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Michelin Primacy MXM4 Review

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Fuel Economy' started by F8L, Jun 29, 2011.

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  1. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I decided to junk my old Kumho Ecsta ASX tires and swap to a newer LRR tire from Michelin. My Kumhos were balding and becoming unsafe in wet weather. My new tire? The Michelin Primacy MXM4. It is a new tire even though the name may be confused with the Primacy MXV4. The new tire features a fairly high treadwear rating, excellent wet traction, and a decent price. It is designed for high end touring sedans like BMW and Mercedes but since I have 17" wheels it will work just fine for the Prius. :D The use of sunflower seed oil is a bonus for sustainability and for wet weather traction. For more on the use of sunflower seed oil click HERE. So I went from an orange peel oil tire (dB Super E-Spec) to a sunflower seed oil tire. Go organic! lol



    Michelin Primacy MXM4 (Grand Touring All-Season)
    UTQG=500 AA A, 51psi, 10/32, 21lbs, 844 $132

    My initial impression of the MXM4 tires (215/45/17) is they are VERY quiet and smooth riding. I drove for the first day at the Prius manufacture pressure spec (35/33?) and the ride was very comfortable and quiet. Compared to my old tires these things felt like riding in a Cadillac! Handling was solid and the car didn't feel wishy washy like it usually does at these "low" pressures. My MPG did not seem to change much but I driven very few miles on the first day but I did notice that they seem to roll much easier when gliding.

    Today, I aired the tires up to 50/48psi just to see how they compared to the Kumhos.

    Noise: The MXM4 is much quieter on than my Kumhos (even when new) and are nearly equal or even quieter than my dB Super E-Spec (185/65/15) tires. Over smooth surfaces and rough surfaces the tire is very quiet. The only time I notice them is when hitting expansion joints or potholes and even then they are much quieter than the Kumhos and especially the dB Super E-Spec which pings pretty hard on expansion joints. The noise increases as pressure goes up. If you want a super smooth ride with very little tire noise I would suggest keeping them below 40psi. For most people concerned with max MPG I would suggest at least 44/42psi or higher. This is an excellent tire for folks who purchased the Prius V and want it to feel like a BMW.

    *UPDATE* 05/25/2012 - Now that I have the 2012 GenIII I can compare these tires to the larger 195/65/15 AVID Ascend that I normally run. In terms of total decibels I feel these two tires are pretty darn close. I think the MXM4 is quieter in some cases and louder in others. To even compare to a quality 15" tire in terms of quietness really says a lot about the MXM4. Usually 17" tires are much louder.

    Handling: The tires stick like glue. They are a little softer going into a corner than my worn Kumhos but they inspire much confidence when leaning hard and they made no fuss during the hard sweeping turns on various onramps. Keep in mind these tires are not broken in yet so traction should be less now than after break-in. Freeway attitude is smooth and the tires respond well to steering input. I will say that after airing them up to 50/48psi the car became more twitchy at freeway speeds. This condition requires more steering input that I don't particularly care for so after this test phase I will likely drop the pressure to the low 40s. I'll provide an update after a 1,000 miles or so.

    Traction: It's rather hard to judge traction in a car that cannot spin the tires but in terms of lateral grip through corners the car is solid with nary a squeal when pressed hard into a corner. I have lowering springs on the car so I can take corners much faster than I could on stock springs yet these tires simply held without fuss.

    Mileage: I cannot comment accurately on fuel mileage just yet because I still need to break the tires in and check my alignment. The hundred miles I drove today showed an increase of about 2mpg but this could easily be due to road conditions despite this being my usual commute. The tires do feel as if they roll much easier than the Kumhos though not nearly as easy as the dB Super E-Spec or the Nokian i3 but what do you expect from a larger, wider luxury tire? I'll drive my normal commute tomorrow and compare MPG numbers from Monday. I'll update MPG numbers after break-in.

    *UPDATE* - The tires are listed as LRR but I do not think they are much better than my old Kumho ASX tires. My MPG is very similar to what I used to get on the Kumhos before they were very wore down. Compared to other non-LRR high performance tires they most likely roll much easier but they do not in any way compare to any of my 15" LRR tires.

    *UPDATE* 05/25/2012 - I am testing these tires (with the same wheels) on my new 2012 Prius Three. So far the results are pretty good. The mpg difference between these 17" tires and my 15" AVID Ascend (T) 195/65/15 tires is fairly small. I am observing a 3mpg difference so far. This is a far cry from the 6-8mpg difference I was observing between this tire and the 185/65/15 dB Super E-Spec I ran on my GenII. So while I still feel this tire is not the best in terms of fuel efficiency, it is not as bad as I thought and is clearly a good choice as a quality replacement tire if you place an emphasis on quality of ride, quietness, long treadwear and outstanding wet traction. My last tank while driving conservatively in Eco Mode in my GenIII was 56.4mpg indicated.

    Appearance: I'm not sure how I feel about the appearance of the tire. I know this is not a concern for some people but there are those who care about how a tire looks after they spent so much money on new wheels. :) The tire is nice-looking despite the tread pattern being rather boring when compared to something like Pirelii or Nitto tires. The MXM4s feature a very large "rim protector" if that is what it is. It is the largest I've seen and looks rather odd at first but when viewed from a distance it makes the tire appear thinner (aspect ratio smaller) so it is kind of cool. I'll let you guys decide. See pics below.

    Price: The price of the MXM4 is comparable or less than a lot of other high performance tires. I paid $139/ea. at Costco. TireRack.com sells them for $132/ea. Because they are Michelin there is always a $70 rebate floating around. Costco takes care of the rebate for you. Total out the door was $607 for the tires plus mounting, balancing, environmental fee etc..

    Summary: Despite having driven just shy of 200 miles on these tires, I think I made a great choice and am enjoying the ride. As a bonus, the new tires now make my speedometer read accurately. No more 2mph off business. The confidence inspired by these tires is worth every penny. Especially after starting to hydroplane on my old tires during a freak thunderstorm yesterday. :eek:

    *UPDATE* - With nearly 10,000 miles on the tires I can say I am very pleased with them and would purchase them again. There are no other tires in this size that I would even consider. :)


    For more information on the tire and to see TireRack.com tests (video) click the links below.

    Michelin Primacy MXM4

    Testing New Grand Touring All-Season Tires

    Attached Files:

    4 people like this.
  2. LIPriusFreak

    LIPriusFreak Can I haz JDM?

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    Interesting review........For me and my road conditions, the michelins are a bad choice...I have them on my 1995 Acura Legend and I cannot stand them. They are quiet, yes......they are GREAT in snow and rain, yes.......they also have incredible treadwear life (my friend had them on his 06 Sonata and replaced them at 80k!)

    where they suck is the ride quality...I have always found michelins to enhance road feel and make every single pebble and nook and cranny in the road much more felt in the steering wheel....and for a guy like me with carpal tunnel in both wrists, it makes for an uncomfortable ride.

    the price is also a compelling reason to look elsewhere, but the treadwear rating might make the price more reasonable.
  3. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Interesting. I find the ride quality quite nice. Much better than with my old Kumhos. Which model tire were you running and what was the size?

    The price is close to what other comparable tires run. The wildcard is the Kumho Ecsta ASX which is $30/ea. cheaper. lol
  4. LIPriusFreak

    LIPriusFreak Can I haz JDM?

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    mine are the Michelin Primacy MXV4 215/55/16 V rated.

    and $30/each is a $120/all 4 savings...that's substantial (even though I wouldn't recommend Kumho to my worst enemy lol) ;)
  5. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    LOL

    Sometimes the savings do not justify having to suffer through crummy tires.
  6. LIPriusFreak

    LIPriusFreak Can I haz JDM?

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    agreed....two sayings that I firmly believe in and go by:

    "Gotta pay to play"

    and

    "Pay for the best and cry once"
  7. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I completely agree. :)

    My mileage has been horrid lately. If I really try for MPG and slow down to 65mph I can average 43mpg per tank. If I just drive with the A/C on and at 70mph my mileage drops to 39-40mpg. :( This was the case with my old tires as well. I think the lowering springs have affected my alignment or something because I used to be able to get 45-47mpg on the old 17s in these conditions and they were not LRR like the new tires are.

    I've already put 2,000+ miles on these new tires so they should be broke in. I dropped the car off at the dealer for an alignment today so we'll see how that goes. I'm praying that the alignment was way out of spec and this is why my mpg is suffering.
  8. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Nice review F8L. :)

    As for the price, if you get longer tread wear AND better MPG then it's certain to pay off in the long run.

    Say you get in an increase of just 2 MPG over the 80000 mile life of the car, then it works out to over 300 dollars saved in gas!

    Also if you got an increase in treadwear from say 65000 miles to 80000 miles, then that alone would pay for the $30/tire difference.
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  9. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I got the car aligned and was hoping someone could help me figure out if my old alignment was bad.

    I've attached the data sheet.

    Attached Files:

  10. brick

    brick Active Member

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    Front toe was way out of whack, looks like. Overly negative on both sides. Wouldn't surprise me if it wanders less now.
  11. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Thanks, Brick. It does track better on the freeway now. MPG still sucks but that may be a battery issue. I'm investigating it now.
  12. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I've been complaining about my low MPG ever since I put the 17" wheels back on my car. I expected to get better MPG with the new tires but I have not. Today I went to put the 15s (dB Super E-Spec) back on to ensure nothing was wrong with the car and battery then I noticed this.

