Continental PureContact LS vs Michelin Crossclimate 2

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The Continental PureContact LS and the Michelin CrossClimate 2 both stand as esteemed options in the Grand Touring All-Season tire segment. Both offer decent year-round traction, comfort, and performance. Though let’s examine both in depth, to understand their individual strengths.

GMC Acadia SLE
PureContact LS is a great option GMC Acadia SLE (especially for wet roads).

From a comprehensive tire engineering standpoint, the CrossClimate 2 provides better dry braking, winter performance, and hydroplaning resistance. On the other side, the PureContact LS offers more responsive handling and lateral grip, superior wet handling and braking, along with a quieter ride due to its innovative tread design and materials.

Construction

The Crossclimate 2 stands apart from its rivals with a refined directional tread pattern.

Michelin Crossclimate 2
Crossclimate 2 clearly has more closeness of lugs in the middle.

It’s tread comes with a distinct “directional” design, where one can clearly see swooping V shaped lugs.

Right in the middle, these lugs form an interlocking pattern, and are very closed up, relatively.

Moreover, they also have interlocking sipes here (the wave-like pattern, that you see in the image).

As we go towards the shoulders, the sipes become more linear, and thicker.

The shoulder boundary starts from the thick longitudinal slits you see.

And these shoulder blocks besides being more voided up in comparison, also have mere lateral slits in them, which act as snow biters.

Speaking of which, the lugs also have notches on their lugs, which are technically called snow vices.

Internally, the tire integrates a 2-ply polyester casing, reinforced with two steel belts, and capped with a polyamide layer.

Switching focus to the Continental PureContact LS, it presents a totally different asymmetric tread pattern.

Continental PureContact LS
Continental PureContact LS has slightly shallower tread depth, in comparison.

This tire comes with 5 ribs, where the central most is the main to focus on, first.

This middle most rib comes with broad lateral, and slanted grooves, which join up with the circumferential channels.

(In total the tire forms 4 longitudinal channels, which are interconnected with each other).

The outer ribs are narrower, and come with almost similar siping structures.

(Though one of them is slightly more narrower, and has notches facing the shoulders).

Speaking of which, shoulder lugs are very simple and only have lateral voids and similar siping slits on them.

And yes, these shoulder ribs, (like the rest), also carry snow vices.

Internally, the tire is crafted with a single layer of polyester, reinforced by two steel belts, and finished with a dual nylon cap ply layer.

Sizes Profile

Understanding tire sizes is crucial when drawing comparisons; allow me to break it down for you.

SpecificationsCrossclimate 2PureContact LS
Rim Size (inches)16 to 2216 to 20
Speed RatingsH, VH, V
Load RatingsSL, XLSL, XL
Tread Depth (32″)10.510
Weight Range (lbs)25 to 36.518 to 32
Treadwear Warranty60k miles70k miles
UTQG Rating640 B A700 AA
Side Note: Out of both tires, only the Michelin’s offer 3PMSF rating.

Dry Longitudinal Grip

Longitudinal grip refers to the traction, a tire provides as it moves forward (or in a straight-line). And this grip is primarily determined by the tire’s (central) contact patch with the road.

Moreover, as this grip is directional, it gets measured by braking distances.

Anyways, moving towards our boys here, upon examining them both, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 clearly stands out, offering superior braking capabilities. When tested, it consistently stopped 2 feet shorter on average when braking from 60 mph compared to its PureContact LS.

So what makes it better?

Well, first off, the tire offers a more extensive rubber-to-road contact, particularly from its middle (tread area), while the Continental’s interlocking grooves don’t allow the same.

Moreover, although the Michelin’s tire is heavier, its rounded contact patch ensures a more even weight distribution among its tread lugs. This results in reduced momentum inertia, (which is significant because a tire with less momentum means, it’s easier to stop).

Dry Handling

Handling is an interplay of a tire’s lateral grip and steering response. So let’s check out both one by one.

Lateral Grip

When assessing lateral grip, one must focus on the tire’s shoulders, as they are the ones establishing the most contact with the road when the tire is making turns.

(This is due to centripetal force, think of it this way: Why do you want to move towards the opposite side of the turn, as the tire corners?).

Now considering the shoulder on both, it can be seen why the CrossClimate 2 lacks with it’s such voided up swooping lugs. Sure, they are pretty compacted up in the middle, as they go towards sidewalls, they they become increasingly spaced out.

And so needless to say, they aren’t able to provide you with as much shoulder to road contact as the Continental’s tire.

Speaking of which, the PureContact LS, with minimal tread features and bulky lugs with less lateral voids between them, allow for better lateral traction values (as seen on their compared respective lateral g forces).

Though the main reason why this tire takes the lead in overall handling, is primarily linked with its more responsive steering.

Steering Characteristics

Now steering depends on how well the wheels respond to driver’s inputs.

And since the Crossclimate 2 is lacking here as well, (besides it’s grip discussed in previous section), you see slower relative handling times with this tire, as observed in lap tests.

But why? Well simply put, when this tire is pushed to its traction limits, it’s (vehicle’s) front loses grip pretty soon, resulting in understeering.

This unsettling steering behavior basically is coming from it’s heavier weight, which exerts more pressure on its lugs.

And that, coupled with its softer compound, the lugs tend to bend more, meaning the tread takes “time” to return to it’s original shape, affecting the “overall handling times”.

