Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV Review


The Michelin CrossClimate SUV, as the name suggests here, is a Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tire which comes OE with Mercedes-Benz GLE. But does that mean it’s good enough? Well let’s find out.

Toyota RAV4
Tires about to be tested on Toyota RAV4 Adventure.

Sizes and their Specs

The tire comes in 46 total sizes in 17 to 21 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H, V, W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Weight range: 28 to 38 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 9.5/32″ on all.
  • UTQG: 560 A A.
  • Treadwear warranty: None.

All sizes have 3pmsf and M+S ratings.

Key Highlights

Overall, the CrossClimate SUV is a great tire when it comes to:

  • Dry performance and responsive steering.
  • Fuel efficiency due to its lightweight and rubber composition.
  • Wet traction and handling in light snow conditions.
  • Hydroplaning resistance with efficient water expulsion.

But the tire lacks in:

  • Steering precision in wet conditions.
  • Handling on icy surfaces.
  • Noise and comfort, being slightly louder and less smooth.
  • Adequate tread depth for enhanced durability.
  • Optimal performance in heavy snow and icy conditions.

Construction Features

The SUV variant, is almost similar to the grand touring Crossclimate 2 (review it here).

Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV
Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV is actually very similar to its grand touring version.

It features a directional tread pattern, where it’s lugs vary in angle/orientation, towards the middle (from its shoulders).

These outer edges/shoulders are the most voided up, where you can clearly see lateral voids, separating them apart.

While the middle most area is most packed up, where the lugs also create an interlocking structure.

Both of these features basically add to the tire’s braking efficacy, in both wet and dry.

While in winter conditions, the interlocking siping slits there contribute a lot, while the slush/snow move out of the V shaped channels easily.

Speaking of snow, the thick siping slits you see are especially designed for that, but more on it in its respective section.

Approaching the shoulders, these lugs have snow vices (notches on their sides), and longitudinal slits forming “Plus” shaped siping pattern.

Internally, the tire comes with a two-ply polyester casing supporting two steel belts and a single ply polyamide reinforcement cap on top, just beneath the tire’s rubber.

Dry Performance

The CrossClimate SUV tire excels in dry conditions, showcasing its sporty performance through excellent linear grip and lateral traction, enhanced by responsive steering.

Let’s talk about all these performance metrics here, one by one.

Linear Grip

Longitudinal grip is the traction a tire provides as it moves forward or in a straight line. And this grip is largely influenced by the tire’s central contact patch with the road.

And yes for folks who don’t know, as this grip is directional, it is typically assessed by measuring braking distances.

The Crossclimate 2 SUV excels in this area, thanks largely to its more streamlined tread design, which basically minimizes tread features, or “disruptions”, in the rubber-to-road interaction, enhancing grip.

Additionally, the tire’s relatively lighter weight compared to other Crossover/SUV touring tires, and even its grand touring variant, plays a crucial role.

This is because a lighter tire has less momentum inertia, making it easier to decelerate (improving braking performance).

Furthermore, the tire’s rounded contact patch also contributes a lot here. This design element ensures a more even distribution of the tire’s weight across its tread lugs, reducing momentum inertia.

(Needless to say, a tire with less momentum inertia is easier to stop).

That’s why the SUV variant stops quicker compared Grand Touring Crossclimate 2, (though the difference is less than half of a feet).

Overall Handling

Handling in tires is a complex interplay between lateral grip and steering response. So I examined these both aspects individually.

Lateral grip is crucial when a tire navigates turns, and this grip primarily comes from the tire’s edges (shoulders/sidewalls).

This is because these shoulders are the main point of contact with the road during cornering, influenced by centripetal force.

(To understand this, consider why you feel pulled towards the opposite side of a turn when a vehicle corners).

And focusing of the Crossclimate 2 SUV’s shoulders, the tire with voided up swooping lugs (though compact in the middle, become increasingly spaced out towards the sidewalls).

And so the overall rubber-to-road contact is decreases, impacting the tire’s lateral traction (measured by lateral G forces).

