Is the Continental WinterContact SI the best winter tire for your vehicle? This Continental WinterContact SI tire review has the answers.
From the results of our thorough testing, the WinterContact SI comes across as a great winter and dependable tire. It provides a reliable and safe driving experience, even in extreme wintry conditions. Its handling and steering responsiveness in cold conditions is also impressive.
In this WinterContact SI tire review, we will discuss the tire’s key features and technologies, its performance in ice-covered and snow-covered roads as well as its ride quality. We will also walk you through its warranties and guarantees, available sizes and compatible vehicles, its price as well as its pros and cons. By the end of this WinterContact SI tire review, you will have the answers you are looking for, to decide whether it’s the best winter tire for your vehicle.
We are committed to publishing informative, well-researched and objective reviews. And we achieve this with the help of our experienced content creation team, comprising of award-winning journalists and industry professionals. So, you can always trust us to provide you with relevant information, which will help you to make better purchasing decisions.
About the Continental WinterContact SI
All-season tires are normally the default option for most of the trucks, SUVs, minivans and other vehicles sold in North America.
These tires are designed to keep your vehicle moving in numerous terrains and conditions.
Unfortunately, most all-season tires tend to lose their traction and grip when temperatures fall below 70C.
In such conditions, you will need a dedicated winter tire, which will provide a safe and reliable driving experience.
And this is where the Continental WinterContact SI comes in. As its name suggests, the Continental WinterContact SI is engineered for snowy and icy conditions.
Designed for sedans, coupes, minivans, crossovers and SUVS, this tire will provide you with the traction and grip that you need, whenever you are driving on ice-covered and snow-covered roads.
Design Features and Technologies
Continental equips its tires with several design features and technologies, to ensure they deliver a reliable and safe driving experience.
And the Continental WinterContact SI is no exception. Some of its key features and technologies include:
Polar Plus Technology
The Continental WinterContact SI has been outfitted with Continental’s exclusive PolarPlus technology. So, what exactly is PolarPlus technology?
PolarPlus is an advanced tire technology, featuring a proprietary tread compound, which remains flexible and pliable in freezing temperatures.
Thanks to this technology, your Continental WinterContact SI tire will continue providing adequate traction and grip on snow-covered and ice-covered roads.
Hence, whether you are driving through ice, snow, slush, rainy conditions or other extreme wintry conditions, you can rest assured that this tire will provide safe handling.
Continental has also equipped this tire with a zig-zag tread sipe pattern and ridged traction grooves.
The zig-zag tread pattern and the ridged traction grooves work together to provide additional biting edges in snow and ice. And as a result, you will enjoy better traction and grip in such conditions.
The Continental WinterContact SI also features a three-peak mountain snowflake symbol.
And this is an indication that this tire has been tested and approved to be used in extreme winter and snow conditions.
Tread Depth Indicator
Deep inside the tire’s tread grooves are a couple of winter tread depth indicators. These indicators are designed to make it easier for the driver to gauge the tire’s tread wear level.
And when the tread depth indicators flush with the tire’s surface, you should replace your set of the Continental WinterContact SI tires. At this point, the tires cannot provide reliable and safe driving performance.
Performance in Snow and Ice
I installed a set of these tires on my Toyota Camry and drove with them on ice-covered roads.
And as you may expect, the Continental WinterContact SI is a star performer when it comes to such conditions.
With a set of these tires, my Camry drove through roads like a hot knife through butter. The grip and traction were adequate, the handling was extremely responsive and the ride quality was excellent.
So, if you live in an area that experiences severe and prolonged winters and you are looking for a tire that can comfortably handle such conditions, the Continental WinterContact SI will not disappoint you.
As much as the Continental WinterContact SI is a dependable performer in wintry conditions, its off-road performance is nothing to write home about.
While it can provide some usable grip in slippery and mild off-road conditions, it’s not reliable when it comes to extreme off-road conditions.
It lacks the design features and the level of ruggedness and sturdiness needed for off-road conditions.
Besides lacking the level of performance needed for off-road driving, using this tire in such conditions may lead to premature wear and tear or even void its warranties.
So, if you are planning to be going for off-road expeditions frequently, then the Continental WinterContact SI is not the right tire for such driving conditions.
Most snow and winter tires tend to be noticeably noisy. And this can be attributed to their wide tread spacing, chunkier tread blocks and the rubber used.
But with the Continental WinterContact SI, you will not have to worry about road noise, even when you are driving on paved surfaces.
When I was driving on this tire, it remained surprisingly quiet on paved roads. In fact, I can confidently say that its level of road noise is almost at par with the majority of all-weather and all-terrain tires.
Its ride quality is equally smooth, comfortable and refined, which is quite a surprise when you consider it’s a dedicated winter tire.
If you need a winter or snow tire that will deliver a smooth, comfortable and quiet ride, then the Continental WinterContact SI will be an excellent choice.
Warranties and Guarantees
Continental has backed the WinterContact SI with several warranties and guarantees, offered under the Total Confidence Plan. They include:
Limited Manufacturer Warranty
Under this warranty, Continental offers to replace your WinterContact SI tires if they become unserviceable due to damage caused by manufacturer-related defects.
For the replacement, you will either get a free tire or a prorated credit, depending on when it becomes unserviceable.
Continental will replace the tire with a comparable new one free of charge if it becomes unserviceable during its first 2/32-inch of tread wear or its first 12 months from the purchase date, whichever comes first.
