Michelin Primacy Tour A/S Review: a Competent Grand-Touring All-Season Tire

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Wet
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Comfort
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  • Light, direct, and responsive steering
  • Excellent handling and braking on dry surfaces
  • High levels of cornering grip for an all-season tire
  • Good hydroplaning resistance and safe wet traction
  • Very good traction and short braking distances over light snow
  • Treadlife should be excellent
  • Wet handling isn’t competitive with the best grand-touring tires
  • The treadwear warranty is very short for the price
  • Moderate road noise on coarse surfaces
  • Should be available in more sizes
  • Expensive

Owners of passenger vehicles have many tire options to choose from, especially in the touring and grand-touring categories. Here, almost every tire manufacturer that means something has a competitor, and most of the products offer an excellent overall driving experience, especially on public roads.

Nonetheless, owners of premium vehicles often experience a lack of cornering grip on some grand-touring all-season tires. And, that’s normal – these tires aren’t designed for performance driving. Instead, they are designed for comfortable, reliable, and durable ride.

Still, that doesn’t mean that some premium manufacturers don’t try to instill a better driving experience in their tires. A great example of that is Michelin, which recently launched the Primacy Tour A/S, a successor to the popular Primacy MXM4.

According to Michelin, the Primacy Tour A/S is an all-season grand-touring tire engineered for a premium and luxurious driving experience. Naturally, the price of such a premium tire is very high, even when compared to other premium rivals.

Moreover, the word “premium” is so often used today that you really can’t make a distinction between products. For example, Michelin states that this tire is for premium and luxury vehicles, but does that mean that products from Bridgestone, Continental, and Pirelli aren’t?

As always, I’ll answer all those things in my detailed Michelin Primacy Tour A/S review. Here, I’m going to compare the tire against its closest rivals in dry and wet performance, snow traction, comfort levels, and durability. Of course, in the end, I’ll also put the price into consideration and give you my conclusion.

Meanwhile, Michelin made the Primacy Tour A/S only available in larger sizes, starting from 17-inch wheel diameter and up to 21-inch wheel diameter. Moreover, the company doesn’t offer the tire in as many sizes inside those wheel diameters as the competition.

With that, Michelin probably wants to differentiate its product from other grand-touring tires, which are available in smaller wheel sizes, but also narrower tread and a larger variety of sidewall dimensions.

But, let’s cut to the chase and see what features Michelin utilized in the Primacy Tour A/S to make it a “premium” product.

Michelin Primacy Tour AS Review

On its website, Michelin states that the Primacy Tour A/S is a tire designed for precision premium handling and quiet & comfortable ride. Moreover, they also remind us that most premium car manufacturers use this tire on their vehicles (1 in 4 premium vehicles has Michelin tires), including Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW.

To achieve the premium qualities Michelin brags about; the engineers utilized an advanced tread compound enhanced with silica. The compound, according to Michelin, works excellently in hot conditions, while also retaining traction and flexibility in freezing conditions.

Because of that, the Primacy Tour A/S has 17% better snow traction than the predecessor (Primacy MXM4), which is welcome, given the fact that the previous model wasn’t exactly stellar in that regard. The sharp lateral groove angles that bite into the snow, additionally help the Primacy Tour A/S retain better snow traction.

The rubber compound of the Primacy Tour A/S is molded into an asymmetric tread pattern that is tuned to provide a quiet and refined driving experience. Michelin calls this technology Enhanced ComfortControl with PIANO Noise Reduction Tuning. Essentially, this tread pattern combines frequency canceling shoulder grooves and block chamfers with ultra-smooth belts for an outstandingly quiet ride.

The tread pattern also utilizes wide circumferential grooves and sweeping grooves for better water evacuation, which helps to reduce hydroplaning. Meanwhile, the Primacy Tour A/S is also equipped with zig-zag sipes, which have proven to be very effective in harsh wintry conditions, such as driving over snow and ice.

As expected, Michelin utilized the Total Performance package in the Primacy Tour. This package ensures that the tire works at a very high level even after the tread wears down. The MaxTouch Construction further helps here, ensuring that the wear is even across the tread of the tire and that the biting edges needed for wet and snowy traction throughout the tire’s lifetime.

