Since their first inception, all-season tires tried to do the impossible – give you snow traction that’s close to a winter tire, dry and wet handling close to a summer tire, and also a comfortable ride. Although all-season tires definitely have their place on the market and actually outsell other types, they still can’t come close to a proper winter tire in snowy conditions or a summer tire on dry and wet roads.
Recently, some manufacturers started producing all-weather tires, a variation of the existing type focused on delivering better snow traction. However, this also meant you would lose dry handling. Well, there is a product that tries to merge all those things in one, and of course, it comes from Michelin. The French tiremaker is by far the most innovative in the industry, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
Interestingly enough, the grand-touring Michelin CrossClimate 2 is in its third generation – the brand produced a “+” improved model of the first one. The all-new model improves on many fronts, bringing the all-season/all-weather recipe to a whole new level. However, the competition didn’t stand still and produced excellent products of its own.
What is important about the Michelin CrossClimate 2 is that it is 3PMSF-rated, meaning it should provide better longitudinal traction on snow than M+S tires. Specifically, the tire gets tested by an independent body to get that stamp, so it provides a real benefit to the owner.
So, how does the CrossClimate 2 fare in the tightly-congested segment? Let’s find out in my detailed review of one of the most popular all-season/all-weather tires on the market.
- What are the features of the Michelin CrossClimate 2?
- What are the maintenance indicators?
- How does it behave on a dry tarmac?
- How is it over wet and slippery roads?
- With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?
- Is it suitable for off-road driving?
- Is it comfortable and refined?
- Should I buy the Michelin CrossClimate 2?
What are the features of the Michelin CrossClimate 2?
Michelin employed its next-gen Thermal Adaptive compound in the CrossClimate 2, which is its most distinguishing feature. It gives the tire a good grip on dry and wet roads but stays very soft and pliable in the winter.
Meanwhile, the tread design is directional and pretty unique. It features V Ramp chamfers that provide biting edges in snow but also interconnect to provide a better grip on dry roads.
Curiously, the tire doesn’t have circumferential grooves, but the steep angles in the directional tread take care of hydroplaning resistance.
Ultimately, Michelin utilized the PIANO Noise Reduction Tuning technology to minimize road noise.
What are the maintenance indicators?
Michelin employs the regular TWIs (tread wear indicators) in the CrossClimate 2. These are narrow rubber bars that sit recessed into the grooves of the tire, which become flush when the tread is worn down to the minimum.
The minimum tread depth of the CrossClimate 2 is 2/32-inch, but I recommend replacing it sooner if you intend on using it over snow or ice.
When it comes to treadlife, this tire won’t last as long as the most durable all-season grand-touring tire, although it’s good for an all-weather one.
How does it behave on a dry tarmac?
Tires that perform well in snowy conditions usually suffer on dry pavement, primarily due to the softer tire compound. However, Michelin seems to have nullified these issues almost completely – the CrossClimate 2 is quite enjoyable to drive.
Now, sure, you shouldn’t expect an engaging type of drive, but as far as grand-touring tires go, it’s one of the best around. The steering is light and responsive enough to keep you in control, although I would’ve liked more communication. Still, I think that average drivers will never notice that and be extremely satisfied with how the tire drives.
You will definitely notice the grip on offer, though. Despite the fact that Michelin focused on delivering better snow traction, the CrossClimate 2 amazes on dry and warm pavement. I was already impressed with the previous model, but this one takes it up a notch. It won’t replace a performance tire, that’s for sure, but as far as grand-touring tires go, it’s simply outstanding.
The tire performed especially well in the longitudinal traction tests. Even some more powerful vehicles won’t be able to break traction during acceleration, while the stopping distances are the shortest in the category. And, it’s not even close – the premium competitors from Bridgestone and Pirelli need almost 6 ft (2 m) more distance to stop from 50 mph. In my book, that’s exceptional.
The CrossClimate 2 isn’t as impressive in the corners, but it’s still very good. Specifically, it might feel nervous during more intensive maneuvers, more so than other premium grand-touring tires. However, it’s important to note that the tire remains planted on the road without losing grip or being unsafe. Besides, you probably won’t notice these things driving on the road.
