- Very comfortable and quiet
- Highest levels of grip and traction in dry and wet conditions
- Marvelous aquaplaning resistance
- Plenty of size options
- Not the best choice for harsh winter conditions
We live in an era where cars come in all shapes and sizes. As the automotive industry evolved, it could follow people’s demands for various types of cars carefully. Today, the car market can range from small economy hatchbacks to large SUVs. People choose the type they want and sometimes not for the same reasons.
There were times when big SUVs were the golden standard for people looking for an off-road capable vehicle. The trend is still here, but there seems to be another trend that people are aiming for – roomy interior. You will see plenty of SUVs or light trucks that haven’t been driven a single mile off-road. The main reason is that these types of vehicles are pretty flexible regarding what they can offer.
On the one hand, you have a car that can climb a mountain; on the other hand, it can cruise on the highway with the highest comfort and offer plenty of cargo space. This leads me to the choice for today’s tire review.
Manufacturers are always aiming to provide tires that can satisfy the needs of the customers. In the example of SUVs or trucks that will be driven on the roads, brands offer bigger touring tires. Technically, you are looking at a very similar tire fitted to a sedan, but with a few tweaks and increased size options.
Among the many touring tire manufacturers on the market is Michelin. The French brand delivered us the Defender LTX M/S back in 2015, and 6 years later, it’s still a popular choice.
With that in mind, in this review, I’ll answer the question most of you have: “Is the Defender LTX M/S a good tire?”
What are the features of the Michelin Defender LTX M/S?
The Defender LTX M/S has plenty of features, but the one that Michelin advertises the most is Evertread. This rubber compound is designed to provide longer treadlife in various conditions. While I’m on the subject, the compound is designed to prevent the tire from hardening in colder temperatures to provide performance throughout the year.
On the performance side of things, the combination of the Evertread compound and the Total Performance Package should give the Defender LTX M/S its capabilities in multiple weather conditions.
For handling in dry and wet conditions, the Defender LTX M/S is molded into a symmetric pattern that features 3D sipes and independent blocks. They should increase the grip and traction and reduce the braking distances. In addition to that, the handling should be improved thanks to the stiffer tread blocks.
Another area that Michelin paid attention to is snow performance. The tread pattern is designed to enable the tire to bite into snow and offer decent traction.
The sipes are backed by 4 circumferential grooves, meaning that the Defender LTX M/S can evacuate water better than most tires. As a result, the aquaplaning resistance should be excellent.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
Dry performance with the Defender LTX M/S is excellent, like with most tires in this class.
You will get plenty of traction as the tire has more than enough to put the power down with minimal slip. It’s not impossible to light up the tires, but you won’t experience that unless you put your foot down. The grip is also excellent, and the tire will remain planted through the corners without any issues.
The stiffer tread blocks are doing a decent job at giving the tire some pretty good handling characteristics. Don’t expect Pilot Sport levels of responsiveness, but it’s not too bad for an all-season touring tire. Even though there is some flex in the sidewall, it’s not terrible.
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
The Defender LTX M/S doesn’t disappoint in the wet department and provides excellent performance. It’s easily as good as the Continental CrossContact LX25, which gets high praise for driving in rainy conditions.
There is more than enough grip and traction to give you a safe driving experience. This is also backed by the very short braking distances even with heavier cars. The bar is set pretty high, meaning that even if you push it, the tire won’t let you down.
Aquaplaning resistance is crucial when driving in heavy rain, something that the Defender LTX M/S does excellently.
How is it over snow?
All-season tires have limited performance in snowy conditions, so the Defender LTX M/S doesn’t provide something I haven’t seen before.
With the M+S rating, the tire can offer a decent amount of performance in light conditions. It can find traction easily and won’t feel unsteady. In addition to that, you can also expect very short braking distances, which improves winter safety.
Even though the performance is not as same as on dry or wet roads, you can use it in winter, as long as things aren’t too harsh. In those cases, the tire will begin to struggle. For those situations, a dedicated winter tire will be a much better option.
Is it comfortable and refined?
There is a reason why Michelin is a premium tire manufacturer, something that we can see from how well the Defender LTX M/S is refined.
The comfort levels are among the best in the business, and you won’t find any faults here. You will get a very smooth driving experience thanks to the tire’s ability to absorb the bumps. Larger holes also won’t be a problem, as the tire can numb out the vibrations to a point where you almost won’t feel it.
Noise levels are extremely low, making this a very quiet tire. Regardless of the surface you’re driving on or the speed, the Defender LTX M/S will remain whisper quiet.
Is it good for off-roading?
It’s a tire that would be fitted on an SUV or a light truck, so it’s natural to want it to have some off-roading capabilities. Unfortunately, the Defender LTX M/S isn’t good in this regard.
Off-road tires have much bigger blocks and deeper treads that give them the performance in those conditions. The Defender LTX M/S isn’t designed for that, so any kind of off-roading will be met with very limited performance. Maybe a quick drive on a dirt road would be acceptable, but that’s as much as you should expect from the tire.
Is the Michelin Defender LTX M/S ideal for sporty driving?
I cannot say that the Defender LTX M/S is bad for sporty driving, but it’s not ideal also. There is a decent amount of grip, and the tire is dynamic enough to have fun with it, and the sporty-like performance ends there.
The second problem is the type of car you’d have fitted on. In most cases, SUVs or trucks aren’t meant to be driven on a track, which is why you won’t have a good time. You can have a lot of fun on a twisty road, but don’t expect anything more.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S Warranty
Michelin is often criticized for having a shorter warranty, which isn’t the case with the Defender LTX M/S. The tire comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, as much as the Continental CrossContact LX25 has. With that said, the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra comes with an 80,000-mile warranty.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S Pricing: Is it worth the money?
This is where the Defender LTX M/S starts to fall back behind its competitors. The prices start from a little over $150, which may sound fine, but keep in mind this is for the 15-inch models. For the larger sizes, the tire is $20-30 more expensive than its competitors I mentioned previously.
Should I buy the Michelin Defender LTX M/S?
The Defender LTX M/S is an excellent tire, and there is no reason to avoid it, except for the price.
Performance levels are excellent and among the best and in some cases the best in its class. Dry and wet grip and traction are excellent and provide you with a good and stable experience. Combine that with the short braking distances and excellent aquaplaning resistance, and you have the perfect tire. Winter performance is as good as an all-season tire can provide, so I can’t fault the Defender LTX M/S here.
Refinement is another advantage of the tire. Very comfortable to drive with low noise levels is what a touring tire should be.
The warranty is surprisingly good and on par with some of the rivalry tires, but unfortunately, the price isn’t. Compared with the rest of the tires in this class, the Defender LTX M/S is among the more expensive options.
With that said, the only reason why someone wouldn’t buy this tire is the price. If you are okay with that, then the Defender LTX M/S is a perfect option for any SUV, crossover, or light truck.
What Vehicles Will the Michelin Defender LTX M/S Fit?
Here’s a sample list of cars that the Michelin Defender LTX M/S will fit:
- Chevrolet Blazer, Silverado, Traverse
- Dodge Durango, Ram
- Ford Ranger, Explorer, F-150, Bronco
- GMC Yukon, Sierra
- Hummer H2, H3
- Jeep Wrangler
- Land Rover Defender
- Lexus NX, RX
- Mercedes GLA, GLB, GLC, GLE
- Mitsubishi Outlander, L200
- Nissan Frontier, Pathfinder, Titan, Juke
- Toyota Tacoma, Land Cruiser, 4Runner, Hilux, CH-R
Tire Sizes for Michelin Defender LTX M/S
List of Michelin Tire Reviews