The Michelin Defender and the Michelin Latitude are among the best all-season tires today. But which is the better performer? This comparison has the answers.
Both the Michelin Defender and the Michelin Latitude will deliver top-notch dry and wet traction, excellent handling, and exceptional ride quality. Also, both tires come with solid warranties. However, the Latitude Tour delivers a sportier handling and better fuel efficiency than its counterpart.
In this article, we will take a closer look at how the Michelin Defender and the Michelin Latitude compare. We will walk you through aspects like performance in different conditions, ride quality, warranties and guarantees, sizes and fitment, as well as price range. And by the end of this comparison, you will have all the answers you need to decide which tire to purchase.
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All-season touring tires are the most popular tires on the market today. Most drivers choose them because they can work well in both the dry and wet months. Therefore, you don’t have to keep changing tires whenever the seasons change.
But like everything else, all tires are not made the same. So, when it comes to choosing an all-season tire, you need to ensure you choose one that will provide a reliable, safe and comfortable driving experience.
However, the market is also filled with hundreds of different types of all-season tires. And choosing the right one can prove to be a time-consuming and overwhelming process for most people.
To make your work easier, we’ve scoured the market and identified two of the best all-season touring tires. And these are the Michelin Defender and the Michelin Latitude. In this article, we will pit them against each other to see how they compare.
Design Features and Technologies
The Michelin Defender is an all-season touring tire designed for a wide range of vehicles like family sedans, coupes, minivans, and crossovers, just to name a few.
According to Michelin, this tire is engineered to deliver the ultimate treadlife, all-season safety, as well as a quiet, smooth and comfortable ride. To achieve these objectives, Michelin has equipped this tire with several design features and technologies like:
All-Season Tread Compound
Michelin has outfitted this tire with an all-season tread compound. It features a high-silica enhanced compound designed to enhance the tire’s traction in a wide range of conditions and surfaces.
Also, this all-season tread compound is engineered to enhance the tire’s longevity and durability. And according to Michelin, the Defender has the longest tread life compared to the competition.
Asymmetrical Tread Compound
The Michelin Defender also comes with an all-season tread compound, specifically designed to deliver a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride.
It also features Michelin’s proprietary IntelliSipe technology, featuring zigzag sipes. These zigzag sipes interlock under the tire’s surface, thus boosting tread block rigidity, resulting in enhanced cornering and high-speed stability.
Wide Circumferential Grooves
If you take a closer look at this tire, you will notice it has four wide and deep circumferential grooves running along its surface.
These circumferential grooves play an important role in evacuating water from beneath the tire, resulting in enhanced hydroplaning resistance.
Independent Tread Blocks
Michelin has also provisioned this tire’s tread with independent tread blocks, featuring zigzag siping. These tread blocks provide additional biting edges.
So, in case you come across snow-covered roads, this tire will provide you with a stable and safe ride.
Michelin Latitude Tour
Similar to the Defender, the Latitude Tour is an all-season touring tire specifically designed for SUVs and crossovers.
According to Michelin, this tire is designed to give drivers a quiet ride and comfortable ride, top-notch fuel efficiency, long tread life as well as excellent on-road handling.
Also, Michelin claims that this tire will deliver up to 5% shorter braking distances compared to the competition. To achieve these things, Michelin has equipped it with various features and technologies such as:
Advanced Tread Compound
Similar to other Michelin tires, the Latitude Tour features a silica-based tread compound formed into a symmetrical tread pattern.
The tread compound and the tread design are both optimized to deliver durability, longevity, and excellent all-season traction.
Also, Michelin has provisioned this tire with its exclusive MaxTouch Construction, designed to enhance the tire’s performance throughout its lifetime.
Stable Shoulder Blocks
According to Michelin, the Premier Latitude tour also comes with stable shoulder blocks. It also features a continuous center rib. These two features work together to deliver enhanced steering response and high-speed stability.
Just like other Michelin all-season touring tires, the Latitude Tour also features four wide and deep longitudinal grooves.
These grooves play a vital role in channeling water from beneath the tire via the multiple sipes in the tire’s outboard shoulders, thus helping to minimize the risk of aquaplaning.
Besides helping in water evacuation, the multiple sipes also provide additional biting edges, resulting in enhanced traction in snowy conditions.
Comfort Control Technology
The Latitude Tour also sports the company’s exclusive Comfort Control Technology. It features a computer-optimized tread design combined with precision manufacturing.
