Shod with 235/65/R16 C CrossClimates set to Iveco’s recommended pressures, the Daily tackled the demanding route without mishap.
There was ample grip, no wheelspin, the van handled remarkably well, and braked and steered far more effectively than we expected it to.
We then sampled an identical van on a set of Agilis Alpin winter tyres.
Was the performance delivered by the Alpins better? Yes, but not hugely so – and running on true winter tyres in the summer would have all sorts of drawbacks, not the least of them being the extent to which you would shorten their life.
We’re going to stick our neck out and state that Michelin has made a major breakthrough in van tyre technology and one that has caught much of the opposition napping. It has done so by cleverly taking a summer tyre and giving it winter capability rather than approaching the challenge from the other direction.
Big fleet operators on year-round home-delivery work and utilities that have to deploy mobile engineers whatever the weather will undoubtedly appreciate its benefits. One major utility is apparently so impressed that it has decided to specify CrossClimate tyres on all its vans from now on. Small businesses – including those that act as sub-contractors to the parcel giants and who need to keep rolling to earn sufficient money – should investigate what it has to offer too. It has all the makings of an award-winner.
The response to CrossClimate from premium tyre manufacturers has been muted. Of those invited to express an opinion, only Goodyear had responded at the time of writing.
It says: “We offer an all-season van tyre and have done for many years. In fact, Goodyear invented the all-season tyre back in 1977 with the Tiempo.
“Our most recently launched all-season van and light truck tyre is the Cargo Vector 2. It is designed to maximise lateral and longitudinal traction to keep you moving all-year round and its tread grooves quickly evacuate both water and slush.
“An asymmetric pattern optimises tread stiffness and an all-weather silica compound keeps the tyre working even when temperatures drop.
“The tread pattern incorporates a high number of blades for improved traction on winter roads, and flexible centre blocks increase the number of gripping edges.”