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Michelin CrossClimate is the first ‘summer’ tyre that can safely be left on all winter

The Michelin CrossClimate is a revolutionary new type of tyre that answers two regular questions: “Should I switch from summer tyres to winter tyres in November?” And: “Are ‘all season’ tyres a reliable alternative to one set for winter and one set for summer?"

Until now, the answer had been yes to both. ‘Winter’, or, correctly ‘Cold Weather’ tyres are infinitely safer than summer tyres not just in snow but whenever the temperature drops below 8 degrees centigrade. They not only get you through snow, they stop the car much more quickly on snow and ice, and also stop it more quickly in cold, wet conditions.

But changing tyres every October and March isn’t anyone’s idea of a pleasant way to spend an hour or so. Nor is having to store the spare set of tyres when they’re not in use. Nor is having an extra set of wheels and tyres for a car you might sell and which may not fit your next car.

Hence the proliferation of ‘all season’ tyres such as Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons, Vredestein Quatrac, Bridgestone A001 and Pirelli’s new P3000 Cinturato M+S.

These have been a great compromise that perform well in snow, yet can be left on the car all year round, so you only need one set of wheels and tyres.

However, ‘all season’ tyres are still basically cold weather 'winter' tyres that have been modified in terms of compound and construction to improve their performance in summer conditions.

They don’t stop the car as well in the dry as a dedicated summer tyre and the fact is that 70% of car crashes in Europe occur on dry roads.

So Michelin has been working on a tyre that not only performs almost as well as the best cold weather tyres in winter, but also works as well as the best low rolling resistance summer tyres in the summer.

To confirm this, the highly respected TUV, DEKRA and UTAC have been testing it.

Michelin Cross Climate Performance Chart

For braking on dry roads from 100kmh (62mph) they found it performed as well as Michelin Energy Saver Plus summer tyres and significantly better than Alpin 5 winter tyres and Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons all weather tyres.

For grip on wet bends they found it performed as well as Michelin Alpin 5 winter tyres and Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons all weather tyres and was slightly better than Michelin Energy Saver Plus summer tyres.

And for climbing a snow covered hill from 5kmh to 30kmh (5mph to 18kmh) they found it to be the equal of Michelin Alpin 5 winter tyres, slightly better than Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons all weather tyres and vastly better than Michelin Energy Saver Plus summer tyres.

Michelin Cross Climate TUV Tests

For wet braking at 6C and for traction in snow at -6C they found it performed as well as Michelin Alpin 5, which are dedicated winter tyres.

For wet braking from 80-20kmh (a standard Euro test) at 6C Michelin CrossClimate tyres stopped the car 2.3 metres shorter than the best ‘all seasons tyre’. On dry roads at 40C it stopped the car from 100kmh a significant 5.3 meters shorter than the best ‘all seasons tyre’ and 7.6 metres shorter than Michelin Alpin 5 cold weather tyres. On a wet roundabout it was capable of generating 0.67g before breakaway compared with 0.63g for the ‘all seasons tyre’. And on a snow covered hill it was 7% better.

Micheli Cross Climate 308 On Mountain

Rather than a winter tyre adapted for summer, Michelin CrossClimate tyres are summer tyres adapted for winter.

They are developed from Michelin Energy Saver Plus, which are low rolling resistance premium summer tyres that on average last 20% longer than the alternatives.

Michelin Cross Climate Sipes

They used new rubber compounds that maximise grip in the tread, but a high silica content under the tread for low rolling resistance.

The new ‘V’ shaped interlocking tread is at three different angles so acts like claws to maximise grip.

Michelin Cross Climate Tread

Wavy ‘super performing’ sipes, teardop-shaped in depth, have a variable pitch that locks on impact with the road, then opens to squeeze out moisture and remain effective down to a 1.6mm tread depth.

We test-drove Michelin CrossClimate tyres against Michelin Energy Saver Plus summer tyres: braking from 40kmh; braking from 55kmh; driving round a wet roundabout at 38-42kmh; and ascending a snow covered slope. They did everything as promised: equal braking performance to the Energy Savers; later and more controllable breakaway on the wet roundabout; and ascending the snowy slope when all the Energy Savers could do was spin. We also took it up above the snowline in the Jura mountains where it imparted more confident steering feel than my 308 on Goodyear Efficient Grips, as well as hauling us through some 6" deep soft snow.

Michelin Cross Climate Road To Col

Michelin CrossClimate tyres are ‘3 Peaks Mountain Snowflake’ (3PMSF) certified so meet the standard for snow tyres in all European countries.

They are EU labelled C for fuel efficiency, A for wet braking 1 bar (68db) for noise and last as long as Michelin Energy Saver Plus, which is 20% longer than the average summer tyre.

They are priced about £6 more than summer tyres, and about £6 less than cold weather tyres for a 205/55 R16.

Original tread depth is 7mm.

And, from June 2015, they will be available for 23 dimensions, representing 76% of all car tyres sizes between 15” and 17”.

Michelin Cross Climate Sizes

 

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