Michelin Agilis CrossClimate Review: a Game Changer

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While passenger-car drivers have many tire options, both in terms of weather and performance, commercial-van drivers, not so much. Even worse, there is not much development in the design of these tires – it seems like the tread patterns have been stuck in time. However, there was a recent development that could change things in the commercial-van tire sector, and it comes from Michelin.

The French brand is known for pushing the envelope in the tire industry for over a century now. It not only brought the pneumatic tire to the world, but it also brought us radial tires and run-flat tires. Now, Michelin wants to reinvent the commercial-van tire with the Agilis CrossClimate. Michelin’s latest van tire is similar to all-weather tires for passenger cars, meaning it aims to provide excellent traction throughout the year.

But why would Michelin want to reinvent the van tire? Well, because commercial tires, even those with an all-season tread compound, aren’t exactly usable in snowy conditions. The lack of traction in wintry conditions is bad for the safety of the driver, other traffic participants, but it can also create issues for the company. No transportation firm wants its vans or trucks to stop driving when it snows, and that’s one of the reasons why Michelin launched the Agilis CrossClimate.

Cost is another important aspect. Having two sets of tires – one summer and one winter set, is costly, especially if the vans cover a lot of miles annually. Thus, having one set of tires that can work throughout the year can be very cost-efficient, even when you consider the higher asking price. Michelin’s professional products were always about efficiency and profitability, and the Agilis CrossClimate might be the best one yet.

But how does all that translate into the real world? That’s precisely the question I’ll answer right here. I’ll cover every aspect of the Agilis CrossClimate, including traction and grip on dry, wet, snowy, and icy roads, comfort, durability, and off-road viability. Moreover, I’ll compare it to the Michelin Defender LTX M/S, a tire that is very popular among truckers and van drivers.

Michelin has put every new technology it has up its sleeve in the Agilis CrossClimate. On its website, the company says that it’s an all-season tire designed for light trucks. However, since Michelin mentions that the product has 3PMSF (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake) certified snow traction, we’d argue it’s an all-weather tire.

However, let’s not delve into semantics. What is important is that Michelin promises commercial-grade durability, meaning the tire is designed for heavy loads. To achieve that, the French firm utilized its CurbGuard sidewall protector that resists curb scrubbing and also used twice as much nylon reinforcement when compared to the Defender LTX.

Furthermore, to improve treadlife, Michelin employed its MaxPressure Profile, which optimizes the tire footprint for more even wear. The Agilis CrossClimate also features a StabiliBlock design with wider and longer tread blocks, which provides better traction on vehicles with high torque figures and keeps the rubber cool.

Michelin tested its new commercial van tire for durability, and it lasted 10% to 19% longer under heavy loads than the competition. That’s not insignificant – it means the tires will last that much longer.

But it’s not all about durability with the Agilis CrossClimate. Thanks to the SipeLock technology, the tire provides a better grip on dry surfaces since the sipes can lock together and keep the tread stable. However, when the driver needs better wet and snow traction, the multiple sipes can provide biting edges and improve traction. It’s a trick that we mostly see in passenger-car tires, and it’s nice that Michelin used it here.

Last but certainly not least, the Michelin Total Performance package ensures that the tire works well throughout its lifecycle. Many tires perform well when they are new but quickly lose their abilities, often after 1-2 years, but Michelin’s usually last longer than that.

What’s interesting, though, is that Michelin offers two different tread patterns under the name Agilis CrossClimate. The regular, not directional tread pattern is more aimed at heavy-duty vans, while the directional (modern) pattern is aimed at lighter vans. 

Overall, the directional tread pattern performs better on dry, wet, and even snowy conditions. However, that’s not to say the regular tire is bad – it still beats most of its competitors.

What are the maintenance indicators?

The Michelin Agilis CrossClimate with the regular tread compound features the industry-standard tread wear indicators (TWI’s). These indicators are narrow rubber bars that sit recessed into the tire, specifically in the circumferential grooves.

The owner can use the rubber bars to monitor the tread depth. Specifically, when the tread is on the level with the TWI’s, it means that you should immediately replace the tires.

Meanwhile, the mode with directional pattern features new tread wear indicators. These let the owner monitor the percentage of the tread remaining, which is a much better solution. That’s because snow traction usually becomes worse when the tread reaches 50% depth, something that the regular tread wear indicators can’t show.

Fortunately, it will take a while before the Agilis CrossClimate loses its tread. Michelin doesn’t provide any treadwear warranty, but that’s normal in the commercial category. What it will tell you, though, is that the tire performs outstandingly well under heavy loads, more so than its competitors.

While I couldn’t test the tire for long periods, we expect it to be outstandingly durable. However, if you don’t own a commercial vehicle and only own a truck for personal use, then the Michelin Defender might last longer. Yes, the Defender has a longer treadlife under light loads, while the Agilis CrossClimate will last longer under heavier loads.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

Tires with aggressive tread patterns and 3PMSF ratings usually perform worse on dry pavement. However, that’s not the case with this tire. I was actually surprised at how stable the tire feels.

Put simply, the Agilis CrossClimate is among the best commercial van and truck tires on dry roads, including summer tires. Specifically, the stopping distances are very short, there is ample cornering grip, even when the van is loaded, the high-speed stability is excellent.

However, I must note that the version with the directional tread pattern performs better. It feels more direct and responsive and provides higher levels of grip and traction. Both won’t disappoint, though.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

The Agilis CrossClimate continues to impress in rainy conditions. For starters, the hydroplaning resistance is excellent, meaning your van or truck will feel stable in big puddles of water.

Furthermore, there is ample traction and grip on wet tarmac, even when driving without a heavy load. The stopping distances are also very impressive, on par with the best all-season competitors.

Overall, Michelin’s latest van tire provides safe and reliable drive in rainy conditions, and this applies to both models.

With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?

Michelin markets the Agilis CrossClimate as a true all-weather tire, but is that really true? For the first time in a van or truck tire, I’d say it is.

The tire provides significantly more traction than its competitors on snow, so you won’t get stuck almost anywhere. Moreover, the stopping distances are also shorter, and you can turn into a corner with confidence.

Now, a quick disclaimer here: the Agilis CrossClimate won’t replace a proper winter tire. Sure, it provides better traction than most, but it’s not the best option for very harsh wintry conditions. Specifically, light snow and slush are not a problem, but very deep snow mixed with ice is still a big pill to swallow for this tire.

Nevertheless, in most areas in the world, the Agilis CrossClimate will work fine through the winter.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

Commercial vans aren’t designed for off-road use, but it’s sometimes inevitable to drive on dirt on gravel. Fortunately, the Agilis CrossClimate will work just fine on those surfaces, especially the model with the regular, non-directional tread compound.

Is it comfortable and refined?

It’s not the quietest van tire I’ve experienced, but it’s not loud, either. I think that most drivers won’t have an issue with that, especially since vans and trucks are already loud. Meanwhile, the ride quality is very good for a commercial-grade tire.

You can see more Michelin Agilis CrossClimate Review here: Video created by PD Diesel Power

Should I buy the Michelin Agilis CrossClimate?

The Michelin Agilis CrossClimate is the only commercial-grade van and truck all-season tire that truly works throughout the year and in all weather conditions. Apart from polar weather, there is really no obstacle to it.

Now, sure, being a Michelin tire, it is expensive, but it’s also extremely durable, meaning it’s a cost-effective solution in the long run. Besides, it also keeps its original performance for longer.

For all those reasons, I wholeheartedly recommend the Agilis CrossClimate to companies that own a fleet of commercial vans or trucks. It’s a true game-changer in the tire industry and deserves its place on your vehicles.

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