What if you could take the original equipment tire from the C8 Corvette, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4, and fit it on your GM crossover? Wouldn’t that be fun? Well, we have great news. You can do that. Here’s what we think of them.
Tires are the first and most important upgrade you should make for your vehicle. Tires are responsible for braking traction (safety), wet weather adhesion (safety), road grip in snow, mud, gravel, and on ice (safety), as well as acceleration (fun!).
Therefore, the best tire you can put under your crossover/suv is the right tire, and any tire that is Original Equipment for Corvette C8 must be a “right tire.”
Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4
Beginning mid-2020, Michelin updated its Pilot Sport All Season tires to Version 4, and we’ve been testing a set since August, through 100°F heat, torrential rains and ice and snow. Simply put, they work extremely well in all but glare ice and 8+-inches of snow—where they come reasonably close to dedicated winter tires.
Like other premium manufacturers, Michelin upgrades its tires every 4-5 years, and Pilot Sport All Season 4 replaces their 3 Plus and maintains the ultra-high performance Z rating—not that you’re going to wind the speedometer to 186 miles per hour in a Chevy Equinox.
For this tire, Michelin takes advantage of a hybrid carcass that uses aramid fibers (think Kevlar TM) in both its bias ply and in the cap ply (see infographic). Michelin also retains its well-known steel belts. “Compared to the Pilot Sport All Season 3, we deliver 4% better dry breaking, 5% better wet breaking and 10% more snow traction, those are the tangible things,” said Steve Calder who provided our deep dive into the tire’s development; he was part of the development team.
“We were able to achieve the snow improvement mostly due to a tread pattern or sculpture that’s more optimized to winter conditions. Comparatively, it has slightly smaller blocks and more “bite.” Because of higher angles, it’s able to claw into the snow both laterally and longitudinally. Typically, when you cut up the tread pattern into smaller tread blocks you sacrifice dry performance and steering response because the tread blocks become more mobile. They become “squishy.” Our hybrid carcass with the aramid belt package and the steel belts underneath the tread delivers a really, really stable base without having to trade off other performance aspects.”
Michelin didn’t radically change the tread compound itself. “We’re comfortable with how well this evolutionary compound performs,” Steve explained. Upgrades were primarily to how silica, added to tire compounds for wet grip, is chemically bonded within the complex polymer of the tread rubber. Silica does not like to stick to rubber, plus the addition of silica often generates increased wear. Michelin has achieved a chemical bond between polymers and silica that delivers performance, and a 45,000-mile wear warranty. Another significant change is modern aramid fibers in the tire carcass.
According to Calder, Michelin expends significant effort in tread pattern optimization. If you’ve driven next to a truck with off-road tires you’ve noticed both their “hashy” noise and monotone “song” caused by similar-sized tread blocks. “We have an internal program that we call piano tuning where we optimize the different sized tread blocks to minimize the pattern noise generated by the tire. That’s why Michelin tires are pretty darn good for tread pattern noise.”
The new tire provides “a big bump in what you might call lateral stiffness, without increasing vertical stiffness. So, in terms of what you might feel for comfort level, the sculpture is more able to conform to small bumps. Overall, harshness was refined, vertical firmness is about the same, but lateral stability is greatly improved.”
A concern of many high end vehicle owners is their expensive alloy rims- and Michelin molds in a rim protector on every Pilot Sport 4. “For customers concerned about curb rash or parallel parking scrapes, the rim protector is a nice additional feature.”
We have tested most of the high and ultra -high-performance truck and passenger car tires on the market. There has been a feeling that, generally, Michelin tires were not as “fast” or “crisp” responding to steering input—and yet were not slower in steering response. Finally, we have a potential answer. “I’ll go out on a limb to say that some of our competitors quite often use extremely robust sidewall stiffeners. I think they need to do that to meet high speed-limit or load carrying capacity, whereas we don’t necessarily need those levers to meet high speed or load capacity.”
We also noted the new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires are very responsive, very planted, but that they created a softer, more pleasing ride than our previous ultra -high-performance tires. Calder said “That’s probably because we’ve softened the sculpture to get a little bit of that snow performance. That softer sculpture is able soak up small imperfections in many roads; it doesn’t get transmitted to the carcass of the tire. Our test drivers at the proving ground felt it was better for what they call “small impact harshness” or road coarseness compared to the previous generation.
Also, when you say grip, either wet grip or dry grip, this is the highest performing all-season tire Michelin offers. And it comes with both a mileage warranty (generally 45,000 miles) as well as the Michelin promise plan where customers are free to try any tire, and if they don’t like them to swap to another tire.”
We won’t be switching.
How to Pick Tires for Street Style, Family Safety or Performance Upgrades
P-metric tires are designed for a smooth ride and typically, great all-season traction with good load-carrying capacity. So, if you normally fill every passenger seat of your three-row SUV or fill your bed with gravel or tow, stick to LT tires designed for that purpose.
If, for street style, smoother ride, and better handling, screaming performance, or better bad weather traction you want to switch to Michelin’s Pilot Sport All-Season 4, you need to do some math, and we advise working with a knowledgeable tire dealer.
You’re looking (same wheels, right?) to maintain a similar diameter to prevent speedometer error and you must check load carrying capacity or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. GVWR is listed in the owner’s manual and on the B pillar and reference the current tire’s sidewall as well.
If switching from an LT to Euro or P-metric tire, take the new tire’s rated load capacity and divide by 1.1. For instance, if your LT tire is rated for 1500 pounds, a P-metric would need 10-percent greater load capacity or 1650 pounds.
Working the other way, a P-Metric tire with an 1876-pound load rating would have a truck capacity of 1705 pounds. To be safe, multiply that 1705 by all four tires, a total of 6820 pounds. Then again check your GVWR. For a Colorado, the heaviest GVWR rating is 6100 pounds for every 2.8L, 4WD model, which is 1525 per tire. That would be well within tolerance.
For the much lighter Equinox, already equipped with P-metric tires, its maximum GVWR is 3478 and a Blazer, also equipped with P-metric all-season tires, has a GVWR of 4287. Do the arithmetic.
The last thing to know is tire pressures may need adjusting if switching different tires. For our install, going from a 225/55R17 to a 245/50R17 meant changing inflation pressure from 40 psi to 32 psi. Inflation is important for tire wear, so be sure you have the correct tire pressure.
Which GM Crossovers Can The Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 Fit?
We did a little research and found that the All Season 4 tire has size options compatible with the following vehicles. There may be more- and this is only a list based on stock factory sizing. You may be able to fit this tire on other vehicles, depending on which wheels and size you’re going after.