It’s designed to lower the number of vibrations and road noise getting into the cabin. Consequently, it ensures that the Latitude Tour will provide a quiet, smooth and comfortable experience.
Green X Technology
Some models and sizes of the Latitude Tour sport the company’s Green X symbol. Tires with this designation have been manufactured through sustainable methods.
Furthermore, they are designed to reduce rolling resistance significantly, thus helping to deliver better fuel efficiency.
According to Michelin, you can save approximately 82 gallons of fuel over the Latitude Tour’s lifetime.
Performance in Different Conditions
Both the Defender and the Latitude Tour are premium all-season touring tires. Therefore, drivers expect them to perform excellently across varying conditions and surfaces.
So, do they perform according to these expectations? Which is the better performer in different conditions?
We installed a set of both tires on two similar vehicles and tested their performance across varying road conditions. And after hours of thorough testing, we made the following observations.
On dry tarmac, the Defender performed as we had expected. The steering feel was great, the responsiveness was excellent and it delivered high levels of traction on dry tarmac.
Also, its handling felt dynamic and direct. We also managed to achieve high cornering speeds with the Defender without experiencing any loss of grip.
And as for its braking distances, they are among the shortest that we’ve recorded in this category.
The Latitude Tour also didn’t disappoint on dry tarmac. The response was adequate, making it easy to position the test vehicle accurately in corners.
Also, its directional stability was excellent, even when we were cruising at highway speeds.
For traction, we can confidently say that the Latitude Tour is well above average, if not one of the best. Also, the braking was solid.
Overall, it’s almost impossible to separate these two tires when it comes to dry tarmac. But based on our evaluations, the Latitude Tour may have a slight edge.
Both tires performed excellently in wet conditions. For the Defender, the hydroplaning resistance was outstanding and it performed excellently on damp surfaces.
Its traction was more than adequate, braking distances remained short and the cornering grip was solid and secure.
The Latitude Tour also didn’t disappoint in these conditions. It’s one of the best all-season touring tires for driving in rainy conditions.
Its aquaplaning resistance was top-notch, while its braking distances are among the shortest we’ve recorded in this class.
For wet and slippery surfaces, the Latitude Tour carried the day. And this can be attributed to the utilization of the Total Performance Package.
Performance in Snow and Ice
All-season touring tires struggle when it comes to snowy and ice-covered roads. And this was also the case with both the Defender and the Latitude Tour.
During our test ride, we noticed that both tires couldn’t handle extreme snowy conditions.
However, both provided reliable traction in light snowy conditions. But, we had to maintain slow driving speeds.
So, if you live in areas that experience harsh wintry conditions that drag on for several months, then you should consider equipping your vehicle with dedicated winter tires for the winter season.
Michelin’s all-season touring tires are renowned for their refined ride quality. And this was also the case with the Defender and the Latitude.
The ride for both tires was super comfortable, quiet and smooth, even when we were doing our tests on uneven and rough roads.
Overall, both tires deliver almost a similar level of ride quality. However, the Latitude Tour has a slight edge over the Defender, thanks to the utilization of Comfort Control technology.
Warranties and Guarantees
Both the Michelin Defender and the Michelin Latitude Tour come with strong warranties and guarantees.
Michelin stands behind both tires with materials and workmanship warranties as well as treadlife warranty.
Both tires come with a six-year workmanship and materials warranty, with free tire replacement offered during the first 2/32-inch of the original usable tread. Michelin will offer a prorated amount for tires damaged outside the free replacement window.
And as for the treadlife warranty, the Defender is covered for 80,000 miles while the Latitude Tour is covered for 65,000 miles. Without a doubt, the Defender is the clear winner here.
Sizes and Fitment
Both tires are available in a wide range of sizes. However, the Defender will fit more vehicles than the Latitude Tour since its sizes range from 14 inches to 18 inches.
On the other hand, the Latitude Tour’s sizes only range between 16 inches and 19 inches.
The Defender is currently retailing at approximately $110 to $215, while the Latitude Tour is going for around $150 to $230.
The Michelin Defender and the Latitude Tour are both reliable tires for those in the market for all-season touring tires. Both deliver top-notch performances across varying road surfaces and conditions without sacrificing ride quality. However, the Latitude Tour tends to deliver sportier handling compared to the Defender. On the other hand, the Defender is considerably cheaper.
So, if you are looking for an all-season tire that performs almost like a performance tire, then you should opt for the Latitude Tour. On the other hand, if you need a reasonably priced, reliable, and no-frills all-season tire, then the Defender will be the better choice.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding