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- Best-in-class on-road handling and stability
- Exceptionally short braking distances on dry tarmac
- LT-metric models are extremely tough and useful for towing and hauling
- One of the best highway tires for wet conditions
- The Evertread compound keeps the exceptional wet performance for longer
- Outstandingly quiet and comfortable on the highway
- Extra-long treadlife and excellent treadwear warranty
- Can be used for light off-roading – the casing is very tough
- Available in many sizes
- The most expensive tire in its category
Modern trucks, crossovers, and SUVs are much more powerful than before. Moreover, they have larger payload capacity and way better on-road dynamics. Also, drivers tend to drive faster with their large vehicles today. Naturally, all those forces put much larger stress on the tires.
In the past, trucks and SUVs were pretty slow, and drivers never pushed them too hard in the corners. For that reason, truck and SUV tires were primarily designed to be long-lasting and good for towing and hauling. Today, though, those tires won’t cut the mustard.
Enter the Michelin Defender LTX – the most capable all-season highway tire designed for drivers of any elevated vehicle you can think of. Trucks of any kind, smaller and larger SUVs, and even most crossovers can benefit from the qualities of this tire.
Now, I usually don’t state how good a product is in my introduction, but with the Defender LTX, it is different. First of all, it’s Michelin that produces this tire, and each experience with its products I had was positive. Therefore, even before I try the tires, I have no doubt in my mind that they will perform to high standards.
The Defender LTX M/S is a successor to the Michelin LTX M/S2, a tire that was already extremely popular among truckers in North America. According to Michelin, the new model aims to improve performance on all fronts.
It starts with driving dynamics, of course, which should be better on every surface, including dry, wet, and snowy. Moreover, Michelin states that the new model has a 10% better treadlife when used in severe conditions, such as driving on hardpacked surfaces (gravel and dirt).
Michelin offers its new all-season highway tire in 45 popular sizes, ranging from 15-inch wheel diameter to 22-inch wheel diameter. From what I can see, with all the sizes, the company covers all popular SUVs and trucks produced in the last two decades and the most popular crossovers produced in the last decade.
More importantly, you can find both Euro-metric and LT-metric sizes in the range. The former is better suited for lighter crossover and SUV vehicles, while the latter is meant for heavy-duty applications. Michelin even offers load range E variants for people that tow very large trailers or haul heavy payloads.
Which naturally brings us to the question – is the Michelin Defender LTX M/S worth it? Like most tires from the French manufacturer, this one is also expensive. Actually, it’s the most expensive highway tire you can buy right now.
And, to answer that question, you’ll have to read on to find out. In this Michelin Defender LTX M/S review, I’ll cover on-road dynamics on various surfaces, comfort levels, treadlife and treadwear warranty, and off-road traction.
Before we do that, though, let’s see what features make the Defender LTX as good as it is.
What are the features of the Michelin Defender LTX M/S?
“Our Best Just Got Better. The MICHELIN® Defender® LTX® M/S combines the proven tread design of the LTX® M/S2 with Evertread™ compound to provide durable tread life, no matter the season” – Michelin states on its website.
Furthermore, the company boasts about the ultimate treadlife of the tire, the all-season safety, eco-friendly credentials, and long mileage warranty.
To achieve those things, the company utilized its Michelin Total Performance Package. This package means that the engineers focused on all aspects of the tire when designing it. Other companies might state that they focused on wet traction or treadlife – Michelin focuses on everything.
Thanks to that, the Defender LTX offers targeted features and benefits in each area, without compromising other areas. Moreover, the Total Performance Package means that the tire is made to perform at a high level, even when worn down.
Part of the Total Performance Package is the Evertread compound, which holds up to tougher conditions longer. The compound is molded into a symmetric tread design that features stable, independent tread blocks and high-density 3-D Active Sipes.
The tread pattern is specifically designed to provide drivers with all-season traction, including dry handling and wet traction and braking. Furthermore, the four wide circumferential grooves, multiple lateral grooves, and open shoulder blocks take care of water evacuation for improved hydroplaning resistance.
