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Here Are the Best Michelin Tires Around

Here is your guide to one of the most acclaimed names in tires.

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BYJeric Jaleco/ LAST UPDATED ON February 16, 2022

Among the best tires in the world, Michelin stands among the greatest. From soccer mom mobiles to bleeding-edge motorsport machines, the traction wizardry of the French brand reaches far and wide. And the company’s become a prime choice for dedicated enthusiasts, a staple for premium car manufacturers, and a deluxe choice for consumers who just want to do better for their commuters. Gearheads clamor at online retailers for a set of what many argue to be the best brand in the business, but what is truly the best Michelin for your vehicle?


Allow us folks at The Drive to help you decide on the optimum Michelin tire for your car, SUV, or truck. This buying guide will lay down some wisdom with facts and details you need to make the right choice.

Best Overall

 Pilot Sport 4S

Summary

The Holy Grail of summer tires carries the torch of its predecessors with lessons learned in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Compared to prior generations, this tire utilizes improved rubber compounds simultaneously enhancing dry grip while significantly bolstering wet weather performance.

Pros
  • Superb dry weather grip and braking
  • Surprising wet weather traction
  • Ample steering feedback
  • Sharp steering response
Cons
  • Among the costliest of summer tires
  • Summer tire limitations in extreme cold
Best Value

Defender T+H

Summary

Aimed at being as quiet, comfortable, and long-lasting as can be, the Defender T+H reportedly combines economy car serenity with adequate performance and quality. This choice features a high-silica rubber compound engraved with complex tread patterns and blocks to boost traction in the wet and even suffice in light snow.

Pros
  • Stellar price point among Michelins
  • Quiet on highway
  • Comfortable ride
  • Well-rounded all-weather performance
Cons
  • Limited in sizes
  • Inconsistent tread life 
  • Less wet weather capability than performance all-season offerings
Honorable Mention

Pilot Sport All Season 4

Summary

This latest performance all-season serves as a year-round sporty tire for a plethora of vehicles from sedans to small SUVs. This tire manages to deliver commendable all-weather grip while undercutting the cost of the aggressive Pilot Sport 4S and even matching that of less performance-oriented siblings in Michelin’s inventory.

Pros
  • Enhanced wet weather capability over summer tires
  • Reportedly handy in light snow and cold weather
  • Broad vehicle applicability
  • Cheaper than Pilot Sport 4S and other Michelin all-seasons
Cons
  • Still no replacement for winter tires
  • Trades dry weather performance for added wet weather usability
Here Are the Best Michelin Tires Around

Our Methodology

As ideal as it is, we can’t always get our hands on every item on sale. Getting a hold of numerous sets of tires to test in a variety of conditions with a fleet of cars is undoubtedly less feasible, at least for a small team of writers. What we can do, however, is provide facts and product details through scrutinous online research and reviewing pages of customer feedback, particularly what was available to us from tire research and retail site, Tire Rack. Their product descriptions detailing the features of each tire sitting alongside pages of customer input plus instrumented comparison tests greatly helped us streamline the path towards information overload.

Tires with the most reviews and test miles were clear indicators for where to dig up knowledge; tires with scarce feedback were eliminated. Popular choices that only come in a narrow range of sizes were considered but would be penalized unless they were purposefully tailored for specific types of vehicles. 

I’ve personally had experience with a few different Michelins. I even own a set for my car. That being said, it’s only fair that I ignore whatever experiences I’ve had and solely rely on feedback from experts and consumers, especially when comparing tires I’ve never used with tires that I have.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best Michelin Tire Reviews & Recommendations

Best Michelin Tire Overall
Pilot Sport 4S
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Enthusiasts want it! OEMs love it! The tire of choice for many manufacturers, the Pilot Sport 4S, has been acclaimed as a jack of most trades, master at some, a feat few rivals can also stake claim to. Gradually improving upon the steering feel and dry performance of the Pilot Super Sport is one achievement. What especially surprises drivers is how it blends confidence-inspiring behavior with surefooted wet traction. 


“Michelin Acoustic Technology” is present and uses an extra layer of sound-deadening foam to reduce road noise. This hardcore, track-capable tire can work as a relatively serene, wet-weather cruiser for those who take their enthusiast machines on long excursions. 


