Living in an era of technological wonders means we get to enjoy plenty of advantages. Take tire manufacturers, for example. In the early days, car owners had little to choose from. Today, the choice can be overwhelming.
Having more options means that there’s a lot of flexibility. With that said, too many options can be problematic for some people, as they won’t be able to choose.
Whenever we look at the brands, we compare them by the category only because it’s fair. The already established premium brands are better than the mid-range ones, but the differences aren’t massive.
Comparing a premium brand with a non-premium one may seem unfair, but it shows one important aspect: how big is the difference? For today’s comparison, I have a newcomer to the industry – Lexani and one of the most popular veterans – Michelin.
In this Lexani vs Michelin article, we’ll take a look at how do they compare, and which one should you give your hard-earned money to?
It is possible that you haven’t heard of the name Lexani. The company was founded in 2016 and is based in Irwindale, California, where the manufacturing plant is. This company isn’t built from scratch as it’s a subsidiary of Nexen tires, the popular Korean brand that’s been around for over 7 decades.
Considering the short time Lexani is on the market, don’t expect it to offer some rich history. Being under the Nexen umbrella means that the company has access to some technologies. As a result, we should look at solid tires without too many compromises.
The company advertises its tires as premium performing tires, which could seem like a stretch, but I’ll talk about that later. They put an emphasis on aesthetics which combines with another Lexani product – wheels.
Even though today I’m talking about the tires, it would be unfair to ignore the wheels. Lexani has been in this business aiming to offer the full package for people that need it. The combination is something that looks good, an aspect that enthusiasts love.
On paper, Lexani seems like a strong contender that could attack the mid-range segment and even aim for the premium one.
Lexani’s tire families
This is a company that’s been around for less than a decade, so most people wouldn’t expect a lot. Surprisingly, Lexani has plenty of models, but the families aren’t like with the other brands. Instead, the company relies on categories – touring, performance and off-road capable. Also, the naming scheme needs a bit of work.
Considering the popularity of touring tires, let’s start with those. Lexani has several models in this lineup, offering what most people would need – refinement, longevity and solid performance.
Even though we’re talking about a relatively new company, in the touring segment there’s an abundance of models. You have the LXCT-104, LXHP-102, LXHT-106, LXHT-206, LXM-101, LXTR-103 and LXTR-203. All of this combined covers a wide range of applications like smaller hatchbacks, CUVs, SUVs and some of them are also good for vans.
High performance tires aren’t excluded from Lexani’s model offer. These are the set of tires where you’d get a stickier tire with more dynamic handling characteristics. Like before, there’s a lot of flexibility available.
The models in this group of tires are the LX-307, LX407RF, LX-Nine, LX-Seven, LX-Six II, LX-Thirty, LX-Twenty, LXUHP-107 and LXUHP-207. In terms of flexibility, things are like the touring options. Depending on the model you’re looking at, you can fit some of these tires on smaller cars like hatchbacks and go all the way up to SUVs or some light trucks.
The last group of tires Lexani has on offer are the off-road capable options. These are for SUVs and light trucks and are designed to be used on non-paved surfaces with no serious issues.
Lexani has two models on offer, the Slayer A/T and the Terrain Beast AT. Both tires are all-terrain models, meaning that you’ll get a tire that combines on and off-road performance. As good as this sounds, you should know that for the most extreme off-roading conditions, you may need to look for a mud-terrain tire like the Mud Beast. This is a model you’ll be looking at if you want the best possible performance in off-road conditions.
The contender of the previous brand needs no introduction. Michelin is among the oldest tire manufacturers, founded in 1889 in Clermont-Ferrand by the Michelin brothers. Initially, their idea was to offer a new type of bicycle tire that can be repaired or replaced quickly. Until that point, the repair time was several hours.
We’re talking about an era where cars weren’t a thing, so the only product Michelin had were bicycle tires. They were so good that the brothers entered a long distance race with their tires. This resulted in a win, proving how good the tires are.
From that point on, Michelin grew as a company and didn’t stop there. The introduction of cars opened an opportunity for the company to produce that kind of tires. High quality and long-lasting tires put this manufacturer as one of the best in the world, where it stands until this day.