The internal construction of the Primacy Tour A/S is standard for the category. It includes twin steel belts that stabilize the tread, reinforced by spiral-wrapped polyamide cord and a two-ply polyester cord casing for increased ride comfort.

What are the maintenance indicators?

Like on any other tire from the company, Michelin utilized the regular TWI’s (tread wear indicators) in the Primacy Tour A/S. That’s great, but some premium competitors, such as Continental, use letters to indicate the state of the tread depth, which is certainly better.

However, the owner should have no problem monitoring the tread depth with the TWI’s. These indicators are narrow rubber bars built into the circumferential grooves of the tire, which are recessed when the tire is new.

That said, as the tread wears down, the rubber bars will become more visible. Eventually, when the tread falls to 2/32-inch depth, the indicators will be completely flush with the surface. When this happens, the tire won’t be able to provide the driver with usable hydroplaning resistance and will be unsafe on wet and snowy surfaces.

As for the treadlife, I can’t say much because the Primacy Tour A/S is a new model. However, owners of the previous model, the Primacy MXM4, were very satisfied with how long the tires last.

Still, Michelin only provides a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty for H- and -V-Speed rated models, and a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty on W-Speed rated models. That’s way below the class average in the grand-touring category, and especially low give the price of the tire.

For comparison sake, Bridgestone provides an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Turanza QuietTrack, while Continental provides a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on the PureContact LS.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

The Primacy Tour A/S is one of the best grand-touring tires on dry surfaces. Thanks to the direct and precise steering, the tire makes the drive much more responsive, albeit not with a lot of feedback from the surface, which is not uncommon in the grand-touring category.

Still, in terms of grip and traction, the Primacy Tour A/S competes with the best grand-touring models, with the differences in handling and braking being too small to tell on the road. Nonetheless, the Primacy Tour A/S doesn’t beat the competition on the handling course like the predecessor (MXM4) did.

On a more positive note, the tire feels light on its feet in the corners, which makes the driving more enjoyable than other grand-touring tires.

Overall, the Primacy Tour A/S has competent on-road manners that won’t leave any driver unsatisfied.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

On wet roads, the Primacy Tour A/S feels slightly disconnected from the road and doesn’t react fast to inputs from the driver. Other tires, like the Continental PureContact LS, provide more reliable handling on wet surfaces.

Still, wet traction is excellent for daily driving, and regular drivers probably won’t ever experience issues. Moreover, the hydroplaning resistance is among the best in the category, and the braking distances are very short.

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

Fortunately, the Primacy Tour A/S has much better snow traction and braking than the predecessor (Primacy MXM4).

Now, the new model is completely usable on light snow, and it can even provide some traction over ice. The braking distances are also among the shortest in the category.

That said, the Primacy A/S still can’t replace a proper winter tire.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

The Primacy Tour A/S comes in sizes suitable for some crossovers and SUVs. However, the tire isn’t designed for off-road driving. Not only it lacks traction for anything other than hardpacked surfaces, but it also doesn’t utilize a cut- and -chip-resistant tread.

Is it comfortable and refined?

Interestingly, Michelin opted for slightly firmer sidewalls on the Primacy Tour A/S, which make the tire slightly more direct and responsive.

This decision made the ride slightly firmer, but at highway speeds, the tire feels more comfortable. It’s at slower speeds and uneven roads that you might feel the slightly firmer ride, but I’m really nitpicking here.

Also, the Primacy Tour A/S is a quiet tire, but it’s still noisier when compared to the class-leading Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack, and even the Continental PureContact LS.

Should I buy the Michelin Primacy Tour A/S?

The Primacy Tour A/S is a very competent grand-touring tire that competes with the best in almost every category. However, it is also very expensive and doesn’t come with an excellent treadwear warranty.

For that reason, I’ll recommend this tire for drivers that want more responsive and stable handling, and don’t care about the higher price.

Drivers interested in getting more bang for the buck, or a more comfortable driving experience, though, should look elsewhere.

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