Such tires are suited for a variety of vehicles from hot hatches to hardcore sports cars and even some luxury sedans. Just remember that it’s a jack of most trades; Michelin does not recommend these tires be used in light snow or at any temperature below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep a spare set of winter rubber in the garage.


Specs

  • Type: max-performance summer
  • Recommended vehicles: coupes, sport compacts, sports sedans, luxury sedans
  • Speed Rating: ZR (Y)

Pros

  • Superb dry weather grip and braking
  • Surprising wet weather traction
  • Ample steering feedback
  • Sharp steering response

Cons

  • Among the costliest of summer tires
  • The most susceptible in this list to hardening and cracking in extreme cold
Best Michelin Tire Value
Defender T+H
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No, you won’t set any lap records nor conquer the Alps on the Defender T+H, but this Michelin tire is a solid and affordable all-arounder. Research has proven this choice to be a quality product of all-weather usability with reasonable dry weather performance. Praise is given to the quiet and smooth ride which doesn’t completely turn steering responses to mush. 


Kudos to stabilizing the tread with polyamide-reinforced steel belts and sipes which interlock beneath the surface. It has a fair deal of usability in light snow, a plus for those caught off guard before they could get their hands on a proper set of winter tires. Caveats? Of course there will be. 


In Tire Rack’s instrumented testing, the Defender T+H lags slightly behind more expensive performance all-seasons, not only in dry grip but in the wet as well. Available sizes are limited from 15-inch to 18-inch wheels, barring it from some larger cars. Inconsistent tread life has been the most standout issue reported. Some buyers have grown smitten with these tires over the course of nearly 60,000 miles. Others have claimed to be unable to travel much farther than 20,000 miles. Whether poor alignments or road surfaces were truly a factor in each use case is unknown.


Specs

  • Type: Touring all-season
  • Recommended vehicles: Coupes, compacts, family sedans, minivans, small SUVs/crossovers
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Stellar price point among Michelins
  • Quiet on highway
  • Comfortable ride
  • Well-rounded all-weather performance

Cons

  • Limited in sizes
  • Inconsistent tread life
  • Less wet weather traction than other all-season offerings

Imagine a Forza-syle tuning slider for tires where one end equates to full-tilt performance and the other for year-round practicality. Take wherever the Pilot Sport 4S is on that spectrum and kick it over a few clicks towards the latter and voilà, you have the similarly-acclaimed Pilot Sport All Season 4. 


If you’re willing to sacrifice tenths of a second here or there for added versatility in real-world driving conditions, this is a solid compromise. Using interlocking sipes, widened channels, and an “Extreme Silica” rubber compound, these tires offer enhanced wet weather grip over summer tires and have actually been reported to handle light snow by a handful of drivers. The wide range of applicable vehicles means you could also pick up a set for your small crossover or large sedan as well. 


Despite the compound’s enhanced resistance to cold climates, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 is not a true winter tire, but this rubber can still hold its own until the weather gets truly hairy. One buyer even stated that they intend to use it as their winter set.


Specs

  • Type: Ultra-high-performance all-season
  • Recommended Vehicles: Coupes, sport compacts, sports sedans, small SUVs/crossovers
  • Speed Rating: ZR (Y) 

Pros

  • Enhanced wet traction over summer tires
  • Somewhat handy in light snow and cold weather
  • Broad vehicle applicability
  • Cheaper than Pilot Sport 4S and some non-performance Michelin all-seasons

Cons

  • Still no replacement for winter tires
  • Trades dry weather performance for its added versatility
Best Michelin Tires for SUV
CrossClimate SUV
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Essentially an SUV’s take on the CrossClimate2 and CrossClimate+, the CrossClimate SUV delivers a premium feel and versatile performance to suburbanites everywhere. The distinct (and admittedly wicked-looking) V-shaped tread pattern channels water outward as quickly as possible giving it some of the best wet-weather traction in its class. 


Dry performance is surprisingly top tier with a welcome degree of athleticism in its steering response. Graced with a three-peak snowflake rating, it can also impersonate a winter tire in light-to-moderate snow with class-leading traction on icy roads according to Tire Rack’s instrumented tests. Despite this, Michelin still insists this is no true winter tire, so blizzard connoisseurs, be wary.


Tread life is somewhat short by some customers’ accounts. Road noise, something which drivers have described as near-silent when new, reportedly increases a substantial amount as the tire ages. A few buyers have also noted a noticeable hit to their fuel economy and EV range.


