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The Michelin Defender and the Michelin Premier are two of the company's most popular tires. But which is the better performer? This comparison has the answers.

The Defender and the Premier LTX tires are similar in almost all aspects. Both tires deliver excellent wet and dry traction, outstanding handling, and a refined ride. Also, both tires come with similar warranties and guarantees. However, the Premier is slightly pricier than the Defender.

In this Michelin Defender and Michelin Premier comparison, we will explore each tire's design features and technologies, performance in different conditions, ride quality, warranties and guarantees, price range, as well as sizes and fitment. And by the time you finish reading this article, you will have all the information you need to decide which is the right choice for your vehicle.

We are committed to publishing honest, straightforward and informative reviews. And we always manage to achieve this, thanks to our award-winning team, featuring renowned tire testers, automotive experts, seasoned researchers and experienced reporters. So, whenever you are reading an article, guide or review, you can rest assured you are getting credible information.

Table of Contents


Michelin is one of the leading tire brands in the world today. Since it was launched more than 100 years ago, it has been at the forefront of many developments that have happened in the tire industry.

For instance, it was among the first tire companies to develop a pneumatic tire at the beginning of the 20th century. It's also among the first tire companies to release a radial tire, which has considerably enhanced the performance of vehicles.

Michelin is also the first tire manufacturer to launch a run-flat tire, which happened in 1934. Also, it recently released an airless tire, which is safe from punctures. So, even if the tire roles over nails, screws or other sharp objects, you don't have to worry about getting a flat.

Michelin manufactures tires in almost all categories. From summer tires to winter tires, all-season tires to performance tires, you can find almost any type of tire from this brand.

In this article, we will compare two of the company's most popular tires. And these are the Michelin Defender and the Michelin Premier LTX tires.

Both the Michelin Defender and the Michelin Premier are all-season touring tires. However, the Premier is more of a grand touring all-season tire, while you can consider the Defender a regular all-season touring tire.

Design Features and Technologies

As mentioned above, Michelin has always been a market leader when it comes to tire innovations and technologies. And this is also the case with the Defender and Premier LTX tires. Let's take a closer look at each of the tire's standout features.

Michelin Defender

The Michelin Defender LTX is designed to go the extra mile. According to Michelin, this tire has the longest tread life in its category. It's also engineered to deliver reliable all-season performance, decent handling and a refined ride. To achieve these things, Michelin has outfitted it with the following key features:

All-Season Tread Compound

Michelin has outfitted the Defender with an all-season tread compound featuring high-silica content. The all-season tread compound is designed to provide outstanding dry and wet traction.

According to Michelin, the Defender's tread can also supply reliable traction on snow-covered roads. According to third-party tire testers, this tire also comes with shorter braking distances compared to the competition, thanks to this tread compound.

Asymmetrical Tread Pattern

The Defender's all-season tread compound has been formed into an asymmetrical tread design. This tread pattern is specifically designed to deliver a smooth and quiet ride.

Also, Michelin has equipped this tire with its exclusive IntelliSipe technology, featuring zigzag sipes. These sipes lock beneath the tire's surface, thus enhancing tread blog rigidity, resulting in improved cornering and high-speed stability.

Michelin has also outfitted this tire's tread with independent tread blocks, which provide additional biting edges, especially in wet and snowy conditions.

Wide Circumferential Grooves

The Defender LTX also comes with four wide and deep circumferential grooves as well as lateral notches.

The circumferential grooves work with the lateral notches to evacuate water from the tire's surface, thus boosting its aquaplaning resistance.

Robust Internal Construction

Inside the Defender is the company's MaxTouch Construction, which is designed to distribute acceleration, cornering and braking forces evenly.

Michelins' MaxTouch Construction is also designed to reduce the tire's rolling resistance for optimal fuel efficiency.

Michelin Premier

As earlier mentioned, the Michelin Premier LTX is an all-season grand touring tire designed for crossovers, SUVs and trucks.

According to Michelin, this tire is engineered to deliver the ultimate all-season traction and safety combined with a luxurious and comfortable ride.

And just like the Defender LTX, the Premier comes with all the bells and whistles that you would find in a Michelin tire. However, Michelin has gone a step further and equipped this tire with the Michelin Total Performance package.

The Michelin Total Performance package is a combination of several technologies, which work together to deliver all-weather traction, outstanding driving control, solid braking as well as enhanced fuel efficiency. These technologies include:

Advanced Tread Compound

The advanced tread compound is one of the key features of the Total Performance package.

And on this tire, Michelin has utilized a combination of sunflower oil, extreme silica and enhanced rubber compound.

This combination helps to enhance the tire's traction and grip on wet and slippery surfaces. Also, it will remain pliable in extremely cold weather, meaning it can deliver reliable traction in ice and snow.

