The Continental TrueContact Tour and Michelin Defender T+H aren’t your average all-season tires.
Unlike your run-of-the-mill A/S tires, both offer a quiet ride. They also boast an extended tread life and further sweeten the deal with their exceptional year-round performance.
However, that doesn’t mean you could mistake one for the other. There are areas where the two differ, with the most obvious being their light snow performance. Having used both these tires, I could also pinpoint differences in their wet traction, dry grip, and durability.
That’s not all. This guide will highlight the various distinguishing factors between these tires. I’ll also give you an overview of what the two models are all about. So, read on if you have trouble deciding between Continental TrueContact Tour and Michelin Defender T+H.
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Continental TrueContact Tour
The Continental TrueContact Tour checks several boxes for the average driver. Available in multiple sizes between 15- and 19-inches, this model delights you with its excellent fuel economy. Its remarkable tread life (vis-à-vis its predecessor) further enhances its appeal.
You don’t have to rely on my word to believe that this model will last longer than many of its competitors. Continental’s internal tests should be enough to convince you. The tire manufacturer has reported that this model has a 27% longer tread life than its precursor.
This is surprising given that this tire comes with an asymmetric tread pattern (the sort you usually get on performance or high-performance tires). As such, you can count on it to combine a longer road life with exceptional high-speed stability and steering feedback.
Still not sold on this model? The fact that it comes with an alignment verification system, DWS (Dry, Wet, and Snow) indicators, and an 80,000-mile warranty should be enough to make up your mind, provided you have no issues with its considerable asking price.
Michelin Defender T+H
The Michelin Defender T+H first caught my attention in 2010. At the time, I drove the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta and was looking for a set of tires that could make the sedan’s notoriously harsh ride slightly more tolerable. Fortunately, the Defender T+H did that and more.
Powered by an all-season tread compound, the Defender T+H markedly improved my car’s ride quality. It also improved the Jetta’s highway performance. Plus, thanks to its short braking distances, I drove in light wintry conditions for the first time in my life.
Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that this model features Michelin’s proprietary Comfort Control Technology. Apart from taking care of road vibrations before they could enter the cabin, this technology also deflects road noise, helping you enjoy a quiet ride.
Throw its 80,000-mile warranty into the mix, and you may think this model is faultless. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, especially if you don’t have deep pockets. Yet, if you want supreme road performance and are willing to pay for it, this model is a no-brainer.
The Main Differences
Now that you have seen what both these tires can do, it’s time we put them in a head-to-head matchup. So that you know whether the TrueContact Tour or the Defender T+H should go on your car.
Comparing Off-Road Performance
Let there be no doubt about this: neither of these tires is designed for off-road performance.
However, if you insist on using them off the highway, the TrueContact Tour should be your pick. Not because this model will keep you safe in the mud. It’s just that its deeper grooves enable this model to handle dirt roads better than the groove-less Defender T+H could ever do.
That said, if you value the money you’re going to spend on these tires, I’d recommend that you keep them for on-road use.
Winner: Continental TrueContact Tour
Comparing On-Road Performance
Given that they come with an all-season tread compound, state-of-the-art technologies, and class-leading water evacuation systems, both these tires will delight you with their on-road performance.
That is especially the case with the Defender T+H, whose Comfort Control Technology helps it provide a plush ride on the highway. In addition, a computer-optimized asymmetric tread pattern ensures that this model stays glued to the road regardless of the driving speed.
As for the TrueContact Tour, this model has EcoPlus Technology to thank for its excellent fuel economy, as well as the ability to wear evenly for a long road life. In fact, if you refrain from pushing this tire to its limits, it can quite easily outlast its 80,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Winner: It’s a tie
Comparing on Snow Performance
Having driven both these tires in mild wintry conditions, I can confidently say that the Defender T+H made me feel less jittery on snow-laden roads.
Want to know the reason? Its zigzag pattern and sipes (biting edges) give it the grip needed to perform reliably over thin snow and ice. Plus, multiple circumferential grooves help with water evacuation. This minimizes the risk of hydroplaning and enhances this tire’s snow performance.
All of this is not to say that the TrueContact Tour will be useless in winter. This model’s tread compound has the flexibility needed to safely carry you from point A to point B over light snow. But if I were to ever choose one of these two tires for driving over snow, I’d choose the Defender T+H.
Winner: Michelin Defender T+H
Comparing on Treadwear and Durability
While both these tires come with the same treadwear warranty (80,000 miles), that doesn’t mean that both will offer the same road life.
A slightly harder tread compound means that the Defender T+H may last longer if you mainly use it on dry roads, with occasional trips in the rain. Conversely, the TrueContact Tour will keep on going year after year if you regularly drive in the rain, thanks to its flexible rubber.
Winner: It’s a tie
Comparing on Comfort
As far as comfort is concerned, the Defender T+H is the clear winner.
The credit for this goes to Comfort Control Technology. Apart from deflecting road noise before it could enter the cabin and hurt ride quality. This technology works together with the tire’s rubber to absorb road vibrations. The result? The level of comfort that might put your fellow passengers to sleep.
Winner: Defender T+H
Comparing on Price
At the time of writing, the Defender T+H costs about 10-20% more than the TrueContact Tour.
This may catch you by surprise if you have never looked at the asking prices of Michelin tires before. However, it’s common knowledge for regular tire buyers that Michelin always charges an arm and a leg for its tires.
Winner: TrueContact Tour
Pros and Cons
There are a lot of similarities, but also differences between these two tires.
Continental TrueContact Tour Pros & Cons
- Handles dirt and gravel roads better
- Boasts an exceptional tread life
- Costs less than the Defender T+H
- Isn’t as comfortable to drive as the Defender T+H
Michelin Defender T+H Pros & Cons
- Offers a quiet and comfortable ride
- Provides excellent traction on wet surfaces
- Can handle mild wintry conditions with ease
- Asking price may blow a hole in your pocket
Which Tire Should You Choose?
The Continental TrueContact Tour deserves your money if you want an all-season tire that will keep going for years. This model also impresses with its above-average fuel economy and high-speed performance.
However, if you rarely venture off the highway, want your car’s ride to be serene, and money is no object, the Michelin Defender T+H is a no-brainer. Plus, this model will last as long as the TrueContact Tour unless you regularly push it to its limits.