Specs

  • Type: Grand touring all-season
  • Recommended Vehicle: Crossovers/SUVs
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Athletic performance for an SUV tire
  • Enhanced winter capability including class-leading ice performance
  • Balanced compromise between dry and wet traction

Cons

  • Road noise reportedly increases with age
  • Somewhat short tread life
  • Still not a true winter tire
Best Michelin All-Season Tires
CrossClimate 2
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Intended for smaller crossovers and SUVs as well as standard passenger cars, the CrossClimate2 delivers class-leading dry and wet traction. With the same V-shaped tread pattern reinforced by interlocking sipes, handling and braking figures are best in class, and it upholds an appreciable level of steering precision for such a tire. 


Customers and experts have lauded the winter capability just like its SUV-specific sibling, but Michelin continues to insist that this is no replacement for true winter rubber. Road noise is minimal, and customers are yet to report the same increase in road noise with age as its SUV equivalent. 


Like the SUV tire, the CrossClimate2 is not for fuel misers. Some owners have reported notable hits to their fuel economy, and Tesla owners have reported significant losses in range, including as high as 60 miles lost.


Specs

  • Type: Grand touring all-season
  • Recommended Vehicles: Coupes, sedans, small crossovers/SUVs
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Enhanced winter capability
  • Excels in both dry and wet conditions
  • Quiet-ish for such a capable and aggressive tread pattern

Cons

  • Not for hypermilers
  • Not a true winter tire
  • Somewhat firm for a touring tire
Best Michelin Tires for Truck
LTX A/T 2
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Offered on modern trucks and SUVs, the LTX A/T 2 has proven to be a solid, do-it-all choice for commuters who like to rough it every now and then. On-road refinement is reportedly praiseworthy with a smooth ride and even tread wear according to customer input. Off-road performance, as the tread pattern suggests, is there and certainly capable, but it’s not for those who frequent mud pits in the woods or rock walls at Moab. 


Tread life in many cases is a healthy amount; some light truck owners have stated that their sets lasted as long as 90,000 miles. One F-250 owner claimed that his survived to 140,000 miles. Of course, driving conditions and the exact vehicle used may yield varying results. And we don’t recommend that you attempt anything more than the manufacturer-suggested lifetime miles, as the rubber can degrade in more ways than just tread. 


Even with all that sweet, sweet versatility, a great tire is never perfect, so prepare for a bit of slip-and-slide action in winter. These are still no replacement for winter rubber, although they can still get around in light snow. Making these noteworthy on the street also means more aggressive all-terrains should be on the shopping list for the more adventurous outdoorsmen.


Specs

  • Type: All-terrain
  • Recommended vehicles: SUVs, light trucks, vans
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Competent all-around performance for trucks and SUVs
  • Variety of available sizes
  • Long tread life
  • On-road refinement

Cons

  • Holds onto gravel like ice studs
  • Not for hardcore off-road enthusiasts
Best Michelin Tires for Sedan
Primacy Tour A/S
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It’s pretty handsome for a touring tire, ain’t it? Occupying a niche above the more inclement weather-oriented CrossClimate 2 and budget-friendly Defender T+H, the Primacy Tour A/S asserts itself as a “premium” luxury touring all-season. It makes good on that promise with a reportedly balanced mixture of dry and wet grip with commendable handling and braking results. 


Steering, while reportedly lacking in feel, is pleasantly sharp for a touring tire according to customers. And interestingly enough, while definitely no winter tire, this choice displayed class-leading braking during Tire Rack’s ice tests. For those with sedans and crossovers on the girthy side, the Primacy Tour A/S thankfully comes in a wide array of available sizes all the way up to a 265/40R22. 


This, however, is no Pilot Sport 4S for commuter cars. It’s truly a jack of all trades and a master at none as it doesn’t seem to excel in any single performance measure aside from ice braking. In both Tire Rack’s and customers’ experiences, the ride can be somewhat firm for a touring tire, and road noise is muffled but never absent.


