It’s not what I dream of spending time and money on, but wow, do these feel good.
It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach every time you hit the brakes… the fearful voice in your head asking, “Am I going to hit that car in front of me?”
Seriously, if you get this feeling go take a look at your tires. I did and I was shocked. I needed new tires.
That’s what I did… and found that I was in bad need of new tires. At a glance my tires looked OK. But when I turned my front wheels to one side I could easily see the full width of the tire (use your phone to snap a photo of your rear tires) and see that the inner tread bands had worn completely down. Luckily, the tread depth— the space between the bands— still met legal requirements of 2/32nd of tread or more. This is why it felt like the car was sliding to a stop at every intersection. Yes, it makes me cringe too, now that I think about it.
Choosing Continental Tires For My Next Set
Since it was time to replace the tires that came with my car when it was new (they had about 40,000 miles on them), I started shopping. As a car and gear reviewer I can try out a lot of different products and share what I learn with you. So I called Continental Tire and asked to try out the CrossContact LX25 all season tires, which retail for about $200 per tire, on my 2016 Infiniti QX50 (installation and balancing is additional, about $25 per tire).
I had the tires delivered to Excalibur Auto Repair in Austin, my favorite local mechanic, to have them installed.
I liked that the Continental CrossContact LX25 tires have been designed specifically for SUVs and crossovers, and in the second generation of this design, they have been refined based on performance tests and customer feedback. So, essentially they are a tire that Continental believes in and keeps improving.
The CrossContact is built for all types of weather, and installed on an SUV or truck they work nicely in concert with an all wheel drive system, which means in most climates you won’t need winter tires.
The Details About the CrossContact LX 25 That Won Me Over
These tires are tread rated for 70,000 miles and come with a 12 month warranty. As a family that tends to put a lot of miles on our car, this meant a lot to me. The rating is only a suggestion and doesn’t account for things like not correcting misaligned wheels, scraping tires against curbs or screeching around corners, which can stress your tires.
Continental molds wear indicators onto the CrossContact tire: The letters ‘DWS’ indicate the level of performance your tires are capable of as they wear. When the ’S’ disappears, it’s no longer as capable in snow; when the ‘W’ disappears it’s not as capable on wet pavement and when the ‘D’ fades, it’s time for new tires because it’s not as capable on dry pavement.
There are also 3 rectangles molded into the tread that are designed to show if your wheels are not aligned. If the rectangles don’t fade evenly, this indicates that your wheels are out of alignment.
They are designed for great performance on wet pavement. This is especially important in places like Texas where we can have long, dry spells and then a lot of rain, making our roads very slick. A tire that is designed to wick away the water by channeling it between the tread bands and still grip the road is ideal. The CrossContact drove quite nicely on wet roads.
The CrossContact tire can handle up to 1,521 pounds of weight per tire, so add the weight of the car, about 4,000 lbs., plus four people, luggage or light towing (hello weekends at the lake) and I had confidence that these tires can handle the job. It’s also rated for a maximum speed of 135 MPH, a speed I will never see in my compact SUV, but it’s good to know that these tires won’t fall apart if I *accidentally* push it to 90 MPH.
Quiet, Comfortable, Confident Driving
With the new tires installed, it was time to take a test drive. The ride is comfortable and quiet, a lot quieter than my old tires. This is partially because fresh, pliable rubber is quiet on the road and partially because these tires are designed for quiet and comfort. I hardly noticed the tires making any noise at all — a welcome change from my old tires. Who needs the tires forcing you to turn up the radio?
The handling is great and the car makes turns with solid confidence. In the rain they perform beautifully; the difference in performance between dry and wet pavement is minimal. Fast forward a couple of months and several thousand miles, and the new tires feel great. Probably the best part is that I’ve lost that pit-of-the-stomach feeling when approaching an intersection or a red traffic light. I feel completely confident when stopping and don’t worry that I might hit the car in front of me.
And that is precious.
Disclosure: Continental provided the CrossContact LX25 for this review. Installation, balancing and alignment were at my own expense. All opinions are my own.