Michelin Defender vs Premier: A 2021 Analysis

| Last Updated: September 28, 2021

Michelin has extensive experience offering tires targeted to each market segment. However, sometimes they can overlap making it difficult to decide which is the best choice.

That is the case with the Michelin Defender T+H and the Michelin Premier A/S, two exceptional tires targeted at family sedans with similar performance ratings.

In this review, we will explore these similarities but also the differences that make each unique.

TL;DR: Michelin Defender vs Michelin Premier

Before starting the discussion about which tire is better, let's review the pros and cons of each.

Michelin Defender T+H

Michelin 76339 Defender T + H All-Season Radial Tire - 225/60R17 99H

PROS

  • Good value
  • Impressive warranty
  • Outstanding tread life
  • Excellent all-season performance

CONS

  • Ratings may still change over time
  • Slightly lower wet and snow performance than Premier A/S

Best For:

Family sedans, minivans, and crossovers require a tire with unsurpassed tread life and predictable year-round performance.

Michelin Premier A/S

Michelin Premier A/S All-Season Radial Car Tire for Luxury Performance and Passenger Cars; 225/45R18 91V

PROS

  • Excellent snow/ice performance
  • Better wet grip 
  • Predictable performance backed by millions of reported miles

CONS

  • Less tread durability 
  • Slightly more expensive

Best For:

Drivers of sedans, coupes, and crossovers looking for a tire with good durability and excellent performance regardless of the time of year.

Performance Ratings: Defender vs Premier

An important point to consider when comparing two tires is the reliability of their ratings. In simple terms, the higher the number of miles reported, the greater the reliability of the scores exhibited by the different ratings.

That said, on the one hand, we have the Michelin Defender T+H, which has 2M+ reported miles yet is ranked 4 out of 18 in the Standard Touring All-Season segment. On the other hand, we have the Michelin Premier A/S with over 10M reported miles, ranking 17 out of 56 in the Grand Touring All-Season segment.

This tells us that despite its ranking, the Premier A/S has the advantage of having more reliable ratings than the Defender T+H. 

Now, for your convenience, we have provided the following links to facilitate your navigation.

Dry Performance: Defender vs Premier

Dry Performance Ratings

Michelin Defender

Michelin Premier

Dry Overall

9.2

9.0

Cornering Stability

9.2

9.0

Dry Traction

9.5

9.2

Steering Response

9.1

8.9

We can see how the Michelin Defender T+H outperforms its peer, the Michelin Premier A/S, by a small margin in the dry performance category. This surely has to do with Michelin's IntelliSipe technology, which gives the Defender optimal contact with the road. 

However, we must not forget that the Premier A/S is a Michelin Total Performance tire, so in practice, this difference in performance may go unnoticed. In short, if you are looking for the best alternative in terms of dry traction and cornering stability, then the Defender T+H offers you a slight advantage over the Premier A/S.

Wet Performance: Defender vs Premier

Wet Performance Ratings

Michelin Defender

Michelin Premier

Wet Overall

8.8

9.1

Hydroplaning Resistance

8.9

9.0

Wet Traction

8.8

9.1

Michelin’s EverGrip Technology has paid off in this category by placing the Premier ahead of the Defender. Both the Expanding Rain Grooves and the Emerging Grooves across the shoulders of the Michelin Premier A/S achieve better water management than its counterpart. 

While the Defender T+H features a high silica tread compound, the tread design of the Michelin Premier A/S has finally surpassed it. If you are looking for a tire that offers the best traction in adverse weather conditions, then the Premier A/S is your best choice.

Snow / Ice Performance: Defender vs Premier

Snow / Ice Performance Ratings

Michelin Defender

Michelin Premier

Snow / Ice Overall

7.2

7.5

Light Snow Traction

7.9

8.2

Deep Snow Traction

7.0

7.2

Ice Traction

6.6

7.0

Snow/ice performance is another category where these two models have very similar ratings. Despite this, the Premier again comes out on top in these conditions. 

We must remember that the ratings of the Michelin Premier A/S are much more reliable than those of the Michelin Defender T+H, so although the numerical difference is small, it is significant that the Defender fails to catch up with the Premier. For this reason, in terms of traction on snow and ice, your best alternative is the Michelin Premier A/S.

Comfort Performance: Defender vs Premier

Comfort Performance Ratings

Michelin Defender

Michelin Premier

Overall Comfort

8.7

8.7

Ride Quality

8.8

8.9

Noise

8.5

8.5

Given Michelin's emphasis on providing the best possible driving experience, we are not surprised by the results in this category. Both options offer the ride quality you would expect from a premium tire. The same applies to their low noise levels that guarantee a pleasant and smooth ride. Taking the above into account, our opinion is that you can't go wrong choosing either of these two tires. 

