Founded in 1889, Michelin has been one of the foremost names in the tire industry. Both time and technology have marched on, but Michelin's commitment to manufacturing the highest quality tires has stayed the same. In arguably the most competitive segment of the tire industry, the Touring All-Season category, Michelin offers two top performers in the Premier A/S and Defender. The question however remains, which tire is better? The answer is it depends. It depends which characteristics you value most highly as each tire has some clear advantages over the other.
The Premier A/S. Quiet? Check! Comfortable? Check! Dry traction? Check! All sounds wonderful so far, but what really sets the Premier A/S apart is wet traction. The Premier A/S offers loads of wet traction. The stated goal for the Premier A/S was better traction than competitors when new and better traction when worn and they succeeded. In what can best be described as a stroke of simple brilliance, Michelin utilized expanding rain grooves to maintain overall wet traction as the tire wears. As tread depth decreases, the circumferential grooves get larger due to their trapezoidal shape. Premier A/S tires are most well suited for sporty coupes and sedans with drivers who prize ride comfort a little higher than performance, but with an emphasis on wet traction.
To read more about the Premier A/S, read "Testing the Michelin Premier A/S: Is it the New Benchmark Among Grand Touring All-Season Tires?"
For the Defender, which came out a short while before the Premier A/S, the defining characteristic is longevity. With a respected six-year 90,000-mile (T and H-rated) and 80,000-mile for V-rated treadlife warranties, the Defender can really deliver for those road warriors who rack up significant mileage over the course of a year. While it also provides a quiet and comfortable ride, with overall good handling, it's a little bit less focused on ultimate dry and wet traction in lieu of a longer life span and low rolling resistance. The Defender finds itself most at home with drivers who covet a tire capable in all facets, but really desire a long treadlife. To read more about the benefits of the Defender, check out our full test results at "Testing Passenger and Standard Touring All-Season Tires: Which Are Truly More Than Just Round and Black?"