Michelin Primacy 3 ST tyres tested in Thailand – new touring tyre is now available in Malaysia


It has been awhile since I attended a tyre launch event, but a blast from the past that’s still alive in the memory is the launch of the Michelin Primacy LC back in 2009. Held in Thailand, we were given big comfy sedans to experience the touring tyre (I drove a previous-gen Nissan Teana), which had silence as its USP. It was really quiet.

Time flies, we get older and tyres fade away. Michelin recently held a regional launch for the Michelin Primacy 3 ST, a new tyre that replaces both the Primacy LC and Primacy HP. There’s some consolidation going on as the LC is comfort oriented, while the HP is the sporty one in the Primacy range.

The Primacy 3 ST offers the best of both worlds, so to speak, and is targeted at passenger cars that don’t need expensive high performance tyres and the compromise in comfort that they bring. Everything from a Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla Altis to limos like the Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS are within target.


In fact, Honda Thailand has chosen the Primacy 3 ST as the OE factory tyre for the next-gen Honda Accord, which is already on sale in the Land of Smiles. However, our Accord will be locally assembled in Melaka, and is likely to use Malaysian-made tyres.

By the way, the French tyremaker’s Primacy range consists of touring rubber comparable to Bridgestone’s Turanza family, not to be confused with performance oriented Pilot Sport rubber, which goes head to head with Bridgestone’s Potenza and Goodyear’s Eagle F1 tyres.

Designed and developed exclusively for the Asia Pacific region’s extreme road and weather conditions (think of our less than smooth roads, potholes and thunderstorms), the Primacy 3 ST (for Silent Tuned) is the answer to the specific needs and expectations of drivers in this region, Michelin claims. The 3 ST will not be available in Europe, as drivers’ priorities differ between regions – for instance, quietness ranks high in Asia, but is not a main concern in Europe.


“We are listening to our consumers’ needs and have responded to data collected from them over a 10-year period in all countries in the region with extreme weather and road conditions. These range from extreme heat in the Australian summer to humidity during Southeast Asia’s rainy season,” said Beltran Yturriaga-Trenor, MD of Michelin Malaysia.

We were also shown a video of mileage tests done in Malaysia, featuring high mileage limo cabbies as test subjects. Our country was chosen for its variety of roads (lots of winding roads, nice highways and rough roads) and high average speeds compared to our neighbours.

“To develop this new, breakthrough tyre, Michelin conducted preliminary studies on tyres that had travelled more than 1.3 million km. We then spent 18 months designing, developing and deploying the research findings to produce the Primacy 3 ST in Thailand,” Yturriaga-Trenor added.


Product marketing manager Pierre Azemat admitted that this was a very tough assignment, and the hardest part was to balance the qualities (you can’t have a tyre with the best performance and best comfort, something has to give) and the launch was slightly delayed as a result.

But now that it’s out, Michelin believes that the Primacy 3 ST has the best blend of qualities, thanks to a combination of four proprietary technologies – EvenPeak, CushionGuard, Flexmax and Stabiligrip. They’re calling the suite Michelin Total Performance.

Let’s start with FlexMax, which improves grip via a combination of two features. A flexible tread adapts to the shape of the road for better contact and grip, while the chamfered tread block prevents distorting under pressure. Together, they maximise contact with the road, and a bigger contact patch translates to more grip. A positive side effect of a larger footprint is a longer lifespan, as wear is spread more evenly across the tyre surface.


Stabiligrip uses self-locking bands in the small grooves between tread blocks. These “interlocking bands” minimise tread block deformation and improve dry handling. The small grooves also allow the tyre to cut the film of water on wet roads for increased safety. Together with FlexMax, Michelin claims that braking distance for the Primacy 3 ST is 2.9 meters shorter compared to the average distance of leading competitors.

While an “aggressive” tread pattern design is crucial for safety and grip, it can also generate more noise. Michelin addressed this issue by designing tread blocks with a wider spectrum of sizes and positions. This enables the noise generated to spread across a wider frequency range, without peaks of noise, making the tyre “quieter” to the human ear. This is EvenPeak coming into play. Michelin adds that the LC’s silent qualities have been maintained.

