Michelin Defender Review and Test

Monday, September 10, 2012 by Gary Stanley

For many years, Michelin produced two models of Passenger All-Season tires for drivers who valued a quality tire with long life and good ride quality: the Harmony and HydroEdge with Green X

While both options are in the same performance category, each tire was better in different regards. The Harmony has the smoother and quieter ride between the two with slightly better snow traction. HydroEdge with Green X tires make a little more road noise but provide better wet grip and more responsive handling. Making a decision on which one to choose was often a difficult task for many customers.

Enter the Michelin Defender. Using Michelin's latest tire technology, they claim to have combined the best of the Harmony and HydroEdge with Green X into one great tire.  


Michelin Defender
Michelin Defender
Michelin Harmony
Michelin Harmony
Michelin HydroEdge
Michelin HydroEdge with Green X


We recently tested the Michelin Defender against other all-season options. The results confirmed that the Michelin Defender is indeed an outstanding choice as it tied for first place in our test! Here's what our test summary said about the tire:

  • What We Liked: Good road manners and responsive handling
  • What We'd Improve: Wet traction
  • Conclusion: A refined and good handling tire, especially in dry conditions
  • Latest Test Rank: 1st (tie, pending winter test results)

For a complete result on how the Defender compared against the Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology, Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season and Yokohama AVID Ascend, read "Testing Passenger and Touring All-Season Tires."

Comments on Michelin Defender Review and Test

Saturday, October 27, 2012 by Bob:
These are great tires on my 2007 Equinox. Smooth, quiet, good on dry and wet roads. I have yet to assess these in the cold/snow and don't yet know about tread wear and mileage, but so for the are MUCH better than the OEM Bridgestone Dueler IIs that the vehicle came with.

I have very high expectations for these tire.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by bud dee :
this tire acceptable for hyundai,2010 tucson limited?
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by Gary:
The Defender is made in tire size 225/55R18 which is indeed a correct fitment for the 18" equipped models of 2010 Hyundai Tuscon Limited.
Sunday, January 6, 2013 by Rita:
Is this tire acceptable for the 2011 KIA Sedona LX?
Monday, January 7, 2013 by Gary:
Rita,

Michelin does not make the Defender in the 225/70R16 tire size that originally came on your 2011 Sedona, but it is made in the optional size of 235/65R16 which we recommend.
Saturday, February 2, 2013 by dave:
I don't see the Defender tire recommended for my car size. I have an Infinity 2008 G35X Sport which uses a 225/50/R18 tire. Do you carry this tire and if so what is the price on a set of 4? Thanks!
Monday, February 4, 2013 by Gary:
Dave,

Michelin does make the Defender in tire size 225/50R18, currently selling for $177 per tire as of today. To find them, search by size, rather than by vehicle since this tire has a lower speed rating than what is recommended for the G35X.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 by Mike:
Is the defender 225/50R17 suitable for Lincoln MKZ
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 by Gary:
Mike,

While the speed rating on the Defender (T, 118MPH) is lower than the factory tires speed rating for your MKZ (V, 149MPH), the Defender is indeed made in the correct 225/50R17 tire size.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Saturday, April 6, 2013 by Kim:
I got the 14" Defender tires for my new Hyundai Accent because the Kumho tires that came with it lasted 13k miles. Shocked...totally worn out and worthless tires! Now that I have the Michelin Defenders, it feels like I'm floating on air and I know I can expect a long life from them.
Friday, April 26, 2013 by Blake:
Would like a set for my 2001 Volvo V70XC, any promotions you foresee in the near future?Missed the last unfortunatly. Getting about 20K mile on Kuhmos,time for a change.
Monday, April 29, 2013 by Gary:
Blake,

Unfortunately I do not get advanced notice of special offers, sorry. You may want to check our promotional offers page periodically to check for new specials here :

http://www.tirerack.com/a.jsp?a=FH8&url=/installer/index.jsp
Thursday, May 23, 2013 by James:
Hello Gary,

If your vehicle has an H speed rating OE but you get a T rated Defender, would that cause any issues?
Thursday, May 23, 2013 by James:
Also, with the Temp rating being B (100-115) why would there be a disparty of it being H rated but has a lower temp rating. Doesn't that conflict?
Thursday, May 23, 2013 by Gary:
James,

Keep in mind that the speed rating is technically not a measure of handling, but of speed capability. While many higher speed rated tires have better handling, this is not always the case. If you're just replacing two tires, mixing would of course not be recommended. If you are replacing all four tires, the effect will depend on what brand and model of tires that you are using now. Some H rated tires are better and some are worse than the Defender.
Saturday, June 8, 2013 by CM:
Worst tires I've hadon my 2004 Lincoln Town Car. After 60 mies the car begins to swerve side to side. Checked suspension, changed ends suspension, had tires aligned more that 5 times plus balanced and still the auto swerves. Had two tires shredded on the outside and lucky it didn't happen on a highway at 70 or more. Need a new Michellin tire that is better than the junk Defender.
Monday, July 8, 2013 by Kimberly:
Can the defender be used on a 2007 BMW X5si??
Monday, July 8, 2013 by Gary:
Kimberly,

