Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review: Simply Outstanding

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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.

“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?

Michelin Defender LTX MS Review

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?

Michelin Defender LTX MS Review

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?

Michelin Defender LTX MS Review

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!

39 thoughts on “Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review: Simply Outstanding”

    1. Thanks for your feedback,
      Unfortunately at the moment, there is no size 235/50R18 available for your 2013 Ford Escape. Would you please choose another size that fits or you choose another tire that suits the style you are going
      Best regards!

  1. Thank you for the excellent reviews! I’m considering these for a Lexus RX350 base with 19”. The size is 235/ 55/ R19.

    Shortlisted to the Premier LTX, Defender LTX, Primacy MXM4 & Primacy Tour.

    My #1 consideration is soft, comfortable and the quietest ride; willing to pay premium for Michelin as I’ve always done. No off-roading whatsoever. Other considerations are dry & wet traction; snow traction is not a need.

    For my primary need – which is soft, comfortable and the quietest ride – what tire from these would you recommend? Looking to purchase by this weekend (October 3-4) and would appreciate your advise.

    Thank you,

    Robbie

    1. Hi Robbie,

      Thanks for contacting us regarding your Lexus RX350,

      All tires that you mentioned are quiet and comfortable. Most Michelin tires are, for that matter.

      Overall, though, I must give the edge to the Primacy MXM4 and Premier LTX. These tires are designed with luxury vehicles in mind, just like your Lexus.

      The difference between those two is how they handle driving. The Premier LTX is more of a real SUV tire, while the Primacy MXM4 is more of a sedan tire. Curiously, the RX350 falls somewhere in between, so both should work just fine.

      In terms of comfort and quietness, though, both are excellent, I have no doubt about it! Also, they work outstandingly well on dry and wet surfaces.

      Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have other questions!

      1. Luv these tires. My Dodge dually had these tires. I did get 92K on these. I rotated every 8K miles. ALL the tires wore perfectly. I could have gotten another 10K miles out of them but it was winter and time for snow. Looking to buy 4 more for my Dodge 2500. Wish there was a repeat buyer discount. At $270 a piece its a little pricey. Nice not having to worry about tires for 6 or 7 years.

  2. So, I’m trying to decide between the Michelin Defender LTX and the T+H for a 2013 Volvo XC60 T6.
    Any thoughts between the two?
    Most driving will be in the heat, and rain – Florida – split between city and highway miles, probably relatively evenly. There may be an occasional foray into snow, in North Carolina, for a winter trip.
    There might be a little driving on unpaved surfaces, but not a lot of that, and no off-roading. I do tow a boat, and will need stability for towing and traction on boat ramps.
    Any thoughts on the differences between the two tires?

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for contacting us!

      Regarding your Volvo XC60 T6, there are a lot of different tires to choose from, each with their own advantages.

      Between the Defender T+H and Defender LTX, I recommend the former if you don’t tow with your car. The Defender T+H has slightly lower load range, so it’s not the best choice for towing large trailers. However, it is also better to drive when the car is not loaded to the teeth, both in dry and wet conditions.

      The Defender LTX, on the other hand, is more of a real “SUV” tire designed for higher load ratings. It’s great for towing and provides excellent high-speed stability. It’s slightly less engaging in the corners, though.

      Both tires work equally on snow. They are good for occasional trips, but nothing too serious.

      With that said, if you want a more engaging and luxurious drive, the Premier A/S (no towing) or Premier LTX (towing) will provide generally better overall performance, at the cost of slightly shorter treadlife.

      We hope that this answered your question. If not, please do not hesitate to write us again!

  3. I need to replace tires on my 2013 infiniti QX56 and the recommendations were the following: Michelin Defender LTX M/S, Latitude Tour HP, LTX A/T2.
    I need quiet and comfy, but with decent traction in the snow here in Ohio. which would you recommend?

    1. Hi Mike,

      There is a big difference between the models you listed.

      Let’s start with the one I think would work best for you, the Defender LTX M/S. This is a highway tire, which means it’s outstanding for covering a lot of miles. It’s quiet and comfortable, has excellent traction on dry and wet surfaces, and reasonable traction on light snow.

      Meanwhile, the Latitude Tour HP is more of a performance tire, which means that you will get much better traction and grip on dry and wet surfaces. Snow traction isn’t that good here, though, and the tire isn’t as comfortable as the Defender LTX M/S.

      Lastly, the Defender LTX A/T2 is an all-terrain tire. This means that it also works well for off-roading, giving you more traction on slippery terrains. However, this also means you lose on-road performance, and especially comfort. The LTX A/T2 is undoubtedly the loudest tire of the ones you listed. It should work excellently on snow, though.

