It has been roughly a year’s usage since I replaced the earlier XM1s to its successor, the XM2. Some might be wondering if this review should have been earlier, but in real life brand new rubbers do not really reflect its actual capabilities until they are properly scrubbed down.
First Impression and Looks
Side by side, the XM2 in 185/60R14 size features just 2 main groves for water evacuation instead of 4 on the XM1. Coupled with its simple bi-directional thread design, it is easily understated compared to other competitors. Price wise, XM2s are marketed as a premium option. The price I coughed up was RM185 each Thai made rubber, while the “Made in Malaysia” Continental CC5 was just RM165/pcs back then.
Dry, Wet Grip & Braking
Both XM1 and XM2 are entry level tires focusing on comfort ride levels for most family cars. On the straights, there is very little difference between the XM2 and its predecessor, both providing sufficient amount of feedback without feeling “floaty” up to legal highway speeds. Nonetheless the new comer is slightly weaker in the bends, sometimes on the verge of losing grip whenever there is too much speed. My main suspect is the lesser amount of road contact due to its grove pattern.
Whereas the XM1 is slightly more superior in the dry, the XM2 gets the upper hand when the skies open up. Thanks to those wide horizontal grooves, driving on a wet road is much surefooted as water is channeled away effectively, lowering risk of hydroplaning whereby water gets in between tire and road surface resulting to loss of traction. Michelin claims that water dispersion has improved up to 20% compared to an equivalent 15” XM1. Braking in the dry under normal driving is decent with dropping slightly as the road gets wet.
Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH)
To be frank, the XM2 is not particularly the most silent of choices out there with almost similar amount of tire noise, if not just slightly better than the variant it replaces. The difference is the noticeably thicker tire wall which transmits a bit more vibration towards the vehicle. I somewhat take it as a compensation to stretch its cornering limits by restricting unwanted flexing.
Stretching the Mileage?
Those familiar with the old XM1 will surely recall a substance called “Green X” which is claimed to be Michelin’s key ingredient in reducing rolling resistance. With this successor, the same formula has been applied but improved by an additional 10% proven in my own study by an average of 50km more per tank from the original 550km.
For many of us changing tires especially all 4 at once can really be painful. Nonetheless once you realize a fully laden car capable of speeds over 100km/h sits on patch about the size of your palm at each corner, only would one understand how vital those 4 pieces of rubber are. As for the XM2, it has been serving me quite well with plenty more kilometers to go. Yet with prices quoted at RM205/pcs in mid-June, it really was a hard time justifying my loyalty towards the French tire maker when the similar-sized set on my other car expired.
Picture from Michelin.com