostly aligned laterally.

The 3 inner ribs make straight longitudinal channels, and have multiple notches and laterally aligned linear siping.

All these ribs including shoulders provide ample maneuvering stability, as they are all backed up reinforced foundations underneath.

Speaking of shoulders, these are also pretty packed up, where their thick lateral grooves act as in-groove notches.

Moreover, you also see “F” shaped siping here, joining up with those lateral voids (and first circumferential grooves).

Internally, the tire comes with a single ply polyester casing and just a single ply nylon cap.

On the other hand, the Continental PureContact LS comes with a totally different asymmetric tread design, which is also more aggressive.

Continental PureContact LS
Continental PureContact LS also comes with DWS markings (explained in tread life section).

It’s central most rib is the widest of all, carrying an array of in-groove notches and linear angled siping.

While adjacent ribs are narrower, and are less aggressive.

One of them have lateral notches facing the shoulders, while other has chamfered edges and snow vices.

Though these snow vices are also seen on central most (rib) and one of the shoulder ribs.

Moving towards shoulders, they are less aggressive overall, in comparison.

As they don’t come with any notches and only have lateral (straight forward) sipes on them.

Internally, the tire comes with a single ply polyester casing with twin steel belts, and dual nylon cap plies.

Dry Performance

Evaluating a tire’s performance on dry roads, hinges on two critical factors: grip and handling.

Let’s analyze them both.

Directional Grip

This longitudinal grip is largely determined by tire’s central region.

But why the center?

Well, this area experiences the maximum weight pressure as the tire moves in a straight line. And an excellent illustration of this is the Goodyear Assurance.

The design of the MaxLife is basically composed of more streamlined ribs arranged lengthwise, optimizing rubber-to-road contact and thereby increasing friction.

Whereas on Continental PureContact LS, the tire although has a prominent central rib, its grip is still hampered by its lateral voids there, which basically can’t offer similar contact patch.

Though the difference between the two is pretty small, (less than a feet on average, in stopping distance tests).

But yes, overall, Goodyear offers superior directional grip.

Dry Handling

When it comes to dry handling, there are two things to look for, lateral traction and steering.

In terms of traction both tires do great.

I mean the Assurance MaxLife stands out with its distinct in-groove lateral notches combined with deep longitudinal slits, ensuring optimal traction.

Whereas the Continental PureContact offers shoulders which are also pretty streamlined, primarily featuring lateral siping and grooves, giving you similar lateral grip, as seen by their lateral g forces (on tests).

But the overall handling is still superior on the Goodyear Assurance Maxlife, where its more than a second faster (on average), on lap tests.

So why is that? Well this has to do with steering responsiveness.

Steering Response

Now before diving here, it’s essential to understand the three distinct phases of “cornering”:

  • Entry: The initial phase as the vehicle begins its turn into the corner. This involves braking and potentially downshifting.
  • Mid corner: This is when the car is at the apex of the turn. Here, accurate steering feedback is the most crucial.
  • Exit: This is where, you straighten up the car, after the corner, reapplying the throttle.

Now as the Goodyear Assurance excels in all of these.

It provides faster braking, it enters the corners more effortlessly.

And its weightier steering feel also gives you a more detailed feedback during the mid-corner phase, (and while exiting), ensuring that the tire remains steady, without tendencies for over or understeering.

So why the steering on Continental PureContact LS is lagging comparatively?

Well this has to do with it’s softer internal construction, where the tire is designed with Comfort Ride Technology, which is basically a cushioning layer placement above nylon cap plies.

This causes its lugs to bend more, which lowers the overall under/oversteering balance.

Tread Life

When it comes to tread life, its not a surprise, that the Goodyear “Max Life” tire is taking the lead, where it offers 15k more miles in it’s treadwear warranty, compared to its counterpart.

It’s stiffer rubber basically is very resistive to wear, and it’s relatively greater tread depth takes more time to reach down to 2/32″ (which is the legal tread depth limit in the USA).

On the other hand, the Continental PureContact lacks in comparison, mainly due to its softer rubber composition. Though it’s tread life is still appreciable, given that its a luxury performance tire.

Actually it’s silica and +Silane additives combined with its light-weight design are really helping the tire here. So you still get above-average mileage here as well.

For Your Info: A lot of Continental tires, like the PureContact LS come with DWS markings on tread. These indicate performance in Dry, Wet, and Snow conditions. And as the tire wears, the letters fade, signaling reduced efficacy in those conditions.