Specs

  • Type: Grand touring all-season
  • Recommended vehicles: Coupes, sedans, small crossovers/SUVs
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Balanced dry and wet traction
  • Athletic steering responses
  • Plenty of available wheel sizes for different vehicle types
  • Usable traction in some winter conditions

Cons

  • Not a standout in any performance measurement compared to rivals
  • Somewhat firm for a “premium” touring tire

Our Verdict on Michelin Tires

Our top pick for the best Michelin is the masterful Pilot Sport 4S, lauded for pairing relentless grip with everyday practicality. If you’re willing to sacrifice some Gs for more real-world usefulness, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 is a stellar compromise. These choices prove that there’s nothing wrong with a jack of all trades, especially if it can be a master at some. If you have suggestions for the best Michelin to buy, let us know in the comments!

What To Consider When Buying a Michelin Tire

Like any other tire brand, it all comes down to what you want. Do you prefer something with an array of hidden talents or do you want something more focused on a specific purpose? Is your car a track day special? Michelin makes the Pilot Sport Cup 2. How about a winter runabout? They have the X-Ice and Pilot Alpin lines. Also note that road conditions, wheel alignment, and driving style all play a hand in performance and tread life, so be aware of such variables.

High-Performance Summer

As the name would suggest, these tires are optimized for grip, precision, and overall performance in warm conditions. With most of the current-generation tires on sale, summer tires have no quarrel with being commuted on and can be relatively quiet and capable in the wet. Hybrid rubber compounds may be used to favor wet performance without sacrificing dry handling, and shoulders specifically tuned for lateral grip work in conjunction with center tread blocks tuned to better cope with rain. 

Be aware that hyper-focused examples such as the wannabe-race-slick Pilot Sport Cup 2 are specially developed with the track in mind. The trade-offs are poor tread life from their extremely soft compounds and even worse wet weather traction due to their minimal tread. Additionally, no summer tire should be exposed to extreme cold as the rubber can possibly harden and crack prematurely.

All-Seasons

All-season can be interpreted as a broad term referring to tires that can be daily driven on nearly any vehicle in a variety of conditions. They can be fuel-sipping economy tires or performance all-seasons. Tread patterns may come in a plethora of designs and rubber formulas for specific purposes, but they will usually have a high degree of channels and sipes for evacuating moisture to maintain a contact patch. 

Note that all-seasons are not to be confused with dedicated winter tires. Most would harden in the cold or be unable to properly grab at the snow. Some offerings, however, such as the CrossClimate lineup can manage mild to moderate snow better than others. Hence, their three-peak snowflake rating denotes their talents.

Winter Tires

You’ve probably read, “not a true winter tire,” a lot by now. As much as people love to stretch the limits and squeeze every penny’s worth of traction out of them, nothing excels in such weather quite like dedicated winter tires. It’s literally in the name, after all. Winter rubber will usually have among the softest compounds with a high silica content to maintain flexibility in extreme cold.

Winter tires sport an extremely aggressive tread pattern, even more so than the CrossClimate range; they’re often riddled in channels and sipes for evacuating moisture and providing an abrasive edge to grab at the ice. Just as it’s discouraged to drive in the winter on summer tires, the same flip-flop applies to winter tires. The already-soft compound could get even softer resulting in premature wear and undesirable driving dynamics.

Michelin Tire Pricing

Something like the ordinary Defender T+H can run as high as $220 per 18-inch tire. Smaller sizes seem to range between $120 to $180. LTX A/T 2 tires can run truck folks between $260 and $400 per tire. Premium all-seasons such as the CrossClimate SUV can run between $185 to over $280 depending on size. High-performance rubber such as the Pilot Sport 4S, which comes in an eye-opening assortment of sizes, can vary greatly from $210 for a 17-inch tire to over $570 for a 23-inch tire. Most modern sports car sizes will run somewhere in the $400 range.

FAQS

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q. How can tires affect efficiency?

A. The purpose of a tire dictates its construction and rubber formula. Stiff tires geared towards long life, touring, or economy will generally result in less frictional drag on the car and therefore better efficiency. Conversely, soft compounds for racing or handling cold temperatures create more frictional drag, reducing efficiency. 

Q. Where can I source a set of Michelins?

A. In addition to Tire Rack, Michelin can also be ordered through other retail giants including Walmart and Amazon

Q. Rivals to consider?

A. Michelin has had stiff competition from other premium brands seeking to topple the French giant. Other high-end tire companies to consider include Pirelli, Bridgestone, Continental, and the new-to-America brand, Vredestein.

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