Dry Conditions – 85%
Wet Conditions – 85%
Snow – 80%
Comfort – 90%
Noise Reduction – 85%
Durability – 90%
Ever since its release in 2022, the Michelin Defender 2 has attracted a lot of attention. Which comes as no surprise given the family it belongs to. This model is the newest member of the Defender series, one of the most popular all-season tire lineups of all time.
One of this tire’s predecessors, the Defender T+H, wowed us with its impressive tread life and excellent snow performance. Another, the Defender LTX M/S, won drivers over with its superb aquaplaning resistance and high levels of grip on dry and wet roads.
Does the Defender 2 have what it takes to truly replace the above models? That is what this comprehensive guide aims to find out. We’ll check out this model’s dry, wet, and snow performance to help you decide if it’s worth the amount on its price tag.
- Backed by an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Offers a plush driving experience
- Can handle mild wintry conditions with ease
- Wet traction isn’t the best in class
The Features of the Michelin Defender 2
The Michelin Defender 2 is an all-season tire designed for passenger cars, SUVs, and electric vehicles. This model comes in 38 sizes ranging from 16-inch to 20-inch rim size. Whether dry, wet, or mild wintry, this tire provides stability in all conditions.
While it would never admit to this, Michelin’s main focus while developing this tire seemed to provide its drivers with added traction on wet roads. Hence why it equipped this model with 3D SipeLock Technology, which allows for extra grip on slippery roads.
However, at the cost of disappointing you, the Defender 2 isn’t the quietest tire on the market. As we’ll explain later, a white noise accompanies this model’s ride on the road. And while it doesn’t get too loud to be intrusive, its tread produces audible white noise.
Lateral and longitudinal sipes (slits around the tread) give it enough biting edges to remain stable in mild wintry conditions. It also has circumferential and lateral grooves for quick and effective water evacuation and comes with an excellent 80,000-mile guarantee.
Michelin Defender 2 in Dry Conditions
The Defender 2 performs decently on dry roads.
While its ride is taut and firm for an all-season tire, the Defender 2 can still absorb minor road imperfections without much fuss. And unless you’re deliberately over-speeding over them, larger bumps won’t upset this model’s composure, either.
Unfortunately, its lateral traction (the ability to maintain grip during cornering) is lackluster. The Defender 2 may oversteer a bit if you choose to attack turns at full speed, forcing you to make adjustments to keep your vehicle stable. So, slow down while navigating those bends.
All in all, the Defender 2 won’t help you win many races. This tire is meant to be used for everyday driving around the city and long, leisurely commutes on the highway.
Michelin Defender 2 on Wet or Slippery Roads
To enhance its wet performance, Michelin equipped this model with:
- Full-Depth 3-D SipeLock Technology. This technology sees to it that the tire’s sipes lock together as it wears, helping the Defender 2 maintain its traction for long periods. You can also find this technology on Michelin’s winter tires.
- Circumferential and lateral grooves. These water channels do a commendable job of evacuating water from within this model’s tread. Due to their effective action, you won’t experience hydroplaning while driving this tire.
- Multiple lateral and longitudinal sipes. These sipes provide the Defender 2 with aggressive biting edges, increasing its grip on slippery pavement.
All the above design elements have enhanced this model’s braking power on wet roads, especially when compared with your average all-season tire.
However, compared with its competitors, this model falters.
Independent tests found that Continental’s TrueContact Tour and Goodyear’s Assurance MaxLife both boost shorter braking distances on wet surfaces, which is surprising given that both tires were released much earlier than the Defender 2.
As such, if you want class-leading wet traction, the Defender 2 isn’t for you.
Michelin Defender 2 in Snow
The Defender 2 performs reliably in mild to moderate wintry conditions.
Which is something you can say about just about every premium all-season touring tire. So, how is the Defender 2 different?
This model is different thanks to the lateral and longitudinal sipes dotting its tread. These slits give this model more biting edges than your average all-season tire can ever dream of. The result is decent braking distances in inclement weather and wintry roads.
Michelin Defender 2 Off-Roading
The Defender 2 wasn’t designed with off-roading in mind.
If you value your safety and that of anyone sharing the cabin, don’t tempt your luck on mud, slush, rock, and even gravel. The Defender 2 is only designed for paved roads, a point you’d do well to keep in mind if you have no intention of replacing it anytime soon.
Michelin Defender 2 for Sporty Driving
As you might guess, Defender 2 isn’t made for the track.
Neither its cornering power (much lower than TrueContact Tour and Assurance MaxLife) nor its stopping distances on dry track (joint longest of the three tires) should give you any ideas about pairing your sports car with this all-season tire.
That said, its steering is the most responsive of the group, letting you easily and accurately control your car, especially when attacking bends at high speed. I also have to appreciate this model’s precision when turning corners on wet tracks.
Thus, while it cannot rival performance tires on a track, the Defender 2 can easily hold its own in a racing competition with fellow all-season tires.
Does the Defender 2 Ride Comfortably?
Is the Defender 2 the quietest tire on the market? Nope.
Does it ride comfortably enough to lull your fellow passengers to sleep? Yes.
On the highway, this tire’s tread produces a white noise that increases with speed. True, the noise never gets too loud to be intrusive. But the mere fact that it’s there takes a few marks off this model’s ride.
Luckily, that isn’t the case with ride comfort. In my many years of testing tires, I have come across very few that can deal with large road cracks as effortlessly as the Defender 2. This model has the uncanny ability to absorb large bumps without hurting your drive.
Thus, while not the quietest, this tire is certainly among the most comfortable to drive.
Michelin Defender 2 Warranty
Michelin backs the Defender 2 with an excellent 80,000-mile warranty.
If you have a conservative driving style, can keep this tire well-maintained, and only drive it on paved roads, such an extended warranty should translate into 5 to 6 years of road life. Which is beyond excellent, no matter how you slice it.
Michelin Michelin Defender 2 Pricing: Is It Worth the Money?
At the time of writing, this tire’s prices range from $159.99 to $259.99.
If you want class-leading wet traction or a super-quiet ride, the above price range may force you to look for other options.
After all, despite charging an astronomical amount for an all-season tire, the Defender 2 fails to hit the peak on either of the two counts.
Should I Buy the Michelin Defender 2?
If you’re a fan of Michelin and are in the market for a tire that won’t need to be replaced for years to come, the Defender 2 might be worth a shot.
Sure, this model’s wet braking distances are shorter than its competitors. But its wet traction is still excellent for an all-season tire. And while its tread produces a fair bit of white noise on the highway. It compensates for that by not letting any vibrations inside the cabin.
So, go for this tire if you can afford to pay its asking price.
What Vehicles Will the Michelin Defender 2 Fit?
Here’s a sample list of vehicles that the Michelin Defender 2 will fit:
- Toyota Corolla, Camry, Prius, CHR
- Volkswagen Jetta, Passat, Atlas
- Audi A3, A4, S3, S5
- BMW 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series
- Tesla Model 3
Tire Sizes for Michelin Defender 2