But yes, despite this, the tire still offers a sporty feel, especially for an SUV tire. This is characterized by its quick steering response, strong front-end control, and reassuring braking performance.

Now, 2 main factors contribute to these metrics:

  • Weight: Where the Crossclimate 2 SUV is lighter, and so it creates less momentum inertia.
  • Tire Composition: The use of stiffer rubber in the tire reduces lug flexing. This stiffness means that the lugs bend less, allowing the tread to maintain its shape without wasting time returning to its original form.

So overall, you get a pretty decent tire here, especially when you compare it with its direct rivals.

Noise Comfort

The SUV variant of the CrossClimate 2, while notably quiet, is still slightly louder compared to the standard CrossClimate 2.

And this difference in noise levels is primarily attributed to its tread design.

Road noise is essentially caused by air particles striking the tread walls, and this air predominantly enters through the shoulder voids.

Having said that, the SUV variant, having more voided shoulders, allows a bit more air to enter, thereby generating slightly more noise than its counterpart (shown by decibel reading tests).

Wet Traction

Wet traction in tires is critically influenced by their sipes and grooves, which play a pivotal role in water dispersion to prevent hydroplaning and slippage.

Grooves serve as direct channels for expelling water, while sipes, which are small slits in the tread, operate on a smaller scale (coming in later for residual moisture left by grooves).

Now, the mechanics of sipes involve air compression.

I mean, as the tire rolls and these sipes make contact with the (wet) road, they compress, expelling air and creating a vacuum. This suction effect aids in displacing water, as it gets drawn into these sipes and later expelled out.

Having said that, 2 things matter here the most:

  • Sipe Quantity and Design: Where a higher number of sipes, especially those with an interlocking pattern, generally improve wet traction.
  • Sipe Flexibility: As sipes need to be sufficiently flexible to create an optimal suction effect.

Now, in case of CrossClimate 2 SUV, the tire provides excellent traction in wet conditions, evidenced by strong braking performance and high lateral grip, as shown in skid pad tests.

Though the tire still needs improvements in terms of steering, I mean, it’s steering is pretty light, and can potentially lead to oversteer, especially when the (driver) inputs are stronger/more aggressive.

But yes, traction wise, the tire is okay, where its combination of linear and wave-like siping patterns, with varied angles, enhances the tire’s ability to grip in all sorts of wet conditions.

And yes, the tire also offers very effective grooves, which take out more water, leaving less water burden behind on sipes.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Also called aquaplaning, and it happens when a tire loses contact with the road surface (and starts to float, or hydroplane), due to water intervening, effectively preventing the tire from gripping the road.

And in such scenarios, the design of a tire’s grooves are the most crucial.

Now as already mentioned, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV is particularly effective here, coming out with superb float speeds.

And this is because of the tire’s directional pattern, where its V-shaped lugs create clear, straightforward pathways for water to be expelled efficiently.

And yes, its rounded contact patch is also helping here, which technically creates a pressure difference between the shoulders and the central area of the tire enhancing the force, with which water is expelled out.

But yes, the tire’s performance here can still be improved further, where it would benefit a lot form a slightly more tread depth.

I mean it’s just 9.5/32″ (on all sizes), and it’s on the lower side for an SUV tire.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy in vehicles is influenced by several factors, with tire characteristics such as weight, tread depth, and composition playing significant roles. These attributes directly affect a tire’s rolling resistance, which in turn impacts fuel efficiency.

Now in case of Crosscliamte 2 SUV, you get a very fuel-efficient tire, which even outperforms the standard Crossclimate variant. This is because of the following:

  • Stiffer Rubber Composition: The use of stiffer rubber in the SUV variant reduces the amount of flexing in the tire’s lugs, so energy is conserved better.
  • Lighter Weight: Which is pretty straight forwards and simple, as the lighter tire reduces the overall energy required for the vehicle to move.
  • Reinforced Lug Support: This feature contributes again to the limited lug flexing, optimizing the tire’s energy for propulsion, instead of wasting it in to heat, predominately.
  • Rounded Contact Patch and MaxTouch Technology: These design elements effectively distribute the tire’s weight in a way, that there’s less pressure on the lugs, further minimizing rolling resistance and thereby enhancing fuel efficiency.