Like with bicycles, Michelin showed a huge interest in racing. Throughout the years, the company put its tires on another level thanks to the constant research and development. This resulted in excellent racing tires, where some technologies are used in road tires today. Among the many series the brand took part, we have Formula 1 and E, Le mans, WRC and lots more.
When you consider the rich history and success Michelin had in the past, it’s no wonder we regard the company as the best.
Michelin’s tire families
Throughout its history, Michelin released plenty of models. To make things easier for its customers, it categorized them in multiple families, depending on their type and the performance they offer.
In Michelin’s lineup, one of the most popular family of tires is the Pilot lineup. These are the type of tires you’d be looking at if you’re looking for the highest levels of grip and traction, combined with dynamic handling. You will sacrifice a bit on longevity, but there are other families that offer longer lasting tires.
The two latest models in this lineup of tires are the Sport 4 and 4S, aimed at slightly different driving experiences. Depending which retailer you’re looking at, you may find the Sport 3 as well, at a lower price, of course. These models so far are for passenger cars like coupes or sporty sedans. For CUVs or SUVs, there is the Sport 4 SUV. If you want an all-season performance, you have the All-Season 4 and Sport A/S, but come in sizes for passenger cars only. Winter performance driving isn’t excluded, and Michelin has this covered with the Alpin models. There are multiple models covering a wide range of vehicle types.
For people that aren’t keen on dynamic driving and need some well refined options, Michelin has the Primacy family of tires. These won’t offer the same sticky and dynamic nature as the Pilot tires, but will be more refined and longer lasting.
The flexibility in this family is excellent, as Michelin has loads of models on offer. We all know the MXM4 and MXV4 are excellent models that have been on the market for a while, both of which are still sold. From the newer models, you have the LXT and Tour A/S. These cover the summer and all-season segment for a wide range of vehicles ranging from hatchbacks to some SUVs. You can also look at the HP or Primacy 3, that are summer tires, but only come in sizes for passenger cars.
It’s not unheard of for manufacturers to have similar tires in different families, and things aren’t different with Michelin. In essence, the Premier tires are very similar to the previous one – excellent refinement, longevity and safe performance. The only thing that’s different is the number of models.
There are two tires to choose from in the Premier family. The first is the A/S, an all-season tire that can be fitted to passenger cars. There’s also the LTX, that’s also an all-season tire, but it comes in sizes for larger vehicles like CUVs and SUVs.
In the previous families of tires, Michelin offered individual models that cover the large-vehicle segment. With the Latitude lineup, the manufacturer offers an entire family of tires designed for CUVs, SUVs and light trucks. The best part is that there are different types of tires, improving the flexibility.
A spart of the Latitude family, Michelin introduced several sub-families, depending on what you need. There are Sport, Tour, X-Ice and Alpin covering all performance aspects.
From the previous families, you probably figured that Michelin has dedicated families for specific conditions, and the X-Ice is no different. These tires cover the winter segment, offering excellent refinement and performance in freezing conditions.
The latest model in this family is the Xi3 with its predecessor, the Xi2, still available on the market. They are studdles models, offering the classic winter performance most people would be after. As for fitments, they are flexible enough to cover anything from passenger cars to SUVs. For improved performance, especially on ice, Michelin also has the North tire, which is a studdable one.
Another group of tires that cover the touring segment is Defender. Despite the similar application, they are designed and constructed differently than the others, but the result is the same. Touring tires with solid performance and refinement for daily driving scenarios.
Unlike some of the other families, with Defender there are only two options. For passenger cars, Michelin has the T+H and the LTX M/S covers the CUV and SUV segment. Both are designed to be long lasting and deliver performance throughout the year, so they’re all-season tires.
The increase in demand of hybrids and EVs pushed Michelin to improve its touring tires and make them better. The primary goal is to get more range by reducing the rolling resistance.
Under the Energy Saver name, Michelin has the A/S, which is an all-season model and the 4 which is a summer tire. This family has an all-season tire called the LX4. As for fitment, for the most part you’re looking at tires for passenger cars and some CUVs.
Michelin innovates and constantly offers new models or families. In the touring section, the latest one is the CrossClimate family of tires. Multiple tests and reviews show that these tires, especially the latest one, are among the best touring options you can get at the moment.
