Tires: Round and black. That's all there is to it, right?

Wrong. It goes without saying that as the sole contact patch between car and road, your tires are incredibly important. They obviously need to be in good condition, but the design and quality is important too.

More and more people are buying low rolling resistance tires in an effort to improve their fuel economy - the lower the resistance as you drive along, the less work your engine needs to do, and the less gas you use. Unfortunately, the hard compounds and special tread patterns of these tires often means sacrifices in other areas, such as wet grip and aquaplaning resistance.

Continental's new ContiEcoContact 5 could change that though. Continental have a big reputation to live up to with regard to wet weather performance, and its new eco tire should be no different.

The tread pattern is optimized for wet weather handling, and special polymer chains in the silica construction helps reduce rolling resistance. Tread deformation is low which helps reduce energy loss and this all adds up to a 20 percent reduction in rolling resistance compared to Continental's previous designs. The design has even been improved aerodynamically - the lettering on the sidewalls is flatter than before, reducing wind resistance.

The benefit to you, the consumer, is a claimed 3 percent reduction in fuel consumption. This doesn't sound a lot, but every little bit helps. The more you use your vehicle, the greater the relative saving.

Prices haven't yet been announced, but the tire will initially be available in 14-16 inch diameters.


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