Continental AllSeasonContact 2 vs Michelin CrossClimate 2

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Both the Continental AllSeasonContact 2 and the Michelin CrossClimate 2 are prominent contenders in the grand touring all-weather tire category, each bringing unique strengths to the table.

Tested on Honda Accord
Both tires were tested on Honda Accord.

Important Insights

In my professional testing, the CrossClimate 2 clearly leads in these areas:

  • Dry Braking: Its the tire’s best performance attribute.
  • Snow and Ice Performance: Superior in handling and braking on icy terrains, thanks to its sipe design and rubber composition.
  • Ride Smoothness: The special polyurethane foam layer adds to its vibration damping, offering a smoother ride.

Detailed Discussion on Michelin’s Tire:

Conversely, the AllSeasonContact 2 shows stronger performance in:

  • Wet Grip and Handling: Thanks to its intricate sipe arrangement and effective groove structure.
  • Hydroplaning Resistance: With its more voided up structure allowing for better water expulsion.
  • Noise Reduction: Its tread design providing relatively better pitch sequencing.

Detailed Discussion on Continental’s Tire:

Info on Sizes

SpecsCrossClimate 2All Season Contact 2
Size Range16 to 22 inches15 to 21 inches
Speed RatingsH and VT, H, V, W, Y
Load RatingsSL and XLSL and XL
Tread Depth10.5/32″ (on all)10/32″ (on all)
Weight Range25 to 36.5 lbs20 to 45 lbs
Warranty60k milesNone
Winter Rating3pmsf and M+S3pmsf and M+S
UTQG640 B A600 A A

Word of wisdom: Your first step in tire selection should be my main all-season tire page, a guide to the best options.

Dry Performance

The overall dry performance of tires is governed by two main factors: their longitudinal grip (which is measured by braking), and handling. Let me examine each of these elements in detail.

Dry Braking

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 tire distinguishes itself in the world of dry braking, setting a benchmark in its class. In fact this is exactly why it gained a spot on my list of top grand touring all-season tires. You can view my complete list here.

Michelin CrossClimate 2
CrossClimate 2

So, what makes it so effective? Well, its excellence can be attributed to three fundamental design features:

  • Directional Tread Pattern: This pattern ensures the central lugs, which are densely structured, align precisely with the road surface. This alignment maximizes rubber-to-road contact, enhancing grip significantly.
  • Zigzag Central Blocks: The unique interlocking of the lugs enhances the tire’s biting capability, providing superior longitudinal traction.
  • Rounded Contact Patch: This ensures uniform weight distribution across the lugs, reducing momentum and contributing to quicker and effective stopping.

In contrast, the Continental AllSeasonContact 2, while not entirely lacking in performance, does fall short primarily due to its more open structure.

The U-shaped grooves in the middle of the tire reduce the amount of rubber in contact with the road, resulting in less traction comparatively.

Lateral Grip and Handling

The overall handling of a tire is a complex interplay of its directional grip, lateral grip, and steering response. To understand this better, we can break down the cornering process into three distinct stages: entering the corner, mid-cornering, and exiting the corner.

Now as the CrossClimate 2 offers superior braking and quicker stopping capabilities, its able to decelerate faster and “enter” the corner quicker.

Similarly the tire also provides superior exiting with its outstanding directional grip and firm on-center feel. This combination enhances acceleration and stability as the vehicle exits the corner, ensuring a smoother transition into straight-line driving.

Though in terms of mid-cornering, the Michelin tire isn’t doing that well. But yes its still a little better than Continental tire for sure.

Why? Well the AllSeasonContact 2’s subpar performance in this regard is attributed to its heavier construction, which causes the tire lugs to bend excessively.

    Continental AllSeasonContact 2
    Continental AllSeasonContact 2

This bending results in a delay, as the lugs must revert to their original shape, leading to a lag in steering response. Consequently, the tire falls short in offering optimal performance during this crucial mid-cornering phase, which is actually the main factor of overall handling.

Wet Performance

To assess the overall wet performance, I conducted specific tests on both tires, focusing on their wet grip, handling, and hydroplaning resistance. Let’s review each of these aspects one by one.


Hydro or aquaplaning is just the floating of the tire. And it happens when a tire isn’t able to take out water (through its grooves particularly) in time.

Now, when we compare the two tires in question here its seen that both of them are pretty decent.

They feature very effective V-shaped voids directing water from the center towards the edges of the tire, enhancing the expulsion of water and reducing the risk of hydroplaning.

But yes overall the AllSeasonContact 2 gets to have a marginal edge. This is because the tire offers a slightly better connectivity between its grooves and a more open structural design.

So its able to maintain traction at higher speeds before hydroplaning/floating occurs. Though it only goes for straight paths. I mean the Continental tire showcase similar performance (compared to Michelin CrossClimate 2) when it comes to cornering.

Wet Grip and Handling

Wet traction is pretty much all about those little cuts in your tire tread, known as sipes. They might not look like much, but they’re the secret sauce to keeping your tires gripping the road when it’s raining.

These sipes work like mini suction cups, sucking up water and drying the road right under the tread blocks, reducing slippage.

So this means if you want a good tire in wet conditions, it’s all about having plenty of these sipes, and they’ve got to be really flexible to do their job right.

Now out of both tires here, the Continental AllSeasonContact 2 takes the crown for wet performance, showing off some pretty nifty wet braking and handling skills.

