Michelin Defender vs Premier

Michelin Defender vs Premier Comparison & Buyer Guide

There’s no doubt about it: Michelin is an iconic tire maker. It’s also one of the oldest tire manufacturers on the planet. While you always know that a Michelin tire is a high-quality tire, the company makes different kinds of tires that cater to the needs of specific drivers, road conditions, and vehicle types. In this article, we will talk about and compare Michelin Defender vs Premier tires. There isn’t just one tire in each of these brand categories. In fact, there are several different tires in the Defender line and likewise in the Premier line. 

That said, Michelin Defender and Michelin Premier are both touring tires. If you want a regular touring tire for all seasons, look at Michelin Defender T+H. If a grand touring tire for all seasons is more what you need, consider the Premier A/S. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the basics and then compare Michelin Premier vs Defender tires.

Touring Tires and Grand-Touring Tires: Are they Different? 

Yes, there is a difference between these two kinds of tires.

Michelin Premier vs Defender Tires

When you get a grand touring tire, you are able to get one that has a superior speed rating. In other words, you can use them on cars meant for fast driving. If you go with a grand touring tire, you can get tires in a larger size, including as large as a diameter of 19 inches. With regular touring tires, the largest diameter is often 18 inches. 

The Michelin Defender line is a standard touring tire (ideal for hard-working commuter cars), while the Michelin Premier is a grand touring tire, geared more toward premium and luxury class cars. 

Michelin Premier vs Defender (touring tire showdown)

At the most specific level, the difference between the Defender and Premier lines from Michelin lies in what type of touring tire you get with each type. Here’s a quick comparison of the most popular models for different types of vehicles.

This quick side-by-side comparison may help you easily make your mind up when comparing Michelin Defender tires to Premier tires.

For Cars

If you have a commuting car – be it a utilitarian sedan or station wagon or a brand new luxury car, you’ll want to purchase either the Michelin Premier A/S or the Michelin Defender T+H model tires. Let’s dive in for a quick side-by-side comparison to help you choose which tire model is best for you.

Michelin Premier A/S

Michelin Premier A/S is a grand touring tire, so it’s a good choice if you have a premium or high-end car. A grand touring tire such as the Michelin Premier A/S tire can handle higher speeds and provides a more premium driving experience overall. 

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Michelin Defender T+H

Michelin Defender T+H

Michelin Defender T+H is a standard touring tire. Like the Premier, it’s appropriate for all seasons. This is a fantastic general use tire. It doesn’t have the same kinds of speed ratings as the Premier or other grand touring tires, but it’s an excellent choice for commuters and everyday driving. 

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In my opinion, if you’re shopping for a general use (but high quality) car tire and the nuances of a high-performance grand touring tire may be lost on you, choose the Michelin Defender T+H. You’ll be very satisfied with a great all-season tire for your car.

For Trucks and SUVs

Have a truck or SUV? You’ll want something that’s made for your vehicle. For you, the right Michelin Defender and Premier tires are the Michelin Premier LTX and Michelin Defender LTX, so those are the models you’ll want to compare when making your purchase. 

Michelin Premier LTX

Michelin Premier LTX

My choice for SUVs, trucks and crossovers in southern climates where you don’t see much snow. The Michelin Premier LTX perfect commuter tire for these larger vehicles, it is whisper quiet to drive on, performs well in heavy rain, and will last you a long time.

If you have a smaller SUV or truck, this is your commuter tire.

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Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

If you live in a snowy climate or live on a dirt road, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S are some of the highest quality all-season tires for trucks, SUVs and crossovers that you can buy.

The one complaint I hear about them a lot is that the road noise is above-average. If you can get beyond that, they are excellent performers and very safe tires.

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The best tire for your SUV, light truck, or crossover will depend upon where you are located, and how you drive.

Bigger vehicles who want tires that perform well in snow should choose the Defender LTX M/S. Luxury SUVs and commuters who want great performance on the highway in dry and rainy conditions should choose Premier LTX.

Comparing the Performance in Different Categories

Most people comparison shopping for tires are most focused on: Performance, Durability, and Price.

