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Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 vs Michelin Defender LTX MS

Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 vs Michelin Defender LTX MS: Michelin Defender has been marketed as the new all-weather Michelin tire that makes use of the latest technology the French company has to offer- Michelin’s IntelliSipe technology.

The Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 caters to multiple classes of vehicles such as sedans, minivans, coupes, and small crossover vehicles.

It was designed by the Japanese company to give better fuel efficiency, leave a smaller carbon footprint and yield durable all-weather traction.

Ecopia was also very interesting to see here: Bridgestone Ecopia vs Turanza.

Dry traction comparison

Michelin Defender LTX MS

Michelin Defender LTX MS

With a hefty price tag and the good repute that these two companies enjoy, you’d expect them to ace the dry traction tests; and that’s just what they did!

Both the Bridgestone Ecopia and Michelin Defender proved to be excellent performers in this category with the Michelin tire taking the edge over the Ecopia ever so slightly.

Michelin’s IntelliSipe technology and the increased number of sipes on the wheel ensured that braking, accelerating, and turning corners on dry surfaces were smooth and effortless. The grip and handling remained exceptional even after running these tires for over 20,000 miles.

To cut down on different variables, we chose the 215/60R17 96T BSW size variants of both these tires and tested them on Toyota Camry 2019 model.

The braking distance, when tested on a dry surface at a speed of 60mph, came out to be 24m for the Defender and 27m for Ecopia.

The Ecopia results were impressive as well and for the most part, the grip and handling on dry surfaces were on par with if not better than the Defender.

However, after running them for about 21,000 miles, they suffered from progressively worse traction control which is why Michelin’s Defender wins this category.

Also Check out Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 tire.

Wet traction comparison

Both the tires were again neck and neck in this category and delivered excellent results.

However, Michelin’s Defender once again came out on top.

Michelin’s better performance came due in part to the tire’s design. The four circumferential grooves and multiple lateral grooves work together to substantially enhance the tire’s grip on wet surfaces.

The end result is better handling under both light and torrential rain. The tires did suffer slightly, however, when braking corners.

In this category, we tested the traction on a wet road with 2mm of water with a standard speed of 60 mph. The braking distances for the Defender and Ecopia came out to be 28 and 31m respectively.

The Ecopia fell short of the Defender’s performance by at least 10%, however, the grip and handling on wet surfaces were still impressive, as it would be for a tire in this price range.

Circumferential grooves were again a feature of this tire, which helped evacuate any water away from the tire. Though both the tires had comparable performances under light rain, the Ecopia lagged substantially (even more so than the Defender) in both braking and turning corners under heavy rain. Hence the Defender takes the win again.

Snow traction comparison

The performance under snowy conditions was decent at best- as would be expected from a set of all-season tires.

Most of the testing we did was under light snow with no more than two inches of snow on the road. If you’re looking for tires that perform significantly better under both light and heavy snow, specialized snow tires are the ones for you.

This is one category where the Ecopia surprisingly came out on top. The tire, owing to the use of Bridgestone’s Nano-Tech silica tread compound, gave usable traction and handling results in light snow.

This was more impressive when compared with the Defenders which seemed to be more prone to slipping and losing control.

However, with minimal snow and maximum caution, we deemed both these tires to be usable on an average snowy day.

Hydroplaning comparison

With the premium water evacuation mechanisms these tires had to offer, both the Ecopia and Defender gave impressive hydroplaning resistance especially under heavy rain. Both tires utilized circumferential grooves in their designs which served as effective water evacuating mechanisms.

As would be expected, however, the Defenders gave slightly better hydroplaning resistance and traction control through their use of hundreds of lateral grooves.

Both tires performed admirably though and we are of the opinion that both of them can be safe to drive on wet/flooded roads.

Ride comfort comparison

With the premium price tag, you’d again expect premium performance in the comfort category and according to our tests, neither of these tires failed to meet our expectations.

The Ecopia’s use of two steel belts with the additional reinforcement of nylon made for some comfortable driving even when potholes and bumps were encountered.

The Defenders, however, gave better comfort results by a margin of at least 8%. The tire’s steel belts, polyester cord body, and the MaxTouch construction ensured that the overall driving experience was noticeably better when compared with the Ecopia.

For daily use, both these products gave the premium performance you’d expect them to and the slight difference that comes out with rigorous testing has more to do with side by side comparisons than with any deficiency in either of the tires.

Rolling resistance comparison

Both the Ecopia and the Defender come with the promise of lower rolling resistance and better fuel mileage.

We found that both the tires were neck and neck in this category and thanks to their exceptional individual designs, no clear winner could be chosen in this category.

The Ecopia again made use of its Nano-Tech silica tread compound with the end result being a rolling resistance so low that its become the main selling point for these tires!

The Defender, on the other hand, made use of its Green X and IntelliSipe technology with a distinct interlocking mechanism which allows the tread block to become more rigid and enhance the rolling resistance.

As stated above, both the tires were equally impressive in this category.

Comparison of off-road driving experience

Since neither of these tires specializes in off-road driving, the experience was not one to actively seek out.

Neither tire is suited to prolonged off-road driving especially on surfaces such as sand, gravel, or mud.

Owing to the advanced tread patterns, however, both tires gave acceptable traction control on in-city off-road tracks and tracks with mild levels of dirt.

Though the traction suffered for both Ecopia and the Defender as the terrain got rough, the Defender with its multiple sipes tread pattern fared fairly better as compared to the Ecopia.

Comparison of steering responsiveness

This was another category where the results these two products delivered were equally impressive. The type of surface you drive on generally affects the steering responsiveness substantially, so to cut down on that variable we tested the steering responsiveness of both these tires on a dry surface.

Michelin’s breakthrough IntelliSipe technology combined with the increased number of sipes these tires had to offer were the main driving force behind the crisp braking and handling the Defender had to offer. Cutting corners was, in particular, a surprisingly pleasant experience.

Meanwhile, Ecopia’s use of its Nano-Tech silica tread compound meant that the traction, braking and handling we got from the use of these tires was on par with what the Defender had to offer,

The equally impressive responsiveness we got out of both these tires meant that no clear victor could be chosen from this category.

Comparison of environment-friendliness

One of the main selling points advertised by Bridgestone about their Ecopia tire was the promise of an eco-friendly tire with significantly reduced carbon emissions.

We found that, for the most part, the tire does live up to this claim.

The Japanese manufacturer made the use of recycled ground rubber prepared from ground-up used tires. Additionally, the Nano-Tech technology reduces the interaction between filler materials, polymers and other rubber chemicals at the molecular level.

Overall, these factors combined to give a tire that leaves behind a much smaller carbon footprint than its competitor.

The Michelin tire made no promises of being environmentally friendly and made no use of recycled materials in the manufacturing process. These factors culminated in a clear victory for the Ecopia in this category.

Comparison of tread wear

Much to our surprise, both tires suffered heavily in this category. At least they did so when compared with the hefty warranty they came with.

The Ecopia was warranted by Bridgestone for 65,000 miles meaning that we expected premium, long-lasting and durable performance for at least 60,000 miles.

However, according to most reviews, the tire’s performance began to deteriorate at about 25,000 miles with alarming signs of tread wear at 30,000 miles.

The Defender on the other hand came with a warranty of a whopping 90,000 miles. Yet the actual performance was far from this claim.

Most users reported a significant decline in the tire’s condition at 40,000 miles with the tire being practically unusable after 65,000 miles for most.

You could say the Defender outperforms the Ecopia in this category; if you’re looking for a longer-lasting tire then Michelin’s tire is the one for you. However, it should be emphasized that neither tire lived up to its lofty expectations in this category.

Final thoughts

With the detailed side by side analysis of both these tires, it’s evident that Michelin’s Defender comes out on top as the clear winner.

The French company outperformed its Japanese counterpart in most of the categories and where it did lag behind (such as in environmental friendliness and snow traction), the difference seemed to be minimal.

However, the categories where it did emerge as a victor, it did surpass the Ecopia by a considerable margin. The product comes with a 60-day buy and try guarantee and 3 years of roadside assistance.

It should be emphasized that the Ecopia is by no means a bad tire and it’s also worth noting that these tires come with a 90-day buy and try guarantee by Bridgestone.

The performance is delivered in most categories was acceptable for the most part but compared to the impeccable results the Defender delivered, the Ecopia fell flat.

Therefore, our clear winner in this side by side comparison of two impressive all-weather tires, the Defender emerged as the clear victor.

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