Originally Posted by sirhawkeye
Ford only uses them because they provide a low rolling resistance, which obviously means they don't grip the road very well in any condition, and thus the tires aren't that great. A visit to TireRack will probably confirm this.
The ContiProContact tires aren't low rolling resistance tires. They're grand touring all-seasons. They're about as mediocre as any stock tire can get (built for a balance of comfort, noise, wet/dry grip, etc.). It's a jack of all trades and master of none type of tire.
Personally I never had any major issues with mine. I actually liked the fact that its grip was very predictable. For being a set of grand touring tires I thought it cornered really
well when pushed to its limits. It did however trigger the ABS on my Rabbit a lot on ice/snow (at the slightest pressure of the brake pedal). As long as you drive conservatively in the winter you should be fine though.
Recently I upgraded to a set of Continental ExtremeContact DWS. They're a little more expensive, but they're also hands down the best all-season tires I've ever driven on. According to TireRack it's classified as an "ultra high performance all-season", which I guess is as good as all-seasons can ever get. And quite honestly the ratings seem to reflect that.
The biggest highlight to me is that the DWS handles wet weather exceptionally well. It seriously feels like I'm driving on dry roads ALL THE TIME. I can't comment on winter performance too much since it hasn't snowed a ton here in PA for a while. But overall I have to say these are the grippiest all-seasons I've ever had the pleasure of using all year round.
The worst set of tires I've ever had easily goes to Cooper with their awful Grand Touring CS4's. It felt like this thing wasn't built with any sidewall reinforcement whatsoever (I later found out some Cooper tires don't even include a nylon cap!). Hard cornering felt extremely mushy with boatloads of understeer, and wet grip was absolutely horrendous. The only thing it had going for it is ride comfort/noise... but I guess that's why it's classified as a grand touring tire.
Bottom line, avoid grand touring tires whenever you can. Their higher price might lead you to believe that they perform better, but truthfully they don't. Stick with regular or "performance" all-seasons instead if you're looking for exceptional handling characteristics. You're going to sacrifice some ride comfort and increase road noise, but in the end it's going to be worth it in terms of both safety and handling. Or better yet, get dedicated summer and winter tires (if you can afford it).