      Thanks for contacting us! If you have other questions regarding the issue, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

  4. Thanks for the review. I want to put Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires on my 2010 4Runner Limited, 245/60R20. Mostly highway driving at 45MPH or higher, a lot of country road driving (curves, various road material and conditions), I have a 100′ gravel driveway, and go off-road (lightly) a few times a year, daily driver. I pull a 10′ trailer a couple times a month on average, payloads generally less than 1000lbs. I live in Central VA, so we get all four seasons, with our fair share of rain and just enough snow and ice to be considered. There’s not much to choose from in 245/60R20 for A/T tires on a 4Runner Limited, compared to the other 4Runner models. The Michelin Defender LTX M/S seems to be my best fit. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Tony Pitorri,

      We think that you already chose a perfect tire for your 4Runner Limited. The Defender LTX M/S is best-in-class in many aspects, especially dry and wet handling (road), toughness (gravel and dirt driving), and light snow. Although, for an added peace of mind and better safety, a set of winter tires is still a much better option.

      If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to write again!

  5. Hello, I’m looking for so.e expert advice on deciding on a tire for my 2017 GMC Sierra Denali (1500, 4×4). My top 3 considerations right now, though I’m open to alternate suggestions if there is a better option, are the Michelin Defender LTX M/S, BFG k02 and Toyo Open Country AT3. Most of my driving will be highway. There is occasional dirt road and gravel, as I like going camping and have family that live on dirt roads. I will be pulling a roughly 6k lb camper a handful of times per year. I’d like a quiet(ish) tire, as the Continental tires that came on the truck are pretty loud, surprisingly, since they’re highway tires, but I’m also concerned about winter conditions. My in-laws live in the Michigan upper peninsula where winters are harsh, and we drive up to visit during that time of year. I live in lower Michigan where winters are also usually harsh, but sometimes we get surprised in the lower with 50+ degrees off and on, so I don’t want a dedicated winter tire. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Mike,

      From what I understand, you need a tire that can do everything well. Unfortunately, there is no single tire that can do everything excellently, so you always need to be prepared for compromises.

      For instance, the Defender LTX is an outstanding road tire, it is supremely quiet, and works on snow. However, it’s not the best choice for off-roading.

      Meanwhile, the BF Goodrich KO2 is much better for off-roading, and provides even better snow traction. However, it is noisy, especially on the highway.

      The Toyo Open Country AT3 is similar to the KO2 in many ways. It’s slightly quieter on the road, but still relatively noisy. It is great for snowy conditions, though.

      So, in your case, you need to know what is the least compromising factor.

      Kindest regards!

  6. Hi. I have a question on which tires to get? I have a Honda Odyssey 2015 Touring and am wondering which is a better tire? We live in Vancouver so it does rain alot in the spring and fall. I am looking at the Defender LTX M/S or the Premier A/S. Mainly looking for safety and handling as we have 2 little ones.

    Any recommendations will be great. Thanks

    1. Hi David Lee,

      Out of the two tires, the Premier A/S is clearly better when it comes to safety and handling. It stops better, corners better, and accelerates better, both on dry and wet surfaces. However, the Defender will undoubtedly last longer.

      Still, we think that the Premier A/S is a better fit for the Odyssey. The Defender LTX is primarily designed for trucks and SUVs.

      If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to write to us again!

      Kindest Regards

  7. Hello Editor

    Just acquired a 2008 RAV4 V6 Limited in excellent condition. The ride is very stiff. Looking for a better ride quality.

    I thought I had settled on the Pirelli Scorpion Plus 2 until I read your review of the Michelin LTX. Makes me want this tire. But when I look at the tread on the LTX my concern is it may be too aggressive with possible noise and reduced efficiency.

    I do 99% highway, with a few dirt roads for summer camping.

    Appreciate your input. 225/65/R17

    Thank you

  8. Hello Editor

    I just acquired a 2008 RAV4 Limited V6 in excellent condition. The ride, as I have discovered, is very stiff. Looking for a smooth, quiet ride.

    I thought I had settled on the Pirelli Scorpion Verde Plus 2 until I read your review of the Michelin LTX. Makes me want the Michelins. However, when I look at the tread on the LTX I am concerned with highway noise and reduced mpg.

    I drive 99% highway, with a few dirt roads for summer camping. Is the LTX overkill or is it the superior tire I should be buying? Appreciate your input.

    Thanks
    Joe

    1. Hi Joe,

      Both the Defender LTX and Pirelli Scorpion Verde Plus 2 are comfortable tires. Besides, tires can only make a very small difference in comfort – the suspension plays a bigger role. As for noise, the Defender LTX is not noisy, but yes, it might be an overkill for your vehicle, since it’s more of a large SUV type of tire.

      You might also want to check the Continental CrossContact LX25. It’s the most accomplished touring all-season SUV and crossover tire. It performs excellently on dry and wet roads, works over snow, and is very durable. Besides, the ComfortRide technology should alleviate some of the harsh-ride issues.

      Hope that this answered your question. If not, please do not hesitate to write us again.

  9. Looking for the best tire for a 2019 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum. Michelin has always been my preferred brand but I am open to any suggestions. I live in North Alabama so not a lot of snow but some and comfort and wet traction. I am torn between the defender ltx ms and crossclimate2. Is the defender to much like a truck tire? Mainly highway miles and country bumpy road driving.

    1. Hi Matt,

      Between the Defender LTX and CrossClimate 2, there won’t be much difference on dry and wet roads, at least not something you could measure or feel on the road.

