Michelin CrossClimate Plus Review: a Good but Overly Expensive Tire

Dry
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Wet
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Snow
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Comfort
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Noise
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Treadwear
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  • Simply outstanding handling and braking on dry surfaces
  • Direct steering and excellent feedback, almost like a summer tire
  • Wet handling feels stable and surefooted
  • Works very well on snow-covered roads, better than most all-season tires
  • Excellent treadlife for an all-weather tire and good treadwear warranty
  • Wet braking is a step behind the all-weather premium competition
  • The ride is a bit stiff for an all-season touring tire
  • Can become noisy at higher speeds
  • Very expensive

Many drivers make the mistake of not judging the abilities of their tires properly. It’s widely considered that all-season tires can provide drivers with usable traction throughout the year, although that’s not true. In reality, these tires suffer in harsh wintry conditions, especially over snow and ice.

To tackle the issue, tire manufacturers started producing all-weather tires. These products are similar to all-season tires in the way that they are designed to work in most conditions. However, they sacrifice a bit of warm-weather traction for increased snow and ice traction.

These tires also come with the 3PMSF (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake) symbol. The rating signifies that the tire is tested for safe longitudinal traction on snow-covered roads. One such product is the Michelin CrossClimate+.

Arguably the most popular all-weather tire on the market, the CrossClimate+ faces increased competition from other premium companies. Moreover, despite being somewhat older, it is still the most expensive model in the category.

But does it live up to the expectations set by the higher price? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about in my detailed Michelin CrossClimate Plus review.

Michelin utilized a multiple condition-focused tread pattern for the CrossClimate+, which works both in warm and freezing conditions. The rubber is molded into a highly-directional tread pattern, which usually signifies good snow traction.

The tread design features solid transverse ribs for better cornering ability, and wide lateral grooves and open shoulders for water evacuation. Furthermore, the bevel-edged tread blocks provide better traction on damp surfaces, while the 3D self-locking sipes create additional biting edges for snow and ice traction.

Like most Michelin products, the CrossClimate+ features Emerging Grooves, which ensure that the tire will keep its wet and snow traction as it wears down.

The tire’s internal construction consists of a single-ply polyester casing and two steel belts reinforced by polyamide—a regular construction for an all-season tire, and one that should provide good stability and comfort.

What are the maintenance indicators?

Michelin CrossClimate plus Review

The tire features the industry-standard TWI’s (tread wear indicators), which the driver can use to monitor the tread depth. These narrow rubber bars become flush with the surface of the tread when the depth reaches 2/32-inch.

At that point, you should replace the tires, since they won’t offer reliable wet traction. You might want to replace them even sooner if you plan on driving through the winter.

Fortunately, owners are satisfied with the treadlife. Michelin also provides a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty for H- & V-speed rated models and a 40,000-mile warranty for W- & Y-speed rated models. It might not sound like much compared to regular all-season tires, but it’s very good for a 3PMSF tire.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

The Michelin CrossClimate Plus immediately catches the driver’s attention with its responsive nature. It almost feels like a performance tire, which is very high praise for an all-weather one. The tire responds to the driver’s input very fast while also giving a lot of feedback. I was honestly surprised since I only felt this level of engagement on summer tires.

Michelin’s all-weather tire continues to impress with the level of grip. The quick turn-in is accompanied by surprisingly high levels of grip, close to what you’d get on a summer tire. Moreover, there is ample traction for strong acceleration, even on some more powerful cars. The Michelin CrossClimate+ also stops with authority – the braking distances on dry surfaces are the shortest in the category.

Therefore, if you want the best possible dry handling, while also having a peace of mind in the winter, the CrossClimate+ is an excellent choice. There is no other tire in this category that can offer this level of driver engagement, grip, and traction in one package.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

Michelin’s all-weather tire continues with its engaging nature on wet roads. Even in some very rainy days, you will easily maneuver your vehicle in the corners. Additionally, the CrossClimate+ lets you push in the corners with confidence, unlike many other all-weather and all-season tires. The tire even works well on the limit, leaving you space to correct and make evasive maneuvers.

