Michelin Defender vs Crossclimate 2

Both these are all-season tires from Michelin. Crossclimate 2 is a grand touring tire, while Defender LTX suits highway driving. Both are available in various sizes, ranking as a good solution for people looking for reliable tires that work in all weather conditions.

Crossclimate 2 provides supreme dry and wet traction, standing reliable in dry, hot and rainy conditions. Furthermore, its specialized composition enables it to allow good traction in light snow. Its efficient noise-reducing design and enhanced road grip offer great ride comfort.

Defender characterizes alternating continuous ribs and grooves accounting for a completely safe ride on the wet road without the trouble of hydroplaning. Plus, its fully commanded steering response allows efficient handling of the vehicle while cornering. With its open design and durable tread composition, it lasts for many years without compromising on its performance.

In comparison, Michelin Defender LTX has better steer handling, stronger hydroplaning resistivity, and enhanced durability, while Crossclimate 2 scores higher for its firm road grip, fuel efficiency and relatively lower price.

Quick Comparison table

 Crossclimate 2Defender LTX
Tire typeAll-seasonAll-season
UsageGrand touringHighway
3 peak mountain snow flake rated (3PMSF)yesno
Tested size235/60R18 107H XL235/60R18 107H XL
Tread depth10/32’’12/32’’
Tread width6.8’’7.3’’
Max. inflation pressure50 psi50 psi
Max. load2149 kg2149 kg

Comparing Tread Pattern: Michelin Crossclimate 2 vs Defender LTX

Michelin Crossclimate 2
Michelin Crossclimate 2 Tread Pattern

Tread of Crossclimate 2 characterizes a V-form, directional design with two central rows of elongated blocks that are closely placed, forming a narrow, zigzag-shaped groove. Its shoulder blocks are comparatively less wide and have broad channels among them. Moreover, its sides are bevelled, and the central portion is slightly raised than its shoulders. Central blocks are edged with V-Ramp Chamfers; this little modification significantly enhances the biting ability of its tread. Its tread has lesser depth than its competitor; thus, its longitudinal grooves are narrower and shallower, specifying a minimal vacuum. However, the lateral grooves are quite wide in comparison. Each block carries a central sipe that is mostly rectilinear, but it becomes wave-like in the central portion of the tire.

Defender ltx ms Michelin
Defender Tread Pattern

Defender specifies a relatively open tread designed using Michelin MaxTouch construction. It has three central ribs comprising small, square-shaped blocks among four alternatively running grooves. All of its longitudinal grooves are comparatively broad, deeper and continuous along the whole circumference. However, its shoulder lugs are bulky and lateral channels are narrow in comparison. Each of its tread block is marked with multiple zig-zagged, full depth, 3D active sipes.

Tire Performance Comparison

 Crossclimate 2Defender LTX
Hydroplaning resistanceModerateLow
Rolling resistanceHighModerate
Driving comfortHighModerate
Off roading abilityLowModerate

Road Grip Comparison

Crossclimate 2 provides a better dry grip owing to its larger contact patch. Compact block arrangement accounts for the firm connection of tread with the road. Furthermore, V-Ramp Chafing of central ribs allows more biting edges, resultantly you will get an enhanced grip on a dry road. Its performance also ranks higher when you use it over a wet or icy pathway as the standing water quickly squirms out from the tread due to interconnected grooves and bevelled tread. Besides that, improved snow traction is the characteristic that distinguishes this tire from the competitor and other all-season options. Its thermal adaptive polymer accounts for better grip in snowy areas

In the case of Defender, small and widely placed blocks decrease the surface area of tread in contact with the road which eventually leads to a lesser grip on dry pavements. We see a similar condition on wet and icy paths. Although its enhanced hydroplaning resistivity improves the stability of tread on the wet surface its overall grip is ranked below its contestant due to its lower contact patch. On light snow, it has the advantage of deeper channels which allow good evacuation of snow from tread but its grip remains lesser in comparison because its tread compound allows lesser traction on a snowy path.

 Crossclimate 2Defender LTX
Dry GripHighModerate
Wet/ice GripModerateHigh
Snow GripHighLow-moderate

Handling Comparison

Defender LTX takes the lead when it comes to steering management on a dry road because its bulkier shoulders show firm grip and more responsiveness with tiring over the corners. Similarly, its handling on wet and icy surface is superior as the deep and broad lateral grooves smoothly channel the water out from the tread, reducing the danger of aquaplaning while taking turns. However, we do not find its performance on light snow much impressive because the snow traction ability of its tread compound is lesser than the competitor.

On the other side, Michelin Crossclimate presents less efficient dry handling because its widely spaced shoulder lugs grip the surface less firmly than the competitor does. On a wet road or ice, its performance again gets a lower score due to small shoulder blocks. Nevertheless, this tire provides a better experience when you drive along the corner on a light snow-covered path. This feature is credited to its thermal adaptive composition that ensures traction between snow and tread surface.

