Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Defender

Note: The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.
Vehicle: 2004 Toyota Camry XLE V6
Miles Driven on Tires: 6,000
Location: Fairfax, VA
Driving Condition: Combined Highway/City
Driving Style: Average
Michelin Defender
Initial Review: 6,000 miles on tires
July 13, 2012

I have a 2004 Camry XLE V6, with 95K miles. My Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires reached their 60K limit. The traction was bad enough that during one snow day last year, I thought I would end up sleeping in my car overnight after unsuccessfully trying to spin my way out of a street corner for a 15 long min. I liked the Primacy. It feels firm and well control, but noisier than factory Dunlop set. Make the Camry feels closer to a sport car. Defender set was just came out, lots of Michelin commercial, claim of low rolling resistance, low noise, and 90K life etc. With a little push at a tires shop, I decided to buy the Defender set. Note that Toyota recommends performance tires for Camry XLE V6, so Defender set is not the recommend set. Anyhow, after 6K miles, here is my input. Yes, since it is not performance tires, the tire wall is softer, and the ride is not as firm as Primacy - I missed that when hit any corner hard. The feel is soft so I slow down - which is a good thing. On the other hands, Defender is much quieter than Primacy. The mileage improves a lot. City/Hwy goes from 21/24 to now 24/27 avg. after new spark plugs and Defender set. After 8yrs and 95K miles, this is the first time my car is this efficience in gas mileage. The low rolling resistance claim is true. Right after I got the new Defender set, I drove from VA to NJ for a 500 miles round trip, and I got 27-29 mpg mostly highway at 80 mph avg. Since Michelin is very good with tire mileage limit, I am sure I will get 90K out of this set, this is 50% better than my old Primay of 60K. Have yet gone through a winter, but spring/summer and several very rainy days overall handling is very good, not as sporty/confident as Primacy performance type tires, but I don't usually push my car around corner. Bottom line: very good on dry/rain, very quiet, a bit soft, improve mileage at least 3 miles, and 90K life. I would buy this over my old Primacy. Highly recommended.

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Friday, September 21, 2012 by David McNeil

Good review, nicely analyzed

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