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Michelin Defender LTX vs Goodyear Wrangler TrailRunner AT

Michelin Defender LTX vs Goodyear Wrangler TrailRunner AT: Defender is an all-season highway tire while Wrangler is an all-season, all-terrain tire. Defender presents supreme traction on paved tracks; its performance is especially impressive on the wet and icy road. Moreover, it provides a confident off-road experience despite being an all-season tire.

TrailRunner shows admirable performance in rough terrains owing to its aggressive tread design. Stone ejection makes it a suitable option for trail hiking. Both of these are durable tires and come with treadwear warranties.

General Comparison:

Goodyear Wrangler TrailRunner AT


Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Defender’s tread shows a contemporary, symmetrical look having four circumferential grooves alternating with three rows of closely placed squared blocks, narrow lateral voids, full depth zigzag siping, and box-shaped shoulder lugs. The central part contains four wide, longitudinal grooves between block rows and relatively narrow horizontal grooves between adjacent blocks, however, shoulder grooves are wider. Edges of its blocks are linear and lack biting textures. Zigzag sipes are marked over blocks in full depth, even the sidewall lugs have them. Shoulders are formed by rectangular blocks. It does not have stone ejecting elements.

Wrangler comes with an aggressive look characterizing irregularly shaped bold blocks, numerous sipes, the interconnected framework of lateral and circumferential grooves, hefty shoulders, and textured sidewall lugs. A network of grooves is formed by horizontal and longitudinal spacing among raised tread blocks. Its lugs are small, angularly shaped, have notches upon their edges, and are marked by full depth, multi-angled siping. Shoulder blocks are large, sturdy, and siped. Little, bumpy stone ejectors are embossed in its voids to prevent the tread from gravel scratches.

On-Road Traction Comparison

Defender presents superior performance on road. Its closely placed, box-shaped blocks make the contact patch higher in comparison, leading to better grip on paved surfaces. Semi-continuous ribs and symmetrical design provide directional stability; hence, its tread can maintain a constant grip while rolling on road. Large shoulder lugs efficiently manage the load when the vehicle turns about, hence, offer smoother steering. Deep grooves and full-depth 3D sipes wipe the water away to prevent hydroplaning and allow the tread to grip strongly on the wet road.

Wrangler shows lesser on-road traction in comparison as it has low contact patch due to the network of wide grooves among the irregular blocks. These small blocks present less surface area to maintain the contact of tread with the road, resulting in lesser grip. However, strengthened shoulders can maintain stability while taking turns. Deep voids and sipes wipe off water and sustain the tread’s grip on the wet road. However, it stands behind in the competition overall.

Off-Road Traction Comparison

Mud Terrain

LTX shows better off-road performance than most all-season tires but in comparison with the AT, it ranks below as its boxed blocks, directional pattern and narrow lateral grooves tend to decrease its traction on rough surfaces. Its blocks possess less biting ability in mud due to smoother edges. Less prominent lateral grooves minimize its evacuation capacity to channel out mud. Resultantly mud stuffing can lead to poor grip. Boxed shoulder blocks lacking any texturing, manage steering response in muddy areas less firmly in comparison.

Wrangler takes the lead when roaming about mudding areas because not only smaller notched blocks have more biting edges to hold on the rugged surface but also interconnected deep voids are capable of throwing mud out from the tread quickly, leading to firm traction in mud. As shoulders are siped and have wide grooves among blocks, there comes no trouble while turning about on boggy tracks.

Snow Terrain

Defender loses from the competitor when it comes to snow performance. Wide circumferential grooves allow it to roll confidently through soft snow, however, comparatively narrow lateral channels make its evacuation capacity lesser in comparison. On the ice, the story goes reverse as a larger contact patch provides the favor of good grip, and full-depth sipes along with deep voids account for its competence against slipping over such surfaces.

TrailRunner shows superior performance in light snow as its channels are designed to channel out snow and slush through them proficiently. Notched edges of central as well as shoulder blocks provide biting ability over the loose surface. On icy surfaces, it finds a little bit of trouble as small blocks account for lesser grip on the even surface. However, deep voids and sipes keep it safe from slipping off as they wipe away water from the surface.

Rock Terrain

In rocky terrain, Defender performs lesser as compared with the contestant due to its linear design and lack of stone ejectors. As discussed before, smoother block edges present decreased biting ability on uneven surfaces of rocky slopes. The absence of stone ejecting elements makes it vulnerable to stones and rock fragments, which increases the chances of punctures and cuts.

TrailRunner shows better performance when crawling through rocky trails as its aggressive tread provides better traction and stone ejectors keep sharp stony particles away. Rugged design accounts for relatively greater biting ability on the rough rocky surface and maintains a firm grip as the vehicle goes up on inclined paths. Small stone ejectors are embossed in grooves to bounce back the bombarding gravel particles and pebbles which may harm the tread by drilling punctures or making grooves functionally useless by stone clogging. Step-notching of sidewalls and strong shoulders enhance lateral stability.


Defender provides quieter ride on paved track as semi-continuous ribs tend to block the circulation of sound waves crosswise, resultantly lesser noise is produced. Supreme traction on-road makes it a more comfortable option for street driving.

Wrangler is a comparatively noisier tire as its voids offer a larger vacuum for circulation and collision of air particles, leading to loud tire sound. In comparison with its all-season competitor, it offers a lesser comfort level on the pavement, due to relatively minimized on-road traction.

Durability and Treadwear

LTX is more durable in comparison owing to its supreme rubber composition. Michelin builds it using its MaxTouch Construction technology which makes it an eco-friendly tire with supreme on-road traction and providing a good fuel average. Evertread compound can withstand different weather conditions, making its tread resilient and long-lasting. Steel belts present in its internal construction provide additional strength. Its superior durability is indicated by the higher UTQG rating of 800.  It is also backed by a manufacturer’s warranty for tread life up to 70,000 miles.

TrailRunner lasts lesser in comparison as its tread rubber is not as robust as the competitor, however, it is resilient enough to make Wrangler a fairly durable tire among the all-terrain options. It has been molded out from a chip and wear resistant tread compound while the internal construction includes a two-ply polyester cord reinforced by twin steel belts and spirally-wrapped nylon. It has a 580 UTQG rating and comes with a treadwear warranty up to 55,000 miles.

Which tire costs lesser?

Defender costs more money than TrailRunner but it has long-term economic advantages of longer tread life expectancy and lesser fuel consumption as its directionally stable design minimizes friction while rolling. On the other side, Wrangler offers fun on off-road hikes at a better purchasing price.

Quick Summary

  • Defender displays supreme grip and steer handling on paved road.
  • TrailRunner offers a better experience when rolling over surfaces covered with soft snow or mud.
  • Wrangler takes the lead in terms of dealing with gravel.
  • Defender is fuel-efficient, shows higher longevity, and comes with a longer tread life warranty. It also provides quieter road trips with higher driving comfort.
  • Goodyear Wrangler is affordable compared to its counterpart.
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