The replacement will also include free mounting and balancing. The buyer will cater for applicable taxes, disposal fees and other related service charges.
You should note that if you opt to replace the WinterContact SI with one that is more expensive, you will be required to cover the difference.
And if your WinterContact SI set of tires become unserviceable outside the free replacement window, Continental will still replace them but on a prorated basis.
The tires will be replaced until their tread is worn down to their last 2/32-inch of tread or until they reach their tread wear indicators.
Under the prorated arrangement, Continental and the buyer will share the replacement costs, based on the level of tread worn off the tire.
The prorated amount the buyer will pay is determined by multiplying the percentage of original usable tread worn off the tire, with the dealer’s current selling price.
You will be required to produce the tire’s original proof of purchase. And if you don’t have the original invoice, then the tire’s date of manufacture will be used.
Coverage under this warranty extends for 6 years from the tire’s date of purchase.
For instance, your WinterContact SI tire may become unserviceable after 72 months or outside the free replacement period.
Assuming the percentage of original usable tread worn off this tire is 60% and the tire is currently retailing at $100, the buyer’s pro-rate replacement cost will be $60 while Continental will cover the $40 difference.
But unlike the free tire replacement, the buyer will be required to take care of mounting and balancing charges, in addition to the applicable taxes, shipping, tire disposal fees and other related service charges.
Road Hazard Warranty
The WinterContact SI is also backed by Continental’s road hazard coverage.
Under this coverage, Continental will replace the WinterContact SI with a comparable new one, if it fails due to a bruise, puncture, impact or other hazards when driving on well-maintained roads.
The tire will only be eligible for a replacement if the damage occurs during its first 2/32-inch of the original usable tread or within the first 12 months from the purchase date, whichever comes first.
You will be required to produce your original sales receipt for the WinterContact SI. Also, you will be responsible for mounting and balancing fees, on top of the applicable fees and service charges.
Customer Satisfaction Guarantee
Similar to other tires from this company, the WinterContact SI is also covered by Continental’s customer satisfaction guarantee.
If you buy a set of four new WinterContact SI tires and you are not satisfied with them for any reason, you can opt to return them to the dealer.
Tires are eligible to be exchanged within 60 days from the purchase date or during their first 2/32-inch of original usable tread, whichever comes first.
Upon returning the tires, you can exchange one or all of them with a comparable set of tires or another type of tires from this brand.
Continental will take care of the mounting and balancing charges while the buyer is responsible for all applicable taxes.
If you decide to swap the tires with a more expensive set, you will be required to pay for the difference. And if you opt for a cheaper set of tires, Continental will refund you the difference.
It’s important to note that Continental WinterContact SI tires sold as original equipment (OE) are not eligible for the 60-day customer satisfaction guarantee.
Flat Tire Roadside Assistance Service
The WinterContact SI is also eligible for Continental’s Flat Tire Roadside Assistance service.
Coverage extends for 3 years from the tires’ purchase date for a maximum of 3 covered events.
If your WinterContact SI tire develops a flat, Continental will send a team of authorized service providers to your location to change the tire. However, you must have your own spare tire.
Every tire change has a $200 limit. And if the service exceeds this limit, then you will be required to pay the difference.
In case you don’t have a spare tire or your vehicle has several flat tires, it will be towed to the nearest auto repair shop.
However, the repair shop should be within a 150-mile radius. If the vehicle is to be towed beyond 150 miles, you will be charged the extra mileage.
Sizes and Compatibility
The WinterContact SI comes in different sizes, ranging between 15 inches and 20 inches. Some of the vehicles it can fit include:
- Chevrolet Impala, Malibu, Cavalier, Sonic LTZ and Cobalt
- Acura ILX, CL and TL
- Honda Insight, Civic, Accord and CR-V
- BMW 530i, 1351, 330i and 323i
- Kia Rondo, Soul, Optima and Forte
- Mazda5, Mazda3, Mazda 929 and Mazda6
- Ford Taurus, Focus, Flex, Fusion, and Mustang GT
- Audi A4
- Scion xB
- Nissan Sentra, Maxima, Cube, Altima, Leaf and Versa
- Hyundai Sonata, Genesis and Elantra
- Dart, Neon, Avenger and Grand Caravan
- Toyota Sienna, Corolla, Camry, Solara, RAV4, Prius and Avalon
- Beetle, Passat, Golf, Touareg, and Jetta
- Lincoln MKZ
- Subaru Impreza Outback and Legacy
- Volvo V70 and S60
- Pontiac G5, Vibe, Grand Prix and Grand Am
Continental WinterContact SI Price
The WinterContact SI is currently retailing at approximately $100. However, there may be slight price differences, depending on the size you choose and the outlet you buy the tire from.
Continental WinterContact SI Pros
- Outstanding performance in ice and snow
- Excellent handling in extreme wintry conditions
- Quiet, comfortable and smooth ride
- A vast selection of sizes
Continental WinterContact SI Cons
- No mileage warranty
Overall, the WinterContact SI is a great choice for drivers who are looking for a reliable set of winter tires. It provides excellent traction and safe driving in severe winter conditions. It’s also reasonably priced, compared to similar tires on the market. However, it lacks a mileage warranty. And this may not be a surprise, since most winter tires don’t have this warranty. Considering its superb performance and its reasonable price point, we can conclude that this tire will be a sound investment.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding