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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a blowout, tires are worn pretty good, so Im installing 4 new tires on my 2020 Touring XT. Im getting the Michelin Cross Climate 2s from Costco but I'm a bit torn on what I see in the reviews. Generally, I am in Los Angeles area, and I drive a lot (almost 90K on my 2020 Outback)- mostly highway, but I do like going into the mountains every year for winter - Big Bear and Mammoth and Sierras, so these sound great as their handling in snow and wet is excellent. The reviews also say these are NOT good tires for off road. Now I do hit the occasional dirt/gravel road in my travels, nothing insane, but some rough roads here and there. Should I avoid the dirt/gravel stuff with these tires? Am I overthinking it? Thanks for any insight.
 

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08 OBW, 03 TS
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Sounds like you're overthinking it, they'll probably be fine on dirt and gravel roads.

I will say that these tires pick up any tiny little stone and fling it up into the fender liners, or at least that's what I've noticed on mine after a few months of ownership. Not really a problem, just a function of their tread pattern I assume.
 

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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think you are overthinking it. What reviews say it's bad for offroad? Regardless, I don't think you should avoid rough roads.
for example:

"No, the CrossClimate 2 is not an off-road tire, and you shouldn’t treat it as such. The M+S rating means that it will have some performance on mud, but it’s not something that most people would use in real life. Even though you will get some performance on gravel, the tire can get damaged, leading to premature or uneven wear."

from another:
"If you do a lot of off-road driving, then the CrossClimate 2 is not for you. It’s not built for off-road driving.
It will not provide you with adequate and reliable traction when you encounter off-road driving conditions.
Furthermore, the rocks, stones and other abrasive materials found on off-road driving surfaces can damage the tire’s tread, thus reducing its lifespan. Also, you may end up voiding the tire’s warranty, if you use these tires for off-road driving."


Generally they seem to rate great - and I take all ratings these days with a grain of salt, but I wondered if I should be a bit more cautious deciding to drive on dirt/gravel/off roads than I have been in the past 20 years of driving Subaru Outbacks.

The fact that my Bridgestone Dueller just blew out on some recently fallen gravel on the edge of a road in Malibu Canyon is also on my mind. Probably sharp rock - cut right through the side corner of my tire. lol
 

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2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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3,306 Posts
I think you're overthinking it, at least a bit but perhaps there's another option to consider.

I'm in Orange County and do a lot of pavement with some slight trips to the mountains so I just installed a set of Pirelli Scorpions and I've very pleased with them for pavement work but I'm not suggesting them to you. Instead, consider the Bridgestone Weatherpeak. Like the Michelins, they are snow and severe rated however they only have a 60k warranty where the Bridgestone are at 70k. The UTQG is 700 while it's 640 on the Michelin so in theory, you'll get longer life out of the Bridgestones.


I love Costco and buy their gas but for tires, I'd go to Discount Tire and pick up the Bridgestone. I've had a set of Michelins on my OB that didn't come close to warranty, even with 6k rotations.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5i Premium w/ Eyesight
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386 Posts
I have the CC2 on my wife's car. They are great road tire and I don't worry about the occasional gravel road. I would not recommend off-roading them though. The deep long lines of the tread mean they flex. I'm thinking when you are climbing a rock off-road that it is just going to bend and not give much traction. Just my thoughts.

They are great on the road and in the rain, though.
 
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They are not good for off road because the sidewall is not thick enough to be considered "Off" Road. They are great in wet and dry and handle like a good summer tire that also has 3-peak snow capability. All around good tire. If I lived in California I would probably opt for summer performance tire.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i, 6M
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My OB with CC2's has been a commuter and trailhead car for me all over the Washington Cascades since I got them. No serious Jeep trail style off roading, but on Forest Service gravel/dirt/pothole/washboard style roads they have been just fine.

That said, I don't practice my inner rally driver with them (well, not too much), and I do choose my lines carefully on rougher non-pavement roads (no reason to tempt fate). They have picked up a few nicks in the edges of the tire blocks, but nothing that worries me. Generally has at least two people and many time four people with gear. The gear list varies from a day hike to a couple nights backpacking to a week long camping trip.
 