So overall, there are no complaints in this area, with Michelin’s tire here.

Winter Performance

The CrossClimate SUV tire exhibits strong performance in light snow conditions, particularly in terms of acceleration, thanks to its robust longitudinal grip.

Now most of this performance stems form its distinctive V-shaped tread design, which is specifically engineered for shoveling snow, slush, and ice backwards, promoting excellent forward momentum and acceleration.

This particular aspects rewards this tire with the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification (meaning it’s 10% better in snow acceleration compared to standard AS tire without this label on it). I explained it further here, along with M+S.

Moreover, the Michelin’s tire here also features an advanced siping structure, where particularly, the thicker slits you see facilitate snow-to-snow contact.

About this contact: It’s pretty crucial for maintaining traction, as snowflakes naturally adhere well to each other, creating a “snowball effect.”

Moving towards icy terrains, the tire’s strongest attribute is again it’s (directional) braking performance. This is largely due to its well-designed wavelike sipes, particularly in the middle, on interlocking lugs, which enhance grip on slicker surfaces.

However, the tire does exhibit some limitations in ice handling, where it particularly understeers, (though it’s still manageable).

Road Vibrations Comfort

Road comfort in tires is largely determined by how well they absorb road imperfections, ensuring a smoother ride with minimal impact felt in the vehicle’s cabin.

Now since it’s pretty common for SUV tire versions to slightly compromise comfort in favor of enhanced durability and stability, it makes sense why the Crossclimate 2 SUV is lacking behind here (especially when compared to its non-SUV variant).

This difference can be attributed to a couple of key factors, where the tire’s stiffer rubber doesn’t aid as much cushioning against bumps.

And yes tread depth is also playing a role here. I mean as the tire comes with shallower tread depth, it gives less room for the tire to compress and absorb bumps, affecting overall comfort scores.

Tread Longevity

The longevity of tire tread is influenced by factors like weight, composition, and tread depth. And in these terms, the CrossClimate 2 SUV ranks as fairly average.

This tire is crafted with a unique rubber blend, incorporating polymers that enhance its resistance to high temperatures.

Despite being an SUV variant, it’s lighter than the typical grand touring (simple) Crossclimate 2, (so the tread is rubbed against the road, with smaller friction).

Moreover, it features a more durable tread, stiffer rubber, and stronger reinforcement under each rib.

So even though it’s tread depth is relatively smaller (which suggests that it would reach 2/32″ quicker), it still lasts longer with it’s tougher rubber skin on top, given you do all things right, as I mentioned here: https://tiredriver.com/how-to-increase-tread-life-on-tires/

Take Home Points

So what do we have here? Well the Michelin’s CrossClimate 2 SUV is overall a pretty decent pick.

In dry conditions, it offers superior linear grip and responsive steering, thanks to its streamlined tread design and lighter weight.

And in wet, you get great overall traction, though it’s steering response needs slight improvements here still. And same goes for hydroplaning resistance.

Moreover, in light snow, although the tire shows above average acceleration and braking, it ice handling needs some attention.

Other factors include, ride comfort, tread life and fuel economy, and in all of them, the tire is average.

4 thoughts on “Michelin CrossClimate 2 SUV Review”

  1. Does it last 60,000 miles we do not drive much highway driving but we drive around the city a lot so I’m not sure if this is a good tire for me or not a lot of stop and goes

    • So, here’s the deal: in a city setting with lots of stop-and-go, you’re probably looking at around 30,000 to 40,000 miles for these tires. That’s assuming you’re following the tips in my “How To Improve Tread Life” guide (you can find it from the search bar).

  2. Directional tires are historically noisy, expecially as they wear. How do these compare to the others vs an AS tires sucha s the Pirelli Scorpion?


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