Ride Comfort

How comfortable a tire feels comes down to how well it handles bumpy roads, where the tire’s oveall make-up is a crucial factor.

Having said that, it make sense why the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife ends up getting lower subjective scores in its overall impact-comfort performance.

Simply put, it’s harder rubber, basically isn’t able to handle bumps and shakes from the road efficiently.

While the Continental PureContact LS, being a luxury sport performance tire, gives you a more smooth and controlled drive over bumps.

So why is that?

Well it’s mostly credited to its Comfort Ride Technology, which provides this tire with extra layer of polyamide, (above its nylon cap plies), dedicated to soak up road imperfections.

Wet Performance

Wet performance highly depends on grooves and sipes (on the tread).

Grooves handle the bulk of water evacuation, funneling it away via large channels. And sipes facilitate the dispersion of “remaining” water particles from beneath the tread.

These sipes basically flex to create a suction, soaking up water particles, and clearing path for biters (and rubber) to grip on the relatively drier surface.

Understanding these, it makes sense why out of both tires, the Continental PureContact LS stands out with its exceptional grip and handling. where you get a more grounded and control feel at all times.

The tire comes with better siping structure, where all ribs have sipes with slightly varied angles. This allows for better combination of longitudinal and sideways traction.

Moreover, it’s laterally voided up central ribs also offer better inter-connectivity of the grooves, ensuring greater water dispersion in all directions.

So there’s less burden on sipes to begin with, adding to its overall wet performance.

On the other hand, the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife also offers appreciable wet performance from it’s siping and groove designs, effectively repelling water. Yet its relatively stiffer rubber compound still gets in the way, so you get slower handling times with this tire in comparison.

Note: Actually its lacking wet traction is a trade-off with its longer tread life.

Winter Traction

Evaluating a tire’s performance in winter conditions involves considering multiple key factors: grip, handling, and adaptability across varying snowy terrains.

And here, the Continental PureContact LS takes the lead, overall, as the tire with its more extensive siping and ribs equipped with snow vices, demonstrates superior traction on both icy and snowy terrains.

It’s sipes remain more flexible in freezing temperatures, where they benefit from their multi-angle orientations allowing for superior ice grip.

Whereas on softer snowy terrains, its asymmetric tread design, enriched with multiple in-groove notches, trap snow particles, promoting better snow-to-snow contact.

This specific contact generates greater friction as snow particles like to cling together.

On the other hand, although the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife offers impressive snow braking and acceleration, it really falls short in terms of lateral traction and steering feedback, hurting its overall winter performance scores.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel economy highly depends on rolling resistance. And both tires offer pretty similar values here.

The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife, designed with tread longevity in mind, leverages its lightweight construction combined with stiffer rubber and reinforced foundations. And this design naturally helps the tire with fuel economy as well, as it results in a reduced rolling resistance.

On the other hand, the Continental PureContact LS incorporating a blend of it’s EcoPlus and Comfort Plus technologies achieves a similar fuel economy as well.

About these technologies: EcoPlus is geared towards reducing CO2 emissions and uses compounds designed to lessen rolling resistance, thereby promoting fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, Comfort Plus ensures even weight distribution across the tread, reducing pressure on individual lugs.

Road Noise

Road noise is influenced by various factors, including rolling resistance, groove resonance, and the overall tread geometry.

And here the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife excels, mainly due to its relatively closed shoulder design and advanced tread compound.

It’s compacted up lugs act as acoustic barriers, effectively reducing rolling noise. They basically restrict air particles form colliding with the tread walls (which generates noise in the first place).

Additionally, the tire’s state-of-the-art tread compound adeptly absorbs unwanted sound waves, resulting in reduced in-groove resonance.

The Continental PureContact LS, on the other side, is louder, (as it shows a greater decibel reading).

It produces a more discernible tire noise, characterized by a higher pitch, with a combination of in-groove resonance, which also add to its cavity noise.

Take Home Points

Both tires have their distinct advantages, so it all comes down to your preference, and of course driving conditions.

The Continental PureContact LS shines particularly in wet and winter conditions, offering enhanced grip and stability due to its sophisticated siping structure and superior water evacuation mechanisms.

Moreover, although the tire lacks in the noise department, it’s overall comfort performance is also leading the way, all thanks to its Comfort Plus tech.

On the other hand, the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife stands out in dry performance with its exceptional directional grip and steering responsiveness.

Moreover, the tire offers superior tread life, fuel economy and is quieter off the two tires.

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