Multifunctional behavior of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) was investigated in a typical solution-grade styrene butadiene rubber (S-SBR)-based tread compound in connection with its potential as reinforcing filler as well as processing aid. Optimum physical properties were obtained when the loading of MCC was at 10% of the precipitated silica amount by substituting silica. The presence of MCC in mixes had shown reduction in Mooney viscosity. Peak-power consumption during mixing was also found lower for such mixes. Because of enhanced plasticity, it was possible to reduce aromatic oil dosage by 3 phr (equivalent to 18% of the original oil amount) to get the Mooney viscosity and physicomechanical properties comparable to those of the control compound. © 2012 American Chemical Society.