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Michelin presents better shoes for your SUV or pickup

The LTX Trail is touted as a versatile performer

By Angel Rivero

MICHELIN PHILIPPINES recently introduced the new Michelin LTX Trail, its latest tire product meant to serve the country’s flourishing pickup and SUV market. This feature-upgraded version is meant to replace the existing Michelin LTX tires, which will continue to be sold in the market until the end of this year.

The French tire brand’s country lead here, Daesy Natalya, shared, “At Michelin, we never stop innovating to enable people to move around more freely, safely; and to live a better life in motion. The new Michelin LTX Trail serves as the perfect fit for consumers, who own a pickup or SUV and whose lifestyle demands the ability to reach on- and off-road destinations, for work or pleasure.”

The Michelin LTX Trail was developed after rigorous R&D — with the intention of refining the formula for a tire compound and architecture that would be efficient for both on-road and off-road applications. More specifically, the tire type is advertised to fulfill its duties for driving purposes that are on-road 80% of the time, and off-road for 20%. What this simply means is that it is versatile enough to provide confidence even when doing some light off-road driving — a trend that seems to be emerging with customers who generally use their vehicles for city driving and yet prefer to go on little off-track adventure trips during weekends.

Usually, there is a compromise in strengths when a specific kind of tire is designed to serve either pure on-road (highway) or off-road driving. Using a tire outside of its specified purpose also generally shortens its expected lifespan. But the Michelin LTX Trail claims to offer good performance in both worlds, for as long as it is used within the 80/20 utility indicated.

Ms. Natalya adds that the new LTX Trail “is designed for multipurpose use” and that “it gives drivers a safe and comfortable ride,” whether on-road or off-road. She points out that the scientific research put into it enables it to “handle different types of terrain, ranging from city commuting to wet roads to highway driving and to light and moderate off-roading.”

It’s a pretty big deal for the Filipino market, whose appetite for pickups and SUVs is predicted to grow further by a strong 5.6%, year on year. The tires are a good fit whether they are for 4×2 or 4×4 high-riding pickups and SUVs.

And what assets does one usually look for in a tire? Well, what matters for most clients are longevity, safety, noise levels, fuel economy, and sometimes even environmental impact. The LTX Trail pledges to do well in the aforementioned criteria, as it claims 41% longer mileage potential with its RallyForce2 tread compound that was designed to offer maximum service life and therefore less tire changes in a given time span, if used properly. Its tread design features the “Biting Shoulder” that wraps down into the sidewall for extra protection against sidewall aggression. This is especially important when it comes to off-road scenarios when good traction is of utmost importance and sidewalls need more reinforcement than usual.

Tires are also considered safe when they adequately support the vehicle during braking, especially on wet roads. The LTX Trail has variable thickness sipes that offer a larger contact patch (and therefore more area for friction) to do its job well. According to the company’s studies, the LTX Trail stops a vehicle approximately 3.1 meters shorter compared to vehicles equipped with premium tire competitors. The difference seems to be even bigger when both tire types in comparison are already worn. This means the competition degrades faster, said Michelin.

When it comes to tire noise, which will matter even more to people who do a lot of fast highway driving, the LTX Trail claims 19.8% lower sound pressure level compared to its competitors. This is thanks to the shape of the blocks in the tread’s center, which tends to spread the pattern noise energy across a wider spectrum, less audible and bothersome to our ears.

The new Michelin LTX Trail tires are now available for purchase in all authorized tire dealers. They come in 15 sizes with rim dimensions ranging from 15 to 18 inches.