The grip levels in the corners are also very good. Not class-leading, but still comparable to the best tires out there. The hydroplaning resistance is also okay, but I expected more from Michelin this time. Hit a big puddle of water, and you will feel how the vehicle starts flowing. I didn’t have this feeling with other premium tires.

Also, while it corners outstandingly well, the CrossClimate+ suffers when braking. The distances are longer than what you’d expect from a premium all-season or all-weather tire in 2020.

Curiously, if you asked me 2-3 years ago, the Michelin probably would’ve won the braking test. However, the competition launched some excellent tires recently and overtook the CrossClimate+. Fortunately, the French manufacturer already announced the CrossClimate 2 with improved wet performance.

With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?

Michelin CrossClimate plus Review

One of the main features of the CrossClimate+ is the 3PMSF rating. This tiny symbol means that the tire is tested for better longitudinal snow and ice traction than a traditional all-season tire. Contrarily, regular all-season tires only have the M+S rating (Mud + Snow), which only shows that the tire has a slightly more prominent tread.

Thus, if you compare the CrossClimate+ directly to regular all-season tires, be prepared for a shock. The level of competence of the Michelin on snow-covered roads is impressive. Put simply, the tire works better in all tests and makes winter driving much safer.

With the CrossClimate+, you’ll have much better acceleration traction. This means that you can attack somewhat deeper snow without worrying about getting stuck. The handling is also very good for an all-season tire. The tire is responsive and grippy on snow, providing the driver with a lot of confidence.

Now, sure, ice can be an issue. Despite the enhancements Michelin made, this is still not a winter tire. I’d be okay using it on light to medium snow, but very harsh wintry conditions are a no-go. That’s especially true if you encounter snow and ice in the winter frequently.

Overall, though, you’d be amazed by the CrossClimate+ on snow. What makes things even more impressive is the fact that it works outstandingly well on dry surfaces. With this tire, Michelin showed us that it’s possible to have a good-driving tire on dry and snowy roads.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

When Michelin designed the CrossClimate+, the last thing they thought of was off-roading. You can even see that on the tread pattern, which is clearly designed for on-road use.

Now, to be fair, the tire should provide you with good traction on hardpacked surfaces. However, sharp objects might damage the tread, so it’s probably better to limit your off-road excursions. Also, don’t expect high levels of traction in mud or over large rocks. This is a specific road tire, after all.

Is it comfortable and refined?

The Michelin CrossClimate Plus deserved all the praise for its responsive nature and taut steering. However, this also hampered the ride quality. It’s not bad, sure, but I expected more from a Michelin product. You will definitely feel vibrations coming from the road, especially when you hit a pothole.

Sadly, things get even worse when it comes to noise qualities. The CrossClimate+ is easily one of the loudest all-weather tires. There is a noticeable tread growl in the cabin – you will notice it even at lower speeds. The fortunate thing is that the hum doesn’t sound overly intrusive, but it’s definitely there.

Both results show that you simply can’t make a tire that merges performance and comfort successfully. The CrossClimate+ isn’t bad – some drivers will be completely fine with the ride and won’t notice the tires being noisy. However, the competition is more comfortable while also being cheaper.

You can see more Michelin CrossClimate Plus review here: Video created by KwikFitLtd

Should I buy the Michelin CrossClimate Plus?

In many aspects, CrossClimate+ is an impressive tire. Michelin managed to mix excellent dry handling with capable snow traction, which I thought was impossible before. Moreover, it feels very positive behind the wheel, which makes the driving experience better. It should also last you for a while – the 50,000-mile treadwear warranty is excellent for a winter-capable tire.

However, CrossClimate+ also disappoints in some aspects. The ride quality is far from pleasing, which was surprising, to say the least. Then, there is a noticeable tread growl on the highway, and braking in rainy conditions is so-so. The biggest issue with this tire, though, is the price. It’s simply too expensive, even when compared to other premium tires.

Therefore, if you can live with the limitations and have a deeper pocket, the CrossClimate+ might be a good option. You might want to wait for the upgraded gen-2 version, though, which should arrive in stores soon.

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