Long-term Test of Michelin CrossClimate2 All-Weather Tires - Initial Impressions
When Michelin’s all-new CrossClimate series of all- tires debuted, Torque News’ interest in the tire started to take shape. The new design promises all-weather performance that goes beyond what all- tires offer in winter, but with no penalties in the spring, summer, and fall driving. This tire has the three-peak mountain snowflake rating that all winter tires earn, and a tread pattern specifically designed to work well in winter conditions. Early reports of the CrossClimate2 began to show up and were extremely positive. Consumer Reports rated the tire Very Good in all categories and in its Pros and Cons section listed no Cons. Tire Rack also rates the CrossClimate2 tires Excellent in every category. Engineering Explained is a Youtube channel that we follow, and the engineer at the site did a deep dive on the CrossClimate2 tires that caught our attention. When the chance to test these tires on one of our vehicles came up we jumped at it.
The Vehicle and the Plan To Test Michelin CrossClimate2 All-weather Tires
Short-term tests of tires are always helpful, but we feel the new CrossClimate2 is so different and radical in its design that we need to try this tire over at least one year, in all four seasons. That means the tires needed to be on one of our personal vehicles. We chose our 2018 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring crossover. Mazda's CX-5 is a top-selling vehicle that represents the largest segment for sales in America very well.
Michelin recently expanded the sizes available for the CrossClimate2 dramatically. This size expansion also caught our attention because it means the tire is now widely available for most top-selling models. Our plan is to test the tire in all seasons, in all weather conditions, and report our findings. Furthermore, we plan to go into the fine details of how the CrossClimate2 wears, and reveal if it develops any bad habits.
Our CX-5 had a four-wheel alignment at its last service around 30K miles and now has 34K miles. Short of an unexpected problem, we plan to keep it for years to come, so this test could potentially span the full life of the tires. Here are our initial findings.
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - Noise
The tread of the CrossClimate is radically different than the Toyo A36 grand touring all-season tires the vehicle came equipped with from Mazda. Our first concern was noise. However, that concern has quickly been put aside. The CrossClimate2 tires are noticeably quieter than the tires we took off the vehicle. That includes both highway and suburban driving.
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - MPG
Lucky for us, our “B” trip odometer had not been reset for 2,500 miles leading up to the mounting of our new CrossClimate2 tires. The car had recorded an average MPG over that span of 26.8 MPG. We reset the trip odometer to start a new record of the MPG with the new tires. We verified that the tires were set to the proper pressure when they were mounted so that the MPG readings would not be falsely high or low.
After 175 miles of mostly highway driving, the MPG went up to 28 MPG. This was unexpected. Normally, aftermarket tires decrease fuel economy slightly. Not in this case. After 313 miles of mixed city, suburban, and highway driving, the same mix the vehicle has always driven, the MPG has settled in at 27.2 MPG. So, we’ve gained roughly half an MPG. This was a welcome result we did not anticipate.
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - Handling
New tires always feel different than the tires that came off of the vehicle and this swap proved no exception. The deep tread depth of the CrossClimate2 tires can be felt then turning. Our term for this might be “tread squirm.” However, we feel it is in line with the deeper tread any new tire would have. Add to that the slippery feel new tires always have before their factory sheen is worn off, and we are relieved to say that these tires didn’t diminish the great handling of the CX-5 in any way. It is still a vehicle that turns in sharply and has a very tight steering feel. Our next update will be the true test of the handling of the tires.
We took the CX-5 to our cabin in rural New England to see if we could try some dirt roads and have little to report. The usual spring mud was not available, just normal dirt roads well-groomed. We can’t report any exciting mud hole adventures, and really don’t plan to. We can say there was no drama over the moist dirt roads.
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - Ride Comfort
New tires with their full tread depth often smooth out the road a bit and the CrossClmate2s have done exactly that. Driving over minor potholes and broken pavement feels noticeably smoother now. We might add that the impacts also are quieter in the vehicle. Overall, this is a welcome result. The CX-5 is a great vehicle, but any vehicle has some tire noise over impacts and less is better.
Related Story: How To Know If You Need Studded Winter Tires
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - Rain
The very first week of our test it rained moderately hard. We tested the CrossClimate2 tires on suburban streets and on the highway in this wet weather and found the tires to have great traction and zero hydroplaning. We would not have expected any hydroplaning, but a bit of slipping upon startup at corners would not have surprised us. There was none.
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - Looks
Many owners won’t care how a tire looks on the vehicle, but we do. We feel the CrossClimate2 tires look futuristic. The unique tread pattern is easy to spot even from a distance. The sidewall is unadorned, which is our preference. No bold font to show off the tire name. Just a clean look.
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - Stone Retention
The deep treads of the CrossClimate2 tires had us wondering if the tires would pick up stones and fling them into the fender covers or if the tread might attract and retain a lot of stones. To our surprise, the tires are not doing so. We drove over gravel and dirt roads, and the tires are picking up fewer stones than the Toyo all-seasons did. We have no idea why.
Michelin CrossClimate2 First 300 Miles - Conclusion
Our initial impressions of the Michelin CrossClimate2 tires are entirely positive. The shop we paid to mount the tires was very impressed and reported no difficulty with balancing them. The other driver of the vehicle in our family reports “no difference” in the way the tires feel when driven upon and that too speaks to just how “normal” these tires behave, even with their new tread compound and unique design.
If you are looking for a deep dive into the Michelin CrossClimate2’s design, we suggest the video below. It offers far more design and technology info than most shoppers will wish to have, but it’s there if you want it.
Next Update and Final First Impression Verdict
We will check back in mid-summer and report on the Michelin CrossClimate2 tires’ performance once again. Our winter report will be unique since the tires will be 9 months old at that point. We’ve yet to find any thorough reviews of this tire when it is not new in snow and on ice, so we are looking forward to being one of the first outlets to report that way. Based on our first 300 miles with the Michelin CrossClimate2 tires, we give them two thumbs up.
Michelin CrossClimate2 Fast Facts:
Design - All-weather
Snow rated? Yes
Tire Rack Price For Size Tested (225/55R19 99V)= $221.99 Less $120 Michelin rebate (April 2021)
UTQG: 640 B A
Treadwear Limited Warranty Period - 60,000 miles
Tire Rack Overall Performance Score = 9.4/10
Michelin CrossClimate2 Information Link
Testing note: This story is not a paid promotion. The tires tested were provided at no cost by the manufacturer, but mounting was paid for by the author.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin