Michelin Premier A/S vs Michelin Defender: Which is Best?

Often times when tire manufacturers produce several popular models, loyalists of the brand are confused on which to select. On paper, both the Michelin Premier A/S and Michelin Defender do everything extremely well, however they are two completely different tires meant for two different jobs. Both tires work very well as an all-season option, are quiet and both reflect the high level of quality that Michelin tires are known for. However, there are a few key differences.

The Michelin Premier A/S with its higher speed rating and softer tread compound will have more immediate response during lane changes and sharp steering inputs. It will also maintain grip longer during hard cornering on dry pavement. In exchange for the higher levels of cornering performance, the Premier A/S has a lower treadlife warranty than the long-lasting Michelin Defender.

Michelin Premier A/S

Michelin Defender

In comparison, the Michelin Defender is all about practicality. This tire is designed to get its driver from point A to point B thousands of times over. What it lacks in dry road handling abilities it makes up for in ride comfort and long treadlife. With its 90,000-mile treadlife warranty, this tire is one of the longest-lasting tires currently on the market. This is not a tire that will set any track records, yet sets its sights on a casual consumer who doesn't consider his or herself an aggressive driver. It's important to note that the speed rating for the Michelin Defender (T for 118mph) doesn't allow it to be used on all vehicles. For example, a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4, both of which mandate an H-speed rated tire, would benefit better with the Premier A/S.

To view all options available for your application, shop by vehicle.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by Rodney Anderson

I am driving a 2009 Altima and while tire life is an issue, I am very concerned about road noise. Is Michelin's Premier noticeably quieter than the Defender?

Does Toyo make a tire that is comparable to the Premier and Defender?

Thanks for your help.
Friday, July 3, 2015 by Wilfrid 'Worland

The Defender is made in both T and H ratings, making the choice between Premier and Defender a bit more difficult than this suggests
Friday, October 23, 2015 by Paresh

I am having Nissan Rogue 2011 S and wondering which one is the best suited for my car. I am considering two options -
1. Michelin - Defender®
2. Michelin - Premier® LTX®
Which one I should be using for my car. And as per my understanding my car has H speed rating (and size of tire = 215/70R16)

Please suggest. Thanks!
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by James D. Stroll

Is there going to be much of a difference between the MIchelin Defender with the H speed rating, and the H-rated Premier A/S?
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

James D. Stroll, In this instance, the Premier A/S has a different tread pattern, starting tread depth and softer tread compound. There is definitely a difference between the two, but since we have not tested this mix of tires, it is difficult to determine how or to what degree that difference will manifest itself. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Monday, May 23, 2016 by Kim

just bought a 2009 BMW 328i - has the original run flats on it and I want to replace them with either defender or AS Premier. your comment above about BMW 300 series makes me think I need to go with Premier, but I was told I could do Defender also. Any thoughts on which one I should go with?
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Kim, Depending on your size, most Defenders will not come with a high enough speed rating for the vehicle. BMW recommends you use at least an H speed rated tire good to 130 MPH. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Friday, May 27, 2016 by Richard

I would like to ask, are Michelin Premier A/S a better choice for performance/traction on my 2007 Chrysler 300C AWD than a Michelin Defender would be?
Friday, May 27, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Richard, The Premier A/S is going to be a better handling tire than the Defender. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Friday, July 8, 2016 by Nils

I need to replace a set of Harmony Michelins on my Impala and wonder whether to go with the defender or the premier a/s. The harmony has been an excellent tire and lasted 110,000 highway miles with still lots of tread, but time to change this summer before the next snow. Which one shoud I pick. Thanks for your help in advance.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Nils, If mileage is a primary concern with decent winter traction, we would opt to go with the Defender. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Friday, August 5, 2016 by Pham

of the 2 tires, Defenders or Premier which one is the most quiet ride? i don't care about distance or durability... just the most quiet ride?
Tuesday, August 9, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Pham, The Premier A/S will have the quieter ride. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Tuesday, August 16, 2016 by Ryan

Which is better in the winter? I do a lot of highway driving getting to a from work and there is no such thing as a snow day in my job.
I need the better tire for deep snow and or icy road conditions.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Ryan, I am happy to make a tire recommendation, what size tire, and or year, make and model vehicle do you have? -- sonny@tirerack.com
Sunday, August 28, 2016 by Tractor_Jack

Hi Tire Rack Team,

My tire size is 235 65/R17 on a 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L.

I echo Ryan's post precisely.

Should I select the Michelin Defender LTX M/S (recommended on the Michelin website using the website's Tire Selector Tool).

Or, should I select the Michelin Premier LTX (or A/S?), which is listed as an "Acceptable Alternative" (once again utilizing the website's Tire Selector Tool).

Please advise as soon as able.
Sunday, August 28, 2016 by Alexandra

2006 Honda Civic EX

Which is best for ice/snow?
Monday, August 29, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Tractor_Jack, Either tire would be a fine choice. It depends what characteristic you prize most (longer life or better wet traction and handling). -- sonny@tirerack.com
Monday, August 29, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Alexandra, The Premier A/S would have better winter traction: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Premier+A%2FS&affiliate=GF3
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 by Kurt

I'm driving a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland with 20" wheels. I live in Minnesota and am most concerned about winter traction in snow and ice. The Defender tread looks like it would work better but it sounds like the Premier would be a better way to go, is that accurate??
Thursday, September 1, 2016 by Newbie

How do they compare driving in heavy rain, snow and ice. In northern Virginia we have many roads unplowed for days during winter month. And due to shortage of space I can't buy winter tire.
Thursday, September 1, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Kurt, For wet and winter traction the Premier A/S is going to be a bit better choice than the Defender. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Tuesday, September 6, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Newbie, The better option for wet and winter time traction would come from the Premier A/S. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 by Meg

2008 prius - NY long island area - I would like 3 things in my tire (if possible!!) - quietness, good winter/snow driving-and good MPG.
which is better for this - defender or premier A/S
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 by Yelena

I have Toyota Camry 2005, one mechanic recommend to put defender, another premier tires, what is better for my car?
I am not aggressive driver
Friday, September 30, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Meg, The Premier A/S would be a better option based on the characteristics you have noted. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Friday, September 30, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Yelena, It depends what characteristics you prize the most. If longevity is most important, the Defender would be the better choice. If wet traction and steering response if most important, the Premier AS would be the better option. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Saturday, October 22, 2016 by Luke

I have a 2013 Ford Explorer XLT 4WD. Roughly 80-85% of my miles are interstate but I'm also looking for improved wet traction over the Latitude Tour HP. Am I better off with the Defender or the Premier?
Monday, October 24, 2016 by Jane

Concerned. Should I be looking at the Premier LTX or the defender. 2012 Highlander Hybrid. Toyo tires now which need to be replaced. 118,000. All season.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Luke, The Premier would definitely give you better wet traction.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Jane, It depends what characteristics are most important to you. What are you looking for out of a new set of tires? -- sonny@tirerack.com
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 by Joe

I have a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 20inch rims, I am concerned about winter driving as I live in Colorado and want to make sure the tires can handle driving into the mountains. Do you recommend either of these tires or should i be looking elsewhere? As I saw a similar response above are the Premier Sufficient enough. I also do a lot of highway driving and do want a comfortable quiet tire, I heard you do not get that with a winter/snow tire.
Monday, November 7, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Joe, For the quieter and more comfortable tire as well as the better winter use option, I would go with the Premier.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 by Chris

I have a 2014 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer (4 WD) here in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a lot. We occasionally get snow but not often. Like everyone else here, I'm considering the Defender and the Premier. Which one is more responsive and which is better for wet and occasional snow? Longevity is not my concern. 30miles a day on freeway. Thanks
Friday, November 18, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Chris, The Premier Is going to be notably better in the wet. The Premier will also be a little better in winter conditions.-- sonny@tirerack.com
Monday, December 5, 2016 by Peter

I have a 2015 Subaru OUtback Premium that has worn out 225 65R17 OEM tires on it. I am look for a great al season tire for dry, rain, snow.

I see that Michelin does not make that exact size for a Premier - and it does not come up as a search result for my vehicle. Using my exiting rims can I get a slightly different size, so I can get a Premier and still have it fit? Any downsides?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Peter, You could also use a 235/65R17 on the Outback. There is no real significant downside: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Premier+LTX&partnum=365HR7PRLTX&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes&affiliate=GF3
Sunday, December 11, 2016 by Debbie

I have a 2012 Camry Hybrid XLE - I am looking for good gas mileage and smooth quiet ride. Premier or Defender?
Sunday, December 11, 2016 by Greg

I have a 2014 Toyota Corolla. I like Michelin but I'm reading bad things about the Defender (poor treadwear). Would the Premier A/S be better? I want a quality tire. I'm willing to go with any product, what would you suggest?
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Debbie, The Premier A/S would be the better choice for the characteristics you have cited.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Greg, The Defender as a whole is going to be a longer lasting tire. The Premier is going to be quieter and more comfortable, with better wet and winter traction. You may also want to check out the Pirelli Cinturato P7 AS Plus: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Pirelli&tireModel=Cinturato+P7+All+Season+Plus&affiliate=GF3
Friday, January 6, 2017 by Joe R

2008 Buick Lacrosse 225/60R16 with 60,000 miles of South Florida driving on the odometer, currently have Defenders feel out of round or balanced incorrectly rotated every 6,000 miles wore out 38,000 miles. Smooth Quiet ride is very important to me along with rain traction. getting conflicting info from internet and local tire sales centers on which is going to be a smoother ride. conflict on harder tire vs softer tire.. HELP Please clarify for my area. T.Y.
Monday, January 9, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Joe, I would recommend the Continental True Contact for your needs. This tire has a 90K mile tread life warranty which should help address the wear issue you have been seeing. The tire is smooth and quiet for a great ride. In our wet testing it did great among the competition. A softer tire tends to give you better dry traction while sacrificing wear, the slightly harder compound of the True Contact is designed to give you great mileage.
Sunday, March 19, 2017 by Richard Thompson

I am looking for a truly smooth, quiet and responsive tire for a 2017 Nissan Rogue AWD. We will be using Michelin X-Ice or equivalent for winter on the original rims so we are looking for the best tire for spring thru fall driving. We are located in New Brunswick and we are removing the low grade OEMs. These will be mounted on a new set of 17" alloys currently on order. The vehicle is only 2 days old. Please advise, Michelin Premier LTXs, Defenders, or other?
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Richard, In the 225/65R17 for your Rogue the Michelin Premier LTX would be the tire model designed for ride comfort first and highest rated in the Crossover/SUV category. The Defender LTX is available in this size as well, and has a nice ride for it's category, but would be more suited to a truck.
Monday, April 24, 2017 by Ilka

Hi - I'm looking at the Michelin Premier or Defender for the 2003 Hyundai Sonata for my daughter ..(P205 60 R16) ... Most important to me is SAFETY in all weather conditions. She already has snow tires for the winter but these would be for all weather driving. Please help me choose the safest tire :) Thanks!
Monday, April 24, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

IIka, The safest three-season tire is the Michelin Premier AS. The Defender is still a safe tire and will give you a longer tread life but the Premier is the better option for overall safety: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Premier+A%2FS&partnum=06HR6PREAS&tab=Survey&affiliate=FK8

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