Both the Michelin X Tour AS2 and the Michelin Defender 2 are premium all season tires, and they are the same. The AS/2 is basically club exclusive tire, and it’s the Costco version of Defender 2, though there are some differences in the sizes, which you’ll find below.
Both tires are also equipped with similar technologies, and both focuses on bringing you with dry grip, fuel efficiency and better tread life. Let’s check out their tread pattern.
Michelin X Tour AS2
Michelin Defender 2
The Michelin Defender 2 features a straight forward design with 3 columns in the middle making a continuous rib in the center most and blocks on the sides with wave-like lateral grooves.
With continuous rib in the middle the tire optimized for maximum contact with the road, and with full depth countless siping on this rib, things are also not compromised in the wet conditions as well.
The surrounding ribs are also a little bit optimized, where these blocks (highlighted with orange) also carry similar siping pattern, and in order to keep these blocks stable, tie bars are placed between the grooves.
(Learn all tread design features).
On the other side, the Michelin X Tour AS 2 provides you with the same tread, and there are no differences there.
The continuous central ribs is the same, along with surrounding blocks and siping pattern.
Similarly, if we look at the shoulders, both tires offer a same design here as well, where all blocks are connected to each other with connectors.
Compared to central blocks, less siping is seen here, and the pattern is also a little different as the sipes here make a mixture of wave-like and rectilinear pattern.
On the very outer edges, these sipes then join in to J shaped grooves which are designed for on road handling and noise reduction.
Michelin X Tour A/S 2 offers just 19 sizes where the Defender 2 gives you with 33, where they are also available in 19″ rim sizes.
Both tires have similar specs:
|Speed Rating||H (on all)|
|Load Range||1356 to 2149 lbs|
|Weight Range||25 to 32 lbs|
|Tread Depth||10.5/32″ (on all)|
|Section Width||8 to 10″|
Durability is not a strong suit for these tires, as they offer a weaker inner construction compared to their predecessors.
Where usually most of the tires (in all season category) offer you with 2 ply polyester casing as inner construction, both of these tires just offer a single ply.
This 1 ply polyester cover has 2 running steel belts on top, which are then reinforced with a single ply polyamide.
So compared to other premium options, these tires are not so durable.
But with this, the tire improves it’s other on road factors, such as comfort, noise, mileage and tread life.
When it comes to overall quality of ride, besides handling stability, (which would be covered in later topics), tread noise and the tire’s ability to absorb shocks come in to play.
Let’s start with noise.
These tires are very good at dampening the overall tread noise, as there isn’t too much noise to begin with. Let me explain.
Most of the noise is generated by air (the rest is rolling noise, the texture noise and so on).
This air enters the tire (for the most part) from the shoulder gaps. So it makes sense how these tires with ribs placed there provide such a quieter ride.
Some companies call it whisper grooves technology.
The J shaped outer grooves also restrict the air from entering the lateral grooves directly, so very less air hits the walls of the tread (to produce noise).
Both tires furthermore, also makes variable pitches thorough the tires, where the slight variations in their sizes allow them to produce different tones whenever air hits them, so sound is not synced to produce what we call humming.
Comfort is another part of ride quality, which indicated the tire’s ability to dampen the bumps and here although both tires (as they are same) offer similar composition of silica and with single ply polyester and cap ply, the tire’s structure is pretty soft overall.
So shocks gets soaked up pretty efficiently.
Rolling resistance of the tire is a major factor to understand, as based upon it, the overall tire’s life and fuel consumption is analyzed.
Based on a research, almost 5% of fuel can be save with an decrease of 30% “resistance” to roll.
Rolling resistance is the opposing force when a tire moves, and although its good for the grip, too much of it is not good for the fuel consumed.
So here things can be improved by making a tire lighter in weight.
And both Michelin Defender 2 and the X Tour AS2 offer that with just a single ply polyester, only weighing 32 lbs for the heaviest size.
Both tires really focus on the tread life and they significantly improved over their previous models, the Defender T+H and the Defender X Tour.
According to Michelin testing the tire showed almost 24k more miles in the newer tire.
Michelin tested this on 225/65R17 with Honda CRV, more details can be found on their site.
Dry grip and lateral grip together form dry traction. And Michelin really focused on it with these tires. The tire’s rubber is firm and it enhances on road stability.
The continuous rib in the middle and the tie bars on the lateral grooves between the blocks further enhance this rigidity, so the tire’s lateral and directional grip do not get limited.
The whole focus is to ensure two things, one the tire makes maximum rubber to road contact so friction always remains there and two, with harsh braking and on sharp turns, the blocks stay stable.
Where both of these tires focuses so much on dry grip, they compromise a little on wet (compared to other premium all season tires).
Although both tires offer full depth sipes, which also have lock technology (they interlock internally and provide flexibility to tread), with closed up designed water can’t get evacuated efficiently.
So you can say, overall wet traction becomes limited because of compromised hydroplaning resistance.
Hydroplaning is the tire’s ability to evacuate water quickly and effectively, so it does not float while rolling on.
Now although both tires offer you with 4 aqua channels, the continuous rib in the middle and the tie bars everywhere between the lateral grooves (in between blocks), don’t allows water’s lateral movement.
And less water cleaned off means more water for sipes to deal with, which they do by sucking (water particles) in, and spraying it out as the tire rolls over.
Both tires lack in total number of notches, and though they are still graded with M+S, they lack 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, like other premium all season tires coming in.
And they had to compromise here for better dry performance and longevity of the tread. All these require the silica density of the tire’s compound to be low, so they are not soft enough for winter traction.
Moreover, the harder rubber is also prone to get further inflexible with freezing temperatures. This is the reason why all winter tires, or good all season snow tires are softer.
Both the Michelin X Tour AS2 and the Michelin Defender 2 are the same and they are only marketed with different names as the X Tour AS2 is club exclusive, where only the Costco members can shop for it.
Both have similar tread features, like weight, section width, tread depth and so on. And the only difference between them is that the Defender 2 is available in 33 and the X Tour A/S 2 comes in 19 total sizes (which are from those 33 sizes).
These tires are optimized for maximum dry on road traction, fuel consumption, noise and tread life. They come with 80k miles warranty, the maximum you can get on any tire.