Tyre shopping can be confusing. The most popular tyre size in the UK is 205/55 R16, but if you search for this on any online tyre retailer, you get presented with a myriad of options.
205/55 R16 91T, 205/55 R16 91H, 205/55 R16 91V, 205/55 R16 91W, 205/55 R16 91Y, 205/55 R16 94H XL, 205/55 R16 94V XL, 205/55 R16 91W XL.
It's common knowledge all these tyre sizes exist, but it's less known that they could all be exactly the same tyres.
With the introduction of the Michelin CrossClimate and Pilot Sport 4, Michelin will now only be making the highest load and speed rating version of the tyre, meaning in the above example, the produced tyre would be the 205/55 R16 94V XL, which would be suitable for any 205/55 R16 fitment.
The benefit to retailers and the supply chain is huge. Instead of having to stock eight different tyres, they can now stock one, and it makes shopping for tyres online a whole lot easier for the consumer too. But what about any negative aspects of using the higher load and speed rated tyre on a vehicle originally specified with a lower option?
Legally, and from an insurance standpoint, you're absolutely fine using a higher load and speed rating. The law says your tyres must at least meet the minimum load rating, so if a car is specified with 91 rated tyres, 91, 94 and 98 are all fine. Speed rating is even less strict, with cars specified with 91V summer tyres often specifying 91H winter tyres.
The other potential negative aspect of using a higher rated tyre is a loss of comfort, extra noise and reduced MPG due to weight, but fortunately in the real world the difference is negligible, or often nothing.
For the Michelin Primacy 3 in 205/55 R16, the 91V version of the tyre weighs 8.948kg, while the 94V XL version weighs in at 8.964kg, just 16g heavier, which will be unnoticable from a fuel consumption and comfort / noise point of view.
Michelin are doing an interesting job trying to simplify the world of tyre shopping, and if other manufacturers follow suit, the entire supply chain from production to a customer having the tyres fitted is about to become a whole lot simpler.