Difference Between Michelin Defender Tires and Michelin Premier Tires - Which is Best?

So in this section I’ll break down and compare Michelin Defender vs Premier tires in the following areas, so you know exactly which tire will be the best fit for you:

At the end of this point-by-point comparison, you should be able to choose the right Michelin tires for your vehicle.

Which Tire Provides Better Responsiveness: Defender or Premier? 

Given its name, you probably won’t be surprised that the Premier provides a superior driving experience, and this includes responsiveness. As a grand touring tire, the Premier is specifically made to deliver a high-end driving experience to drivers who expect the best and nothing less.

If you are driving in average conditions on public roads, and if you just have a mid-range vehicle, you will probably be fine with Defender tires.

In my opinion they’re both great tires, and there is usually no need to spend more and upgrade to the Premier line, though some drivers with luxury cars who demand the best will want to choose Michelin Premier tires for their vehicle. 

How do Defender and Premier Tires Perform in Winter Conditions? 

While the Premier is the higher end selection, Defender comes quite close in the kind traction it provides in winter weather, and the Defender LTX M/S tires blow all others away in terms of performance in snow.

Michelin Premier vs Defender Tires in Snow and Winter Weather Driving Conditions

As long as you just have light snow, you will do well with both types of tire. Be aware, though, that neither tire is meant for driving on icy roads. These are all-season tires. If you live in a place that has extremely harsh winters, you should invest in a pair of winter tires to use during that time of year. 

If you have to decide between using the Premier or Defender in the snow, go with the Premier tires for cars, and the Defender LTX M/S model on SUVs and trucks. The braking distances you get with the Premier tires are a bit better, but larger vehicles will perform best with the aggressive tread and increased road noise of the Defender LTX tires better. 

How do Defender and Premier Do in Wet Conditions? 

If you have to deal with a lot of wet conditions and roads, the Premier is an outstanding choice. As excellent a tire as the Michelin Defender is, the Premier line is far and away better in this area.

The Premier LTX and A/S are both excellent for wet weather, offering impressive resistance against hydroplaning. You won’t have to worry about this phenomenon even in the heaviest rains if you have Premier A/S or Premier LTX tires on your car. 

Michelin Premier and Defender Tires Comparison - Wet Driving Conditions and Performance in Rain

Premier has outstanding traction, no matter how wet the surface may be, and in my experience it keeps a perfect grip on the road while cornering.

While Defender tires are excellent tires and will do well in wet weather, they simply don’t compare with the grip and traction provided by Michelin Premier tires. 

Which Tire is More Durable: Defender or Premier? 

If you’re like most people, you’re probably surprised to learn that Michelin Premier tires aren’t as durable as Defender tires from Michelin.

Premier tires are the ones you want if you are looking for better performance. If you want the more practical option (that will last more miles), go with Defender tires. 

The Premier A/S tires have a treadwear warranty of 60,000 miles. The Defender T+H, on the other hand, has a superior treadwear warranty of 80,000 miles. The Defender LTX has a sturdier design overall, and they warranty 70,000 miles on that model. 

Are Defender or Premier Tires More Economical? 

As the higher-end tires, Michelin Premier tires are more expensive than the Defender line. Couple the lower cost and the longer treadwear warranty of Michelin Defender tires, and you’ll certainly be getting a better bang for your buck if you choose Defender over Premier.

With Michelin Premier tires, you get a higher performance driving experience. This line of tires also incorporates more cutting-edge technologies, so if that’s what’s most important to you, then you may not mind paying a premium for it.

Which Tire Provides a Quieter Ride: Defender or Premier? 

As a premium tire, Premier will give you a quieter and smoother ride than the Defender line. There is less of a difference between the Premier and Defender in this area than you might imagine, though.

Comparing Cabin Noise - Are Michelin Defender or Premier Tires Quieter?

Both the Defender and Premier lines provide high-quality driving with very little noise. One exception is the Defender LTX M/S tire. These have a more aggressive tread and you’ll definitely notice more road noise with them.

What Kind of Dry Traction Do the Defender and Premier Lines Offer? 

