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AFTERMARKET: Michelin Primacy SUV Tires

Tires are the most important part of your car. This is the only part of your car that is in-contact with the road. It determines life and death literally every time you travel. My 1998 Honda CR-V’s tires were due for replacement. I bought its tires three years ago when I bought the car, because the tires it came with were a mix of tires which were more than 10 years old.

Admittedly, I am a cheapskate and prefer using OEM or surplus parts on the CR-V. I prefer that it stays stock, with the mentality that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,”–a completely different approach to my modified daily/track car. I was too stingy to change all of the tires and only bought a pair for the front wheels, thinking that the other pair that I moved to the rear were still ok, thinking “makapal pa, pwede pa.” (it’s still thick, it’s still okay). A few months after, the CR-V’s right rear tire suddenly blew up while I was doing 90 kph on the southbound lane of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), just before the Valenzuela-Paso De Blas exit. This was a wake-up call that tires have expiration dates. It also reminded me that safety is something that cannot be compromised and that tires should be on the top of that list.

Thanks to the guys at Michelin Philippines and Tyreplus Sucat, I was able to avail of the 3+1 promo. This was a perfect opportunity for my reliable daily drive rig–lovingly named Yamato (from the Battleship Yamato anime)–to have a brand new set of tires.

I have heard of the Michelin Primacy SUV tires but never got to test them even with my event-related drives with car manufacturers, so this will be my first real-world test and review for these tires.

As I left Tyreplus, I quickly noticed the difference with the Michelin Primacy SUV tires. Initial tire grip was a lot better compared to my previous tires when I got them brand new. I did some mild braking to check its traction and it was giving me more grip with less pedal effort. Giving it a harder press ensures me that it will brake better, with no signs of tire slip. Braking confidence regained, I quickly reminded myself not to push too much since the tires were still “green.” I need to put some mileage on it to let it settle in; you need to break in tires from 50 to 100 kilometers for the rubber to settle in and give optimum grip.

The maiden trip from Tyreplus Sucat to my house in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan–a distance of about 45 kilometers–was enough to for the initial break in. Driving through downtown Manila, I immediately noticed that the Michelin Primacy tires were more forgiving and comfortable, riding out the bumps and road irregularities. The difference was like day and night compared to my previous tires, though it gave me some fears initially that the softer sidewall could be more prone to flexing on corners and could give a more boat-like ride. As my drive progressed, my fears were dispelled as I gained confidence by changing lanes between trucks along A. Bonifacio Ave. Once I reached NLEX, I started to gun it to reach the 100 kph speed limit to check how the tires will behave. Lo and behold, no road noise! It was a big surprise considering how old the CR-V is and how limited (and old) the NVH level of this car. The constant cruise at 100 kph from Balintawak to the Marilao exit was very comfy and silent. This encouraged me to do out of town trips with the family more often. Once I left NLEX via Marilao , this was where the real test began. The Marilao-San Jose Del Monte road is a mix of new pavement and often old, with dug-up dirt in between due to the ongoing MWSS pipelaying construction. It did hold up quite well and absorbed most of the road bumps and dips.

The biggest benefit I had on this trip: I got home less tired than expected. The tires reminded me that it is not just about grip and noise; comfort matters a lot in a passenger tire. I got used to sport tires in my modified daily/track car that the Primacy SUV tires paired with the comfy CR-V suspension is a heaven-sent for long drives. Now you know which car will be used more often.

A week and 400+ kms has already passed and the Michelin Primacy SUV tires proved that it was an excellent choice. This proves that you get what you pay for. Major plus in comfort given the bad roads we have, the tires absorb most of the shocks, ruts, and uneven pavement. It also grips well in occasional dirt, light mud, and gravel surfaces. Braking and cornering has significantly improved compared to the previous tires. Most of all, the Primacy SUV tires provide excellent wet-weather grip, which is expected for a Michelin tire.

Rating out of 5 stars for Passenger tires (1 – lowest, 5 – highest):

Comfort5

Handling4 (Dry) / 5 (Wet)

Braking5 (Dry) / 5 (Wet)

Next review of the Michelin Primacy SUV tires soon, once we have sufficient mileage.

Michelin Primacy

Review by Onyl Malabanan

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