I’ve had the EcoContact 6 on the car for around a year now and it was only yesterday that I have had the opportunity to give them a really good work out in the wet.
The Short Version – Continental EcoContact 6 Review Wet Weather
I have hinted at this before but I wanted to withold judgement until I was sure I had given the Contis the best opportunity to show me what they had.
Unfortunately my initial impressions of the EcoContact 6 were better than the reality.
In my experience of the EcoContact 6 tyres in the rain, the performance is totally unacceptable.
Light misty rain, normal rain, torrential rain, temperatures from 16 Celsius down to 9 Celsius
I’m satisfied that I experienced probably every imaginable wet condition in one day.
The tyres (I had on this car) before the EcoContact 6 (Roadstones) were around 5 years old. They were past their best, and they were a budget tyre but even swapping to the EcoContact 6, in the firsts hints of rain, I thought the Roadstones had a definite edge over the EcoContact 6.
To be fair, the Roadstones were not a bad tyre at all. At no point during my time using them did I ever find myself thinking, “the amount of grip they are giving me in these conditions is well below what I would think to be reasonable”. They were a good solid tyre but granted, they did not excel at anything either.
The EcoContact 6 on the other hand excelled in a few areas. Without going into too much detail here, see the other EcoContact 6 reviews for that, in the dry and the snow the EcoContact 6 were generally very good.
In the wet I found them to be a completely different story.
They gave no confidence and they actually had much less grip that you would expect a tyre to have given the conditions.
Yesterday, was the final straw, at least for winter use and at least for wet use in temperatures any lower than about 15 Celsius.
The final straw was the accident that I had yesterday. I am not blaming the tyres for the accident, at the end of the day I was behind the wheel, ultimately the responsibility is mine but what I can say is, the allowances I was having to make were too much and as it turned out even those allowances were not enough.
Motorway, right sweeping curve but a tight right sweeping curve, (dry speed max around 140km/h for most cars), temperature was dropping, it was early evening, had been dark for around 2 hours, road surface more than damp but no standing water, just properly wet. Car went into the corner normally and about half way round the corner the grip started ebbing away into understeer into no steer. From total control to brushing the centre reservation. It took what seemed an age but in reality, probably around 2 seconds.
I was putting very little load into the car but even that was too much. Effectively it felt as if I had run over a diesel spillage except all the cars around me going similar speeds were having no problems.
I can deal with low grip, god knows I had been managing the grip at all day but this loss of grip felt like it was total. And this is the straw that broke the camels back. That and the fact that I need to replace one of the tyres because it’s destroyed and no way I am doing that going into Winter. (Michelin CrossClimate 2 are going on, subscribe for a review of them which I’ll hopefully be releasing in the next couple of weeks, wink wink, nudge nudge )
All day I had been making huge allowances for these tyres.
Motorway driving in the wet. Okay, I’ve had plenty of experience with the EcoContact 6 over the year, on motorways. I know to expect straight line and cornering aqua planing as soon as there is a hint of standing water.
Yesterday, on A-Road and the B-Roads, the tyres just felt like they were constantly being coated in a light spray of diesel.
Driving entailed being ultra careful, get all the speed off in a straight line, and then lose half that speed again, make sure the tyre tracks into the corner and only when you are one hundred percent sure you are well within “normal” limits can you think about applying the power.
So I thought I had it licked.
Imagine the worst wet case scenario for every braking area and every corner, add a fine mist of mental diesel to your mental grip picture and you are taking the amount of care that you need for these tyres…
And then the corner where the accident happened.
Same routine except this time, not enough care and the grip disappeared.
And its not as if I was the fastest thing on the road. There were cars behind me maintaining my speed and they did not spear off the road so I feel confident that it was not something on the road surface.
And I had plenty of time to analyse that piece of road as I was changing the destroyed tyre and I can tell you no other vehicle had a problem getting round that corner.
Continental EcoContact 6 Review Wet Conditions Wrap Up
In anything less than 15 Celsius, in my opinion, Continental EcoContact 6 tyres are a complete and total liability in the wet and above 15 Celsius I believe the driver should treat wet conditions with extreme caution and be prepared for anything.
Again, this is the first time I have ever used a tire that performed so far below what I would expect to be reasonable and this includes using track day tires on the road in wet conditions.
If you are in a dry country, I would recommend the PremiumContact tyres as a better alternative, they are superior in every way and I think the price is similar to the EcoContact.
For the snow. I found the EcoContact 6 to be reasonable in the snow considering they are not a winter tyre by any stretch.
For the wet, I think pretty much anything would be superior.
I will let you know how I get on with the Michelin CrossClimate 2s, I am expecting a simply huge increase in grip in wet grip.