Michelin CrossClimate+ tops Auto Express all-season tyre test

Thursday 9th November 2017 | 0 Comments

Michelin CrossClimate+ tops Auto Express all-season tyre test
Michelin CrossClimate+ tops Auto Express all-season tyre test

Compromise is a word often associated with the all-season tyre segment, and in its 2017/18 all-season tyre test, Auto Express has endorsed the product it views as representing the smallest compromise in year-round UK conditions. This tyre is the Michelin CrossClimate+

While the original CrossClimate only managed a third-place finish in last year’s test, the updated version of Michelin’s all-season tyre won Auto Express over with its improved wet performance, dominating in all wet disciplines aside from aquaplaning. The CrossClimate+ followed these up with first place in the dry braking and dry handling tests.

Eight all-season products, accompanied by a summer and a winter tyre, participated in the 2017/18 Auto Express test. The size 205/55 R16 rubber (speed ratings H or V, weight ratings 91 or 94) were fitted to Audi A3 and VW Golf hatchbacks for evaluation. Testing was led by Auto Express’s Kim Adams at the Nokian Tyres proving ground in Ivalo, Finland and Continental’s Contidrom facility north of Hannover, Germany.

The protagonists were, in alphabetical order, the Falken Euroall Season AS200, Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-2, Hankook Kinergy 4S, Kumho Solus HA31, Michelin CrossClimate+, Nexen N’blue 4Season, Nokian Weatherproof and Toyo Celsius. The summer product tested alongside the eight all-season tyres was the Dunlop Sport BluResponse, while the Continental WinterContact TS 860 represented the winter segment. The tyres were tested in 16 categories – four snow, seven wet (including aquaplaning) and two dry disciplines, as well as rolling resistance, cabin noise and price.

Auto Express’s verdict was that the CrossClimate+ gave “all-weather performance with the least compromise on driving experience.” Improvements made since the previous incarnation was put through its paces a year ago were witnessed in the wet; during hard braking from 26 mph down to 3 mph, the CrossClimate+ reached the target speed 1.5 metres short of nearest rival the Nexen N’blue 4Season, and 7 metres before the Kumho-shod car decelerated to 3 mph. The Michelin tyre was also the quickest by almost two seconds around the handling track. While Adams concedes that the Michelin tyre, which finished the snow disciplines behind all but two of its all-season rivals, is still “not the best on snow,” he nevertheless considers the CrossClimate+ “capable of dealing with a UK snowfall.”

In his test conclusion, Adams states: “The winning Michelin works sufficiently well on snow to the point where it matches some winter tyres, but its ability in the wet and dry makes it best suited to UK conditions and reduces the compromises inevitable in a tyre used all year round.”

Michelin is understandably chuffed with the outcome of the Auto Express test. Jamie McWhir, car and 4×4 technical manager for Michelin in the UK, comments: “We’re really pleased with these results. When the CrossClimate was launched more than two years ago we knew it was an ideal tyre for the UK, where winters tend to be wet with only occasional snow.

“The CrossClimate+ has gone even further across a whole range of performance criteria, which means there is no need to compromise in either the summer or the winter – and it delivers safety and comfort right down to the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6 mm,” McWhir adds. “It’s testament to our commitment to research and development and we’re very proud of it.”

The test appearing in the 8 November 2017 issue of Auto Express is an all-season tyre test, and for this reason the tyre that gained the most points overall remains uncrowned. A score of 100 per cent gave the CrossClimate+ a result its all-season rivals could only envy, yet the winter tyre tested alongside it garnered more than full marks; Auto Express gave the WinterContact TS 860 a score of 101.2 per cent. The Continental tyre safely took first place in the snow tests and also won the wet disciplines by a narrow margin. Performance in the dry weather disciplines, it must be said, was less impressive. The winter tyre’s braking distance was four metres longer than that achieved with the CrossClimate+ and eight metres longer than that of the Dunlop summer tyre.

As for the Sport BluResponse, Adams relates that the increased number of wet disciplines in this year’s test and the inclusion of two assessments at summer temperatures worked to the Dunlop tyre’s advantage. Its performance approached, matched and sometimes bettered that of the all-season tyres. “Give it a dry track or warm, wet conditions and it is the tyre to have. The gap between the Dunlop and most all-season tyres in braking alone could well be the difference between having an accident and avoiding one.” It was a different story in the snow, of course. Traction and braking were “much worse” than both the winter and all-season tyres, and on the snow handling circuit the testers didn’t keep their eyes fixed on the stopwatch – getting up and down the hills was an achievement in itself. Auto Express gave the Dunlop Sport BluResponse a score of 96.7 per cent, a result that would have seen it finish in sixth place (seventh, when counting the Continental winter tyre) in the all-season tyre test.

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