Testing Michelin's New Defender All-Season Tire

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 by Doc Horvath

This summer we performed an extensive test of Michelin's successor to the Harmony and HydroEdge with Green X, the Defender.

We pitted four high mileage all-season tires against one another on our test track and Real World Road Ride to see which one could claim to be the best: the Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology, Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season, Michelin Defender and the Yokohama AVID Ascend. With both the Michelin and Yokohama models being brand new, would either have an advantage over some all-season veterans?

Over our loop of expressways, state highways and county roads (which recreates nearly every road condition our customers face on their daily commutes), all four tires behaved very well with a slight advantage going to the Defender which exhibited the least amount of tread and impact noise. The Continental was a close second, giving us just a little road noise compared to the Michelin, but less than the Yokohama and Goodyear models. All four models provided crisp handling and ride comfort, with a slight edge going again to the Defender for the smoothest ride.

On our test track, each tire was pushed to the limit of their capabilities in an effort to simulate abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers or competition events. In dry conditions, each model felt composed and predictable, but the TripleTred and Defender proved agile and responded quickly to steering input. The ProContact with EcoPlus Technology and AVID Ascend provided just a little less grip. In wet conditions, the differences between the tires was more evident as the ProContact's combination of excellent handling and good overall traction helped it score the fastest wet lap time on our track. With the TripleTred All-Season a close second, the Defender and Ascend were noticeably weaker. 

In the end, both the Michelin and Continental models tied as the Michelin's weaker wet traction was offset by a slightly quieter and more comfortable ride. When deciding between the two, it'll be important to recognize which attributes are most important to you in your everyday use of your vehicle. We will also conduct tests in the snow and on the ice in the coming winter season, so stay tuned!

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