Pros: Great wet handling, quiet, extremely durable.
Cons: A little pricey until you factor in the durability.
My Chrysler Concorde has just over 70,000 miles on it at this point and it looked like it was getting close to time for its third set of tires. I had a set of Goodyear Eagle GAs on the car which ended up being a bad decision. The tires were purchased with performance in mind and I would have been far better off buying a standard touring tire with a better mileage rating. As I watched the tread wear down to precarious levels I started to look for replacements. Since purchasing the Eagle GAs I had started buying tires for my other vehicles through Costco, due to their good prices, great service, and nitrogen fills. I had decided on about three choices and was debating which one to buy when the choice was made for me.
I had just returned home from picking up my son at his grandmothers house for his weekly sleep over at nanas. We had plans to head into Tampa but when I returned to my car the rear passenger side tire was flat. It wasnt even a question of getting a repair. I needed those new tires now. Back we went into the house and I logged onto Costcos website realizing they stock very few tires at each location. Normally you order from a number of choices and the tires are shipped within 7 to 10 days. I didnt have that luxury. I called the nearest location and was told that the only tire they stocked in my P225/60R16 size was the Michelin X Radial.
Ive always been a fan of Michelin tires, but the X Radial was new to me. An hour scanning through automotive sites convinced me that this was not just a great tire but possibly the last tire Ill need to buy for this car. (Unless I somehow manage to keep it past 150,000 miles.)
The Michelin X Radial is an All Season passenger tire with an 80,000 mile limited warranty. The X Radials come with either an S or a T speed rating depending on size. My P225/60R16 tires have a speed rating of T, meaning they are rated for speeds up to 118mph. This is the largest tire in the X Radial line and has a load index of 97, which means that each tire is capable of carrying a load up to 1,609lbs. Comparing this to my old Eagle GAs, they had the same load capacity but only an S speed rating, which equates to 112mph maximum speed. Beyond that the X Radial warranty is almost double that of the Eagle GA.
The X Radials were Consumer Reports number 2 passenger tire due to their superior treadwear and wet handling. One of the ways that treadwear is established is through a Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) rating. The rating is determined by examining treadwear changes every 800 miles as the tire is put through 7,200 miles of government testing. The Eagle GA comes in at a respectable UTQG rating of 300 which is an average rating. The X Radial, however, comes in at an astonishing UTQG rating of 740, which means its durability is well over double that of the Eagle GA. To give you some perspective a 600 rating is considered excellent. Michelin credits the extreme durability of the X Radial to new rubber compounds used in the tire along with adding more rubber to high wear areas.
Ive been driving on the X Radials for just about a month now and have had an opportunity to drive in both wet and dry conditions. In reality I could have written this review after my first day driving with the tires as the difference is so noticeable. Im not just comparing the new tires to my treadworn Eagle GAs. My wifes car has a set of recently installed Michelin MX4s and the noise level, handling, and wet traction are far superior in my new X Radials.
The Tampa Bay area is known for its thunderstorms and rain so driving here can at times be almost as tricky as driving in the snow storms of my youth. The worst conditions seem to be at the start of a slight drizzle when there is just enough water on the roads to mix with any oil, but not enough to wash it away. Under these conditions it is a little like driving on black ice in the Northeast. At this time of year we get this a lot because the rain is usually lighter than the summer thunderstorms. I am amazed at how well the X Radials grip the road under these conditions. No tire spinning, no lock ups when breaking. Its almost like having an improved traction control system in the car.
Obviously it is too early to gauge treadwear, but after a month of driving the tires look not much different from when I rolled out of Costcos parking lot. Another big difference is in terms of road noise and handling. The vibration sounds I would hear when driving over rough pavement with the Eagle GAs, even when new, is all but gone with the X Radials. Combine this with much improved handling and a significant amount of pleasure has returned to my daily drive.
Overall, if the X Radials continue to perform as advertised, these are quite possibly going to be the best tires Ive ever purchased.
I paid $126.99 per tire installed at Costco.