Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive vs Michelin Crossclimate 2

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Distinguishing themselves in the Grand Touring All-Season tire category, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 and Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive are designed to cater to different yet overlapping audiences, where they are mostly known for their winter performance. Let’s see which tire is a better choice here.

Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive
Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive on Tesla.

So overall, the main takeaway here is this: Pirelli leads in dry performance and icy conditions, while also offering a quieter ride. However, Michelin excels in wet directional grip and powdery snow handling.

Tire Sizes

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive comes in 15 to 19 inches rims, and they have the following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 11/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 19 to 32 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 60k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 700 AA.

Review this tire in greater detail: https://tiredriver.com/pirelli-scorpion-weatheractive-review/

On the other side, 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
  • Tread mileage rating: 60k miles.
  • UTQG: 640 B A.

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

Also note that both tires have 3 peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) ratings.

Layout of Tread Pattern

Let’s start here with Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive, which comes with a directional tread pattern.

Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive
Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive’s central most area consists of a zigzag longitudinal groove.

Despite its directional structure, it’s still segmented into five distinct columns, unlike its Michelin counterpart.

This basically creates 4 longitudinal channels, enhancing water dispersion, and therefore improving wet traction, as you get superior resistance to hydroplaning.

Out of these circumferential grooves, the central most is the most biting, as one can see from its zigzag structure (in the image).

This is due to its central most interlocking lugs.

These lugs also feature in-groove notches (directed towards shoulders), and are laced with numerous linear sipes.

Similar siping pattern is also seen on the neighboring ribs, though with slightly varied angles.

The shoulders lugs also have linear sipes, though they’re slightly thicker (which provides snow traction), and are arranged both laterally and longitudinally (allowing for multi-directional grip).

As for its internal build, the tire incorporates a 2-ply polyester casing, bolstered by dual steel belts and reinforced with 2-ply polyamide cap plies.

On the other hand, the Crossclimate 2, although also features directional pattern, its more streamlined.

Michelin Crossclimate 2
Crossclimate 2 has a more proper “directional” pattern.

I mean it’s tread clearly forms V shaped lugs here, which are only divided up towards the outer edges (with longitudinal slits).

These slits basically separate shoulders from the middle section.

The central area consist of wave-like sipes, which then turn in to thick linear slits as we move towards shoulders.

Moreover, they also carry snow vices on their swooping arms, (these are dedicated notches designed to enhance snow traction).

The shoulders on the other hand, are equipped with thick lateral slits only, which act as sipes on wet roads, and biters in winter conditions.

Internally this tire employs a 2-ply polyester casing, two steel belts, and a singular polyamide cap ply.

Winter Performance

Both of these are technically the best combination, of summer and winter tires, that’s you’d find in the all season category, as they both offer superb snow/ice braking, acceleration and overall handling.

And yes, they both also feature 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings as well.

However, based on my comprehensive tests, the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive still performs slightly better on icy tracks, while the Crossclimate 2 takes the lead, when it comes to powdery snow.

The WeatherActive distinguishes itself with its dense full-depth siping that features an interlocking structure, delivering superior traction on icy surfaces through exceptional grip.

It actually features more siping at a given area of its tread. That’s why it makes sense why it lacks the M+S rating, which tells that its voids to tread ratio is less than 25% (which also explains why with less voids, it’s snow performance is lacking to its counterpart).

Speaking of which, the Crossclimate 2 takes the lead on (powdery/salt-like) snow, with its distinctive swooping lugs.

These not only offer better snow-to-snow interaction (by trapping snow particles in), but also add to the tire’s acceleration, where its swooping lugs throw back the particles, generating forward drive.

Note: Snow-to-snow contact is essential since snowflakes naturally bond better with each other than with rubber, much like the principle behind the “snowball effect”.

Ride Quality

Ride quality encompasses elements like noise levels, comfort, and the tire’s capability to cushion impacts. Let’s break these down.

Tread Noise

Air interaction with the tread is the primary source of noise. This air typically enters the tread through the shoulder gaps and strikes the surrounding walls, generating sound.

Upon comparing both tires, the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive comes out as a quieter option.

This is because, even though both tires have significant voids on the shoulders, the Michelin Crossclimate 2 has slightly wider gaps in its shoulder area, letting in more air.

Additionally, its compound seems to amplify the air’s impact, leading to greater resonance within the tread. In contrast, the WeatherActive utilizes a variable pitch tread design to counter this.