Michelin’s latest release from the CrossClimate lineup is the CrossClimate 2. Despite being a previous-gen tire, some retailers still offer the CrossClimate+. Fitment is anther bug plus for these tires as they come in sizes that can be utilized on a wide range of vehicle types.
There are several LTX models throughout the rest of the families, but there’s also a dedicated group. These are tires designed for larger vehicles and apart from the road performance, you can also get some with off-road abilities as well.
A pure touring model from the LTX family is the M/S2, an all-season model designed for road use only. For people that also want some off-road capabilities, Michelin has the A/T2, which is an all-terrain tire. It’s a middle-ground between road and mud-terrain tire, capable of performing in both situations.
Differences between Lexani and Michelin
At first glance, people may think that Lexani won’t be anywhere near Michelin because it’s a much younger company with less experience. With that said, Nexen is behind it, so will we see areas where the domestic brand will come close to the French one?
It’s difficult to beat a veteran in the industry, so most people would expect Michelin to be better than Lexani. The company pulls its roots from Nexen, which makes excellent tires. Unfortunately, despite that, the tires aren’t on the same levels.
Let’s compare the LX-Six II and the Pilot Sport All Season 4. Both are performance oriented all-season tires, so they fall into the same category. By definition, both should have excellent performance in dry and wet conditions, dynamic handling and be usable in the winter. One of them doesn’t cover all the bases and you can probably guess which one.
The Pilot Sport All Season 4 is one of the best in the market. You get among the highest levels of grip and traction in dry conditions combined with superb handling characteristics. It doesn’t perform the same in wet, but it’s still among the best. That leaves winter conditions, which are just as they should be – usable.
On the other hand, the Lexani LX-Six II is a tire that won’t perform the same across the board. Dry performance is surprisingly good. The tire sticks well to the road, offers very responsive handling and a decent amount of feedback. Wet is where things fall apart and the tire remains good, but well behind the Michelin model. The grip and traction levels are decent, and the braking distances are longer. It’s the same story on snow. Even though the tire should be usable, it’s not. It struggles for traction more often than you’d like.
In the touring segment, we have models like the LXTR-203 from Lexani going up against multiple Michelin models, like the CrossClimate 2 or the Defender T+H. Things are more or less the same as with the performance options.
The LXTR-203 is a solid all-round performer when you took at it from a touring perspective. It offers very good refinement, which is what most people are looking for. Dry performance is also very solid, with the tire offering high levels of grip and traction combined with very good responsiveness for a touring tire. The feedback isn’t too pronounced, but even some premium models have that problem. Like before, the biggest issue is the wet and snow performance. It’s usable, but often feels kind of unsafe because of the difference in performance.
Michelin’s models don’t have a problem with lack of performance in certain situations. On the refinement side of things, the difference isn’t as massive, but these generally offer quieter and smoother ride. Dry performance is also very high, depending on the model in question. The biggest difference you’ll see is in wet and snowy situations. The French manufacturer is an ace in this category and its tires, especially the CrossClimate 2, are among the best touring all-season models for wet conditions. Even though these kinds of tires won’t replace a set of winter tires, they will be usable enough.
What about off-roading? Well, both brands have all-terrain tires, so how do they compare? To be fair, Michelin’s models aren’t the most impressive in this category, but are a bit better than Lexani’s.
The LXT A/T2 is a solid choice for people looking for a good blend of on and off-road performance. With this tire you’re looking at high levels of grip and traction on dry and wet roads and usable ones on snow. The refinement is acceptable, which is as much as you should expect. In off-road scenarios, the tire is a good performer in the lighter conditions, like dirt roads or shallower mud or sand patches.
Lexani has two competitors in this category – the Slayer A/T and the Terran Beast AT. Despite being different models, the road performance is very similar. Both are solid performers in dry conditions and not so good in wet conditions. The refinement isn’t as good as the Michelin, but can be acceptable. Out of the two, I feel like the Slayer A/T is slightly noisier. In off-road situations, both tires are good on hard packed roads, but will struggle a bit on mud and sand.
