Hankook Kinergy 4S2 vs Michelin Crossclimate 2

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With both the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 and the Michelin Crossclimate 2, featuring innovative tread compounds, it’s no surprise that we are witnessing a remarkable advancement in their performance, whether its dry, wet or snowy conditions.

Michelin Crossclimate 2
Michelin Crossclimate 2 comes with 3pmsf and M+S ratings.

Being a tire engineer I can tell you that both tires offer epic performance values in various conditions. The Michelin CrossClimate 2 excels in winter traction no doubt, but there are some mixed results on dry and wet roads. It’s dry braking is superb, but handling (in both wet and dry) takes a step back to 4S2. Moreover the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 also features better fuel efficiency, durability, and tread life, allowing it to have slightly better value to money. And yes, which reminds me, its cheaper too, relatively.

Available Sizes

The Michelin Crossclimate 2 comes in 16 to 22 inches (rims), with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: 10.5/32″ (on all)
  • Weight range: 25 to 36.5 lbs
  • Winter ratings: Yes, all sizes have 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings (3PMSF).
  • Tread mileage rating: 60k miles.

While the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 has following.

  • Sizes: 15 to 19 inches wheels.
  • Speed ratings: H, V and W.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: 8.5 to 10/32″.
  • Weight range: 16 to 30 lbs.
  • Winter ratings: yes both, 3pmsf, and M+S ratings available.
  • Treadwear rating: 60k miles warranty.

Tread Appearance

Looking at the Hankook Kinergy 4S2, it can be seen that its rubber features a directional V shape pattern, just like seen on its competitor here.

Hankook Kinergy 4S2
Hankook 4S2 has more siping to its lugs.

Let me start form its shoulder first. These lugs are furnished with saw-toothed edges that serve as potent grip enhancers, known as snow vices, which basically provide snow holding properties.

Moreover these lugs also feature reinforced foundations, along with those straight-looking sipes.

The overall shoulder design is kept simpler, so as to facilitate a greater rubber to road contact.

Towards the middle, the lugs get more crowded up, so as the tread features.

There you can see a combination of rectilinear and interlocking sipes at multiple angles.

These are basically a combination of summer and winter sipes, so you get the best of both worlds.

Furthermore, these blocks also have concave tie bars that connect the lugs on the other side, acting as foundational supports.

Moving towards the Crossclimate two, you get a much more cleaner yet similar V shaped tread design here, as well.

Michelin Crossclimate 2
Michelin Crossclimate 2 features a more cleaner look.

These expansive, curving and independent lugs function as traction spoons for the tire, adeptly displacing water, slush, and snow with their extended arms.

It’s due to these attributes that the tire has been awarded the prestigious 3-peak mountain snowflake rating just like the Hankook 4s2.

Each of these arms features notches near their shoulder blocks, and the deep siping slits, which evolve into a wave-like pattern as the lugs move towards the center.

Furthermore, the tire features a relatively softer, and more thermal adaptive rubber composition, with a high silica density.

And this further helps it with winter performance, especially, as you’d see in the upcoming topics.

Fuel Consumption

Fuel usage highly depends on rolling friction the tire generates with the road. And with both of these tires coming out with such high values, it can be seen why neither is good enough in this performance area.

Though still our tests show that, the Hankook Kinergy 4s2 is still a better pick, nonetheless.

This tire is lighter than the Crossclimate 2, and comes out with a stiffer rubber mix that doesn’t stick to the ground as much. This means it rolls more easily and uses less fuel.

On the other hand, the Crossclimate 2 has a softer compound that lets its lugs flex more. This leads to more energy use and lower fuel efficiency as a result.

Winter Performance

Winter traction is the area where Crossclimate 2 remains unbeatable.

I mean the tire simply ticks all the right boxes here. It’s elongated lugs efficiently scoop up slush and snow as the tire rolls, and create a superior forward momentum compared to Hankook 4s2, even though both tires are branded with 3 peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) ratings.

Just for clarity, the 3PMSF rating is mainly an acceleration test. While some people believe it’s related to braking and handling on snow, that’s not the case. A tire with this rating simply indicates that, it performs roughly 10% better than an average all-season tire without this rating. You can read all about it here.

Furthermore, Crossclimate 2 also features a smaller section width on average, and that combined with its greater weight, its able to put more pressure on the snow, lodging particles in the tread voids more effectively, and in return forming snow to snow contact, which is exactly what you want.

This is because snowflakes really like to stick on one another, instead of the tire’s rubber.

Moreover, the tire also features a softer, more thermal adaptive rubber, so with freezing temperatures, all its biters, and its snow vices remain flexible to grip on the snowy surfaces, in a better way, improving traction.