However, it’s worth noting that the noise disparity between the two is minimal, as the Crossclimate 2’s rounded contact patch and sleek lugs help in efficiently redirecting the air without much wall impact.

On-Road Vibrations

Several elements, from the tire’s internal and external build to its tread composition and design, shape its on-road comfort.

Given these considerations, the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive stands out with superior comfort, as per my personal assessments.

Relative to its competitors, this tire leans on the softer side. For all-season tires, such a trait proves beneficial in delivering a smoother ride by adeptly cushioning road irregularities.

Side Note: When assessing overall comfort, its also crucial to factor in “stability” too, as if the tire is way too soft, it can compromise motion control, potentially rendering the tire less agile or giving it a “floating” sensation. Though that’s not the case with Pirelli.

Check out all season tires here: https://tiredriver.com/all-season-tires/

Dry Performance

The effectiveness of a tire in dry conditions largely depends on its overall grip (directional and lateral), and cornering.

Let’s talk both in details.

Directional Grip

Key determinants of directional traction encompass tread composition, the rubber’s contact surface with the road, tire weight, and rolling resistance.

And observing these variables, it can be seen why the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is taking the lead here.

Although both tires with their streamlined, directional pattern, and soft rubber compounds offer superb road adhesion properties, the Pirelli still takes the lead, mainly due to it’s reduced structural weight.

It’s lighter weight actual allows it to keep it’s momentum limited, so it’s able to slow down easier. That’s why it offers a feet shorter braking distance (on averaged tests).

(Braking is the direct measurement of directional grip, just an FYI, if you don’t know).

On the other side, the Michelin Crossclimate 2 not only weighs more, but also has a more voided up tread design, so each of its lugs bear more weight pressure on them, creating greater momentum force.

Moreover, it’s central area is also lacking with crucial biters, which is unlike the Pirelli’s tire, where you get a zigzag circumferential central (most) groove, courtesy of it’s interlocking lugs, adding to the tire’s longitudinal traction further.

Dry Cornering

Now directional grip is just a tiny part here, as overall performance mainly concerns handling, which is a combination of tire’s lateral grip plus steering.

Now, even though the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is designed with more biting edges on its shoulders, marked by longitudinal and linear lateral slits, it still trails the CrossClimate 2 by about 1 second on average, (referring to handling lap time tests).

So why is that? Well it all has to do with it’s more sluggish steering response.

I mean both tires with their noticeable voids on shoulders, although offer similar lateral grip, the Michelin with its quicker steering communication, still manages to come on top.

It provides a smoother steering feedback, whereas the one on Pirelli feels a bit lethargic.

This has to do with it’s relatively softer tread composition, which pushes it’s lugs to bend more. And excessive lug flexion (especially during aggressive maneuvers), compromises vehicle control.

Wet Traction

Tires displace most of the water through their grooves, while sipes, (tiny slits in the tread) manage the remainder, by contracting (throwing air out), and expanding (creating a vacuum).

This vacuum/suction then soaks up water particles, and so highly depends on the tread’s flexibility.

Having said that, we have some mixed results here, comparing both tires. But let me sum it up.

The Pirelli WeatherActive offers better wet handling, whereas Crossclimate 2 gives you superior directional grip, allowing for faster braking and acceleration.

The Pirelli Scorpion main performance comes from it’s more effective, curved siping on it’s shoulders, which don’t get stiffer as the tire turns.

Moreover, while Michelin focuses on improving it’s snow handling properties, the Pirelli’s tire offers siping which are more adept to sticking well on damp surfaces.

And as the tire is more voided up (with it’s arms splitting up longitudinally), it allows for better water dispersion. So with faster/greater water escaping out, there’s less burden on sipes to begin with (improving their efficacy further).

And so this results in the tire giving out slightly better lateral grip and steering feedback.

On the other side, the Michelin Crossclimate 2 with it’s interlocking siping structure in its middle section offers better wet directional grip.

And sure, it’s directional stability also adds to it’s on-center feel, and overall steering feedback, it’s just not as communicative in comparison (even though its only by a small margin).

Key Takeaway

In the end, the choice between the both is a matter of individual priorities.

For overall dry performance, the Scorpion edges out, owing to its lighter structure, which also offers better ride comfort.

Conversely, when considering wet conditions, Pirelli shines in terms of wet handling, with its unique siping. However, Michelin’s Crossclimate 2 exhibits superior wet directional grip, ensuring rapid acceleration and deceleration.

Diving into winter performance, the WeatherActive has an advantage on icy terrains due to its dense full-depth siping. Though for snow grip, its counterpart takes the lead.

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