On the flip side, the Continental PureContact LS performs exceptionally with it’s direct steering, where it especially offers remarkable mid-cornering feedback, and a more solid on-center feel post-cornering.

Winter Performance

In wintry conditions, while the Continental PureContact LS is a pretty decent overall performer, no doubt, but it still can’t quite match its winter-focused counterpart.

I mean, traction-wise, the Continental tire is adequate, but its overall handling is compromised due to a pronounced tendency towards understeer, especially when it comes to ice (where the front wheels of the tire notably struggle for grip).

On the other hand, the Crossclimate 2 is one of the best tires for winter performance, when it comes to its grand touring all season category.

The tire featuring 3-peak mountain snowflake rating (absent in PureContact), provides superior traction, where it’s thermally adaptive rubber keep it’s biters flexible even with temperatures going below 7°C (or 44.6°F).

Moreover, Michelin’s (thicker) longitudinal + lateral slits are specifically designed to provide snow-to-snow contact, while it’s swooping lugs scoop up and throw the snow particles backwards, generating greater acceleration in return, relatively.

Note: If you consider it’s tread pattern again, you’d see how it’s sipes are narrower in the middle, and form wave-like structures, in the middle-most area. Both of these help with ice traction basically, while thicker ones are optimized for snow.

Wet Performance

In wet conditions, 2 things matter, grip and resistance to hydroplaning, and both of them come form efficient water clearance.

Let’s check them all out.

Wet Braking and Handling

Now before explaining how each of these tires performed here, its best if you understand how both sipes and grooves work.

Grooves primarily displace water, at a major scale, and are directly linked to hydroplaning (which I’d explain in the upcoming section).

While the water particles left behind these grooves, have to be cleared off by sipes. These are tiny slits which suck up the remaining particles. They basically act as water containers, and are directly related to tire’s “wet” grip.

So a good tire must have decent amount of siping, and those sipes should be flexible enough (to create suction for water particles).

And that’s where Continental PureContact comes in. The tire offers one of the best handling performances (on wet lap tests), in it’s category.

And it outperforms Crossclimate 2 with it’s more abundant siping, which also vary their angles form rib to rib, allowing for superior wet grip in all directions.

On the other side, although Michelin’s tire provides better groove structure, throwing out more water, leaving less for sipes to manage, it’s low-numbered, and (predominately) linear siping comes in the way, hurting it’s overall wet scores.

It’s sipes are basically designed for snow traction, and they tend to get stiffer with harsher cornering (on wet roads).

Though with interlocking central siping (of wave-like pattern), the tire does offer just as great directional grip as it’s counterpart.

Hydroplaning

Hydro or aquaplaning occurs when a tire loses contact with the road due to water intervening. And in such situations, grooves play a pivotal role.

As previously mentioned, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 excels in water evacuation. Therefore, it’s logical that its resistance to hydroplaning surpasses its competitors, as evident by its greater float speed (on conducted tests).

Basically it’s directional pattern, with V shaped lugs, provide straightforward pathways for water to leave out, while it’s rounded contact patch (putting more pressure in middle), pushes out water with greater relative force.

On the other hand, the PureContact LS, despite having interconnected circumferential grooves, still can’t provide similar performance, where the tire’s relatively shallower tread depth isn’t helping either.

So overall it comes to this: The Michelin’s tire provides you with superior hydroplaning resistance, and a good enough directional grip, while the Continental’s tire delivers superior handling and overall traction.

Road Noise Reduction

When discussing road noise, both tires are pretty close (in terms of their respective decibel readings). Though still, the Michelin’s tire lacks more here, primarily, due to its more pronounced voids.

Basically, the primary source of tire noise is air colliding with the tread walls, with most of the air entering through the shoulder area.

And the CrossClimate 2, with its pronounced voids (specifically in the shoulder region), allows more air to enter and collide, generating increased noise. Nonetheless, it still outperforms other directional tires within the grand touring category.

In contrast, the Continental PureContact LS, designated as a luxury performance tire (as suggested by the “LS” abbreviation, in it’s name), offers a unique blend of polymers that minimize in-groove resonance, thus reducing noise.

Additionally, its tread design features a better variable pitch tread construction. This means that the lugs are shaped to interact with incoming air at various angles.

This produces a range of sound tones and frequencies, as air collides with them. And this diversity not only keep the unwanted sound-waves from amplifying, but also helps in dampening (trying to cancel out their frequencies).

Take Home Points

Collectively, both tires exhibit exclusive strengths and potential for progress in diverse driving situations. I’ll detail these aspects.

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 excels in the following:

  • Superior braking capabilities on dry roads, with a shorter stopping distance.
  • Exceptional winter performance, especially with superior traction and handling in snow and ice conditions.
  • Outstanding resistance to hydroplaning due to its efficient water evacuation design.

While the Continental PureContact LS takes the lead in:

  • Better lateral grip and steering response, resulting in more responsive handling, especially in dry conditions.
  • Superior wet handling and braking, thanks to abundant and variably angled siping for better grip.
  • Reduced road noise, benefiting from a unique polymer blend and variable pitch tread design for a quieter ride.

2 thoughts on “Continental PureContact LS vs Michelin Crossclimate 2”

  1. Which tire is best for a Palisade AWD?
    We are in central Missouri. We are in our 70’s and prefer smooth ride and low noise.

    Reply

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