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2001 Forester EZ30D swapped
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for example:

https://tirehungry.com/michelin-crossclimate-2-tire-review/ "No, the CrossClimate 2 is not an off-road tire, and you shouldn’t treat it as such. The M+S rating means that it will have some performance on mud, but it’s not something that most people would use in real life. Even though you will get some performance on gravel, the tire can get damaged, leading to premature or uneven wear."

from another:
"If you do a lot of off-road driving, then the CrossClimate 2 is not for you. It’s not built for off-road driving.
It will not provide you with adequate and reliable traction when you encounter off-road driving conditions.
Furthermore, the rocks, stones and other abrasive materials found on off-road driving surfaces can damage the tire’s tread, thus reducing its lifespan. Also, you may end up voiding the tire’s warranty, if you use these tires for off-road driving."
I hate "review" sites like these because I swear they just auto-generate ratings and text based on the listed online specifications of the tire. It's rare to see actual reviews of tires outside of performance applications because how time-consuming and expensive tire testing is. I skimmed through both of them and they don't seem like actual road-tested reviews, but I could be wrong. I think the "not for off-road driving" rating comes from the manufacturer and the tire construction, as @Stycker mentioned.

I also asked because I found an actual road-test review of these tires in different conditions: 2022 Tire Reviews All Season Tire Test - Tire Reviews and Tests

I would trust tire-reviews.org (and other sites) when they have reviews with actual testing track data for the tire. No one is going to test these tires (or any other all-season tire) for serious off-road use, so it will be rare to find any off-road rated SUV tire.
 

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I am in SoCal near you (Malibu Canyon area). The factory Wilderness tires (Geolander) are good on and off road. Based on what I gather, they are kind of the opposite of the CC2 in that they are a bit better off-road and not quite as good on-road compared to the CC2. I have not compared them, but I was looking at switching to the CC2 and decided to stay with the Geolanders. You really have to weigh the importance of off-road. Also the CC2 are directional so it is a little more complicated to replace a single tire.
 

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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Dark Grey. Metallic Grey.
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I've used Toyo AT/IIIs on my Wilderness, having had previous experience with the tires on a Wrangler. They are real standouts in the type of muck we encounter in Georgia, and with ice and snow handle it with little difficulty. Heavy rains that we get here with the ponding that follows, shed the water quickly, and the spray to the rear of the car is of tractor-trailer level.
 

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Had a blowout, tires are worn pretty good, so Im installing 4 new tires on my 2020 Touring XT. Im getting the Michelin Cross Climate 2s from Costco but I'm a bit torn on what I see in the reviews. Generally, I am in Los Angeles area, and I drive a lot (almost 90K on my 2020 Outback)- mostly highway, but I do like going into the mountains every year for winter - Big Bear and Mammoth and Sierras, so these sound great as their handling in snow and wet is excellent. The reviews also say these are NOT good tires for off road. Now I do hit the occasional dirt/gravel road in my travels, nothing insane, but some rough roads here and there. Should I avoid the dirt/gravel stuff with these tires? Am I overthinking it? Thanks for any insight.
When anyone finds a 'perfect' tire, that does 100% for highway, snow/mountains, off-road, gravel, etc., they will be a billionaire fetted by Michelin, Goodyear, Bridgestone, et al...:)

As I've also been on a tire hunt for past many months, as my Continentals are original 2012 treads {now at 18.5k miles], which after this research and based on silly 80/20 rule, which for me will be 80% highway / paved versus 20% gravel etc., I'm going indeed with the CC2's from Costco.
 
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'20 Outback Onyx XT AGM/'04 Forester XT
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Had a blowout, tires are worn pretty good, so Im installing 4 new tires on my 2020 Touring XT. Im getting the Michelin Cross Climate 2s from Costco but I'm a bit torn on what I see in the reviews. Generally, I am in Los Angeles area, and I drive a lot (almost 90K on my 2020 Outback)- mostly highway, but I do like going into the mountains every year for winter - Big Bear and Mammoth and Sierras, so these sound great as their handling in snow and wet is excellent. The reviews also say these are NOT good tires for off road. Now I do hit the occasional dirt/gravel road in my travels, nothing insane, but some rough roads here and there. Should I avoid the dirt/gravel stuff with these tires? Am I overthinking it? Thanks for any insight.
CC2’s are absolutely fine for these conditions. I go all over the NJ Pine Barrens that have sand, water crossings, mud, and a bit of rocks with CC2’s and even did so with the OEM Avid GT’s. Before the Outback I’ve driven in the same areas with various OEM, UHP All Seasons, and summer tires with my FXT and even a ‘97 Outback Sport before that. And also airing down to 15-18 psi’s for beach sand with all three cars.

No, CC2’s aren’t for rock crawling. But it sounds like you do not do any rock crawling so you’re good!
 
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