The original tires on my 2001 Volvo V70 XC were from Michelin, if I recall correctly. They seemed like fine tires, but when I needed to replace them initially in 2004, I read a bunch of reviews that suggested that Continental (ContiPremier P215/65HR-16) would be a better tire. They're also were considerably cheaper. I paid $77 per tire, I think the OEM tires were over $100 per tire.
I had quite limited expectations for these tires. Heck a tire is a tire to me, except when distinguishing between winter tires, stud tires, or all season ones. I was pleasantly surprised. These tires were quite a bit quieter than the original tires. They also seem to handle somewhat better. I'm told that Continental tires are actually quite exceptional, but the company IMO doesn't really market very well here in the US. So I figured they were some kind of off brand.
I should also note I bought the tires from TireRack. That entire experience went quite well. I used their reviews to narrow the selection criteria and then they drop shipped the tires to a near by installer. It was as easy to get my tires changed as getting an oil change. I think the whole process took around 1/2 hour.
In the future, if Continental tires are available for your car, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. I'm still driving on this new set of tires with no need in the foreseeable future to change them. I think they are even wearing better than the Michelin's.
Continental Tires Rating:
I purchased a 2005 Escape in Sept 2004 and it had continental tires on it. After about a year of driving I noticed a loud roaring as if the road I travelled was rough. My aging father asked me why my car was so noisy so I took it to the Ford Dealership and was told that my tires were choppy and needed to be replaced. This was done in Nov 06 and approx 8 months later I had the same noisy ride - took it to dealer- and was given an alignment to fix the problem. Needless to say problem not fixed. I attempted to ignore the problem until it got so loud that I could not talk on my cell phone (using the handsfree device for safety) as noise drowned out conversation. Toss in rain and I can hardly hear the radio or myself think for the noise. Back to dealer ship, told I again needed new tires. Please keep in mind that both sets of tires, which I had rotated with every other oil change (6000 miles) were choppy and pitted on the inside tread of the tire - the last thread of the tire on the inside of tire.
Being at my wits end I took my car to a reputable mechanic who informed me that my struts were bad and should be replaced so that I would not be wearing out tires from the inside. Called Ford Service Manager - he stated adamantly that it was the tires and not the struts. Can someone please help me with this expensive problem....Thanks, Ford fan for life.