Symmetric Pattern

Unlike the Defender LTX, the Premier LTX comes with a symmetric tread pattern. This tread pattern features a combination of linked shoulder blocks, notched intermediate ribs and a continuous center rib.

According to Michelin, this tread pattern is designed to improve the tire's handling, straight-line tracking and overall responsiveness.

EverGrip Technology

The Premier LTX also features Michelin's exclusive EverGrip technology, featuring two sets of grooves. These are the Emerging Grooves across the tire's shoulders and Expanding Rain Grooves around its circumference.

According to the manufacturer, the Expanding Rain Grooves will open up as the Premier LTX wears down, thus creating a larger surface area for enhanced water evacuation.

On the other hand, the Emerging Grooves emerge as the Premier LTX wears down. Unlike most of the other tires in its category, the Premier LTX will continue to deliver excellent traction in wet and snowy conditions, thanks to this feature.

Performance in Different Conditions

The Michelin Defender LTX and the Michelin Premier LTX are both designed for drivers who are in the market for all-season touring tires.

So, how do these two tires match up in different conditions? We took both tires for a test ride and evaluated their performance in a wide range of conditions. And our observations were as follows:

Dry Performance

For dry performance, we checked each of the tires' grip, high-speed stability, braking distances, cornering as well as road noise.

As for dry performance, both tired ticks all these boxes. They both performed excellently in dry conditions.

On tarmacked roads, these tires provided more than adequate traction and grip. Also, both tires delivered short braking distances, top-notch cornering grip and outstanding handling.

However, the Premier LTX edged the Defender LTX by a slight margin in dry conditions, especially when we pushed the vehicles to the max.

So, if you are looking for an all-season tire that will behave like a sporty tire, then the Premier LTX will be the ideal choice.

However, it's worth mentioning that you will only notice these slight differences in high-performance driving.

Wet Performance

Similarly, both tires performed extremely well in wet conditions. However, the difference between these two tires is noticeable in these conditions.

The Premier is a much better performer in wet conditions compared to the defender LTX. And this can be attributed to its exceptional hydroplaning resistance.

We didn't experience any control issues with the Premier LTX, even when we were driving in extremely wet conditions.

Also, the Premier LTX delivered a better performance in damp conditions, offering excellent stopping power, adequate traction and top-notch cornering grip.

We also decided to push the vehicle to its limits to assess the tires' performance. With the Premier LTX, the vehicle was easily controllable, which was not the case with the Defender LTX.

While both tires will perform well in rainy conditions, the Premier LTX is the clear winner in these conditions.

Performance on Snow and Ice

There's almost nothing to separate the Defender and the Premier LTX when it comes to light snowy conditions.

Both tires will deliver usable traction in snowy conditions. But when it comes to heavy snowy surfaces and roads covered with thick layers of ice, it will be advisable to choose a dedicated winter tire.

Comparing the two, the Premier tends to be the better performer in snow and ice. It delivered shorter braking distances and the vehicle felt controlled.  

Ride Quality

Both the Premier LTX and the Defender are among the best performers in their respective categories when it comes to comfort.

Whether you opt to use the Defender or the Premier LTX, you are assured of a comfortable, quiet and smooth ride.

So, which is the better performer? Having tested both tires, we can confidently say that the Premier is slightly more refined than the Defender.

Warranties and Guarantees

The warranties and guarantees for the Defender and Premier LTX tires are almost similar. For treadwear warranty, the Premier LTX comes with a 60,000-mile warranty, running for six years. On the other hand, the Defender comes with an 80,000-mile for the H and T-rated sizes, while the LT sizes come with a 50,000-mile tread life warranty.

The materials and workmanship warranties are similar for both tires. Both tires come with a 6-year workmanship and materials warranty, with free tire replacement during their first 2/32-inch of the original usable tread. Michelin will offer a prorated replacement outside the free replacement window.

Sizes and Fitment

When it comes to sizes and fitment, you can expect both tires to cover most of the passenger touring vehicles on the market.

The Premier LTX comes in sizes ranging from 16 inches to 22 inches, while the Defender's sizes range from 15 inches to 20 inches.


The Defender LTX is the clear winner when it comes to price. The difference is around 20%, which is quite significant.

However, you can expect the Premier to be slightly pricier than the Defender when you consider it has been equipped with some of the latest tire technologies.


So, which is the better tire between the Michelin Defender LTX and the Premier LTX? The truth is, there's no clear winner between the two tires. Each tire is designed for a specific market segment. If you are looking for an all-season touring tire that will deliver safe traction and durability, then the Defender is a clear choice. On the other hand, if you value performance driving and speed, then the Premier LTX is the better choice.

Michelin Defender Vs Premier LTX Tires

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

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.

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