Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review & Rating

by Michelin

  • Dry 100% 100%
  • Wet 95% 95%
  • Snow 85% 85%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Noise 90% 90%
  • Treadwear 95% 95%
  • Overall 94% 94%

Whether you own an SUV, van or light truck, you need tires that provide the necessary traction on the road to allow you to stop without slipping and skidding. Get the decision wrong, and you might end up hamstringing your car’s performance and its ability to tackle inclement weather conditions.

Put simply, what you need is a set of all-season tires. Such models have the ability to deliver an all-round performance throughout the year. They also save you from the expense of having to buy one pair for summer and another for winter.

Enter Michelin Defender LTX M/S all-season tire. Protected with a six-year (or 70,000 miles) limited warranty, it claims to combine smooth performance with long tread life and a tire profile which promotes long wear and reliable traction by evenly distributing opposing forces.

Read on to find out if these claims have any truth to them or not.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review: Features

Similar to other light truck tires, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S is designed for vehicles that primarily drive on dry tarmac. It provides more traction than your average, regular automobile tires and can be used on shuttles, cabs, commercial vans, among other vehicles. With that said, here are some of the worth-noting features of this tire.

Available in three versions

Similar to the strategy employed by its competitors, Michelin casts the net as wider as it possibly can by providing the Defender LTX MS in three different versions. The idea behind this strategy is that with more versions, the tire would fit an extended set of vehicles, thereby increasing its demand.

  • 215/75R15 100T: Covered with a 70,000 miles mileage warranty, this version of the Defender can handle a maximum load of 1,764 pounds. Its distinguishing feature is the outlined raised white letters on the sidewall.
  • 235/75R15/XL 109T: In contrast to the 100T – which could fit rims ranging between 5.5’’ and 7’’ in size – this version can handle more load (2,271 lbs) and has a wider rim width range (6’’ to 8’’). Though its warranty period is the same.
  • 50R15/C 109R: While both the previous versions are protected with a 70,000 miles warranty, this one won’t offer any guarantee before the 50,000 miles mark. Perhaps that’s because of its extended rim width range (7’’ to 9’’), which makes this tire suitable for light trucks that can wear down a tire quickly under their load.

Exclusive Technologies

Since it was replacing the LTX MS2, Michelin knew that it had to provide this model with some exclusive features to give it the necessary firepower with which to take the throne from its predecessor. Here are some of the features which positively impact this model’s on-road performance.

  • Evertread Technology: The secret behind this technology is a compound with the same name ‘Evertread’ which increases the shelf-life of this tire by allowing its inner substances to better withstand road abuse and wear and tear.
  • Comfort Control Technology: By increasing the on-road grip of the tire, this technology will minimize the noise you may have to bear during the ride. That, in turn, will let you enjoy a smoother, quieter riding experience. 
  • Intellisipe Technology: While both the previous technologies help enhance a tire’s performance, the Intellisipe is more concerned with the Defender’s safety. It does that by maximizing the tire’s biting edges to ensure all-season traction.

Three Speed ratings

Speed rating of a tire pinpoints the maximum speed which it can sustain over a constant period of time. The keyword here is ‘sustainability’. You can take the tire above that speed limit but doing so would neither be a safe nor vibrations-free experience.

  • T Speed Rating: Mostly useful for vans and family sedans, this rating means that this tire can constantly maintain a speed of 118mph.
  • R Speed Rating: Having an R speed rating means that you can drive this tire at a maximum speed limit of 108mph.
  • H Speed Rating: Assuming you own a coupe or a sport sedan – or you just want to ride on the wind – the H rating, with its 130mph sustainable speed limit, might be worthy of your attention.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review: Test Drive

Similar to when you’re buying a new vehicle, you should never trust a tire manufacturer’s words without taking their product out for a test drive. However, since most tire dealers don’t offer this facility, we saved you a few bucks by purchasing this tire and driving it on all sorts of roads and in all weather conditions. Read on to know more about how it fared.

Treadwear and Durability

Even before we took this tire for a test drive, we had an inkling of what to expect from its Max Touch Construction. With the aggressive marketing drive that preceded the arrival of this tire, Michelin was hell-bent on telling anyone who would listen that this compound promotes even treadwear.

That’s exactly what we found. Even after driving it for around 3,000 miles, we weren’t able to see anything out of the ordinary on the tread area. Michelin says that’s because of the Max Touch Construction evenly distributing the forces of braking, cornering, and acceleration across the tread area.

As for the Defender LTX’s durability, that’s where its reinforced internal structure makes its mark. Featuring twin steel belts, the internal structure makes sure that the Defender doesn’t deform under the driving pressure, thereby positively impacting its durability.

Dry Performance

Since Michelin markets this tire as a highway terrain option, you already know what it might offer on fully paved roads. All of the technologies which we mentioned earlier in this article are also geared towards improving this model’s on-road performance.

And we are happy to report that they have succeeded in their mission. Apart from increasing its footprint on dry tarmac – which means that we had more steering control – the Max Touch Construction increases the ‘pick’ of this tire by evenly distributing the forces of acceleration and braking.

As our calculations at the end of the road-trip showed us, the balancing out of competing forces decreased the per-liter fuel consumption of our vehicle. As a result, we were able to enjoy some sights which were not originally a part of our itinerary.

Wet Performance

Provided you can call it that, we have a two-point ‘checklist’ every time we take a tire out for a test drive in wet weather conditions. The first point on that checklist concerns with the grip of the tire in not-so-good conditions, whereas the 2nd judges the tire’s ability to prevent skidding.

The Defender LTX performed admirably on both these counts. While we couldn’t see them, the special 3D active sipes provided it with a better grip in wet weather conditions. As long as we kept the speed below what this tire’s speed rating tells is a safe limit, we didn’t encounter any slippage.

Preventing hydroplaning is another area where this model really excels. You can see from the outside that its tread design feature circumferential and lateral grooves. They are there to effectively (and quickly) channel water out of the tire’s tread, making sure that it always remains in contact with the ground.

Noise and Comfort

Putting theory into practice, we were able to gauge how truthful (or otherwise) Michelin was when describing the benefits of the Comfort Control Technology of the defender – which it claims has everything to offer you a vibration-free (and quiet) ride.

The results didn’t surprise us. Like all new highway tires, you might be hard-pressed to feel vibrations making their way inside the cabin. That’s mainly because of the computer tread block sequence of the tire which cancels out road and pattern noise.

Further enhancing your ride’s comfort factor is the reinforced internal structure of this model. Consisting of twin steel belts, it prevents the tire from deforming under pressure to offer a more comfortable, quiet and safe driving experience. 

Snow Performance

Highway tires aren’t meant to be driven on snow-laden roads, and the Michelin Defender isn’t any different. It neither has those lugs which will provide the traction in snow nor does it have the indents where you can insert studs to achieve grip in icy conditions. Put simply, then, we don’t recommend using this tire anywhere near snow.

Off-road (rocky)

Highway tires aren’t meant to be driven on snow-laden roads, and the Michelin Defender isn’t any different. It neither has those lugs which will provide the traction in snow nor does it have the indents where you can insert studs to achieve grip in icy conditions. Put simply, then, we don’t recommend using this tire anywhere near snow.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review: Conclusion

Summarizing everything said above, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S offers a smooth and quiet riding experience with a decent level of traction in dry and wet conditions. This makes it a good year-round option for SUVs, vans and light trucks.

Pros

  • Has a tough tread compound
  • Provides a decent level of traction
  • Quiet and comfortable riding experience

 Cons

  • Not for snowy conditions