 Crossclimate 2Defender LTX
Dry HandlingLowHigh
Wet/ice HandlingModerateHigh
Snow HandlingHighLow

Comparison of Hydroplaning Resistance 

Michelin Defender scores higher for its enhanced hydroplaning resistivity as compared to the contestant. Continuous longitudinal channels, deeper tread and high density of full-depth, 3D zigzag sipes provide excellent evacuation of water, minimizing the chances of slipping over wet pavement.

In contrast, Crossclimate 2 also presents reliable aquaplaning resistance but it stands below the competition. Its circular tread efficiently directs water out from its lateral grooves however, shallower channels provide lesser water holding capacity and fewer sipes lead to decreased water wiping efficiency.

Comparison of Rolling Resistance

Crossclimate experiences more rolling friction than its competitor as its denser pattern and chamfered biting edges lead to an increased connection between road and tread surface. On one side this high contact patch provides traction but on the other side, it makes the rolling process very energy-soaking. Hence, its tread requires more energy to roll over the pavement. Resultantly, a good amount of fuel is consumed to provide for the hysteresis (energy loss) produced.

The Defender can roll over the road relatively easily because it has a lesser contact patch in comparison. Hence, less hysteresis is produced when it moves. This feature makes it more fuel-efficient than its competitor because lesser fuel would be consumed for rolling the tires.

Comparison of Noise and comfort

Crossclimate 2 ranks higher for comfort comparison due to its superior dry and wet traction. Driving experience on these tires is more comfortable because their higher contact patch results in better road grip and more controlled steer response. Michelin has used PIANO Noise Reduction Tuning to design its tread pattern, resultantly, its narrow and multi-cornered channels minimize air circulation, causing decreased sound production.

Conversely, Defender offers a less comfortable driving experience and more noise production in comparison. The massive vacuum between its continuous circumferential grooves allows free circulation of wind, producing loud tire noise. Moreover, relatively lesser tread grip decreases the comfort of driving especially at high speeds.

Tread compound and structure Comparison

Crossclimate 2 is molded from thermal adaptive all-season compound of Michelin tires which makes its performance in winter conditions superior to its competitor, allowing better temperature endurance and good snow traction. Due to this reason it carries the 3 peak mountain snow flake rating (3PMSF). However, this compound is relatively softer and specifies lesser wear protection in comparison.

On the other hand, Defender composition includes Michelin patented Evertread compound that is tough and wear resilient. Resultantly, its tread is hard in comparison but it shows lesser snow traction because no specialized enhancements are added in its composition to improve its snow crawling properties.

 Crossclimate 2Defender LTX
Tread compoundThermal adaptive all-season compoundEverTread compound
Rim CarcassTwin steel beltsTwin steel belts

Durability and treadwear

Defender is a comparatively more durable all-season tire due to its EverTread composition and open tread pattern. Its low contact patch results in slower consumption of tread against rolling resistance. Similarly, its tread polymer wears down quite slowly and shows a good weather resistance. This tire specifies polymer structuring over twin steel belts, hence, its internal structure is also robust. And its higher UTQG value makes its longevity further evident. That is why, the company backs its tread life with a longer mileage warranty. Michelin provides warranty for up to 70,000 miles on these tires within 6 years of purchase.

In contrast, Crossclimate 2 ranks less durable due to its soft tread composition and greater rolling resistance. Its tread polymer is consumed more quickly due to its softer texture and lesser wear resilience. Likewise, high rolling friction also causes a faster wear and tear. For these reasons it gets a lower UTQG value and carries a shorter warranty from the manufacturer. It has a treadwear warranty guaranteeing an optimized performance up to 60,000 miles.

 Crossclimate 2Defender LTX
UTQG640 B A720 A A
Treadwear warranty60,000miles/ 6 years70,000miles/ 6 years
Uniformity warranty1 year first 2/32’’1 year first 2/32’’
Workmanship warranty6 years6 years


Defender is priced higher among these two Michelin products but it also comes with the benefits of better handling and higher slip resistance on wet tracks. Moreover, you get the long-term financial advantage of longer tread life. The set of four tires usually comes for $900 to $1000.

Conversely, Crossclimate 2 comes cheaper yet its road grip, winter performance and fuel efficiency make it a good choice. Its price for four sets spans from $975 to $1080.


Quick Summary

Defender is a highway all season and Crossclimate is a grand touring all season tire.

Defender LTX…

  • is comparatively durable and expensive tire.
  • takes the lead for steer handling.
  • has enhanced hydroplaning efficiency.
  • comes with a longer treadwear mileage warranty from the manufacturers.

CrossClimate 2…

  • provides a better grip on a paved path.
  • faces lesser rolling friction in comparison.