Michelin Crossclimate 2 vs Crossclimate Plus

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The Michelin Crossclimate 2 and Crossclimate Plus are two outstanding tire models from the same reputable brand, each promising high-quality performance across different seasons. So is the newer tire better? Let’s find out.

Michelin Crossclimate 2

Tire Sizes

The predecessor, Michelin Crossclimate Plus features sizes having following specs.

  • Rim sizes: 13 to 18 inches.
  • Speed ratings: H, V, W and Y.
  • UTQG: 600 A A.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 9/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 17 to 30 lbs.
  • Winter ratings: Yes, both.
  • Tread warranty: 50k miles for H and V rated, and 40k for W and Y rated sizes.

On the other hand, the Michelin Crossclimate 2 (review), comes in 16 to 22 inches with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • UTQG: 640 B A.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: 10.5/32″ (on all)
  • Weight range: 25 to 36.5 lbs
  • Winter ratings: Yes, both M+S and 3PMSF.
  • Tread mileage rating: 60k miles.

Tread Appearance

Let’s start things off here with Michelin Crossclimate 2.

Michelin Crossclimate 2

The tire stands out with its unique, directional tread pattern characterized by V-shaped lugs.

These extended, independent lugs excel in displacing water, slush, and snow, earning the tire the prestigious 3-peak mountain snowflake rating for its exceptional winter performance.

As you can see, the tire’s tread is neatly segmented by longitudinal slits, effectively distinguishing the densely-packed central lugs from the shoulder areas.

The central lugs boast an intricate interlocking siping design coupled with snow vices.

The close-knit arrangement of these lugs enhances dry grip, while the snow vices improve winter traction, and the interlocking sipes provide wet weather handling.

In contrast, the shoulder area exhibits larger lateral gaps between the lugs, each equipped with straightforward rectilinear siping slits. This design element contributes to the tire’s overall stability and handling across various road conditions.

Conversely, the Michelin Crossclimate+ presents a more streamlined tread design compared to its successor, the Crossclimate 2.

Michelin Crossclimate Plus

While its tread also follows a directional pattern, it lacks the interlocking sipes and snow vices found in the updated version.

Though despite, these differences, the fundamental tread design is similar to Crossclimate 2.

So it tread forms similar longitudinal grooves, effectively separating the shoulder areas from the central region.

And you get similar looking closed up central lugs, compared to shoulders.

Though it’s shoulder lugs carry slightly thicker siping slits, in comparison, allowing for decent wet handling capabilities.

Ride Quality

Aspects such as sound levels, comfort, and the ability to absorb impacts, all come under ride quality. So let’s check them out individually.

Tread Noise

Air is the main cause of noise generation in the tread. That air primarily gets in (the tread) from the shoulder gaps, and hits the walls around. And that impact is what produces noise.

So looking at both tires, it makes sense why the Michelin Crossclimate Plus takes the lead here.

Although both tires are pretty voided on the shoulders, Crossclimate 2 still has relatively larger gaps, so it allows more air particles to come in.

Moreover its softer compound is also more reflecting of the air particles, so they create larger in-groove resonance.

Though overall the noise difference is only marginal, as the tire features rounded contact patch, and streamlined lugs, so most of the air leave out with impacting on the walls.

On-Road Vibrations

The smoothness of a tire’s ride is directly proportional to its ability to handle road inconsistencies, a factor heavily influenced by its internal and external composition.

Meaning, tires with softer compound, tend to provide a more comfortable driving experience, stating the obvious.

So I have to go here with Michelin Crossclimate 2.

The tire features a softer tread rubber, composed of greater silica composition, and softer inner cap ply. Both of these are more efficient in absorption the imperfections of the road, compared to other two.

The CrossClimate Plus on the other hand, although feature a softer inner casing, still have a much more stiffer rubber layer on top, so you have to compromise more on the overall comfort a little bit here.

Tread Life

Tread life is a critical aspect to evaluate in a tire and is influenced by several factors, including the Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG), tread depth, rolling resistance, and the composition of the tread itself.

And having said that, our in-depth analysis reveals the Michelin CrossClimate 2 is a clear winner in this regard.

The tire features a cutting-edge tread compound that resists rapid wear. And its strong layer of polyamide further fortifies the tire, extending its lifespan.

So it makes sense that the tire gives out UTQG of 640, whereas the Michelin Crossclimate Plus has 600, which is aligned with our testing, which shows that the CrossClimate 2 gave out 10k more miles compared to its predecessor.

