The Best All-Season Tires are Michelin Defender Tires

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about the best performance all-season tires as selected by Consumer Reports.  What about the best standard all-season tires?  Consumer Reports has done extensive testing of all-season tires for older cars as well — tires that generally have a “T” speed rating (118 mph or 190km/h).

The best standard all-season tires as determined by Consumer Reports are Michelin Defender tires.  These tires are also highly rated by the testers at Tire Rack.

Michelin is on a roll here.

In addition to performing well, Michelin Defender tires come with a 90,000-mile treadlife warranty from Michelin.  Let me repeat that:  90,000 miles.  Your car may wear out before these tires do.

The best all-season tires for standard passenger cars and minivans are Michelin Defender tires.  Consumer Reports rates them number 1.  You can shop for Michelin Defender tires for your car at Tire Rack.

Michelin Defender all-season tires take on the wet with their IntelliSipe Technology. (See more about their technical advantages below.)

My personal experience with Michelin Defender tires over several thousand miles of driving is that they are a confidence-inspiring tire with good all-around performance, both wet and dry.  They’re not too noisy and they transmit about the right amount of road feel (they do certainly let you know when you’re going over expansion joints on the Interstate).  Compared to a cheaper model of Michelin tire I previously had on my Toyota, they are definitely a step up.

Motor Trend magazine wrote an informative article about the Michelin Defender all-season tires.  Here are some of the main points from their article:

Though the full impact of the engineering wizardry that went into Michelin’s new standard touring all-season [tire] may be lost on most consumers, a few things caught our attention.

Michelin’s data showed that car owners were keeping their cars longer, meaning vehicles on the road are racking up more miles and conceivably going through more tires than before. To appeal to this increasingly common customer, Michelin launched its Defender line of standard tires earlier this year, which lasts longer and nets better fuel economy compared to the tires it replaces. The Defender has a 90,000-mile/6-year treadlife warranty, and replaces the previous Harmony and HydroEdge series. Michelin says the tire’s silica-based compound offers good all-season grip and stopping performance, while also providing low rolling resistance for higher efficiency and longer service. Though the compound itself was fascinating, the Defender’s innovative tread design is what sets it apart from its predecessors.

One thing Michelin had to explain to us was the advantages and disadvantages of sipes, the grooves cut into a tire’s compound that make up its tread pattern. A sipe creates an edge that can bite into a surface, providing better grip especially in snow or dirt. Sipes are also good at removing water from the contact patch, and help prevent hydroplaning. But cut too many sipes into a tire, and the tread begins to lose rigidity.  Michelin attempts to address this problem with its Intellisipe Technology, which strengthens the tread by molding the sipes in a way that interlocks the tread blocks. By doing so, Michelin can cut many more sipes into a tire without sacrificing rigidity. This feature by itself isn’t new, but Michelin combined it with its Variable Thickness Sipes (VTS) technology, to further stiffen the Defender’s tread.

In particular, Motor Trend pointed out how the Michelin Defender would not only save car-owners money by lasting longer, but also by saving up to $250 in fuel costs over the life of the tire, as compared to competing tires from other manufacturers.

Consumer Reports selected the Michelin Defender as the best all-season tire with a score of 70 points.  Coming in second in their testing was the Continental ProContact EcoPlus tire, with a score of 68.

You can get both the Michelin Defender all-season tires and Continental ProContact EcoPlus tires from Tire Rack.  Tire Rack offers a number of advantages when it comes to shopping for tires.  For one thing, they offer enough information, test data, and reviews that you will certainly know what you’re getting and how the tires should perform on your car.

Michelin Defender tires are excellent all-season tires for standard passenger cars and minivans.

In addition to Michelin Defender tires, Tire Rack offers all-season tires from other top brands such as Goodyear, Bridgestone, BF Goodrich, Dunlop, Hankook, and Pirelli.  They frequently offer buyer incentives and special deals so you’ll often save money by shopping at their site.  Click here to see all the current deals being offered by Tire Rack.  They also carry wheels, brakes, suspension parts, and other automotive accessories, all backed by impeccable customer service.  If you have any questions about the tires, wheels, or parts you’re shopping for, use the online “Chat” feature on their site.  Or give them a call.

Put the best all-season tires on your car — the Michelin Defender — and hit the road with confidence this summer.


7 thoughts on “The Best All-Season Tires are Michelin Defender Tires

  • Jason LaBine


    Eric Johnson: FYI — I used to own a set of Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires, and with 90,000 miles — these tires outperorm a Brand New set of Defenders in the winter & rainfall!! These tires compare to Goodyear Viva II in wet pavement (which is about the worst tire I’ve ever used — the Viva II, that is). I can barely make traction in minimal snow at a stop sign. These tires are Terrible! To make it worse, Michelin misleads consumers into thinking this is an all season tire, yet it is not. Please read Michelin’s response below regarding this tire & snow. I assure you, this tire is not suitable for even a minimal amount of snowfall, because that is the condition I am driving in right now!!

    *Thank you for contacting Michelin regarding Case number:5102794″

    We are sorry to hear you are not happy with the winter traction on the Michelin, Jason.

    The Defender tire is not manufactured to perform in adverse winter conditions as it is an all-season tire and not a winter tire. This tire also does not have an M+S rating and is NOT recommended to drive in more than light snow. We would recommend the use of a winter tire if you are dissatisfied with your traction as that would be the appropriate tire for your application.

    Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention, Jason.

    It is our goal to ensure that your issue has been resolved or your question answered to your satisfaction. If we can assist you further, please respond to this email or call us at 1-800-642-4354 (toll free) between 8:00AM and 8:00PM Eastern Time Monday through Friday or between 8:30AM and 4:30PM Eastern Time on Saturday.


    Consumer Care Department
    Certified Michelin Product Expert

    • Eric Johnson


      Jason, based on your other comments about this tire (which, to make it clear to others who may read this, I deleted), it’s pretty obvious you have an ax to grind with Michelin. Please note, as I made clear in my post, that not only does Michelin offer this tire as an all-season tire, it is also the top-rated “all-season” tire tested by Consumer Reports (which is an unbiased, non-advertising-related testing organization, regardless of what you may think). However, just because a tire is designated “all-season,” doesn’t mean it’s great in the snow — particularly substantial amounts of snow. You state that it’s not suitable for even a “minimal amount” of snowfall yet you don’t describe what you mean by “minimal amount.” One inch? Four inches? What’s the outside temperature? Is there also ice on the road? How do you drive (a little heavy-footed?)? What type of car, truck, or van do you have? How old is it? Is it rear drive? 4-wheel drive? All of these factors and more affect the performance of tires. That’s why professional testing organizations put tires through their paces under a variety of conditions and with different vehicles. Bottom line, as you make abundantly clear by the inclusion of Michelin’s statement, Michelin does not recommend the Defender for more than light snow.

      If you or anyone else want a superior snow tire, buy a snow tire! (Which I’ve reviewed here.) For all-around use, the Defenders are highly rated for standard cars. Tire shoppers can also read through over 200 customer reviews for this tire at Tire Rack, as well as other online tire retailers. They uniformly receive a high percentage of positive reviews.

      Your comment is like saying, “I bought this broom and it does a terrible job of raking leaves.” Anyway… please be cautious about driving in a minimal amount of snowfall while typing blog comments. 😉

  • melissa



  • mark


    love the tire

  • John Archdeacon


    These tires are great

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *