First impressions: Michelin CrossClimate tyres

Disclosure: I bought all of the tyres discussed in this review with my own money. No freebies were involved.

If I told you I was looking forward to replacing the tyres on my car, you’d probably think I was either daft or had money to burn…

But as a long-time user of all-season tyres (since the days when you had to import them from Germany), I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to put Michelin’s award-winning CrossClimate tyres to the test.

Michelin CrossClimate tyre

As their name suggests, CrossClimate (and all other all-season tyres) are intended to provide acceptable performance all year round.

That’s a big contrast to the summer tyres fitted as standard to most UK-spec cars, which are great in summer, but which stiffen up and provide very little grip in low temperatures. This is why we experience chaos on the roads when it snows — everyone is driving on tyres that don’t work in such conditions.

However, all-season tyres are becoming more popular, and are increasingly appearing as options on some new cars.

Although they are all-season tyres, the CrossClimates are a bit different to other tyres in this class. This is because they are summer tyre adapted for winter use, rather than a winter tyre adapted for summer use. This may sound like a minor difference, but it’s not. It has an impact on the type of rubber compound used, the wear rate, the tread pattern and the tyre’s performance in different conditions.

I’ve now had a chance to put a couple of thousand miles on my CrossClimates. I’ve certainly noticed the difference compared to the Vredestein Quatracs (also good tyres) which they replaced. To help anyone thinking about taking the plunge, I thought I’d share my first impressions here.

Handling and feel

Once I’d inflated my new tyres to the correct pressure (why do garages never do this correctly?) I found that the CrossClimates felt harder and more like a summer tyres than my old Vredestein Quatracs. Handling is good in wet and dry conditions, probably a little better than the Quatracs if you push hard.

My overall impression of the tyres is positive and they inspire confidence, although it has taken a while to get used to the harder feel. The tyres are currently inflated to the pressure specified in my car’s manual, but I’m wondering whether I can reduce this slightly.

Grip

As the whole point of buying these tyres is the grip they provide across a wide range of conditions, I thought I’d comment on this aspect separately.

So far, I’ve driven the CrossClimates on dry and wet roads, and in ice, frost and light snow. Wet performance is excellent and on a par with my old Vredestein Quatracs, but I’d say that dry performance is better than the Quatracs.

In colder and more slippery conditions, the CrossClimates have performed well so far. In heavy frost and light snow, the tyres have felt grippy and secure. I’ve had no problems and have not felt the need to tip-toe around. Although I’d need a bit more experience in snow to be sure, my impression is that these tyres are as good, or better, than the other all-season tyres I’ve used.

Noise

During the time we’ve owned this car, it’s had two other sets of tyres — he original summer Michelins (Energy Savers, I think) and the Vredesteins. Although there probably is some difference in noise levels between these three tyres, my perception is that they’ve all been acceptable. None have been noticeably quieter or noisier than the others.

Michelin CrossClimate tyre tread
The tread seems to pick up gravel and dirt a bit more than other tyres, although it’s not a problem.

The only thing I have noticed is that the tread on the CrossClimate tyres seems to pick up grit on salted or dirty roads more than any other tyre I’ve used. This is noticeable, as you hear the grit ping against the underside of the car as it flicks off the tyre.

It’s more of a harmless quirk than a problem, but my wife and I have both commented on it.

Wear

It’s too soon to say how quickly the CrossClimates will wear out. But I’m hoping that the summer tyre-like feel of the CrossClimates will translate into better summer performance, and a slower wear in hot weather. My experience (driving mostly country roads) is that this was the Quatrac’s weakest point.

My verdict

Virtually all of the professional and customer reviews I’ve read of the CrossClimates have been positive. I can see why. This appears to be a superb tyre that’s ideally suited for general motoring use in the UK.

If you’re not convinced, it’s worth noting that British Gas was one of the first big fleet customers for the CrossClimate. The firm uses the tyres on its fleet of 13,000 small vans across the UK. After the first year in service, Fleet Manager Colin Marriott said:

“Michelin’s CrossClimate tyres have exceeded expectations in all respects. The fitments have clearly improved year-round traction for our wide-ranging fleet, especially in wet weather, and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback from our drivers.”

I’m very pleased with my CrossClimates so far. I’ll update this article once I’ve got more experience in different conditions. In the meantime, if you’ve got any questions or opinions on all-season tyres, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you think.

5 thoughts on “First impressions: Michelin CrossClimate tyres

  • September 22, 2017 at 6:35 pm
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    Thanks for your review. I appreciate reading about experiences of a “normal” driver. I’m wondering if the fuel consumption is worse than with summer tyres.

    Reply
    • October 4, 2017 at 3:37 am
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      Hi Frank,

      My experience is that switching to all-season tyres doesn’t make any noticeable difference to fuel economy. Driving style and driving conditions have a much bigger impact, in my view.

      Regards, Roland

      Reply
  • July 19, 2018 at 7:28 pm
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    I have just fitted 4 new cross climate +. Only in the dry but the car feels better , less noisy etc. I had yokohama es 32 on front before and Dunlop blue response sport on rear. These feel and perform much better. Looking forward to rain and frost/snow although speed is the most important factor. I think having all 4 tyres the same makes a big difference too. Michelin ate awesome. Expensive but worth it I think!. Mine are extra load as 205/55 v rating is xl to appeal to more cars. Appears to perform better and more resistant to uneven road surface. They will not get through the worst snow etc I’m sure but I’d prefer to have these all year than to have summer tyres all year. In this blistering heat they have been incredible and I can feel the car better. My average mpg via trip computer is better too.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2018 at 6:11 am
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      Hi Matt,

      I’ve been using Cross Climates for a couple of years now and I’ve also been very impressed. In addition to good summer performance I’ve found them to be good in winter conditions. They have always felt very secure in frosty conditions and have also been quite good in snow — where I live there’s a hill to get out of the village, and I’ve been able to get up this when it’s covered in snow without much difficulty.

      Cheers, Roland

      Reply
    • November 29, 2018 at 2:20 pm
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      Hi! Ok, I’ve tested these in deep snow (What I mean by deep is between 5 to 6 inches). The work really well! I drive from London to south Poland frequently and I must say they do not disappoint. I think that I will not be using a different tyre for a long time. I feel secure having them.

      The wife and I got caught up in the Euro blizzards on our way back to England in 2017 last year and I must say they outperformed every car on the road.

      I’m getting my new set this December. The rear tyres do not need changing yet but the front pair has gone below 3mm (I fitted these two years ago). Reason for changing all is to feel secure on the Autobahn and more importantly in heavy snow if it hits.

      Plus, I really like the “94” load index compiled with the “W” speed rating. Peace of mind as far as tyre blowouts go and I don’t have to worry if I hit 140 MPH in Germany.

      To sum up, well worth the money and I can’t criticise the performance.

      If anyone knows a better all year tyre please let me know as I have only tested these. Before it was the usual summer – winter swapping.

      I like them:)

      Reply

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