Michelin also utilized the MaxTouch Construction in the sidewall to increase the contact patch and improve overall handling, stability, and braking on various surfaces. The internal structure with twin steel belts further improves stability, but also toughness and durability.
The Defender LTX isn’t branded with the 3PMSF (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake) symbol, though. This doesn’t mean that the tire isn’t useful for driving in diverse winter conditions – it’s just that the tire wasn’t tested to get the symbol.
What are the maintenance indicators?
Like most all-season highway tires, the Defender LTX M/S is also equipped with the traditional treadwear indicators (TWI’s).
These indicators show how much tread there is left to inform the driver on how the tire will perform on wet surfaces. The TWI’s are narrow rubber bars placed inside the circumferential grooves of the tire.
These indicators are very important for safety – worn-down tires are much worse for driving on slippery surfaces. On the Defender LTX, the minimum tread depth recommended by the manufacturer is 2/32-inch or 1.6mm.
When the tire is worn down to that point, the TWI’s will be completely flush with the surface. When that happens, you should immediately replace the tire. Otherwise, you risk driving with tires that don’t work for rainy days anymore.
Fortunately, the Defender LTX is one of the longest-lasting all-season highway tires. Moreover, thanks to the Evertread compound, the tire keeps the excellent wet performance for longer when compared to other products.
Michelin provides a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on T- and -H-speed rated models, and a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on R-speed rated models. That’s as good as you can get in a highway tire.
How does it behave on a dry tarmac?
Overall, the Defender LTX is perhaps the best all-season highway tire in terms of dry performance. Moreover, the tire performs outstandingly with or without heavy payloads.
And you can feel the performance this tire offers even after few miles driven. The responsiveness is excellent for an all-season tire, and the steering feel is great.
Also, the Defender LTX is able to provide safe and reliable traction, excellent cornering grip, and outstanding high-speed stability. Braking distances are also very short, even with heavier payloads.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
The Defender LTX continues to impress on wet roads. The hydroplaning resistance of the tire is simply first-class – even very big and deep puddles of water don’t disturb the stability.
Moreover, thanks to the advanced Evertread compound, the tire performs excellently on damp surfaces. Traction is superb, the cornering grip is reliable, and the braking distances are very short.
Overall, Michelin again shows who’s the boss in the rubber business – the Defender LTX is almost perfect for rainy days.
With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?
Being an all-season tire, it’s natural for drivers to expect good performance on snow from the Defender LTX. Please note, though, that all-season tires aren’t designed for very extreme wintry conditions – a winter tire will perform much, much better.
With that said, the Defender LTX is one of the better all-season highway tires for driving on light snow. The handling is reliable enough, and the braking distances aren’t too long. Some tires with the 3PMSF marking will offer even better snow traction, though.
Is it suitable for off-road driving?
The Defender LTX isn’t designed for off-road driving per se, but Michelin still utilized some features to help drivers that drive on hardpacked surfaces, such as gravel and dirt.
Traction levels won’t be on the level of an all-terrain tire for sure, but the tough casing on the tire should resist cuts and chips from small stones. So, yes, you can go off-road, but be moderate.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Michelin is a step ahead of most competitors in ride quality and quietness, and that shows in the Defender LTX. Regardless of the type of road, the tire is one of the quietest I’ve heard, if not the quietest in its category. The ride quality is also soft and plush, even on LT-metric models that have stiffer sidewalls.
You can see more Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review here: Video created by All kinds of stuff
Should I buy the Michelin Defender LTX M/S?
If you don’t mind the higher price, the Defender LTX is the best-buy in the crowded all-season highway tire sector. This tire does everything you ask from it, and even more.
Performance-wise, the Defender LTX beats the competition on dry and wet surfaces. Comfort levels are also very high, the treadlife is superb, and you can rely on these tires even when hauling very heavy payloads. Moreover, the tough casing lets you use the tire on abrasive hardpacked surfaces.
So, yes, I think that you should buy the Michelin Defender LTX M/S. I highly recommend it actually!