But what makes it better here? Here’s the rundown:

  • It’s got more sipes compared to Michelin.
  • The sipes are arranged in this clever multi-directional pattern, which keeps them from getting stiff. And that’s something its competitor here doesn’t manage too well.
  • The tire’s groove structure is top-notch. Remember how I talked about hydroplaning earlier? Well, this tire channels water away like a champ, so it doesn’t have to rely on sipes as much.

On the flip side, the CrossClimate 2 could do with a sipe upgrade. Sure, its interlocking sipes in the middle are great for braking, but those on shoulders (which are basically more winter-optimized) put it a step behind in overall wet handling and steering particularly.

Snow and Ice Performance

In the realm of winter performance, both tires present distinct attributes in terms of handling, acceleration, and braking on icy and snowy terrains.

Each of the “all-weather” tires here feature a winter-tire-like directional tread pattern, with 3-peak mountain snowflake rating for enhanced winter capabilities.

But with detailed tests, the CrossClimate 2 still takes the lead and ends up with greater performance scores in comparison.

Michelin tire particularly excels in snow handling and steering dynamics, all thanks to its strategically designed sipes on its (tread) shoulders. Plus its rubber composition is also better suited for thermal adaptation, providing a superior performance on ice, with colder conditions.

Another key area where the tire takes a notable lead is ice braking. This is largely attributed to its interlocking central sipes (with wave-like pattern) along with snow-vices, providing greater micro-bite comparatively.

On the other hand, the Continental is also not too far off. In fact the tire offers relatively better acceleration on light snow.

This advantage stems from its angled longitudinal voids, acting as in-groove notches. These notches, or biters, are especially effective in trapping and retaining snow particles, thus promoting snow-to-snow contact. This process enhances the tire’s directional grip, as snow adheres better to itself.

Ride Quality

Ride quality is determined by two factors: the tires’ proficiency in keeping road noise low and their capability to smooth out road bumps. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Tread Noise Reduction

Noise primarily arises from the interaction between air and the tire’s tread pattern. As the tire rotates, air is funneled through the gaps at the tire’s edges, colliding with the tread blocks. This interaction produces what is known as tread noise.

Now here, the Continental All Season Contact 2 exhibits a slight edge in reducing noise levels, as evidenced by lower decibel readings on tests.

The improved acoustic comfort of this tire is due to its tread design, which creates a variety of sound frequencies. These differing frequencies, produced as air strikes different parts of the tread, effectively neutralize each other, resulting in a more pleasant “auditory” experience.

In my personal evaluation, the tire emits a consistent hum, particularly noticeable at speeds below 40 mph. And when driving on the highway, this noise actually becomes less prominent interestingly, and tends to merge into the background at speeds above 60 mph.

Ride Smoothness

The comfort level of a tire is significantly influenced by its capacity to conform to the irregularities of the road surface. And this ability largely depends on the tire’s structural design and the materials used in its construction.

Tires made with softer materials are usually the go-to for a ride that feels more like gliding than bouncing, and that’s a key trick in tire making.

Now here my subjective tests show that the Michelin CrossClimate 2 is doing better. This is primarily due to its unique incorporation of a special polyurethane foam layer. Positioned strategically above the cap plies, this layer is designed to mitigate noise but also proves highly effective in dampening road vibrations.

Plus, this tire gets extra points for its softer rubber mix and more generous tread depth. Together, they make for a cushier buffer between your car and the road, smoothing out those bumps and keeping the roughness from creeping into your seat.

On the flip side, the AllSeasonContact 2 doesn’t quite hit the mark, especially the versions with the Conti-Seal System. This feature tends to make the tire’s insides a bit too rigid, which takes a little away from that smooth, comfy feel you want in a ride.

Wear Rate

When we’re talking about how long a tire’s tread lasts, there are a few big things that come into play: how hard it is to roll the tire (rolling resistance), what the tire’s made of, and how deep the tread is.

Here’s how these factors mix up in the tire world:

First up, the stuff the tire is made of really matters. Usually, tires with harder rubber hang around longer because they don’t wear down as easily.

Then there’s tread depth. More of it means it takes longer for the tire to get worn out to the point where you need a new one. But, funny enough, if the tread’s too deep, it can actually make the tire harder to roll.

Keeping all this in mind, it’s no surprise that both the tires we’re looking at kind of end up in the same ballpark in terms of mileage over their tread life.

On one hand, the Continental AllSeasonContact 2 uses a tougher rubber, which helps it resist wear. But it doesn’t necessarily wear out quicker than your average all-weather tire, partly because of its greater weight and void-to-rubber ratio.

Then there’s the CrossClimate 2. It’s got more tread depth, which should mean it lasts longer up until it hits that 2/32″ mark (that’s the legal tread depth limit in the U.S., by the way). But, because its rubber is softer, it tends to wear out a bit faster, ending up with similar performance comparatively.

To Sum Up

So which tire to choose here? Well it’s a game of trade-offs. I mean with both tires having unique strengths you can’t really declare a clear winner here.

The CrossClimate 2 sets a high bar in dry braking with its unique tread design and excels in snow and ice performance, thanks to its strategic sipe arrangement and thermal adaptability.

However, it falls a bit short in wet handling and mid-cornering due to its tread pattern and sipe design.

In contrast, the AllSeasonContact 2 shines in wet conditions and hydroplaning resistance, attributed to its effective groove structure and sipe arrangement, but its heavier construction affects its mid-cornering performance.

Both tires offer comparable noise reduction and ride smoothness, with the Michelin having an edge in vibration damping due to its polyurethane foam layer. And yes both tires also come out with similar tread longevity.

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