Silence goes well with comfort, and CushionGuard is responsible for keeping the ride smooth. When the tread blocks make contact with the road, the FlexMax compound cushions the vibrations. This supple tread, together with a shock absorbent sidewall, forms the CushionGuard tech. Further, a layer of noise-filtering rubber also diminishes the vibrations. Together, these technologies provide a smooth and comfortable ride.


The regional media launch was held in the picturesque Khao Yai region in Thailand, specifically the Bonanza International Speedway. The long, flowing circuit was divided into several stations for Michelin to prove its point against competitor rubber – dry handling, wet handling, braking and NVH.

Tyre noise, or the lack of, is not an easy thing to gauge at a media launch, where one normally gets to go around a short course just once. But in a Camry and against the Yokohama db V551 (chosen for its branding) I did sense that the Primacy 3 ST emitted a lower, less audible hum when the car coasted on neutral.

Slightly more apparent was the smaller “aftershocks” on the Michelins when driven over a stretch plastered with wires. Keep in mind that the variances aren’t on a heaven and earth scale, but a fine one.


On to some real driving, where we hopped into the suprisingly rorty Volvo S60 DRIVe for the dry handling test. Here, the Primacy 3 ST was up against the popular Bridgestone Turanza GR90, and the difference in performance was apparent, in favour of the Michelin.

It wasn’t very easy to hold the exact same speed for both runs on the turbocharged Volvo, but I did manage one good back-to-back round where the Michelin clearly held on to its line more resolutely (less understeer) and required less steering angle to negotiate the 70 km/h bend. Couldn’t get a consistent slalom run so nothing to report from there.

The clincher was left till the end, where we got to play with water. Not quite as fun as songkran, but slipping and sliding on track always brings a smile. The rival combo this time was Camry (2.0, no VSC) and Turanza GR90, and the drill was one wet bend, one wet mid-corner change in direction and emergency braking to rest from 80 km/h.


The Michelins just about hung on at the recommended corner speed (60 km/h in a tight bend) when the Bridgestone shod car had a tail out moment. The Toyota with Bibendum’s black donuts was also more composed in the mid-corner obstacle avoidance exercise.

The Primacy also comfortably aced the emergency brake routine. After tabulating VBOX figures from our group, the Primacy 3 ST stopped 2.7 metres shorter than the Turanza GR90 on average.

It’s a good tyre, the Michelin Primacy 3 ST, blending the silence and comfort from the LC with newfound wet/dry grip and braking performance. It won’t outgrip a UHP tyre, of course, but is far more comfortable and suitable for most drivers and their requirements – why would Kia fit CSC5 tyres on a 109 hp Rio is beyond me. Strange trend.


I can also imagine the new Primacy as a good replacement tyre for locally assembled D-segment executive sedans, which are factory fitted with the 3 ST’s direct rivals. To be honest, I wasn’t at all surprised by the results of the above tests, simply because the newer tyre is usually the better tyre, and this is a new Michelin tyre we’re looking at. They don’t come up with that many new products, but when they do, it’s usually very good.

The Michelin Primacy 3 ST will be made in Thailand for the region, except for China, which will supply itself. It is already available in Malaysia with sizes ranging from 16 to 19 inches. 15s are available in certain markets, but that size is taken care of by the Energy XM2 here. With prices ranging from RM480 to RM1,040, the Primacy 3 ST won’t be the cheapest in its class, but it could well be the best.