For Your Info: It’s crucial to note, though, that the UTQG is not a definitive measure of tread life. But its becomes particularly helpful when you compare tires form the same manufacturer, like in our case.

Additionally, the CrossClimate 2, besides having a marginally higher UTQG treadwear rating, also features a slightly deeper tread depth.

And this further adds to its tread life, as larger depth would prolongs the tread life as it takes longer to wear down to the minimum safe limit of 2/32″.

Wet Traction

Wet traction efficiency largely depends on two main factors: the presence of sipes and the composition of the tire’s rubber.

And in this regard, while both tires underperform compared to other (premium) all-season options, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 still shows a slight advantage.

So why is that?

Well, the tire features a more sophisticated tread design, featuring interlocking sipes in the middle that significantly improve braking efficiency. Thanks to this interlocking pattern, the sipes maintain their flexibility during abrupt acceleration and braking, ensuring superior wet grip.

Additionally, the CrossClimate 2’s rounded contact patch promotes a smoother transition of weight towards the shoulder lugs when cornering. This design feature leads to improved steering response, providing a balanced performance regarding understeering and oversteering.

On the other hand, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 is made of a stiffer rubber and it also lacks having a rounded contact patch along with interlocking sipes.

And so its rectilinear sipes don’t provide sufficient efficiency in braking and handling, giving the CrossClimate 2 a distinct edge in overall wet conditions.

Dry Grip And Handling

In terms of dry road performance, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 shines with its enhanced contact patch, providing impressive grip, particularly on highways.

When tested, it surpassed its predecessor, the CrossClimate Plus, in dry grip, demonstrating notably shorter braking distances, which was approximately 6 feet shorter.

The CrossClimate Plus, however, falls short in this area. It’s central lugs are not as interlocking and don’t form a good enough road to rubber connection.

And its absence of features, such as having a rounded contact patch negatively impacts its handling as well.

When driving straight, such as on highways, a tire’s weight is concentrated on the central tread portion. And as the tire turns, this focus shifts towards the shoulders, due to inertia.

And so with a rounded contact patch, the weight transitions smoothly from the central area to the shoulders, facilitating direct steering and quicker steering feedback.

This allows for superior handling, which is reflected in our test results. In fact, when comparing average lap times, the CrossClimate Plus lagged behind the CrossClimate 2 by an average of 2 seconds, (its a lot in tire world).

Winter Performance

Winter traction is an area, where the CrossClimate 2 has significantly improved its performance.

Although both, this tire and its predecessor, feature a directional tread pattern, the CrossClimate 2’s elongated lugs are designed to scoop up slush and snow more effectively, which create a better forward momentum.

Additionally, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 yields a smaller section width and greater weight compared to its predecessor. The smaller section width allows the lugs to exert more pressure on the snow, while the increased weight acts as a catalyst, and so both factors contribute to enhancing snow lodging capabilities in the tread voids.

As a result, the lodged snow in the tire forms a more effective contact with the ground, commonly known as as “snow-to-snow contact”. This type of contact is crucial as snow adheres better to snow rather than rubber.

In contrast, the CrossClimate Plus lacks snow vices, and its section width along with its weight is smaller in comparison.

Though its still not that bad and still holds the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating

However, it’s important to remember that this rating is primarily an acceleration test. It indicates that a tire with this rating can accelerate 10% more effectively on snowy roads compared to average all-season tires, but it doesn’t cover all aspects of winter performance.

So What Did We Learn Here?

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 outperforms its predecessor, the Michelin CrossClimate Plus, in most aspects.

The CrossClimate 2 also provides a smoother ride with its softer tread rubber and cap ply. It offers better tread life, with a higher UTQG rating (640 vs. 600) and roughly 10k more miles in tests.

And while both models underperform in wet conditions, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 performs slightly better thanks to interlocking sipes and a rounded contact patch.

And it shines in dry road performance, particularly on highways, due to a robust grip and shorter braking distances.

In winter conditions, it handles slush and snow effectively due to its elongated lugs, smaller section width, and greater weight. Despite the Plus model’s 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, the CrossClimate 2 still outperforms it in overall winter performance.

And lastly, although the Michelin CrossClimate Plus is quieter due to narrower shoulder gaps, the difference is slight, as the CrossClimate 2 employs rounded patches and streamlined lugs for air expulsion and noise reduction.

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