      However, the CrossClimate 2 performs much better over snow and ice. It also might be a little more responsive behind the wheel. Overall, though, you can’t go wrong with either.

      As for other brands, the Continental CrossContact LX25 might be the most accomplished touring all-season SUV and crossover tire. It performs excellently on dry and wet roads, it’s very quiet and comfortable, works over snow, and is very durable.

      The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is another excellent option, although a bit expensive.

      Hope that this answered your question. If not, please do not hesitate to write us again.

  10. Trying to decide between the Defender LTX m/s, Premiere LTX, and Cross Climate 2 for my 2007 Volvo Xc90 AWD

    Road noise and comfort very important but need some light snow handling as well.

    Last 2 sets were the primacy MXM4 and Premiere LTX, both of which only got about 35k miles out of as the XC90 seems to be tough on tires.

    Any recommendation? Thanks.

    1. All good choices of tires. I picked the Defender over the Premier for it’s slightly better snow handling. But our experience was the Premier was slightly quieter than the Defender. And I do mean SLIGHTLY. I also love the Cross Climates, but because road noise is so important to you, I’d put it last on the list.

  11. Looking at replacing tires for my son’s 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT. Considering between a Cooper Discoverer Enduramax and Michelin Defender LTX. Main considerations: stability (his first truck/SUV, so I want give him as much stability/road grip as possible) and great wet pavement performance (lives in MS). Which would you recommend?

  12. I’m trying to decide between the Defender LTX m/s, Premiere LTX for my 2017 KIA Sorento and I’m just sure what is best for this vehicle. I would like a quiet ride and I do have winter tires, so winter driving will not be a concern. I may pull a small utility trailer from time to time but that is not necessarily a deal breaker. Any help is appreciated

  13. I own a Tundra and looking at the Defender LTX and the Continental HT. I commute 75-80 miles a day. i do have dedicated snows and rims. Looking at ride comfort ride, quiet and like both of them. Any suggestions of which one you liked better. Thank you

    1. You are comparing two excellent tires. They are so comparable that I’d look to see which I can score the best deal on.

  14. Hello,
    I am having trouble deciding between 3 tires for a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus.
    This Michelin Defender LTX M/S
    Continental TrueContact with the 51 psi for the tires.
    Continental CrossContact LX 25
    My wife is concerned a lot about hydroplaning. The current tires do that. We can’t afford to buy winter tires, but do experience some snow and ice where we live in the midwest. We use the van for family vacations as well, and her daily driver to work. I am leaning towards the TrueContacts. We bought Goodyear Assurance Comfort max before and were not pleased with the comfort and handling.

    Your advice is appreciated, thank you.

    1. Hello PW Helton:

      Three great tires to be choosing between. Because you mentioned dealing with the occasional snow/ice I would lean towards the Defender LTX M/S. It’ll handle that snow lightly better and as a bonus it has slightly better treadwear.

      Best of luck to you!

  15. Hi!

    I’m looking to get the quietest all season tires for my Honda Ridgeline truck size 245/60/18. This truck is my daily driver and I never take it off road. Also, I live in Ohio. My tire shop is recommending the Michelin Defender LTX and the Primacy A/S. Can you help me decide between the two? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mike:
      I agree with your tire shop’s recommendation. The Michelin Defenders LTX are excellent tires and are quieter than the Primacy A/S.
      Have you priced them yet? You might be able to save a little money buying them from an online retailer that will ship to a local installer (TireRack and SimpleTire both do this). Our ‘Check Price’ button above makes checking prices at the various retailers easy. Full disclosure: If you buy from any of them, we get a small commission.

  16. I purchased Pirelli Scorpion A/S 3 for my 2019 grand Cherokee high altitude and not super satisfied with them. They are very quiet, but ride rougher than the scorpion verde that was OEM. Unfortunately I neglected to notice the A/S 3 is a 111v XL opposed to the OEM 107v SL and assume that is the cause. The OEM verde had greatest reduced wet traction after 15k miles hence the change to the A/S 3. I’m looking to get the great ride back (tire pressure is correct FYI) and thinking the Defender LTX would be a good choice, but also considering the CrossContact LX25. Thoughts?

  17. Need new tires for a 2018 Honda CRV-touring. 235/60r18. Mostly highway miles, and in the winter we have some snow…with a rare deep snowfall. This vehicle came with Hankook tires – they are a piece of junk tire! Thank you for the help!

  18. Hi Faith:
    Yes, the pandemic has hit the supply chain for so many different industries! Hopefully we’ll see things recovering soon.

  19. I am looking to replace Michelin Latitude Tour HP H on my 2016 Acura MDX SH-AWD. We are looking at the Latitude, Primacy Tour A/S, Defender LTX M/S, and CrossClimate2. We are looking for a balance of comfort, traction, handling in wet/dry situations, and treadlife. We have about 40k miles on the OEM Latitudes and think they wore faster than other Michelin tires that we have had on other vehicles.

    Your advice would be very helpful here.

    Thanks.

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