My gut feeling is that the Defender is not made in your tire size, but I can double check for you. What size(s) tires are you using?
Thursday, August 22, 2013 by Peter:
I have a 2005 Toyota Prius with Michelin X Radial 185/65R15 tires. My back right tire blew and I need to replace it. The X Radials are only sold at wholesale stores and I can't easily get to one. I have been told that the Defender has very similar treads and would be compatible with the X Radials. Any thoughts on this?
Friday, August 23, 2013 by Gary:
Peter,

The Defender is not suitable to mix with an X Radial. According to Michelin these would not be compatible to mix.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by Daria:
I have an '07 Honda Odyssey, tire size 235/65/16. I am in the process of deciding between this Michelin Defender(90,000miles) and the Bridgestone Ecopia TerranzaEL42, any suggestions on which is the better tire for my minivan? We do both city driving and highway travel. We currently have Michelins on the van and my husband has not been happy with them.
Thursday, August 29, 2013 by Gary:
Daria,

The Michelin Defender has a quieter ride, better wet and dry grip along with longer tread wear. It would be the tire I would recommend between the two.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Thursday, August 29, 2013 by Gary:
Daria,

The Michelin Defender has a quieter ride, better wet and dry grip along with longer tread wear. It would be the tire I would recommend between the two.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Thursday, September 12, 2013 by Dave:
Hi - would a set of Michelin Defender's be appropriate for my 2008 Cadillac CTS? (currently has Michelin Pilot's 235-55-ZR 17-98W)
Thursday, September 12, 2013 by Gary:
While the Michelin Defender has a lower speed rating than your factory tire, it can still be an appropriate choice for those willing to give up some handling, steering response and grip for longer wear and a quieter ride.
Monday, September 16, 2013 by Heath:
What size of Michelin Defender would you recommend for a 2003 Honda CRV? I have 15" rims.
Monday, September 16, 2013 by Gary:
Heath,

The Michelin Defender is indeed available in the correct factory size of 205/70R15 for the 2003 Honda CRV.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Saturday, September 21, 2013 by King:
Would the Michelin defender be a good replacement tire fora 2009 Subaru forester 2.5x? I am still driving on the original OEM tires ( Yokohama Geolanders ) with 100,152 miles with good tread depth. However ski season is approaching and for safety reasons I am thinking of new tires. I have read that snow traction & handling characteristics of the Defender is okay but not great. This is an important consideration got me in that highway driving conditions in lake Tahoe California can get really treacherous.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 by Gary:
While the Michelin Defender would indeed work on your vehicle, you may want to consider the Continental Pure Contact for a tire with better snow and ice traction.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Friday, September 27, 2013 by Paul:
Will defender be good for a lexus rx 400h. Not an aggressive driver.
Friday, September 27, 2013 by Gary:
Paul,

Yes, the Michelin Defender would indeed be an appropriate choice for a non aggressive driver of a Lexus RS400H.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 by Greg:
For a 2006 Toyota Highlander 4WD base, the tire size is 225/70R16. I want the Defender, but apparently it doesn't come in this size. Can I safely use a slightly different size, such as 225/65R16?
Thursday, October 10, 2013 by Gary:
Greg,

Unfortunately the Defender is not made in a size that will work with the 2006 Toyota Highlander, sorry.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by Ron:
I bought Defenders for my 2010 Chrysler convertible, and I do not like them at all. The ride is jittery, the steering is now vague, and the tires keep losing air. I wish I had stayed with the Bridgestone's that were the OEM tires.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by dewayne:
Can you mix 2 of the defender tires with 2 michelin hydroedge tires?
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by Gary:
Dewayne,

Michelin recommends against mixing these tires, sorry.
Friday, October 18, 2013 by George:
How will these tires perform on my daughter's 2004 VW Beetle (TDI) in Colorado in snow? Should I consider a different tire for her first car?
Friday, October 18, 2013 by Gary:
George,

We recommend dedicated winter snow tires for winter driving, especially for a new driver. If you do not opt for winter tires, the Michelin Defender would indeed be an appropriate choice for an all-season tire option.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Saturday, October 19, 2013 by Dave:
I have a 2009 subaru legacy wagon. I live in the Allegheny Mountains of MD, so we get a fair amount of snow The roads are well maintained, but it can get treacherous at times. Would the Defender be a good choice for me?
Monday, October 21, 2013 by Gary:
Dave,

Dedicated winter snow tires will give you the most snow and ice traction for winter driving, especially when conditions are severe.

