We don't write about tires too often but figured we'd share our thoughts on the Michelin Defender 2 as we couldn't find any reviews. We recently installed a set of these on a Subaru Impreza and have been pleased with the results. After several thousand miles we can say the tires perform as expected. The ride is comfortable, the handling is good and the noise is minimal.
The car rolls and tracks well. We also drove in a recent rainstorm and didn't notice any significant change in handling or breaking distances. We also tried to spin the tires at a couple of stoplights and the tires wouldn't do it. Of course, the Subaru is an all wheel drive car, so that helps but we tried and the Michelin's weren't having it.
The other tire we were considering for this care is the General Altimax RT43, which is a great tire that we have on another car. The Defender 2 and the Altimax are similar in their aspirations to provide a good all around tire for most people that a combination of comfort, handling and longevity. Both are in that 65,000 – 80,0000 mileage warranty. I've owned lots of tires over the years and have never come close to getting the mileage the tire companies claim you can get. The Defender 2 mileage warranty is 80K miles. I don't think I'll get there. However, it does instill some level of value when you consider the tire performs very well. Plus, if the tire wears out faster than anticipated Michelin will issue a credit towards a replacement.
The previous tires installed on the Subaru Impreza were Yokohama 740GTXs. The 740GTX were great tires but certainly picked up more road noise over the life of the tire. We're very happy we decided to go with the Defender 2 for this latest batch of 4.
If we still have the car in a few years we'll do an update to this review and report back on the actual mileage we're able to get out of these tires. We predict well shy of 80K but we'll see.
On more note, we get asked about Costco versus America's Tires all the time. Yes, you can save a few bucks at Costco and they often have rebates but the service is not readily accessible. It's just harder to get in there and the tires often take longer to get. America's tire cost a little more but it's just easier to get in and out of there unless you live a sparsely populated area where your local Costco isn't so nuts. Can't go wrong with either and you will generally save about $100-$200 at Costco.
Visit Michelin to see all the specs on the Defender 2