Overall, the Premier gives you better traction, and that includes in dry conditions. But the fact is that the Defender line of tires is so good at performing in these kinds of conditions that it’s almost indistinguishable from the Premier line. This is true, of course, only at average speeds and on regular, well maintained roads. 

Both the Premier and Defender lines offer outstanding cornering traction and stopping distances.

The only time when you may be able to easily distinguish between Defender and Premier tires is if you drive in more extreme conditions or at faster than average speeds. This is where Michelin’s Premier tires shine.

Michelin Premier vs Defender Tire Models

Let’s rewind and summarize all of your tire model options within each line of Michelin tires:

Michelin Premier Tire Models

There are two types of Michelin Premier tire:

  • Premier LTX, and
  • Premier A/S.

With the Premier LTX, you get excellent performance in wet road conditions. The tread compound on this tire features helpful silica. This silica is able to expand whenever the weather gets colder. This helps give you superior performance in wet weather. 

If you go with the Premier AS, you will get EverGrip technology. It also has Comfort Control technology. This is key to preventing excessive road noise. 

Most drivers who choose to purchase Michelin Premier tires will be guided by their vehicle. Those who drive cars will purchase the Premier A/S tires, and those with crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks will purchase the Premier LTX tires.

Michelin Defender Tire Models

There are two types of Defender tires:

  • Defender T+H, and
  • Defender LTX M/S.

With The Defender T+H tire, you get three cutting edge technologies. These are MaxTouch, Intellisipe, and Comfort Control. These tires also have a few important safety features: circumferential grooves, zigzag sipes, and high silica content. 

The Michelin Defender LTX M/S offers a 70,000 mile warranty. It is a versatile all-season tire, but it doesn’t have Comfort Control Technology. Instead of that, it features a special EverTread compound. 

Most drivers who purchase Michelin Defender tires will also be guided by their vehicle type. If you own a car, go with T+H, if you own a large truck or SUV, choose the LTX M/S tires.

What Kinds of Tire Compounds are Used in Each?

How Defender and Premier Tires from Michelin Are Made Differently

The different tires in the Defender and Premier lines use different kinds of tread compound. This is one of the key differences between Michelin Defender vs Premier tires.

There isn’t any silica in the tread compound on the Defender LTX MS. Even so, it has excellent handling even in wet weather. The tire has 3D active sipes, which help with safety in these conditions. 

The Michelin Premier A/S uses quite a unique approach, mixing silica and sunflower oil to produce a tread. This seems counterintuitive, but the sunflower oil mixed with silica can promote better traction during wet weather. It’s beneficial to have the silica in the tread, as it makes the tire stronger.

With the Premier LTX model, Michelin also uses high-quality steel belts. The steel belts add to driving performance, and they have the added strength of polyester casing and polyamide cord. 

Why is it Important to Choose the Right Tire? 

Michelin is a top tire brand, and you will always do well choosing a tire from this manufacturer. However, you need to select a specific tire model that is appropriate for your vehicle type and model. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the right kinds of tires for your car, and this helpful guide can help you choose the proper tire size for your vehicle

Michelin provides its own recommendations for choosing the right tire. The company sets out the different factors to keep in mind when making your decision. You should consider the places where you will be driving, the kinds of weather conditions you have to deal with on the road, and your general driving style. 

If you live in an extreme climate, you might need to use more than one set of tires, changing them at certain times of year. For example, if you live in the far north of Canada, you will probably need winter tires for the cold weather months, and some high-performing all-season tires for the rest of the year.

In many climates, you can make do with all-season tires year-round. 

If you don’t have suitable tires on your car for whatever conditions you need to deal with and for your specific vehicle, you may damage your car and have to replace your tires more frequently. Choosing appropriate tires is crucial to extending not only the life of the tires, but of your car as well.

Beyond all of this, the tires you put on your car will play a critical role in keeping you and your loved ones safe.

Comparing Michelin Defender Tires to Michelin Premier Tires

This is why I think it’s reasonable (and responsible) to take the time to think through your decision before you invest in the best tires for your vehicle.

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