Kleber Quadraxer 3 vs Michelin CrossClimate 2

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Both the Kleber Quadraxer 3 and the Michelin CrossClimate 2 offer unmatched comfort and year-round reliability in their grand touring all-season category, providing innovative designs and decent performance. But which tire is a better fit for you? Well, let’s find out.

Kleber Quadraxer 3 on RAV4.
Kleber Quadraxer 3 on RAV4, about to be swapped with Crossclimate 2.

Main Takeaway

So overall, the Crossclimate 2 excels in:

  • Longitudinal Grip: Superior braking and grip due to its optimized tread design.
  • Dry Handling: Better performance in braking and stability compared to Kleber Quadraxer.
  • Wet and Winter Performance: Enhanced traction in wet and snowy conditions through its advanced sipe design.
  • Tread Longevity: Longer tread life and improved fuel efficiency due to a well-distributed contact patch.

Kleber Quadraxer excels in:

  • Ride Comfort: Smoother ride with its softer rubber composition and flexible construction.
  • Noise Level: Provides a relatively quiet ride.
  • Affordability: More budget-friendly while still offering reliable all-season performance.
  • Winter Capabilities: Competent in winter conditions, with notable ratings and certifications.

Tread Pattern

The Kleber Quadraxer 3 features a directional tread pattern somewhat akin to that of the Crossclimate. Though there are still some unique characteristics on this guy.

Kleber Quadraxer 3
The Kleber tire really needs to improve on siping.

Its tread is distinguished by a five-part division, created by slanted cuts in the swooping lugs, a detail that’s quite noticeable, I should add.

Toward the tire’s edges, these cuts, or longitudinal slits, form prominent (in-groove) notches, but they gradually become more slender as we go towards the middle.

In other words, you get narrower linear “siping” slits in the very middle.

Moreover, lugs are also densely packed here, and they interlock to create a zigzag circumferential groove in the very middle.

And yes, all lugs are sitting on a secondary rubber layer. This layer serves as a reinforced base for the V-shaped lugs, enhancing the tire’s stability, particularly during sharp cornering.

But these features are common with CrossClimate 2 as well.

Internally, the tire comes with a robust 2-ply polyester carcass, reinforced by two steel belts and a single polyamide cap ply, offering a blend of strength and durability.

Moving towards the Michelin’s tire, as you can see how similar its V shaped lugs are.

CrossClimate 2's tread
Crossclimate 2 offers a mix of interlocking sipes.

Though if you look closely, you’d note that these (v-shaped) lugs are not as “swooping” as the Quadraxer.

And yes, the central portion of the tire’s tread also features interlocking, wave-like siping.

An important aspect of the Crossclimate 2 is the complexity and resource-intensive nature of its central sipe manufacturing. This intricate design contributes to its position as one of the more expensive all-season tires in its category.

Other than this, although you get similar linear and longitudinal sipes towards shoulders (on both these guys here), Michelin also offers snow-vices.

These sharp notches on the edges of the lugs enhance the tire’s ability to grip snow, improving performance in winter conditions.

And yes, one more thing, the tire also comes with a well structured rounded contact patch, which helps it distribute its weight more evenly.

Internally, the Crossclimate 2 shares a similar construction ethos with the Kleber tire. However, it’s the heavier of the two, which is reflective of its robust build and the materials used in its construction.

Tire Sizes and their Specs

The Michelin Crossclimate 2 comes in 16 to 22 inches 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
  • Warranty: 60k miles.
  • UTQG: 640 B A.

Review this tire in greater detail: https://tiredriver.com/michelin-crossclimate-2-review/

The Kleber Quadraxer 3 comes in 107 sizes, in 15 to 20 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Weight range: 18 to 34 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 10.5/32″ on all.
  • UTQG: 600 A A.
  • Treadwear warranty: None.
  • All sizes have the Tri Peak ratings, along with M+S.

Review this tire: https://tiredriver.com/kleber-quadraxer-3-review/

Dry Performance

For a tire to perform well in dry conditions, it needs solid grip, both in straight-line and lateral movements, and good cornering capabilities. Let’s break these down for a clearer picture.

