Continental TrueContact Tour vs Goodyear Assurance Maxlife

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The Continental TrueContact Tour and Goodyear Assurance MaxLife both stand as Standard Touring All-Season tires catering to an array of vehicles. And both these boys strive to deliver reliability in dry, wet, and wintry settings. But which one comes on top? Let’s find out!

Ford Focus SE
Testing out tires on Ford Focus SE.

Being a tire engineer, my testing show that in wet conditions, the TrueContact Tour excels, while the Assurance MaxLife dominates on dry roads and provides you with a longer tread life. Moreover, the Goodyear offers a quieter ride, but Continental has the edge in snow traction. And yes, one more thing, both tires have comparable fuel efficiency.

Side Note: Both tires are included in my list of top standard touring tires. See here:

Tire 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.

Review this tire in greater details:

On the other hand, 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.

Review this tire in greater details:

Tread Design

Let’s start off with the Assurance MaxLife.

Goodyear MaxLife
Goodyear Assurance MaxLife has another layer beneath all lugs, acting as supports.

Now this tire offers a symmetric tread pattern, with 5 total columns of blocks (known as ribs).

These 5 ribs together make 4 circumferential channels, in the middle.

Though since all ribs are continuous running, they don’t inter-connect those circumferential grooves.

(This restricts the tire’s resistance to aquaplaning to some extent).

Moving on, the tread’s central most rib has minimal biters, (so it could make maximum rubber to road contact, enhancing grip).

Here you see smaller notches, though similar siping structure, relatively.

Whereas on adjacent ribs, the notches are sipes are more prominent.

This also goes for shoulder where you can clearly see (in the tread’s image), F shaped sipes, notches and lateral grooves.

Speaking of its internal construction, the tire comes with with a very light single ply polyester and nylon cap, with dual steel belts in between them.

On the other side, the Continental TrueContact Tour comes with a more aggressive pattern (though it’s also symmetrical).

Continental TrueContact Tour
TrueContact Tour’s full depth grooves, as seen by wear.

Here 4 ribs are formed, where the two central ones are the most biting.

These ribs are distinguished by robust, curved “X” shaped grooves and sipes.

And they are designed to provide optimal water expulsion (as they connect with adjacent longitudinal grooves), and snow traction (acting as biters).

Speaking of snow traction, the outer shoulder ribs are although not aggressive, they come with snow vices, adding to the tire’s winter performance.

Moreover, they also features streamlined laterally arranged biters, where you can see linear siping, notches and grooves.

Internally, the tire comprises a single polyester layer, reinforced by two steel belts and a spirally wound nylon overlay.

Wet Traction

In terms of wet traction, each tire offers a unique experience.

The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife, while performing exceptionally on dry surfaces, struggles on wet roads, a lot, especially compared to TrueContact.

It tends to slip noticeably, especially when it comes to regaining control, where this underperformance mainly stems from its comparatively rigid rubber composition, which hampers the sipes’ ability to flex properly.

But why that matter? Well, because sipes have to “flex” to create a suction for water particles, and without tread/sipes getting the needed flexibility, overall wet traction gets hampered.

That’s why in comparison, the MaxLife lacks to its counterpart, where it lacks by 2 seconds in overall wet handling lap times, and over a whopping 20 feet in wet braking tests (on average).

Moving towards the other tire, the Continental TrueContact Tour offers one of the best wet traction values in it’s group. And it’s superb performance is the result of it’s full-depth sipes (with a mix of linear and wavy patterns), and it’s softer tread working together.

Moreover the tire also has the upper hand, in terms of hydroplaning resistance. Let me explain this separately.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning occurs when a tire loses contact with the road because it can’t displace water quickly enough, causing it to “float” on the water’s surface.

To mitigate this, tires are equipped with broad grooves that efficiently channel water away. The tire’s ability to resist hydroplaning, often referred to as its float speed, becomes challenged as speeds increase.

That’s why it makes sense why the Continental with a more voided up structure, laterally connecting it’s circumferential grooves (which are also wider in the first place), offers faster water dispersion in comparison.

And this further helps the overall wet traction, and siping effectiveness, as more water getting out, means less burden on sipes to begin with.

On the flip side, with continuous running ribs, and such packed shoulders, the Goodyear Maxlife can’t offer similar float speeds, in comparison, which directly measures aquaplaning resistance.

Tread Life

When evaluating tread longevity, while the Continental performs quiet well, with its robust silica-based tread rubber ensuring good wear resistance, it still doesn’t quite surpass its counterpart.

And the difference between the two tires, boils down to three primary criteria: tread depth, compound makeup, and overall construction weight.

The Continental’s tread depth peaks at 10/32″, whereas the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife comes with a greater average tread depth (going up to 12/32″).

And of course, this means the Goodyear tire takes longer to wear down to the replacement threshold.

Moreover, compared to the softer rubber of the Continental, the MaxLife’s lugs are not only firmer but also benefit from reinforced bases, reducing their flexibility. And that consequently produce less heat and wear down the tire at a slower pace.

