Continental PureContact LS vs TrueContact Tour


Continental offers two great all season options, the PureContact LS, known for its fuel efficiency, and the TrueContact Tour, for its superb tread life. Let’s check out both tires in greater details.

Continental TrueContact Tour installed
Continental TrueContact Tour XL sizes suit SUVs better.

Being a tire engineer, my tests show that the Continental PureContact LS stands out for its enhanced ride comfort, superior grip on snowy terrains, and improved wet performance. Conversely, the TrueContact Tour excels in fuel economy, offers longer tread life as indicated by its UTQG rating, and provides better handling attributes due to its relatively more responsive steering.

Diverse Sizing and Specs

The Continental TrueContact Tour comes in 15 to 19 inches rims, and they have the following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V only.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 11/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 16 to 32 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 80k for T and H rated sizes or 70k mile for V rated ones.
  • UTQG rating: 800 AA.

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

  • 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.

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The TrueContact Tour comes with an symmetrical tread pattern, with 4 columns (2 shoulder ribs, and 2 central ones).

Continental TrueContact Tour
TrueContact Tour’s inter-connectivity of lugs offer superior snow grip.

The central ribs are more aggressive, as one can clearly see from the image.

They feature curved X shaped biters, which along with siping provide ample bite, especially on wet.

Moreover, they also interconnect circumferential grooves adding to tire’s wet performance.

In comparison, the shoulders are more compacted up, and less aggressive.

They are seen with lateral voids and in-groove notches along with linear siping.

Internally, the tire comes with single-layer polyester casing on the inside, with 2 steel belts, and spirally wound nylon overlay on top. Moreover, it also features low- to mid-apex belts to provide extra handling stability.

The term “low- to mid-apex” refers to the tire’s sidewall design. It means that the sidewall (having these supporting belts), is neither too soft nor very stiff.

On the other hand, although the Continental PureContact LS also offers asymmetric pattern, its more aggressive, relatively.

Continental PureContact LS
Continental PureContact LS has a secondary rubber layer underneath all its ribs.

Let’s start form its most biting middle area.

Here 3 ribs of unique structures are seen, where the middle most is the widest of all, and carries a combination of slanted and lateral voids, and linear siping.

Moreover, like one of the adjacent rib, it also feature chamfered edges which offers superior directional grip.

Moving towards shoulders, they are less aggressive overall, in comparison, as they don’t carry angled notches or in-groove biters, or chamfered edges.

I mean they only carry linear siping like its competitor.

Internally, the tire comes with a single ply polyester casing with twin steel belts, and a two layered nylon cap ply, with comfort plus technology.

Dry Performance

When examining the overall performance of a tire on dry surfaces, we mainly look at two aspects.

  • The overall handling (which combines the tire’s steering response with its lateral grip).
  • The tire’s directional grip.

Let’s start with the later.

Directional Grip

Directional grip is closely tied to the central part of the tread (as it has the most weight pressure on it, as the tire rolls straight). Meaning, lugs in the middle make the most contact.

That’s why in this regard, the Continental PureContact LS has the upper hand. The tire although pretty voided up, still makes slightly better contact (relatively), from its 3 ribs in the middle.

And even though the lateral grooves take away the rubber contact patch, they still help, acting as in-groove notches, adding to the grip.

On the other hand, the TrueContact Tour has longitudinal voids in the very middle, which can’t offer almost similar directional grip values in comparison.

Though note that the stopping distance difference between the two is very small, almost less than half feet, (braking is the direct measure of directional grip).

Dry Grip and Steering

In terms of handling, both tires again coming with similar rubber to road contact, provide very close and comparable lateral traction values (as seen by g forces).

But then why overall handling times are still better on Continental TrueContact Tour?

Well, the answer lies in its superior steering responsiveness.

This tire basically comes with a lighter construction. So all its lugs (on tread) have less weight pressure on them, as they rub against the road’s surface, minimizing the flexing of its lugs.

On the other side, the PureContact “LS” being a “Luxury Sport” tire comes up with a softer relative rubber composition, which although allows it to have more comfort, also makes its lugs more susceptible to bending, in comparison.

This difference is crucial. When tire lugs bend, they require time to regain their original shape. And this time, even if minuscule, impacts overall handling times by affecting the tire’s response.

Tread Life

In the area of tread durability, the PureContact LS, despite its robust silica-based tread, doesn’t quite measure up to its counterpart in terms of lifespan. And this difference becomes pretty evident, when you compare their UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) ratings.

Now keep in mind, that the UTQG rating is not really reliable, but only when tires are from different brands. However, when they come from same manufacturer, this rating becomes pretty valuable.

Having said that, the Continental TrueContact with its UTQG of 800, takes the lead, as it suggests that it lasts 8 times longer than the benchmark (reference) tire. While the PureContact LS, with a rating of 700, has a lifespan 7 times longer than the reference tire.