Longitudinal Grip

“Longitudinal grip” refers to a tire’s ability to adhere to the road during straight-line movement, primarily depending on the contact of the tire’s central portion with the pavement. This directional metric is often assessed through the tire’s braking efficiency, indicating how effectively it can stop.

Both tires discussed here exhibit exceptional longitudinal grip, ranking them at the top of their class. However, the Crossclimate 2 edges out slightly, giving you one of the best braking performance.

In fact its the main reason why I listed this boy among the top grand touring tires. Check it out here: https://tiredriver.com/best-grand-touring-all-season-tires/

So how does it do that? Well, the Crossclimate 2’s braking superiority stems from three key design features:

  • Directional Tread Pattern: This pattern ensures the central lugs, which are densely packed, align optimally with the road surface, maximizing rubber-to-road contact for enhanced grip.
  • Zigzag Central Groove: The interlocking lugs within this groove provide numerous biting edges, crucial for effective braking and grip.
  • Rounded Contact Patch: This crucial design element ensures even weight distribution across the lugs, minimizing momentum and enhancing control.

The tire’s central tread area, with its superior contact patch and numerous biting edges, ensures top-notch performance.

And despite the tire’s (greater-for-its-category) weight, the rounded contact patch maintains low pressure on the lugs, reducing momentum and inertia, thus aiding in quicker stops.

On the other hand, the Kleber Quadraxer falls short of the Michelin’s performance by an average of 3 feet in dry braking tests from 60 mph, (comparing multiple popular sizes).

Lateral Grip

Lateral grip is significantly affected by the tire’s shoulders, as they become the primary contact point with the road during cornering.

This is because as the tire navigates (a turn), the weight it carries shifts towards the shoulders due to centripetal force. This is similar to how we instinctively lean opposite the direction of a turn when a vehicle corners sharply.

However, if there are substantial voids between the shoulder lugs, the tire may not maintain optimal rubber-to-road contact, which is crucial for maintaining lateral grip. And this is particularly true for tires like the Crossclimate 2.

This tire, despite its excellent longitudinal grip, doesn’t provide good enough cornering grip. Though it still does slightly better (showing 0.2g greater g forces on tests), compared to Kleber tire.

Overall Handling

Overall handling is an mix of a tire’s directional and lateral grip, coupled with its steering response.

Now to grasp this concept fully, consider the three distinct phases of cornering:

  • Entering the corner.
  • Mid-cornering.
  • Exiting the corner.

During the entry phase, the vehicle must decelerate, and here, the Crossclimate 2’s superior braking, marked by quicker stopping, facilitates a swifter entry.

Moreover, its exceptional directional grip/stability and on-center feel contribute to an effective exit phase, where you experience enhanced acceleration (if I put it simply).

And although the tire isn’t super great in terms of mid cornering, it still has a slightly upper hand over Quadraxer 3.

Basically, the problem with Kleber tire is its softer rubber composition that tends to bend more.

This bending creates a delay as the lugs must return to their original shape, leading to a sluggish steering response and hindering mid-corner performance, a critical component of overall handling.

Consequently, this results in the tire lagging by over 1.5 seconds compared to the Crossclimate 2 in dry handling lap time tests.

Overall Ride Comfort

Discussing ride quality involves examining the quietness of the ride, the level of comfort experienced, and the tire’s ability to effectively absorb bumps.

Road Smoothness

The ride comfort of a tire is deeply connected to its ability to adapt to and absorb road imperfections. This quality is heavily influenced by both the tire’s composition and its internal and external construction.

Generally, tires crafted from a softer compound provide a more cushioned and comfortable driving experience.

In this comparison, the Kleber Quadraxer 3 notably excels, not only outperforming the Crossclimate 2 but also achieving the highest scores in this category.

That’s why I rated this tire for it in my list of best grand touring tires. See its ranking on the list here.

This superior performance is primarily due to its softer tread rubber, enriched with a higher silica content, and a flexible inner cap ply, which collectively contribute to an exceptionally smoother ride.

Noise Comfort

Tire noise is generated through the interaction between the tire and the road surface, and the construction of the tire plays a significant role in this aspect too.

When considering noise levels, the CrossClimate 2 is, on average, 2 dB quieter than the Kleber tire in decibel reading tests. Though it may not seem much, this difference is considerable in terms of “perceived” loudness.

