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: 2013 Subaru Outback
Miles Driven on Tires: 325
Location: Roswell, GA
Driving Condition: Combined Highway/City
Driving Style: Spirited
Michelin Defender
Follow-Up Review: 4,200 miles on tires
December 21, 2012
Update review. After several thousand miles of mixed highway and city driving I am still happily in the Michelin Defender camp. Although initially a bit noisy on blacktop and concrete, the tires have mellowed down to near silence. I haven't had a chance to drive in snow yet, but I'll follow up if it ever snows again here in Georgia. Normal wet / dry traction is still very good. The Michelin brand has been my choice for 50 years and I see no reason to change. They may be a bit more expensive but, as the old adage says, you get what you pay for.
Initial Review: 325 miles on tires
August 31, 2012

I just took delivery of a 2013 Subaru Outback 3.6 Limited in July. Since then I have made an extended trip from GA to CT, NH, MI, Il and back to Georgia covering some 3750 miles. The Outback is fitted with Continental Pro-Contact Conti tires as OEM. I couldn't wait to replace the Conti's and recently purchased Michelin Defenders for my car. The Michelins were recommended by my Subaru service manager as he had replaced his own Outback's Conti's with Michelins. It seems that one of the major complaints with Subaru Outback owners is with the Continental tires that come as standard equipment. That is due to due to road noise, longevity and tire sidewall issues . I am in agreement with those who eschew the Conti's since mine were hard riding, announcing every tar strip and darting the car right and left over road irregularities. I never felt totally safe, especially in rain and I was apprehensive about facing a winter snow/ice event here in north Georgia. The change in driving feel with the Defenders is amazing, almost like driving a luxo-cruiser. The car now tracks straight and true and the steering feel is fantastic. Also, the tar strips and indentations of the road are swallowed up with nary a tire slap or unexpected dip. The ride comfort plus the expected longevity and safety of the Defenders has made me a true believer in the Michelin brand. Didn't take much coaxing since I have had Michelins on my BMWs for years and have never been disappointed. These tires make all the difference in the Outback. I wonder why Subaru and other makers use Continental tires as original equipment. The only gripe I have about the Defenders is that they seem a bit noisy at first especially on concrete and serrated blacktops. I have been told by my Subaru guru that they will break in after a few more miles and become deathly quiet. I'll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, I'm a happy camper with an excellent car riding on excellent tires.

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