If you’ve been following the tire industry for a while, you may notice the naming scheme changes. Newer tires may get “rebranded” under a different family name. On the other hand, manufacturers may decide to start adding pluses or additional letters to mark an upgrade, yes, I’m referring to Michelin on this.
There are plenty of options within the company’s lineup, some of which are highly praised, while others are good but far from the best. It’s no secret that Michelin makes some of the best tires, and today’s comparison will include two models from the French manufacturer.
You may be surprised, but the two tires I have lined up for today aren’t the newest addition to Michelin’s lineup. Despite having new tires with the latest technologies, the company still offers some of its older models, and the ones in question are the Primacy MXM4 and MXV4.
Since their release, both have proven to be excellent all-season grand touring tires, but which one is better? Let’s find out.
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I’ll begin with the older tire, the MXV4, a model that Michelin released over a decade ago but proved to be a successful one. It managed to deliver on all fronts, making it an excellent option for people looking for an excellent all-season grand touring tire. To achieve this, the manufacturer used its latest technologies of that era.
To ensure that the tire delivers on the all-season front, Michelin utilized a special rubber compound. Adding sunflower oil into the mix ensures that the Primacy MXV4 remains soft enough so that it can be usable in colder temperatures.
The rubber compound isn’t everything, and the pattern is here to help the tire in other areas. Michelin molded the compound into a symmetric pattern featuring notched shoulders. The goal of this, along with the Active Sipes, is to ensure that it won’t struggle to find traction in less-than-ideal conditions.
For the more extreme rainy conditions, the Primacy MXV4 uses a pretty standard design for water evacuation. The 4 circumferential and numerous lateral sipes work to help it channel water away from the blocks. As a result, the tire’s aquaplaning resistance is excellent.
One of the main features of a grand touring tire is to be long-lasting, and Michelin paid attention to that as well. The Primacy MXV4 is designed using a technology called MaxTouch Construction. It ensures that the distribution of the force is applied equally, resulting in even wear. The construction also features biting edges, designed to aid traction additionally.
Michelin Primacy MXM4
The Primacy MXM4 is considered a successor to the MXV4, so you are looking at a newer tire. In the years between these two tires, Michelin introduced some new technologies which incorporated into the MXM4, so we should see some improvements over the older model.
As far as rubber compound goes, the Primacy MXM4 is designed with an all-season one. While it is enriched with sunflower oil, this one is designed with the Helio Compound technology, which improves rain and snow performance. Essentially, it’s better at remaining soft in lower temperatures, so it should deliver better traction.
The tread pattern is also updated, and this time, Michelin went with an asymmetric design and rounded shoulders. This is an approach designed to deliver more predictable and progressive handling characteristics.
Like its predecessor, the Primacy MXM4 features 4 circumferential grooves as part of the tread pattern. The goal of those is to help the tire evacuate water and help keep the tire more stable when driving in deep water at higher speeds. Michelin also used its 3D Variable Thickness Sipe technology to improve traction on wet and snow-covered roads.
Refinement is another area where Michelin paid attention to. The Primacy MXM4 is designed with Comfort Control technology which optimizes the design. By taking this approach, the manufacturer aims to reduce vibration and noise. Plus, the tire’s body is made from polyester cord which should additionally soften up the ride.
When you consider the fact that the Primacy MXM4 is the newer tire, you may think that it’s better than the Primacy MXV4. In a direct comparison, there are some areas where it’s ahead, while in others, the older tire is still a competitive one.
How do they perform in dry conditions?
In dry conditions, the Primacy MXV4 was already an excellent performer, and the trend continued with the MXM4. Both tires deliver superb results, and, spoiler alert, I can’t find a massive difference in performance.
Both tires offer very high levels of traction, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. They’ve been considered to be among the best when they were released, and that hasn’t changed much over the years. Regardless of which tire you drive, traction will be excellent, meaning that wheelspin will be eliminated or minimal, depending on how aggressive you are and how powerful the car is.
There is a slight difference in the corners that goes in favor of the newer MXM4. The MXV4 isn’t terrible and grips pretty well for a grand touring tire, and has no problem getting pushed a bit. With that said, the MXM4 can carry a bit more speed before flipping the understeer switch.
Handling is an area where the MXM4 and MXV4 are closely matched and decent performers. While You wouldn’t be comparing them to something like the ExtremeContact DWS 06, you may have a bit of fun in the corners. The responsiveness is decent, but the feedback isn’t too pronounced, so you may struggle to figure out what’s happening. Plus, due to the internal construction, you should expect flex in the sidewall.
How do they perform on wet roads?
As soon as it starts raining, the difference between the MXM4 and the MXV4 begins to increase. This is where newer technologies play a crucial part, and since the newer tire is designed with the Helio compound, you will get improved performance.
Thanks to the improved compound, the MXM4 can deliver higher levels of grip and traction when compared to the MXV4. As a result, you can push it harder in the corners, and the tire will claw its way down the road. The MXV4 isn’t terrible in this regard, but it won’t go around a corner at the same speed as the MXM4. I’m not saying that it’s poor, but I am saying that it’s showing its age with technologies that are outdated and aren’t on the same level as the newer ones.
The difference is reduced significantly in the aquaplaning resistance, and the MXV4 and MXM4 are outstanding performers. The grooves are doing their job, and the tires can resist aquaplaning very well, resulting in excellent stability even at higher speeds.