If you decide not to use winter tires, the Michelin Defender would indeed be an appropriate choice for an all-season tire option.
Sunday, October 27, 2013 by Sandy:
I have 2009 Defenders on my 2002 Toyota Solara Convertible. Just moved to Sedona, AZ and drive to Flagstaff 2-4 times a month, where it will begin to be rainy and snowy. I carpool with a few high school girls, so want to be safe. Since the tires were put on in 2009 I've only driven about 20,200 miles, but am told that they need to be replaced "due to age". The weather in this area goes from 20 degrees Fahrenheit to 110 and I want to be safe, but I don't want to fork out money just because a mechanic needs to buy Christmas gifts for his kids. Tread is still good. Thoughts on this "age" deal? Or overall replacement? Or any other advise? Thank you!
Monday, October 28, 2013 by Gary:
Sandy,

I would have no safety concerns about a tire that was produced in 2009. The most important thing you can do to help keep your tires safe is to monitor the tires inflation pressures. Most tire failures that aren't caused from road damage are due to under inflation.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by Josh:
2007 Honda CRV EX-L AWD. Trying to decide between Defenders and Firestone Destination LE2. Thoughts?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by Gary:
Josh,

Hard to go wrong with either tire. I would expect longer wear with the Michelin Defender, but slightly better snow traction with the Firestone Destination LE2.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Friday, November 1, 2013 by Dale:
which tire would be better for occasional snow use, the defender or the yr580 yokohama.my car is a 2011 forester
Friday, November 1, 2013 by Gary:
Dale,

I'm not familiar with the Yokohama yr580, but the Michelin Defender does indeed have good snow traction for an all-season tire.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Friday, November 1, 2013 by Dale:
Thank you for your answer, but I have seen the Defender and it looks to be a very mild tread pattern. How is good snow traction possible? By the way,these will replace my Goodyear Assurance Triple treds that are chunking and need to be replaced. Very disappointing after only 25000 miles. No more Goodyear for me.How about the Pirelli P4 in the mix? Thank you.
Monday, November 4, 2013 by Andrea:
Do you know if the Defender handles better or worse than the Hankook Optima h724 in snow? I'm trying to decide between the 2 & that's a big factor.
Monday, November 4, 2013 by Gary:
Dale,

Tread compound also plays an important role in winter snow traction.
Monday, November 4, 2013 by Gary:
Andrea,

We have not driven on the H724 in the snow so I'm not sure how that tire would compare, sorry.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 by Fred:
Will the Michelin Defender work on a 2011 Ford Escape Limited (2 WD) or would it be better to go with the Michelin Tour?
Thursday, November 7, 2013 by Gary:
Fred,

If your Escape has the 225/65R17 size, you can indeed use the Michelin Defender with no problem.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Thursday, January 2, 2014 by Louise:
Hi! I have a 2011 Subaru Forester, and it is time to replace the Yokohama Geolanders that came with the car. I need a tire that is especially good in wet or snowy conditions, but can't afford to get 2 separate sets, regular and snow tires. I don't care about a quiet ride at all, just want to be SAFE in bad weather. Michelin Defenders? Or what? Thanks.
Saturday, January 4, 2014 by Gary:
Louise,

Yes, the Michelin Defender would work well as an all season choice for the 2011 Subaru Forester, along with the Continental Pro Contact ECO Plus.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Monday, February 10, 2014 by Cris:
Bought Michelin defender tires 5/2012. Only got 24,000. miles out of them with all the appropriate rotation and balancing. These tires are rated for 90,000 mls and at 15000, a year did not expect to spend any money for 4 to 5 years. Not even 2 years and Michelin only wants to credit me 60%
Friday, April 11, 2014 by Michael :
I used to have 2009 ford escape xlt 4x4 came with michelin cross terrains (225-65-17 best tires i ever owned). now i drive 2013 ford escape se 235-55-17 continental pro contact, they wore out after 22000 k's. i want to know if michelin Defenders would work on my 2013 escape 4x4, are they similar to the cross terrains? and i know michelin discontinued that brand.
Friday, April 11, 2014 by Gary:
Michael,

Yes, you can indeed use the Michelin Defender in size 235/55R17 on the 2013 Ford Escape SE with no problem. This would be a great choice for a good all-season tire for this vehicle.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 by mike:
Looking to replace 4 Harmony tires( p225 55R17 ) on my 2006 Outbck. These or?
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 by bill davies:
am not happy with the Michelin defenders tires ,have them on my Honda crv and in rain they slip and on corners they have less than 15.000 on them told need replacement and this will cost me 321.00 when last year paid 500.00 wont buy them again
Friday, October 17, 2014 by Irene:
I have a 2003 Honda Civic si. I can't buy two sets of tires- one for winter, one for the rest of the time, but need to get new tires very soon. New York City area winter road conditions. What does TireRack recommend.....Michelin Defenders or Ice X??? or something else? Will the IceX wear out too fast if I leave them on all year?
Sunday, October 19, 2014 by Domingo:
I am considering the Defender and the Primacy MXV4 on a Hyundai 2002 Elantra GLS. Are these the best choices?
Monday, October 20, 2014 by Gary:
Domingo,

Yes, both of these tires would be excellent choices for your vehicle.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by Bruce:
I currently have Kumho Solus tires, size 225/65/R17, on my 2014 Dodge Journey SXT. I find the ride is harsher than I would like. Looking for a smoother ride, I am considering replacing these tires with Michelin Defenders but I am unsure after reading some of the comments on this site. Kindly advise on the Defender or any other tire that might be appropriate. Thanks.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by Gary:
Bruce,

While the Michelin Defender is indeed a smooth and quiet riding tire, our customers rate the General Altimax RT43 as an even softer riding tire.

Tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8

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