Treadwear Performance: Defender vs Premier

Treadwear Performance Ratings

Michelin Defender

Michelin Premier

Treadwear

8.8

6.8

This is possibly the category where the differences between these two options are most noticeable. The Defender is aimed at owners of family sedans that require a long-lasting tire. 

The Michelin Premier A/S, on the other hand, is more focused on drivers who prefer a tire with excellent dry and wet performance, where durability is important but is not the most important aspect as it is in the case of the Defender. In other words, if you are looking for a tire with unmatched tread life, then the Michelin Defender T+H is your best bet.

Warranty: Defender vs Premier

Warranty Type

Michelin Defender

Michelin Premier

Treadlife Warranty

6-year warranty or 80,000 miles (whichever occurs first). This warranty is halved for rear tires when they are different in size from the front tires.

6-year warranty or 60,000 miles (whichever occurs first). This warranty is halved for rear tires when they are different in size from the front tires.

Uniformity Warranty

One year of use or the first 2/32" of wear.

One year of use or the first 2/32" of wear.

Workmanship / Materials Warranty

6-year warranty and free tire replacement for the first year, 2/32" wear, or 25% wear.

6-year warranty and free tire replacement for the first year, 2/32" wear, or 25% wear.

Road Hazard Warranty

None

None

Tire Rack Road Hazard Warranty

Refunds of up to $40 for repairs per tire per occurrence. Refund of the original purchase price or replacement purchase price (whichever is less) when the tire suffers non-repairable damage (valid within the first 2 years of use).

Refunds of up to $40 for repairs per tire per occurrence. Refund of the original purchase price or replacement purchase price (whichever is less) when the tire suffers non-repairable damage (valid within the first 2 years of use).

Although both tires have exceptional warranties, the 80k mile Treadlife Warranty on the Defender T+H is hard to ignore. Add to this the fact that it is less expensive than the Michelin Premier A/S and you have a winning combination.

Specs & Options: Defender vs Premier

Both of these are available in the most popular sizes on the market. In the case of the Michelin Defender T+H, you can get it in rim sizes ranging from 14 inches to 18 inches and rim widths from 185 to 235. In the case of the Michelin Premier A/S, it is available in rim sizes from 15 inches to 19 inches and rim widths from 185 to 245.

As for the UTQG, the Michelin Premier A/S is classified as 640 A A A while the Michelin Defender T+H is classified as 820 A B. For more information on the UTQG we suggest you read this article.

In terms of market coverage, both of these tires offer a wide range of sizes to choose from.

Reviews: Defender vs Premier

As expected, both have excellent reviews from drivers who have used them in their vehicles.

Despite the slight differences in their ratings, users of both tires praise their all-weather performance. We found no complaints from either tires on wet roads or snow. It is worth mentioning that most of the vehicles where these tires have been tested are family sedans and crossovers. So from the point of view of the type of vehicle they are used on, both have proven to be equally competent.

That leaves us with the aspect of tread longevity. Contrary to what you might think, drivers who have used the Michelin Premier A/S are very satisfied with its durability. By performing timely maintenance (tire rotation), many users have been able to exceed 60k with ease. Needless to say, Michelin Defender T+H users are very happy with the durability of the tire.

All in all, based on driver feedback alone, either of these two tires will meet your expectations for performance, safety, and tire life.

Quick Recap

Michelin 76339 Defender T + H All-Season Radial Tire - 225/60R17 99H

Michelin Defender T+H

Dry

9.2

Wet

8.8

Snow / Ice

7.2

Comfort

8.7

Treadwear

8.8


Michelin Premier A/S All-Season Radial Car Tire for Luxury Performance and Passenger Cars; 225/45R18 91V

Michelin Premier A/S

Dry

9.0

Wet

9.1

Snow / Ice

7.5

Comfort

8.7

Treadwear

6.8

End of the Road

In this review, we analyzed two fabulous tires aimed at family sedans, minivans, and crossovers for daily driving, the Michelin Defender T+H and the Michelin Premier A/S. We have seen in both ratings and driver reviews that both offer excellent all-season performance. To that end, both of these are excellent choices for your car, with the only difference being tread durability, where the Defender T+H outperforms the Premier A/S.

Damaso has been in the automotive world since he was 14 years old and his father decided to bought an auto repair shop. Years later, his passion for electronics, computers, and automotive mechanics motivated him to graduate in Mechanical Engineering and venture into the sales of automotive equipment. For years Damaso worked as a technical advisor assisting car dealerships, tire shops, and even the plants of Toyota and Mitsubishi that operate in his country. He has over 25 years of experience reporting on topics ranging from DIY jobs, technological analysis, automotive news, and more. He is a wealth of information and a valued member of our team.