    Despite the online tire size calculators stating the difference in size between the 185/65/15 and 215/45/17 is only 0.61%, this looks like a larger difference. Some of the difference is due to the Michelins being brand new and the Yokohamas being somewhat used but still. This is a good reason why new tires often drop MPG so significantly. :)

    Attached Files:

  13. Hal W

    Hal W New Member

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    I have a feeling your FE will be back where it was? Hal
  14. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I think it would but once I noticed the size difference I gave up and put the 17s back on. The size difference and being a new tire could easily account for the lower mpg. The headache and bloody nose cinched the deal and kept me from swapping the tires. That and the 17s just look so much better.

    I drove home and ended the trip at almost 44mpg. That is about what I expected for now. It's sad that the same drive on my 15s can result in a 50- 52mpg readout if I drove in the same manner (65mph).
  15. Hal W

    Hal W New Member

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    That is the problem with those nice looking 17" wheels, it is hard to leave them in your basement! Plus those are damn nice tires! You are still getting good FE compared to most cars anyway, so enjoy your new wheels and tires. Hal
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  16. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    F8L,

    I just put a new set of 15" Primacy MXV4's on my car a week and a half ago. I was already losing 1-2 mpg from the warmer weather with the averages getting in the mid-80's, meaning highs in the 90's and lows in the 70's. Now with the current heat spell and 100 degree days and high humidity I am having to run AC at 6:00 in the morning.

    This triple wammy is going to knock me down about 5 mpg it looks like. I am halfway through the first tank with the new tires but it looks like it is going to be about 4-5 mpg.

    Not too far from what you are seeing. But if I can drive with the comfort of the new tires, no more road noise, stay comfortable and still get 44-45 mpg, I am certainly not complaining.

    Hopefully with cooler fall weather and the tires broken in I hope to get back to where I was in the spring.

    Dwight
  17. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I'm with ya, Dwight. The tires are great! Low noise, corner extremely well, exhibit excellent wet weather traction, and the even look good. I have always had a hard time dealing with the big drop in MPG readout when I swap to the 17s but in reality, the extra fuel used really doesn't add up to much neither does the money spent on said fuel. I'll trade that MPG for the added stability and security that comes with the larger/wider tire.

    I have over 1,000 miles on the tires so I'll consider them fully broke in by 2,000 miles and we'll see if the MPG changes. It does seem a bit better than the old Kumhos and one must consider how worn down the Kumhos were compared to the new Michelins.

    In summary, I believe my MPG is higher than with the Kumhos yet less than the OEM sized tire but I took less of a hit than I originally though if you consider the following:


    1. The new Michlins are much larger in diameter than the 185/65/15s I was running. This will cause the speedo to read accurately instead of 2mph too fast like it does with OEM tires. This means that when the speedo says 65mph; I am actually traveling at 65mph instead of 63mph. So technically I have been driving faster than with the OEM tires.
    2. Because the rolling diameter is larger, MPG will appear lower because the tires are turning less revolutions per mile than OEM tires.
    3. The Kumhos were very well worn and were smaller in diameter than the Michelin which should translate into higher MPG displayed but because the Kumhos were not LRR they were worse for MPG than the Michelins despite the Michlins being brand new.
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  18. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Just a small update. I've started driving slower on the freeway (60mph instead of 65mph-70mph) and combined with a lot of gliding I was able to pull off a series of 49mpg tanks and 1 50.2mpg tank. My average speed was 44-47mph over those tanks. The same techniques usually produce about 55-57mpg with my 15s. If I could avoid the giant hill on my daily commute I bet I could get closer to 52-53mpg on average. Unfortunately the 1200ft. elevation difference between home and work is terrible. :)
  19. ggood

    ggood Blue PIP Aficionado

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    F8L, your numbers seem to prove that the effect of 17 inch wheels is far greater than the 2-3 MPG hit often cited by others. I will be so glad to get my PIP and no longer have to feel guilty about my in town 40-42 MPG tanks and highway 45-47 MPG tanks. With 15 inch wheels, I'll be ahead with or without batteries!
  20. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I think that those claiming there is no hit to mpg when upsizing are either not performing accurate calculations or are not considering other factors like actual tire size, weather, terrain etc.. I do believe that the GenIII suffers less of a hit due to the higher/broader TQ of the 1.8L. Early in the days of the GenII model people would swap their 15s for 17" Scion wheels and would observe an immediate 4-6mpg drop. This is what I observe as well no matter what tires I run.

    I wouldn't worry about your mpg. It's still great and your car looks sweet and is safer with the wheels.
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