How good is it? Michelin Defender Review

A close look at the Michelin Defender. | © Michelin

Consumer Reports recently named the Michelin Defender the best all-season tire for 2016.

Michelin is known as one of the best tire manufacturers in the world. It’s also one of the most popular with consumers. Here Traction News explores why the Defender has been named one of the best tires on the market today.

Fitment and Sizing Information

Michelin makes sure the Defender will fit a wide range of cars by making them in 57 different sizes. Whether your customer has a Corolla, a light pickup or a Camaro, there’s a Defender for it.

All Defender tires come with a “T” speed rating, allowing a safe maximum rated speed of 118 MPH, and is available in several wheel sizes: 13- through 18-inch diameters in the following ranges:

• 13 inch, 70 Series: 175/70R13; traction rating of 82
• 14 inch, 70 Series: 175/70R14 through P205/70R14; traction ratings of 84 through 93
• 15 inch, 70 Series: 205 and 215/70R15; with traction ratings of 96 and 98
• 14 inch, 65 Series: 175 and 185/65R14; traction ratings of 82 and 86
• 15 inch, 65 Series: 185 through 205/65R15; 88-94 traction rating
• 16 inch, 65 Series: 215 through 235/65R16; 98, 100, and 103 traction
• 17 inch, 65 Series: 215 and 225/65R17; 98 and 102
• 15 inch, 60 Series: 185 through 205/60R15; with 84, 88, and 91
• 16 inch, 60 Series: 205-235/60R16; 92-100 traction
• 17 inch, 60 Series: 215 and 225/60R17; 96 and 99
• 16 inch, 55 Series: 205/55R16; with 91 traction
• 17 inch, 55 Series: 215-235/R17; traction of 94, 97, and 98 respectively
• 18 inch, 55 Series: 215 and 225/R18; 95 and 98
• 17 inch, 50 Series: 225/50R17; with 94 traction
• 18 inch, 50 Series: 225/55R18; 95 traction

What Michelin says about the Defender

Michelin rates the Defender for tire wear at 90,000 miles. They say the tire delivers this type of mileage because of the way their trademarked MaxTouch Construction combines with the interlocking action of their Breakthrough IntelliSipe technology to provide “exceptional tread block rigidity” and extra-long life. During all driving modes (acceleration, cornering, and braking) the tire’s contact patch is enhanced because of these construction technologies.

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A close-up section of the Michelin Defender’s tread. © Michelin

The Defender benefits in two ways from Michelin’s Intellisipe Technology, first by maximizing the number of sipes within the tire. This allows the driver the confidence to brake even under stressful driving conditions. The Defender has a more rigid tread block that is created by these sipes. This and the EnergySaver Construction with Green X technology enables the tire to have a reduced tread depth at purchase, which makes the tire more fuel efficient by reducing rolling resistance.

Uniform government and independent ratings

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Michelin Defender tread pattern. © Michelin

Independent testing, such as that done by Consumer Reports, confirmed Michelin’s 90,000 mile tread wear rating. The Defender received a Uniform Tire Quality Grading Treadwear rating of 820. It also received an “A” grade for traction and a grade of “B” for temperature resistance.

Michelin Defender has ‘no real shortcomings’

With the state of tire technology today, a company’s tire has to perform well above average and have some exciting technological advances in order to be named the best tire in its class. In wet use, the Defender tested “very good” in resistance to hydroplaning and snow traction. It received a grade of “good” for braking in wet and icy conditions.

A tire that doesn’t handle very well isn’t going to place well, either. A grade of “very good” was given in this testing category. Likewise, fuel efficiency is also important, so Michelin made this tire “very good” in rolling resistance.

While some customers aren’t going to be very happy with the “good” rating the tire received in ride comfort, they will be quite pleased with the “excellent” it received in the noise category, thanks to the new tread design.

All in all, no real shortcomings were found in reviews of the Michelin Defender.


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