Continental TrueContact Tour vs Michelin Crossclimate 2

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The Continental TrueContact Tour and the Michelin CrossClimate 2 offer a fusion of comfort, longevity, and year-round traction in their respective Touring All-Season categories. But which one is better for you? Let’s find out.

Sabaru Forester
Testing out both tires on Sabaru Forester (with XL sizes, particularly).

Out of both tires, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 shines for its exceptional grip and handling on winter roads, thanks to it’s thermally adaptive, and pliable compound, that also ensures a more comfortable ride. It also provides superior lateral traction for better cornering. Meanwhile, the Continental TrueContact Tour outperforms in wet conditions with superior siping for shorter braking and improved handling, offers better fuel efficiency and gives you a longer tread life, relatively.

For Your Info: Both tires are have earned positions in their respective categories, with Continental coming in my list of top standard touring tires, and Michelin in best grand touring options.

Tread Pattern Differences

Let’s start off with Continental TrueContact Tour, which comes with a symmetrical design, neatly divided into four prominent ribs.

Continental TrueContact Tour
The TrueContact wears down better, relatively.

At the heart of the tire, the twin central ribs are the main highlight of the tire, I believe.

These ribs come with unique X-shaped grooves that seamlessly connect all longitudinal/circumferential channels together.

This connectivity basically enhances the water clearing abilities of the tire.

Moreover, you also get curved siping here too.

The shoulder ribs are totally different though, or should I say less aggressive.

They have DWS marking on them, which effectively communicates to the user that the tread is still robust enough to offer optimal grip under “Dry”, “Wet”, and “Snow” conditions.

Moreover, they also feature snow vices and linear lateral sipes and grooves.

Internally, the tire comes with a single ply polyester casing, fortified by two steel belts, and is capped off with dual polyamide layers.

On the other hand, the Michelin Crossclimate 2, comes with a directional pattern, so technically, yes, its also symmetrical.

Michelin Crossclimate 2
CrossClimate 2’s sipes vanishing off with wear.

Now the tire has curved swooping lugs, coming form both sides, forming a V shape, if you will.

These elongated, independent lugs are very effective at channeling away water, slush, and snow.

So you get superb wet and winter performance with their help.

Though the tire could use some siping.

It’s middle area although has good enough wave-like pattern of these sipes, the rest only have linear structures, which aren’t that effective.

Though towards shoulders, with the help of longitudinal slits, you do get decent lateral traction from these lugs.

Lastly, in terms of its internal construction, the tire comes with 2 ply polyester, with 2 steel belts, and single nylon cap ply.

Available Sizes

To make informed decisions on tires, it’s essential to grasp the sizes. So let me put them out, in a simpler manner.

SpecificationsCrossclimate 2TrueContact Tour
Rim Size (inches)16 to 2215 to 19
Speed RatingsH, VT, H, V
Load RatingsSL, XLSL, XL
Tread Depth (32″)10.511
Weight Range (lbs)25 to 36.516 to 32
Winter Ratings3PMSF with M+S.M+S
Mileage Warranty60k miles80k (T/H) or 70k (V)
UTQG Rating640 B A800 AA
Out of both, only the Crossclimate 2 offers the 3pmsf winter branding, and it makes sense because if offers better winter performance, overall.

Overall Dry Grip

The overall dry grip is two parts, linear grip, and lateral traction.

Speaking of linear or straight-line grip first, here both tires demonstrate comparable proficiency as indicated by their similar average stopping distances, on tests. (Braking is the direct measure of linear grip).

Here, the CrossClimate 2 excels with its rounded contact patch and tightly packed tread blocks, maximizing the contact area with the pavement, improving grip.

Conversely, the TrueContact Tour, despite having wider gaps between tread blocks (with X shaped voids, primarily), which reduce the surface contact area, surprisingly still does not compromise on braking performance.

So why is that? Well it’s because of two main reasons.

  • The distinctive X-shaped grooves on the TrueContact Tour provide additional biting edges, enhancing grip along the longitudinal axis.
  • Its construction includes a lighter single-ply polyester casing, which reduces rotational inertia/momentum, making the tire more responsive, and easier to decelerate.

Shifting focus to lateral traction, which is quantified by lateral g-forces (seen when the tire is right at the apex of a corner), the CrossClimate 2 takes the upper hand.

The tire having more streamlined shoulder design, with fewer tread elements, ensures a larger area of rubber in contact with the road

So although both tires come with similar directional grip, so you get marginally better values on Michelin, in terms of lateral traction, compared to it’s Continental counterpart.

Overall Handling

Now we’ve already seen Crossclimate 2 giving out better lateral traction, relatively, so does that mean it’s better in overall cornering too? Well not really.

You see, cornering performance in tires is fundamentally influenced by two aspects: lateral grip and steering responsiveness, and this tire lacks in later, as evidenced by its slower lap times during handling tests.

So what makes the Michelin’s steering relatively more sluggish, when reacting to steering inputs?

Well, the two main culprits are it’s softer rubber composition and heftier weight. These factors contribute to the deformation of it’s lugs (as they are stressed in between the tire and the road).

And with them bending, you get a more vague overall steering communication.

On the other hand, the Continental TrueContact Tour stands out, with lighter single ply polyester (in its internal construction), and a stiffer rubber.

These combined allow this tire to excel in conveying the limits of traction, particularly during the critical phases of entering and exiting corners.

Wet Performance

The efficacy of a tire’s performance in wet conditions hinges primarily on the design and functionality of its grooves and sipes. Actually these two are very instrumental in water evacuation.

The principal role of grooves is to channel the majority of water away from the tire, while sipes assist by dispersing residual moisture.

(Think of these sipes as miniature pumps, they flex to create suction, which pulls in water, drying up the surface further, allowing rubber to properly meet the road).

Now, having said that, it makes sense why the TrueContact Tour outperforms its competitor here. In fact it’s one of the best standard touring tires, in terms of overall wet performance.

On average, the Continental records handling lap times that are two seconds faster, and exhibits wet braking distances, 13 feet shorter than those seen on Michelin.

So what makes this tire so great, well it features more effective siping structure. Not only does it’s tread offers a greater number of sipes, relatively, but them having multi-directional angles also improves their performance.

In other words, you get quantity with quality.

Whereas CrossClimate 2 does offer quality, but misses out on quantity. And even those linear sipes it has, particularly towards the shoulders (with thicker slits), are more optimized for snowy terrains. So they miss out on providing as effective of a wet traction, as TrueContact.

However, the Michelin tire’s rounded contact patch and directional tread pattern incorporate sufficiently robust grooves, providing water clearance capabilities that are comparable to the Continental’s intricate X-shaped grooves linked with circumferential channels.

Meaning, both tires offer similar resistance to hydroplaning.

Fuel Efficiency

The level of fuel efficiency in tires is primarily influenced by rolling resistance, which in turn is affected by the tire’s contact with the road, its speed rating, tread depth, rubber composition, and overall weight.

In this aspect, the Continental TrueContact Tour emerges as the more fuel-efficient option.

On the other hand, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 lacks with following:

  • With its heavier construction, it imposes more stress on its tread lugs, causing them to bend/deform, increasing rolling resistance.
  • Its softer rubber compound exacerbates this (deforming lugs) effect further. And this flexibility results in additional energy used in reforming the lugs shape, where fuel energy is also wasted in to heat.

In contrast, the Continental’s stiffer rubber compound and lighter single-ply polyester casing contribute to a more stable structure. This tire efficiently converts fuel energy into rolling motion, optimizing fuel consumption.

Winter Performance

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 already stands out, in it’s grand touring tire category for its exceptional winter capabilities, so it’s no wonder it easily outperforms it’s standard touring Continental counterpart here.

Its directional tread design expertly clears snow, throwing it backwards, and in return, propelling the vehicle forward, providing excellent acceleration, which is at-least 10% better than it’s counterpart.

And that’s the reason why this tire also comes with 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) certification. If you’re wondering why, you can check it out here:

Moreover, Michelin’s combination of interlocking and linear siping also provides an enhanced grip relatively, along with a superior steering response as well.

I mean, as already discussed, it’s sipes are more snow-performance-oriented, so while they lacked in wet traction department, they have no problems on icy and snowy terrains.

Moreover, the tire’s tread rubber incorporates a thermally adaptive compound, (unlike the Continental), which maintains better flexibility of it’s biters, snow-vices and sipes, preventing them from getting stiffened up with colder conditions.

Though I should add this: Even though the TrueContact Tour lacks here, it’s snow grip is still pretty good. And it mainly comes from it’s well engineered X-shaped grooves, which form a great snow to snow contact, ensuring a reliable, and decent grip, especially for a standard touring tire.

Moreover, although the tire lacks as much of the thermal adaptation, it’s +Silane additives still helps, preventing it’s biters from freezing too rapidly. Though that only goes when the temperatures are above 44 °F.

Tread Wear

Tread longevity is crucial, dependent on the rate of rubber degradation and the time it takes for the tread to diminish to 2/32″, (which is the minimum legal depth in the U.S).

The Continental notably surpasses the Michelin CrossClimate 2 in this area, evidenced by its generous treadwear warranty of 80,000 miles, which is 20k more than the Michelin offering.

The TrueContact Tour’s advantage stems from its lighter weight and (almost) continuous lug/rib design, backed by additional rubber layers beneath each rib (reinforcing them).

These features reduce stress and heat as the tire interacts with the road, leading to slower wear.

Additionally, the Continental’s deeper initial tread depth extends the duration before reaching the threshold for replacement, further enhancing its longevity.

So overall TrueContact leads here with a considerable margin, but that’s what standard touring tires are supposed to do.

Vibrations Comfort

Ride comfort is largely determined by a tire’s capacity to absorb the shocks from road imperfections, which is influenced by both the rubber’s composition and the tire’s tread design.

The Continental TrueContact Tour, with its advanced, long-lasting tread compound, has a firmer rubber consistency that may not be as adept at mitigating road vibrations.

In contrast, the CrossClimate 2 excels in delivering a smoother ride due to its more pliable tread.

Basically with a more pliant tread, lugs are engineered to flex more. And although it impacts the overall steering responsiveness, it so uses up/converts vibrations’ energy to bend the lugs, technically absorbing them.

This dynamic quality enables the tire to conform to road anomalies, absorbing impacts and contributing to a more comfortable driving experience.

Additionally, the CrossClimate 2’s rounded contact patch also provides improved stability. Meaning with it, the tire’s weight getting more evenly distributed, also evenly soaks up road imperfection in an evenly manner as well.

So, what’s the verdict?

Ultimately, selecting one of the tires is about aligning with your personal priorities.

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 excels in the following:

  • Enhanced grip and handling on winter roads, with exceptional snow and ice performance thanks to its directional tread and thermally adaptive compound.
  • Superior comfort in ride quality, with a more pliable tread compound.
  • Better lateral traction (though still lacks in overall handling).

While the Continental TrueContact Tour takes the lead in:

  • Wet performance, with a more effective siping structure.
  • Fuel efficiency, due to its stiffer rubber compound and lighter construction.
  • Tread wear longevity, backed up 80,000-mile warranty, (20k longer than it’s counterpart).

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