Michelin LTX M S2 vs Defender: A 2021 Analysis

| Last Updated: September 28, 2021

If you drive a light truck, commercial van, or SUV and are looking for a set of tires that will provide you with safety, excellent tread life, and good performance, this review may interest you.

Today, we will explore what makes the Michelin Defender LTX M/S and the Michelin LTX M/S2 two of the best tires for everyday use on work-oriented vehicles.

TL;DR: Michelin LTX M S2 vs Defender

Before we begin analyzing these two incredible tires, it is worth reviewing their pros and cons.

Michelin LTX M/S2

Michelin LTX M/S2 All Season Radial Car Tire for Light Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers, 275/55R20 113H

PROS

  • Unbeatable ride comfort
  • Excellent traction on dry and wet roads

CONS

  • Not available in as many sizes 
  • Slightly lower snow and wet performance

Best For:

Owners of light trucks, commercial vans, and SUVs oriented to daily driving or on-road work.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Michelin Defender LTX M/S All Season Radial Car Tire for Light Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers, 275/55R20 113T

PROS

  • Incredible tread life
  • Amazing wet traction
  • Excellent snow/ice performance

CONS

  • None worth mentioning

Best For:

Owners of light trucks, commercial vans, and SUVs oriented to daily driving or on-road work.

Performance Ratings: LTX M S2 vs Defender

When it comes to tires, the number of miles reported is everything. That's because the higher the number of miles reported by drivers, the more reliable their ratings are.

In the case of the Michelin LTX M/S2, we are talking about 24M+ total reported miles, which places it as 6 out of 45 in the Highway All-Season tires segment. For its part, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S has more than 14M total reported miles which places it as 4 out of 45 in the Highway All-Season tires segment. 

In other words, both tires have enough reported miles to be confident in their ratings, which also means that, in theory, their positions within the Highway All-Season tires segment should not vary considerably.

That said, we have provided the following links to facilitate your navigation through this review.

Off-Road Performance: LTX M S2 vs Defender

Off-Road Performance Ratings

Michelin LTX M S2

Michelin Defender

Off-Road Overall

7.7

8.1

Dirt

8.1

8.6

Sand

7.6

8.1

Mud

7.0

7.6

Rock

7.9

8.2

While neither tire is intended for serious off-road driving, their tread patterns and materials allow you to use your SUV, pick-up truck, or van on dirt roads without problems. That said, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S has a bit of an advantage over the LTX M/S2 thanks to its highly functional tread pattern and high-density 3-D Active Sipes. 

If your daily routine includes frequent off-road trips, then the Michelin Defender LTX M/S is your best alternative.

Dry Performance: LTX M S2 vs Defender

Dry Performance Ratings

Michelin LTX M S2

Michelin Defender

Dry Overall

9.2

9.3

Cornering Stability

9.0

9.2

Dry Traction

9.4

9.5

Steering Response

9.1

9.2

Given that both options are aimed at the same audience and have such similar rankings in the Highway All-Season tire segment, it is not surprising that their dry performance is so similar. In fact, although both tires use different tread designs, the intention remains the same, to offer predictable grip in both straightaways and curves. 

In terms of dry performance, you can't go wrong choosing either of these options. 

Wet Performance: LTX M S2 vs Defender

Wet Performance Ratings

Michelin LTX M S2

Michelin Defender

Wet Overall

9.0

9.2

Hydroplaning Resistance

9.0

9.2

Wet Traction

9.0

9.2

While the arguments made in the previous section are still valid, we are inclined to favor the Michelin Defender LTX M/S in the case of wet performance. 

This is because the tire features four wide circumferential channels along with multiple lateral grooves and open shoulder slots that promote lateral water evacuation. This design allows the tire to have better traction and braking performance on wet roads than the Michelin LTX M/S2, which does not have such an aggressive pattern. 

If you are looking for a tire with excellent grip in adverse weather conditions, then the Michelin Defender LTX M/S gives you a slight advantage over the LTX M/S2.

Snow / Ice Performance: LTX M S2 vs Defender

Snow / Ice Performance Ratings

Michelin LTX M S2

Michelin Defender

Snow / Ice Overall

7.8

8.3

Light Snow Traction

8.4

8.9

Deep Snow Traction

7.6

8.2

Ice Traction

7.3

7.8

Snow performance is arguably one of the main aspects of all-season tires, especially when aimed at commercial vans, pick-up trucks, and SUVs. In that sense, the Defender LTX M/S again takes advantage of its tread pattern to prevail over the Michelin LTX M/S2. 