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • seem like a pretty decent tyres…. but i personally had a very bad experience with the previous Primacy LC…. almost Zero grip in the wet… and not as quiet as they claimed …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 5
    • omanliza on Jun 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      hey dude, I am using Primacy 3ST for my Camry 2.4… so far so good… better than some other local brand… it is pretty quiet, the only issued is it is too expensive …

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
      • Desmond on Jun 28, 2013 at 11:03 am

        Expensive?! Honestly it depends how you see it lo…Although You paid higher for the good tyres, but their lifespan can last even longer. My Nissan Cefiro 2.0 was equipped with Michelin Tyres was not change for 3 year already and not “botak” yet. Plus, it still good for grip. My experience is cheap tyres will not last long, sometimes it cannot last even more than 1 year. Simple math calculation, you will know which is more valued.
        It is worth equipped with good tyres for all the features as mention through the blog.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  • quiet tyre on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    why no testing comparison with Goodyear’s EfficientGrip? For 17inch rims and above, which tyre is quietest?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6
  • Yokohama advanDB is the quietest and comfortable tyre

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9
    • clay420 on Apr 19, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Advan DB is a very quiet and comfy tyre,yes, but it has terrible threadwear. Lasted only 20,000km on my Pug 5008. Just changed to ST3, first impression is very good.better first impression than I had with the Yoko DB551’s….and i really wanted to like the DB551s

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • kenot on Jun 22, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    besides read about the tire review, my eyes fascinated by the new honda accord.

    btw, I’m using xm2. I can feel the xm2 is very soft. sometimes not confident at the corner.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
    • Soft tyres good for grip. Hard tyres are the 1 dangerous. Every race car use soft tyres to obtain fastest time.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 25
  • Adrian on Jun 22, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Michelin tyres are usually good but won’t last long in terms of mileage. I’m wondering what about this latest primacy 3 ST? If course I’m not asking to compare with low resistant ‘Eco’ model.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
  • Baldwin on Jun 23, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Do they have one of these in 225/45/18 sizes?
    Looking for something comfy for my K5

    Thanks ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 26
  • actually i kind of agreed with Adv….
    if u really looking for comfy and quiet tyre (quietest i would say) …. go for Yokohama Advan dB (V551) u wont go wrong with that….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6
  • Steve on Jun 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Michelin Malaysia should bring in the 15 inch. There are a lot of cars on the road with 15 inch. Why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
    • honeymoon on Jun 25, 2013 at 10:34 am

      I think 15 inch will not made any different over the performance gua

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3
    • This tyre is targeted at mid to luxury vehicles. Most mid to luxury vehicles are fitted with 15″ or above tyres.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Kkchai on Jun 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Because of its steep price, how many 15 inch car users willing to spend that much? I am using 15 inch PS3 already cost about 260 per piece. This type of use usually are C & D segment. Would you retrofit 15 inch on your Civic or Lancer or even Vios?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
    • Sam "Hailat" Loo on Jun 24, 2013 at 1:41 am

      Why not…? I’ve got my 15″ PS3s on my Kereta Mudah Terbakar NOT because the car is sporty to drive – it has a heavy ass on an underpowered engine – a car that is far worse off than a Vios… It’s because of my mad-cow driving style and what I need is firm grip on the road both dry and wet.

      RM 260 is the price nowadays…? I’ve got mine for RM 230 a piece about 19 months ago, just slightly more expensive than the XM2 at RM 220 a piece at that time…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
    • Microdude on Jun 24, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Sadly no 15″ sizes.. Was looking forward to try GR90 to replace my Teo Plus (until this came up). If its available on 15″ it’d be really gr8.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Actually RM480 – RM1,040 per piece seems reasonable for the sizes given, considering these are Michelin tyres after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • 4g63t DSM on Jun 24, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Wonder how it stacks against a it’s own Pilot Sport 3 which by itself does a bloody good job as a higher performance “touring” tyre.

    Just how much grip will I have to loose to gain just that little extra comfort and quietness. Interesting. I do like the symmetrical and non-directional design.. Good for tire rotation and long life.

    These sort of tyre test sure needs independent testing. Too bad budget / lack of manufacturer’s support is usually a problem for publications here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • zainal abidin on Jun 24, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Presently still using XM1 for my SAGA FL auto,size 185/60/14. Mileage is 28,000km and tyres are 1/2 worn out. Grip is good in the wet and better in the dry especially during a trip to Cameron Highlands,with some tyre squealing noise when driving @ cornering fast downhill.