Can they be used on snow?
People go for all-season tires because they can offer usability in snowy conditions, and I’m happy to report that both tires deliver on that front. Even though the MXV4 and MXM4 won’t outperform a proper winter tire, you are looking at usable performance in lighter conditions.
As far as differences go, there aren’t too many, and the ones that are there aren’t too noticeable. Both tires can find traction in shallow snow, so that’s not a problem. If the snow is packed, you will get some spin, but nothing that would be characterized as terrible. They are controllable, and as long as you don’t drive on a rally stage, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about losing control.
Speaking of control, one area where the MXV4 seems to have a slight edge over the newer model is in how it handles and feels. The levels of grip and traction may be similar, but the MXV4 feels more stable and planted like you can push it a bit more. I have to point out that this is subjective, so your mileage may vary.
The performance deliverability ends here, and harsher conditions will be equally crippling to both tires. Deeper snow or ice are conditions in which the MXM4 and MXV4 won’t deliver the performance you’d need, so I’d advise you to drive them in harsher situations.
Will they deliver good off-road performance?
As is the case with all grand touring tires – they may be good on the road but are terrible off-roading options. I can say the same thing about the MXV4 and MXM4, and the reasons are the same two I mention constantly.
The tires aren’t designed with a rubber compound made to be cut and chip-resistant, so you can damage them quite easily. On the other hand, you have a tread pattern with shallow grooves, which won’t deliver much traction in muddy situations as a tire with deeper grooves could.
With this in mind, I can only say that you may drive them on some country back-roads, but with caution. Since they cannot resist damage from sharp rocks, it doesn’t take much for a puncture or damaged block. Plus, the performance won’t be as good as something from the all-terrain segment, like the DynaPro AT-M.
Are they good in the handling department?
As you can probably guess, grand touring tires aren’t as good in the handling department as UHP tires, so don’t expect miracles. Surprisingly, the Primacy twins aren’t particularly bad in terms of handling characteristics.
In dry conditions, both tires exhibit lively nature and can handle a bit of sporty driving, resulting with decently fun times. While the feedback isn’t the most pronounced, the responsiveness is quite decent, and you won’t notice a massive delay between turning the steering wheel and the tires reacting to it. Pushing them too much will flex the sidewall, which is typical for grand touring tires.
Wet is where the MXM4 has a slight advantage, mainly in the grip and traction. Being a tire that can hold on to the road better means that you can push it more, and with that, you’ll get a more stable feel.
How well-refined are the tires for everyday driving?
One of the main things that makes a grand touring tire good is refinement. High levels of comfort with low noise levels is the golden combination for these tires, and in this regard, the MXM4 and MXV4 don’t disappoint.
The comfort levels on both tires are excellent, which is no surprise. What is surprising is the fact that the older tire is a bit better at it. The MXV4 deals with bumps in a softer manner, delivering a plush ride quality without too many vibrations transferred into the cabin. Michelin’s Comfort technology is doing its job, and while both are comfortable, the MXV4 is slightly ahead. The MXM4, on the other hand, will not be harsh, and it is also a comfortable one, but you will notice a bit more vibrations in the cabin. It’s not a massive difference, so some may not even notice it.
In terms of noise levels, both tires are evenly matched. The MXM4 and MXV4 are very quiet tires, even with some of the newer additions to the category. The most you’d be able to hear from them is a hum when you’re driving faster over rougher surfaces.
Do any of them offer a warranty?
This is another area where the older tire does better than, the newer one, which is a surprise for some. The MXV4 has a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, while the MXM4 has 55,000, which isn’t a massive difference. Also, the second model can come with a 45,000-mile warranty if the speed rating is higher.
To be fair, the warranty on both tires is still within the premium grand touring range, so it’s not a good enough reason to disregard the MXM4 for that.
How do they compare in terms of price?
Looking at the prices, things are more or less as you’d expect, and there are two scenarios. The first one is where the MXM4 and MXV4 are priced similarly with a slight difference of a couple of bucks. On the other hand, the sizes where you have a difference are those where the MXV4 is the cheaper option.
To be honest, considering that the MXV4 is an older model, I was expecting it to be cheaper across the board.
Michelin Primacy MXM4 Pros and Cons
- Better traction and grip in wet conditions
- Newer model with a wider range of sizes, especially for larger wheels
- A bit better performance in dry conditions
- Less treadwear warranty
- Not as comfortable as the MXV4
Michelin Primacy MXV4 Pros and Cons
- 60,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Feels a bit more stable in snowy conditions
- A bit more comfortable
- Still comes with a premium price tag
- Size options may be limiting for some people
Which of the two is a better option?
I feel bad for this, but I have to say that I would probably recommend the MXM4 as an overall package. It’s not that the MXV4 is bad, but considering the performance and price, it doesn’t offer the same ratio.
The MXM4 is a tire that may lack a bit in comfort and warranty, but it makes that up in performance, especially in wet conditions. On the other hand, the MXV4 is still a strong contender, and you won’t make a huge mistake if you go after it.
I recommend looking at the MXV4 only if you manage to find it at a good discount, so you will be paying more, and the ratio will even out. On the other hand, with the MXM4, you are losing out a bit on the warranty, but you are getting a slightly better-performing tire overall.