Now, although the TrueContact Tour features a relatively heavier construction, its deeper tread enables it to wear down to the US’s minimum legal tread depth of 2/32″ at a slower pace, providing extended tread life.

And that is further helped with its stiffer compound, unlike its counterpart, which being a luxury tire with a softer compound wears down faster.

Winter Performance

Both tires although lack a lot in ice, they are not so bad on snowy terrains.

Yet, overall the Continental PureContact LS still ends up getting more scores, as it offers greater snow to snow contact, a trait pretty important here, as snowflakes stick to each other better instead of rubber, enhancing grip.

Moreover, it also has the edge of its relatively more pliant rubber composition, where its +Silane additives, which resist its biters form getting too stiffen up with freezing temperatures.

On the other hand, the TrueContact Tour although also features pretty decent acceleration and braking efficacy with its X shaped curved biters in the middle ( 2 ribs), it still lacks with its sluggish steering response.

But keep in mind, that there are much better options out there, than these two, if winter performance is important to you.

Go for the ones having 3-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rating (missing in both these continental tires here).

Wet Traction

In wet conditions, a tire’s performance is primarily determined by how well it clears off water from its tread, which is actually done by grooves and sipes.

While grooves play a pivotal role in displacing most of the water, sipes enhance this process. These sipes although may seem as mere slits, they are pretty important for grip, as they work on a micro level.

They contract/expand, creating a vacuum, drawing in water and thereby augmenting wet traction.

So this tells us that tire improves its wet performance by employing more number of sipes, and giving them the needed flexibility.

That’s why here, the Continental TrueContact Tour trails slightly behind its competitor, with its stiffer compound, even though it offers a lot of biters, and a mixture of multi-directional siping.

On the other hand, the Continental PureContact LS takes the upper hand, as it comes with denser siping, and a softer compound which gives those sipes the ability to maintain flexibility, (even on sharper turns).

Additionally, the tire gets the advantage of having superior inter-connectivity among its grooves, allowing for enhanced water dispersion from the outset. And that reduces the workload for the sipes, to begin with.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy in tires is closely associated with their rolling resistance, where the inner and outer constrcution of a tire largerly determines that.

Now when comparing both tires, the TrueContact Tour exhibits better performance here, marginally. This is attributed to its lighter weight and sturdier rubber composition.

On the other hand, the softer rubber compound of the PureContact LS causes its tread blocks (or lugs) to flex more.

This increased flex means that more energy is spent reshaping the tire tread and producing heat, rather than propelling the tire forward efficiently.

Though, keeping in mind, its a Luxury Performance tire (as indicated by LS), the PureContact is still not that bad.

And that’s mainly because of its EcoPlus Technology, which is designed to reduce CO2 emissions and contains elements that decrease rolling resistance.

Road Smoothness

How smooth the ride is, depends tire’s ability to soak up road bumps effectively.

Now in this comparison, the PureContact LS emerges superior due to its unique construction.

The tire actually benefits from it’s Comfort Ride Technology, which features an added layer over its nylon cap plies, designed especially to cushion road bumps.

Moreover, its polyester casing, with a relatively more plaint composition, also adds to its overall ride flexibility. And it’s tread with +Silane additives (although made for fuel economy), is also instrumental in mitigating road vibrations too.

Road Noise

When it comes to road noise, both tires are notably noisy compared to their competitors, as they are pretty voided up. But how is that important?

Well this is because noise is air hitting the tread walls, (where air particles predominately come in through shoulder area).

Now the Continental PureContact LS being a luxury tire, still stands out as a quieter option compared to TrueContact Tour.

And this is attributed to a couple of key features.

Firstly, the tire is enriched with a denser composition of polymers, including Polybutadiene and silica, which are known to reduce road abrasion noise.

Moreover, although its shoulders have larger gaps, it’s relatively shallower tread depth still gives air particles less room to hit around, effectively reducing the source of the noise.

Furthermore, PureContact benefits from a variable pitch tread design. This means that its lugs are structured to interact with incoming air at different angles, producing varied tones and frequencies. This prevents noise amplification, basically.

Summing Up

So overall it comes down to your specific needs as both tires have their strengths.

The PureContact excels in:

  • Superior ride comfort due to its Comfort Ride Technology and +Silane additives.
  • Enhanced grip on snowy terrains owing to more pliant rubber composition.
  • Better fuel economy which comes from its softer compound and EcoPlus Technology.

On the other hand, the TrueContact shines in:

  • Reduced road noise thanks to its denser polymer composition.
  • Longer tread life as evidenced by its higher UTQG treadwear rating.
  • Better overall handling due to its superior steering responsiveness.

4 thoughts on “Continental PureContact LS vs TrueContact Tour”

  1. What’s the quietest tire and good fuel efficiency for a Subaru Forester 2018? Michelin Defender 2 or Cross Climate 2 or Continental Pure Contact or True Contact


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