On the whole, I must say that Michelin really did strike gold here. The CrossClimate 2 fares outstandingly well in dry conditions, even though it has higher-than-average snow and ice traction.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
The CrossClimate 2 continues to impress in the rain. It manages to keep pace with the best all-season tires, like the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack, Continental PureContact LS, and Pirelli P7 Cinturato All-Season II. The differences between these tires in the rain are really small, but it’s still good to see Michelin’s tire among the best.
But what does that mean? Well, the CrossClimate 2 provides the driver with well-mannered handling in wet conditions, to begin with. Thanks to the outstanding hydroplaning resistance, you’ll feel in control, and your vehicle will stick to the road outstandingly well. Moreover, the cornering grip remains consistent, and the tires don’t surprise you with oversteer or understeer. The CrossClimate 2 also stops with authority, posting some of the shortest distances in its category.
Overall, this is one of the best tires for rainy weather in the grand-touring all-season category. It performs safely and consistently, both in very heavy rain and on damp roads. Not that you should expect less from a Michelin product, of course.
With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?
I already mentioned CrossClimate 2’s snow traction several times by now, and I reckon you’re interested to know more. Well, to sum things up, the CrossClimate 2 is a usable snow tire, something I can’t say for most all-season tires. It handily beats the competition in almost every test, which is something Michelin really needs to be praised for.
For instance, you probably won’t even need a winter tire if you only experience light snow. The CrossClimate 2 manages to keep you in the driving line and doesn’t need a very long distance to stop. There is also a ton of acceleration traction, so you won’t get stuck anywhere.
What really impressed me is that the tire continues to work in deep snow. Where other all-season tires would suffer, Michelin’s all-weather tire manages to at least drive safely. It won’t replace a proper winter tire in these conditions, though.
Thus, if you live in areas with very harsh wintry conditions, you might still want a set of winter tires. For any other place in the world, the CrossClimate 2 will work just fine.
Is it suitable for off-road driving?
The CrossClimate 2 isn’t intended for off-road driving and won’t provide you with reliable traction. Moreover, abrasive hardpacked surfaces can easily damage the tread of the tire.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Having already tested dozens of Michelin tires over two decades, I learned that the French brand values comfort more than most. That really comes from the way the French view driving as a de-luxe experience. Thus, Michelin designs every tire to be comfortable, even its high-performance models. It’s the way the company does things, with only a few exceptions.
Consequently, the CrossClimate 2 is among the most comfortable grand-touring tires. There might be more comfortable tires, primarily the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack, but as far as 3PMSF rubber goes, the CrossClimate 2 is among the best out there.
So, what does that mean? For starters, the ride is exceptionally well-damped. The tire easily swallows smaller road imperfection, leaving much less for the suspension to work with. The CrossClimate 2 also fares well with bumps and potholes, transferring very little vibration into the cabin.
Furthermore, there is not much thumping noise coming from the tires over larger potholes. You’ll hear it, for sure, but you really need to search for it. When it comes to tread growl, though, Michelin’s all-weather tire is excellent. You can hardly hear the tire in urban conditions, and the road noise is only mild at highway speeds.
Therefore, if you want a set of tires that will provide you with a comfortable driving experience, the CrossClimate 2’s won’t disappoint.
You can see more Michelin CrossClimate 2 review here: Video created by kobykat1
Should I buy the Michelin CrossClimate 2?
I don’t know how Michelin did it, but its latest all-weather tire is a miracle. It drives like a premium all-season grand-touring tire on dry and wet roads but also works much better over snowy and icy roads.
It’s important to note, though, that there are other all-weather tires on the market that work very well over snowy roads. However, these tires will be much worse on dry and wet roads.
On the whole, I’d say that the Michelin CrossClimate 2 is the first tire that manages to blend summer and winter traction in one tire. Hence, if you don’t mind the slightly lower treadwear warranty, you should definitely buy the CrossClimate 2.
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