Though the difference between the two is pretty low, that’s why there’s just a difference of 5k miles warranty in both tires, though Goodyear offers greater, 85k miles.

For Your Info: If tread life is your main preference, you should know that the Michelin Defender 2 (review), outperforms both of these tires here.

Dry Performance

The efficacy of a tire’s grip on dry tracks depends on factors like its construction, material, and tread composition. These basically define tire’s directional grip and handling. Let’s discuss them both.

Straight Line Grip

Straight-line or directional grip, (measured by braking distances), hinges predominantly on the tire’s central region since it bears the majority of the vehicle’s weight during forward motion.

Here, the Assurance MaxLife shines due to its trio of continuous central ribs, which are better streamlined and have multiple lateral notches on them.

On the other side, although the Continental TrueContact Tour isn’t too far off still lacks, as it comes with a more voided up structure. Meaning it can’t offer similar rubber to road contact, and that directly hinders its longitudinal grip a little bit.

Moreover, as the tire is heavier in comparison too, it generates greater moving inertia, which takes longer to stop. The result? You get a feet longer braking distance (on average), from Continental, compared to Goodyear.

Dry Cornering Grip

Cornering efficacy largely leans on the tire’s shoulders, as they make the most contact with the road while the wheels are turning.

This is due to the centripetal force. (Think of it like this: Why do you want to move in the opposite direction in the car, as it corners?)

Now both tires with pretty compacted up shoulders provide similar lateral traction values. But why is it then that the TrueContact is still lacking in overall handling times?

Well, that’s because overall handling is a mix of grip plus tire’s steering responsiveness, and Continental lacks in later.

This is mainly because of its heavier weight, which causes its lugs to bend more, leading to a limited precision balance between understeer and oversteer.

On the other side, the lighter Goodyear Assurance MaxLife, having reinforced with its sturdier rubber compound and spirally wound nylon cap ply don’t get to face this issue.

Noise Performance

The MaxLife provides a comparatively quieter ride in terms of noise.

During my test with these tires, I summed up that at slower speeds, one might discern a soft white noise, which becomes a more general hum at highway speeds, blending with ambient sounds.

On the other hand, the Continental TrueContact Tour tends to be noisier, emitting a distinct two-tone sound, primarily attributed to its tread.

I mean it’s more voided up tread allows more air to circulate around, bumping in to tread, creating noise. (Air is one of the main cause of noise, and it mostly comes in, through shoulders).

The Assurance MaxLife deals with this air better, mainly because of it’s variable pitch pattern, which is designed to produce varied sound frequencies at different intervals, as air particles bumps the (tread) blocks from different angles.

This actually reduces in-groove resonance, and prevent noise form amplifying, reducing overall decibel levels (as seen on tests).

Winter Performance

Evaluating an all-season tire’s winter performance hinges on tire’s braking and handling on both icy and (salt-like) snowy tracks.

And here, although both tire’s aren’t so great, especially when it comes to ice, you still get a great overall performance out of Continental in terms of snowy road traction.

The tire, despite showing slight handling challenges due to it’s slight tendency to understeer, delivers impressive snow traction, especially during braking and acceleration tests.

One notable feature of the TrueContact Tour is its curved X-shaped patterns that improve grip on snowy surfaces by enhancing snow-to-snow contact. This is significant because snow particles naturally bond together, providing a more reliable grip than the typical snow-to-rubber interaction.

Note: It’s important to mention that neither tire here carries the 3 peak mountain snowflake rating, and there are far better all season options out there, if winter performance is your main preference.

Fuel Efficiency

Rolling resistance plays a pivotal role in fuel economy, and both tires demonstrate comparable performance values (rolling resistance), in this aspect.

The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife, with its emphasis on tread lifespan (as one can tell by it’s name, MAX Life), benefits from a lightweight build, combined with rigid rubber and strengthened foundations.

This design not only ensures durability but also contributes to fuel savings by decreasing rolling resistance.

Conversely, the Continental TrueContact, with its integration of EcoPlus technologies and Finite Element Analysis construction, delivers similar and very comparable fuel efficiency. So both tires offer almost similar MPG on average.

To elaborate: EcoPlus focuses on curbing CO2 emissions and incorporates compounds tailored to minimize rolling resistance, thereby enhancing fuel efficiency. In contrast, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a digital technique employed to anticipate a tire’s response to real-world pressures, including vibration, temperature, and strain.

To Conclude

So overall, it all comes down to your specific needs, and your predominant driving conditions.

In terms of wet traction, the TrueContact Tour outperforms, offering superior water evacuation and resistance to hydroplaning.

Conversely, on dry roads, the Goodyear shines with its better straight-line grip, primarily due to its central ribs.

When evaluating tread life, the Assurance has a slight edge with its greater average tread depth and extended warranty.

And for noise, MaxLife provides a quieter experience, while the Continental stands out for snowy terrains due to its special X-shaped patterns.

Moreover, fuel efficiency between the two is closely matched, with both emphasizing reduced rolling resistance through various technologies and designs.

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