For this reason, especially on deep snow roads, the Defender can prove to be much more effective than the LTX M/S2. While both tires are good alternatives for use on light snow roads, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S has noticeably better snow/ice performance.

Comfort Performance: LTX M S2 vs Defender

Comfort Performance Ratings

Michelin LTX M S2

Michelin Defender

Overall Comfort

9.0

9.1

Ride Quality

9.1

9.2

Noise

9.0

8.9

This is a category where again, both tires offer exactly the same performance. This is because both share exclusive Michelin technologies such as MaxTouch Construction, which in addition to contributing to better ride quality, also favors even tread wear. In terms of overall comfort, both options provide an unrivaled driving experience in their class.

Treadwear Performance: LTX M S2 vs Defender

Treadwear Performance Rating

Michelin LTX M S2

Michelin Defender

Treadwear

8.8

8.9

When it comes to commercial or daily-driven vehicles, tire life is crucial. Michelin is aware of this, which is why it has used silica-rich compounds in both of these tires, as well as used Michelin's MaxTouch Construction, and reinforced steel belts to ensure structural integrity and even tread wear. So if your main concern is the durability of these tires, rest assured that both of these tires will give you a long service life.

Warranty: LTX M S2 vs Defender

Warranty Type

Michelin LTX M S2

Michelin Defender

Treadlife Warranty

6-year warranty or 70,000 miles (whichever occurs first) / 50,000 miles on LT sizes


This warranty is halved for rear tires when they are different in size from the front tires.

6-year warranty or 70,000 miles (whichever occurs first) / 50,000 miles on R-speed rated


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

Unfortunately, Michelin does not offer a road hazard warranty on this tire

Unfortunately, Michelin does not offer a road hazard warranty on this tire

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).

These tires have exactly the same backing from Michelin regarding the manufacturer’s warranty. Both offer a generous 70,000 mile or 6-year warranty, which is very advantageous for vehicles in continuous on-road use.

Specs & Options: LTX M S2 vs Defender

When it comes to market coverage, both tires offer the most popular sizes for everyday and commercial vehicles. However, while the Michelin LTX M/S2 is only available in tire sizes ranging from 17 inches to 20 inches and rim widths from 245 to 275, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S is available in tire sizes ranging from 15 inches to 22 inches and rim widths from 215 to 295. 

If we talk about UTQG, the Michelin LTX M/S2 is rated 720 A A A, while the Michelin Defender LTX M/S is 800 A A. For more information about this rating, we suggest you read this article.

In terms of available tire sizes, the Defender LTX M/S has a wide advantage over the LTX M/S2.

Reviews: LTX M S2 vs Defender

There are several points to note from the reviews made by drivers who have used these tires. First, both these tires have an incredible level of user satisfaction. Countless comments are describing the outstanding performance of these tires in all weather conditions.

On the other hand, we have the type of vehicles in which these tires are used. As expected, the vast majority of users drive pickup trucks such as the Ford F-Series or Chevrolet Silverado 2500 or commercial vans such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500. We also found numerous drivers of Toyota 4Runner or GMC Yukon, so it is demonstrated that both these options meet the expectations for which they were designed.

As for their ability to withstand the rigors of continuous road work, both tires have reviews from drivers who have successfully used them for over 90,000 miles without any problems.

All in all, both tires deliver on their promise of amazing durability, good performance, and a smooth, comfortable ride all year long.

Quick Recap

Michelin LTX M/S2 All Season Radial Car Tire for Light Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers, 275/55R20 113H

Michelin LTX M/S2

Dry

9.2

Wet

9.0

Snow / Ice

7.8

Comfort

9.0

Treadwear

8.8


Michelin Defender LTX M/S All Season Radial Car Tire for Light Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers, 275/55R20 113T

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Dry

9.3

Wet

9.2

Snow / Ice

8.3

Comfort

9.1

Treadwear

8.9

End of the Road

This review analyzed in-depth two excellent tires aimed at work-oriented vehicles, the Michelin LTX M/S2 and the Michelin Defender LTX M/S. Both provide an excellent level of wet and dry traction as well as adequate grip and braking power on light snowy roads. Since their performance and price are so similar, it is our opinion that either tire is a good choice for your truck.

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.