Sunday 17 November 2019

Why they believe this is the tyre for all seasons

Tyre Test: Michelin CrossClimate

Michelin CrossClimate
Michelin CrossClimate
Michelin CrossClimate: dry braking was every bit as good as that of a summer tyre

John Galvin

We all have winter tyres on our cars by now, right? Wrong, because most drivers don't bother.

In fact, 65pc of motorists across Europe keep summer tyres on their cars all year round, compromising grip when conditions are cold, wet and snowy.

By contrast, a small minority keep their cars on winter tyres all the time, but these tyres perform poorly in the dry.

Of course, all-season tyres are an option, but they are a compromise everywhere, so you never get maximum grip in any conditions.

Even those few souls who diligently swap their tyres twice a year complain of the cost, hassle and storage difficulties.

Michelin think they have the answer to this conundrum with their new CrossClimate, the first summer tyre to be fully winter certified.

It's not an all-season tyre. In fact one of my colleagues was rapped on the knuckles for referring to it in those terms.

It's different because it uses a mix of winter and summer tyre treads, together with a special rubber compound that performs well at low temperatures.

In independent tests carried out by the well respected TUV, the CrossClimate scored five stars for dry braking, wet grip and performance in snow.

Winter and all-season tyres under the same conditions performed poorly in the dry, while summer tyres had little grip in the snow.

After the science was explained to us, we had the chance to try the new tyre on the road, driving up a mountain outside Geneva.

By the time we reached the top, it was snowing hard, but grip was never an issue and the tyres performed extremely well, inspiring a lot of confidence.

Back at base, several tests were set up to compare the CrossClimate directly with our choice of summer, winter or all season tyres.

Dry braking performance was every bit as good as that of a summer tyre, while the grip test on a flooded roundabout showed we could carry more speed with the CrossClimate equipped car.

Even the breakaway, when it happened, was much more progressive and controllable.

The final test was to climb a snow-covered slope and I spoiled the party by being the only driver that day to get to the top on summer tyres.

When I tried again using CrossClimate tyres though, the grip was so much better, I was able to reach the top a lot quicker.

Michelin say the new tyre will last at least as long as their Energy Saver summer model and has been rated highly for low road noise.

When it comes to fuel economy, its rating is C. Winter and all season tyres are usually rated from C to E, meaning they are less fuel efficient.

The CrossClimate goes on sale from May in a range of sizes from 15ins to 17ins.

It will cost 7pc to 10pc more than an equivalent summer tyre.

But if it saves having to keep a second set of tyres on the go, it's a price well worth paying.

Van tyres will follow, along with a range of 18ins versions suitable for SUVs.

Sports car and run-flat tyres aren't in the mix at the moment, but they haven't been ruled out in the future.

Irish Independent

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