SUVs have seen a steep gradual increase in the vehicle market over the years, and it also reflects in the category’s growth statistics in the tire market.
Most of these new SUVs and crossover buyers aren’t massive off-roading fans, but they’ve been lured in by aggressive exterior looks and spacious 8-seater interiors. That’s why most of these off-road capable SUVs and crossover vehicles never leave paved surfaces.
With this odd combination of driving off-road vehicles mostly on dry tarmac, tire makers were forced to produce models ideal for on-road performance. As a result, this segment has become one of the biggest in the entire tire market. Every prominent tire manufacturer is competing for a piece of this pie.
Michelin — the oldest name in the entire industry — also has a few promising contenders within this niche. Their oldest (yet highly successful) crossover/SUV touring tire is the Latitude Tour.
The Michelin Latitude Tour launched about 6 years ago, but still holds its own in several departments against its modern counterparts. It’s still one of the priciest tires in the crossover and SUV market segment. So, what makes it worth it?
In this review, let’s look at how it performs in all the scenarios you might run into with your Michelin Latitude Tours. Let’s get started!
Overview — Michelin Latitude Tour
Michelin claims the Latitude Tour to be an SUV tire primarily designed for a comfortable and quiet on-road ride, lasting tread life, optimized fuel efficiency, and satisfying handling.
While most other manufacturers will make the same promises, there’s always some weight behind Michelin’s marketing claims — even if they’re a bit over the top.
The praises on Michelin’s website continue in wet conditions, too. According to them, the tire improves on its predecessor’s wet braking distances by 5%. It isn’t hard to believe this one, as Michelin has always shown exceptional performance on rainy roads.
Michelin’s Total Performance is at play here, which means there won’t be any significant sacrifices in any area.
A silica-based tread compound has become an industry-wide standard in premium tires, and the Latitude Tour also features it. With an asymmetric pattern etched onto the tread, the pattern comprises a continuous center rib with shoulder blocks.
As a result, the tire offers impressive stability at highway speeds. The circumferential grooves on the inside, paired with outboard shoulder sipes, provide ample hydroplaning resistance for wet conditions. You should also be fine in light snow, thanks to the biting edges included in the tread design.
The tread design and compound choice both play a role in improving the tire’s durability and longevity. With Michelin’s MaxTouch Construction technology, it’ll maintain its performance standard throughout its lifespan.
Another critical technology implementation in the Latitude Tour is Michelin’s Comfort Control, providing passengers with a smoother journey with minimized road noise. Comfort Control tech is based on precise production procedures and a computer-optimized design to ensure a quiet ride.
The dry tarmac is undoubtedly the comfort zone of the Latitude Tour — and you’ll feel that right from the get-go. The tire provides an impressive steering response to the driver that’s good enough for sharp cornering and maneuverability.
Even when you’re pushing your SUV or crossover at high speeds on the highway, the stability will keep up all the way.
When it comes to traction, the Latitude Tour doesn’t leave much to be desired. However, considering that it’s priced at the highest tier in its category, it certainly could be better. The same goes for its braking: good enough, but nothing too special.
However, it’s worth noting that these nitpicky performance comparisons are almost impossible to feel on public roads — even for seasons SUV drivers. As a daily driver, the Latitude Tour will serve you well on dry tarmac.
The Michelin Latitude Tour is a reliable companion to ride with on the rainiest days. The hydroplaning resistance built into their tread design is second to none within its category. Everything from traction, cornering grip, handling, and steering response is outstanding in wet conditions.
The Latitude Tour also pulls off super short stopping distances in heavy rain — and the numbers are in line with the company’s improvement claims over its predecessor.
Even with some treadwear, the Total Performance package ensures safety in wet conditions. However, tires worn out beyond the legal limit should get replaced immediately.
As mentioned above, the design incorporates the classic zig-zag sipes on the tread blocks to counter the slipperiness on snowy roads. The design should work quite well on paper, but the real-world tests don’t match up.
The tires are good enough to get you out of a light snowy situation in an emergency but won’t be reliable enough to get you through the entire winter without getting stuck.
The braking performance is the same — the SUV stops short enough, but competitors have much shorter braking distances.
As the name suggests, this is a ‘tour’-ing tire — and it belongs on paved surfaces. Just like its winter performance, the tires will get you out of a tricky off-road situation in a hunch, but don’t expect anything outstanding in hardpacked surface grip.
Moreover, the casing on the Latitude Tour isn’t tough enough to hold well against punctures and cuts. We’d suggest staying on-road with these tires installed.
When it’s a touring tire, and that too from Michelin, we had high expectations from the ride quality to be comfortable and quiet. Thankfully, the tire hits home in this department!
You won’t feel the road’s bumps and vibrations in the cabin, especially if you’ve got a higher-end luxury SUV to work with. Road noise isn’t a problem either, as it’s mostly muted even at high speed.
If you’ve got an SUV or crossover vehicle that needs a touring tire upgrade with top-tier ride comfort, the Latitude Tour won’t disappoint. However, the price tag is a bit high, especially since the market segment has many premium competitors with better snow and off-road performance.
Some strong competitors include the CrossContact LX25 from Continental and the Bridgestone Dueler Alenza Plus. However, if you don’t have any budget constraints and the Michelin brand name means a lot to you — feel free to get the Latitude Tour on a good deal.