Michelin vs Bridgestone: Car tyres compared

It’s the battle of the Formula 1 heavyweights! With both brands no stranger to lucrative tyre supply contracts with the most elite racing league in the world, it’s little wonder that Bridgestone and Michelin are the number one and two tyre companies in the world, respectively. It’s France (Michelin) versus Japan (Bridgestone). The question: Where can Aussie motorists get the best tyres?

There is no doubt that they’ve proved themselves on the race track, but their consumer tyres are where most people are going to be concerned. The everyday motorist is more worried about the value for money their tyres can bring, than what lap time they can help set at the Albert Park racetrack. As such, we took a visit to JaxTyres to compare both brands and their car tyre offerings to the average Aussie motorist, using the most common tyre size in the country – 205/65/15.

Michelin

A quick visit to Michelin’s website suggests the brand caters to the average driver straight away. Michelin clearly has a strong focus on sustainability and green initiatives. Based on the aforementioned tyre size, Michelin sells the following:

Model Purpose Price per tyre (as of June 2016)
Energy XM2 Handling and safety, water-evacuating tread $111
Agilis Better grip throughout the life of the tyre $259

Michelin is not a budget brand. Hard-compounded, ultra-high mileage economic tyres are not the aim here. So if it’s simply cheap car tyres that you want, you’ll have to look elsewhere. However, being an elite tyre manufacturer with a focus on innovation and technology, you can bet Michelin incorporates some Formula 1 experience into its ‘normal’ tyres, too.

The Energy XM2 looks to be a good value, mid-range tyre, compared with the low-cost offerings of other brands. Its tread is designed to disperse water faster than an average tyre in the event of aquaplaning. This might mean the difference between staying safely on the road or not if you lose control of your vehicle in wet conditions. The XM2 looks to be a good bet if safety is a high priority when purchasing tyres, and it should be, of course.

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Bridgestone

Bridgestone has cemented itself as one of the world’s premium tyre brands. Its range is situated in the mid-high end range, with offerings catering to a variety of different applications. For the average Aussie motorist, with average-sized tyres, Bridgestone brings the following options.

Model Purpose Price per tyre (as of June 2016)
RE92 Durability and ride quality $106
Ecopia EP100 Fuel economy, durability $109
RE88 Smooth ride, and handling, cornering and braking $120

Bridgestone seemingly has more of a focus on the ‘everyday’ motorist than Michelin. While this range of tyres is not particularly expansive, Bridgestone clearly knows who its consumers are and what they want from their car tyres. With softer-compound tyres proven to be safer in the wet, it’s hard to overlook the RE88 as a good-value option. 

The verdict

It’s hard to go wrong with two of the biggest tyre companies in the world. Their history, international reputation and warranties mean you won’t be hard done by with either brand. Let’s just say there’s a reason why both have previously been Formula 1 tyre suppliers and sponsor a litany of other motorsports events.

Specifically, it really depends on your needs and own wheel size to determine which is best for you. Do you just want a tyre to get around the city in? Do you travel long distances regularly on country roads? Do you need to regularly drive up a big mountain with lots of twisty roads? These types of questions are what you must ask yourself as it’s hard to split these brands apart. In the end, we like the look of the Michelin Energy XM2 and the Bridgestone RE88 the most – both are reliable choices.

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