    The good thing about this XM1 is it is so far a pothole and kerb resistance tyre. I’m planning to trade in these 4 tyres for the XM2. I’d love to buy Michelin Pilot and Primacy tyres if they are available in the size mentioned.

    Just my point of view……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
    • 4G63T DSM on Jun 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Perhaps you can +1 upsize your wheels and run the PS3s in 195/50/15 which is the size I run or the little larger 195/55/15.

      I’m a fairly staunch advocate of the PS3, having gone through 2 sets (and saved my skin more than once), its not the best tyre available for the ultimate sporty drive as the sidewall is soft and grip lacks behind the other more track friendly UHP tyres, but for an everyday tyre, it holds its own very well.

      My only gripe on the PS3 is the asymmetric design, which limits side to side rotation.

      Interesting to see how the ST stacks up to its own stablemate.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Michelin on Jun 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Just watched a review video from Taiwanese reviewer. He said that Primacy 3ST isn’t any better or worse than it’s “Competitor”. Can you please verify it?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wtHQ8FslLw

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
    • kindedwardlee on Jun 25, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Somehow I think the different made within tyres is not really big that why he didnot feel any different. If you put into statistic, maybe they only only minor differtent

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • tony lee on Jun 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm


    Just found out some adv. for Primacy 3ST. It explained to us that we can save petrol consumption with using the right tyres…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • Marily on Jun 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      I never thought of using the right tyres can help to save petrol consumption fr the vehicle.. All the while I tires is all about rubbers.. and it only helps to make the car abit more safetly

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Beast on Jun 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Surprised with sort of positive feedback found on the blog.

    This female claimed as like this:” Farah Waheda WahidJune 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM
    actually bukan nak cakap apa asyik…tapi tayar Michelin memang terbaik… Farah dah rasa perbezaannya…sebab baru2 ni tukar tayar… tukar pada tayar Michelin…dia punya grip sangat bagus… selesa untuk pemanduan…”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • siewcb on Jun 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    If Michelle Primacy 3ST is so good as commented? do u think is that with the help of tyres will help to avoid such accident?!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • LadyDriver on Jun 28, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Tyres are made of rubbers.. My sister used to told me that all tyres are just the same. Why pay more for the tyres? But lately she is convince by her bf to get better tyres (she got Michelin Primacy 3st) for her new car- BMW 3 Series. And I tested drive her vehicle on rainy day, was surprised the car was so stable especially on fast track, and I did an emergency brake the car just stop nicely.
    For most lady driver, it is advisable to choose better good tyres for your vehicle.. at least you can control better on your vehicle especially on emergency..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  • Kelvin on Jun 28, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I dont particularly choosy when it comes to my car outlook , but i am dam serious with the SAFETY ~ i mean , if you think deeper there is no point having a great looking tyre with sky high price that does not ensure your control on the road. You will die anytime if your tyres looses its grip. I’ve been a loyal Michelin’s customer and i have no problem with it all these years. Imagine that i only need to change my tyres every 2 and a half years , i dont know if that is long but i personally thinks its reasonable if you compared with others yea. Anyway , safety is a package and its not only about the tyres , brakes and suspension system plays a very important role too . So guys , i will recommend michelin’s tyre to be part of your car safety package ^^ Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • Eric Lee on Jun 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Is there any tyres proffesional willing to test all tyres brand performance? so we could know which brand carry with the best USP…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Estima_Kuza on Jul 03, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Guys … Being doing some research on quiet tyres for my estima.
    Any recommendation for 215/55/r17? Current: yokohama DB E70. Wonder yokohama advan DB which claims to be quietier, fits better?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
    • Cardina_Kel on Jul 05, 2013 at 10:14 am

      a vote had been done in Malaysia famous forums lowyat.net .. .i seen like brand like goodyear, yokohama all are claimed to be quiet.
      Nevertheless, it seen like alot of lowyat forumer been given superd good feedback over the Michelin tires.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • vr2turbo on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Why is the test tyre on the car different from the ones on show. The ones on the test car have additional lines (grooves) in the center of all 3 middle pattern?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • seay1948 on Nov 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I do not agree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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