Durability and Treadwear

As previously mentioned, the Crossclimate 2 shows slightly higher rolling resistance values, which explains why the tire wears down faster.

Its greater weight means each lug carries more pressure, creating greater friction with the road. This causes the tire’s rubber to wear way quicker.

Moreover, its softer tread compound doesn’t help the situation either, as it’s rubber is more susceptible to faster burning.

However, it’s important to remember that the tire’s increased weight is due to its stronger internal construction. This means, compared to the Hankook Kinergy 4s2, the Crossclimate 2 offers better durability, overall.

Its robust design, including a wide steel belts, a jointless full-cover reinforcement ply, and folded belt-edge tape, provide improved reliability and better protection against punctures, relatively.

On-Road Comfort

Comfort in a tire largely relies on two factors: noise reduction and impact absorption ability. And we have some very mixed results on both our boys here.

The Hankook Kinergy 4s2 shines in terms of reducing noise levels.

Noise, essentially, is caused by air particles colliding with the tire’s tread walls. And this tire uses advanced pitch sequencing technology, which angles its lugs in such a way that air particles generate different frequencies in different areas (when it collides).

These diverse frequencies then cancel each other out, resulting in lower noise levels.

On the contrary, while the Crossclimate 2 also incorporates decent pitch sequencing, its softer rubber compound is more prone to producing greater in-groove resonance, which is a fancy term for echoing of sound waves. Simply put, the tire’s tread reflects more noise.

However, the softer compound of the Crossclimate 2 excels in absorbing road vibrations. Plus, its slightly deeper tread allows for larger space for bumps to dissipate before they reach the driver’s seat.

Dry Performance

Dry performance of a tire is crucial for everyday driving and can be broken down into two aspects: grip and handling.

Grip, also known as directional grip, is determined by how well the tire can brake, and it heavily involves the central tread area, as it bears the most pressure during straight-rolling motion.

Handling, on the other hand, involves how the tire behaves while cornering, with the shoulder lugs playing a crucial role here, as they form a tighter bond with the road during turns (having largest weight concentrations on them).

Directional Grip

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 stands out in this section. In fact, its directional grip is one of the best, featuring very short braking distances, upon testing.

Basically the tire features a very compacted up, and interlocking lug design in the very middle, ensuring a superior contact is achieved between the rubber and the road.

The Hankook Kinergy 4s2 on the other hand, lacks in providing both of these features (in a better way). So you see an average of 2 feet longer braking distance values with this tire.

For your info: Keep in mind that the Crossclimate 2’s performance gets highly affected with heat. So with extreme summer temperatures, its overall braking efficacy is lowered a little bit. In this regard, the Hankook 4s2 performance is almost equal to its competition.

Dry Handling

As already mentioned, this performance metric highly depends on how much shoulders meet up with the road, so it makes sense why both tires with similar tread voids there, show up with identical overall handling capabilities.

Both of these tires are very vocal, offering decent response times (of steering). I mean, they both yield very fast feedback, even with slightest of steering inputs.

With slanted longitudinal slits on lugs (on both tires), you get decent lateral traction values (measured with g forces while cornering). And they come out as exactly the same on my testing.

Furthermore, the rounded contact patch on both of these boys, allow for elevated shoulders, which make a very firm connection with the road while turning. Basically with such structure, the weight transition form central area of the tread to shoulders, occurs very uniformly, and you get smoother handling efficacy.

And yes worth reminding, they also feature a very superior under and over steering balance as well.

Wet Traction

Out of both tires, the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 excels in wet conditions, compared to its counterpart, thanks to its specialized tread design and greater number of sipes.

Sipes are basically slits in the tread, and they are in charge of sucking water particles in them. That’s how the in-compressible water gets cleared off, so the rubber can grip on the wiped off surface.

So with more siping, and a better structure, Hankook takes the lead in overall wet handling, showing up with faster lap times.

Though both tires show up similar wet braking efficacy, and resistance to hydroplaning. Let me explain why.

The Crossclimate 2 may lack in providing ample siping, but it features decent ones in the very middle, so longitudinal traction is not compromised.

Moreover, as the tire features similar V shaped lugs, with its directional structure, it shows up with similar hydroplaning resistance, thanks to its equally as great of the capability to channel water out and away from the tread compared to Hankook 4S2.

So, What’s The Verdict?

Both the Michelin CrossClimate 2 and the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 are excellent choices when compared to other premium tire options, offering commendable performance values, across various conditions, may it be wet, dry, hot, and even snowy tracks.

Though still overall, the Crossclimate 2 does better when it comes to winter performance, dry and wet braking and overall impact comfort efficacy.

Whereas, the Hankook 4S2 is superior in terms of handling in both wet and dry conditions, fuel, and tread economy, and road quietness.

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