So what makes Michelin better here? Well, its specialized Acoustic Technology, which utilizes a custom-designed polyurethane foam solution adept at muffling noise resonance.

While this technology also aids in reducing vibrations, its primary focus is on dampening road noise by absorbing the energy it produces.

Additionally, the tire employs an advanced pitch sequencing technique, known as “Piano Noise Reduction Tuning” by Michelin, where the tread produces various tones that cancel each other out, contributing to a quieter ride.

Winter Performance

For those in search of an all-season tire that excels in winter conditions, both options here are standout choices within the grand touring category.

These tires effectively blend the best aspects of summer and winter tires, delivering impressive performance in snow and ice, encompassing braking, acceleration, and overall handling.

Furthermore, both tires respond well to steering inputs and provide excellent acceleration, earning them the 3-peak mountain snowflake rating and the M+S (Mud and Snow) designations.

However, when delving into the finer details, the Crossclimate 2 slightly outshines its competitor.

I mean, while both tires offer comparable snow braking capabilities, the Michelin’s tire outperforms the Kleber Quadraxer 3 in other critical areas, including ice braking, snow/ice acceleration, and overall handling, making it the superior choice for comprehensive winter performance.

Tread Longevity

The lifespan of the tread and fuel efficiency are both significantly influenced by rolling resistance, an area where the Crossclimate 2 exhibits superior performance.

This is attributed to the Kleber’s softer rubber composition and a less optimized contact patch, which leads to increased lug bending as the tread interacts with the road.

This bending not only consumes time but also dissipates energy in the form of heat as the lugs return to their original shape.

Despite the Michelin being heavier on average, it still exerts less pressure on its lugs. This is achieved through a combination of its rounded contact patch and MaxTouch Technology, which together distribute the tire’s weight more evenly, reducing the load on each lug.

Consequently, these features not only enhance tread life but also contribute to better fuel economy.

However, quality comes at a cost. I mean, the Michelin tire is among the priciest in its category.

So, does the significantly lower cost of the Kleber Quadraxer provide better value? Well, not necessarily.

Despite its lower price, its shortcomings in performance mean that both tires ultimately offer similar “value” scores, based on comprehensive testing.

This suggests that the higher initial investment in the Michelin may be justified by its superior performance and longevity.

Wet Traction

In wet conditions, the tire’s grooves are paramount in directing most water away, enhancing traction and handling. Yet, residual water can still get trapped beneath the tire lugs, causing slippage.

This is where sipes and biters play a vital role.

Sipes are essentially small slits in the tread that act as mini reservoirs, managing water by providing space for it to go when compressed against the road by the tread.

In other words, since water is in-compressible, these sipes are essential for temporarily absorbing water particles, removing them from the road surface, improving grip.

That’s why it makes sense why tires with adequate number of well-designed sipes that are also flexible enough, usually do great in terms of wet grip and handling.

Now out of both boys here, the Kleber’s tire falls short in this regard due to insufficient sipes for optimal water displacement, a rubber compound lacking necessary flexibility, and a linear sipe arrangement that does not maintain grip as effectively.

As a result, in comparison to the Crossclimate 2, the Quadraxer 3 falls behind by approximately a second in average wet handling lap times based on my tests.

Michelin’s tire on the other hand, is mostly saved by its rounded contact patch, and interlocking (wave-like) sipes in the middle, particularly performing well in terms of braking.

So What’s the Verdict?

Well, let me sum it down for you.

When it comes to dry performance, the Crossclimate 2 emerges as the superior tire, where it excels particularly in terms of braking.

And although it doesn’t excel in cornering grip, it still maintains a slight edge over the Kleber.

Speaking of which, while the Quadraxer tire offers a smoother and quieter ride thanks to its softer rubber composition, it falls short in wet traction and winter performance compared to the Crossclimate 2.

Both tires perform decently in winter conditions, but here again the Michelin outperforms in critical areas, enhancing its appeal for those seeking a reliable all-season option.

Also despite the higher cost, the Michelin’s superior performance and tread longevity suggest a better overall value, making it a better choice for those prioritizing quality and long-term efficiency.

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