Latest Michelin 4×4 tyres offer extended mobility to SUVs
Michelin’s latest tyres for the 4×4 segment exemplify the ongoing trend for the increasing focus on road handling characteristics, following the sustained strong growth of SUVs across Europe. While the manufacturer has extended its successful CrossClimate “summer tyre with winter capabilities” to the larger fitments required to supply the segment, the latest tyre from its off-road specialist brand BFGoodrich is the most indicative of this developmental direction. It states that the BFGoodrich Urban Terrain T/A is made for “taming the urban jungle,” offering increased toughness to SUV and urban crossover drivers.
The Urban Terrain T/A combines such rugged build quality with high performance braking grip and long tread life – all of which the manufacturer states is born from BFGoodrich’s off-road expertise. Matching the SUV market message of increased safety, the tyre is designed to enable motorists to drive safely in town and to “tackle urban obstacles without fear”. The Urban Terrain T/A is also designated an all-season product, showing that the tyre is targeted at end users who are more reticent to change tyres to suit a specific season. All-season is also currently a growth market in the UK (see T&A August for more details), so it’s easy to see why a brand famous for its off-road products has produced a more focused tyre for urban driving with toughness, durability and driving pleasure its key characteristics.
With all this in mind, Michelin explains that the BFGoodrich Urban Terrain T/A tyre is made to be very versatile. On wet roads, its wide longitudinal tread grooves remove surface water effectively for increased driving safety. Heavily siped cross-grooving provides more traction on snow, mud and cold roads to the extent that the tyre is certified for winter use, carrying the 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake) as well as M+S (Mud and Snow) markings.
Having said this, the versatility is more tuned to various road conditions: the tyre’s overall design is for a usage ratio of 90 per cent on and 10 per cent off-road. Its toughness is designed to stand up the challenges of city driving, from pavements to potholes, thanks to its 20 per cent stronger cord casing. In terms of wear, its considerable tread rubber depth prolongs its service life, while the asymmetrical tread pattern helps ensure slow and regular wear.
The BFGoodrich Urban Terrain T/A is available in sizes covering a wide range of SUVs and crossovers such as the Dacia Duster, Hyundai iX35, Kia Sportage, Opel Mokka, Nissan Qashqai, Suzuki Vitara, Range Rover, Ford Kuga, Jeep Cherokee and the Volkswagen Touareg and Tiguan.
Michelin’s headline brand has also targeted versatile road usage in the 4×4 tyre segment, with its CrossClimate now available for a wide range of SUVs and 4x4s.
The world’s “first summer tyre to achieve the 3PMSF winter accreditation,” as Michelin calls it, has a string of awards backing its year-round performance, and the commercial success of the tyre, including fleet contracts with such large operations as British Gas, which has its 13,000 strong van fleet running on the tyre, has led to the manufacturer extending its size range to include drivers of SUVs.
The SUV version of the tyre, like its predecessor for cars, has a V-shaped tread and self-blocking 3D sipes, helping it to optimise traction in snow. Described as a “claw” effect, the vertical and lateral waves of the sipes give the tread blocks greater rigidity, while also benefiting longevity, steering precision and general dry road performance due to its ability to resist heat build-up.
The tyre is designed to offer the benefits of a summer tyre for dry or wet braking, total mileage and energy efficiency, while also boasting the traction and braking performance of a winter tyre on cold and snow-covered roads – it is in this way a good match for the UK’s moderate, yet unpredictable weather.
Following evaluation by three independent European testing organisations – TÜV SÜD, Dekra Test Centre and UTAC CERAM – the CrossClimate tyre obtained Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake (3PMSF) approval, allowing it to be fitted in countries that require special winter equipment at clearly defined times of the year.
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