When you hear that a company exists for several years, the first thing that comes to mind is that there are a handful of models. Lexani is a good example that this isn’t always true.
In the touring segment, Lexani has plenty of models, covering multiple vehicles types and properties. Unsurprisingly, Michelin has these in abundance, but there are more to choose from. There are all-season and summer options here from multiple touring sub-categories.
It’s a similar story in the performance segment. Lexani isn’t lacking and offers a solid range of UHP tires and, like with the touring models, it covers a wide range of vehicle applications. You have Michelin with more performance-oriented tires, covering the same vehicle range, but also coming in summer, all-season and winter variants.
Speaking of winter, this is the weakest point of Lexani. While it has plenty of models in the other segments, the company doesn’t offer any winter tires at the moment.
When it comes to off-roading, Lexani has a slight advantage over Michelin. The company has 2 models in the all-terrain segment, just like Michelin. As for mud-terrain tires, even though it can be a rare sight, Lexani has one model available, while Michelin doesn’t have one.
The main selling point of Lexani is that it offers affordable tires, especially when you compare it with brands like Michelin.
If we take the touring models I mentioned in the previous category, we see a massive difference. A 16-inch model of the Defender T+H or the CrossClimate 2 are well over the $150 mark. The LXTR-203, on the other hand, hovers around the $100, making it a much more affordable option.
Comparing some performance-oriented options shows an even larger difference. If we take a 17-inch model from the LXUHP-207 and the Pilot Sport All-Season 4, we can see why Lexani is considered a very affordable option. Michelin’s models are more than twice the price, so I can understand why someone would consider the younger brand.
The story of the price difference continues in the all-terrain segment with the comparison of the LXT A/T2 and the Terrain Beast AT. Lexani’s model is below the $200 mark, while Michelin’s tire is over $300 for a 17-inch model.
For warranty, Michelin isn’t known as a brand that offers the longest one. With that said, Lexani isn’t exactly a leader, so the French manufacturer is still better.
In the performance segment, models like the Pilot Sport All Season 4 or the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ have a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty. As a comparison, the LX-Twenty has 30,000 and the LXUHP-207 has a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty. When you factor in the price, this isn’t too bad. There are models like the LX-Six II or the LX-Nine that have no warranty.
Touring tires are longer lasting, so naturally they’d have longer treadwear warranty. The CrossClimate 2 and the Premier A/S has a 60,000, while the older MXM4 comes with a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty. As a best-case scenario, you can get the LXTR-203 with a 40,000-mile warranty, while models like the LX-Thirty have only 30,000 miles.
Things are a lot worse in the off-road segment. Michelin’s LTX A/T2 comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, like most of its touring models. On the other hand, models like the Terrain Beast AT have no treadwear warranty.
Advantages of Lexani
- Dry performance is pretty good
- Decent number of models to choose from
Advantages of Michelin
- Better performance in wet conditions
- Much more usable in winter
- Winter models are available
Which brand to choose?
When we put Lexani and Michelin against each other, it’s normal for most of us to think of Michelin as the better option. There are more advantages with this brand, but that doesn’t make Lexani as a brand that you should completely avoid.
On the performance side of things, Michelin takes the lead. Its tires are better performers, regardless of which category you look at. With Lexani, you’re getting very good dry and not so good wet performance. I wouldn’t classify them as unsafe, but you will need to be more cautious.
With refinement, things are closer, but Lexani is still behind. Its tires are comfortable enough for some people and the noise levels aren’t terrible. They are noisier and some may exhibit increased noise levels are they wear down. Michelin doesn’t have that problem, as its tires are generally well refined.
One area where Lexani takes the lead is price. The tires are much more affordable than what Michelin offers. With some models, the price is half of what the premium manufacturer offers, or more.
At the end of the day, Michelin is still the king, even when you compare the brand with other manufacturers. It makes excellent tires, but you will pay the price for them. Lexani is a newcomer that offers tires at a more affordable price. Naturally, the performance won’t be the same, but that doesn’t make it a poor choice.
Overall, Lexani is a brand that I can offer to people that own an older or less powerful car. Or maybe people that don’t drive on the limit. The tires are solid, but you will need to be mindful of the performance limitations.