Michelin Defender 2 Vs CrossClimate 2: Which One to Opt?

The Michelin Defender 2 is standard touring all-season. The CrossClimate 2 is a grand touring “all-weather” tire. Knowing these differences is important. For more details, check my main all-season tire page. Now, let’s compare these two tires in detail.

As a tire engineer, I’ve checked each tire thoroughly. Let’s see: The Michelin CrossClimate performs well in dry weather. It has great grip and stability at high speeds. It’s also excellent in winter and curved hydroplaning. Plus, it’s a bit more durable due to its construction. But, it’s heavier, so fuel efficiency is lower.

The Michelin Defender 2 excels in fuel efficiency. It lasts longer, quieter, and offers superior road comfort.

Michelin Defender 2 Vs CrossClimate 2

Michelin Crossclimate 2

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 is an all-season grand touring tire. It has a higher speed rating than standard touring tires. This tire offers superior overall performance. It promises exceptional traction and handling. It’s great even at high speeds.

The CrossClimate 2 tire offers a smooth, quiet ride. It’s great on dry, wet, and snowy roads. It’s truly an all-weather tire.

The CrossClimate 2 comes in sizes for cars, SUVs, and crossovers. It also has XL sizes for heavier loads.

Michelin Defender 2

The Michelin Defender 2 is a top-notch tire known for durability and reliability. Advanced technology ensures lasting performance, ideal for peace of mind while driving.

The Defender 2 offers a smooth, comfy ride. It excels in dry and wet conditions, providing great traction. With its special tread design and advanced compound, it boosts grip and stability. This enhances driver confidence and safety in all driving scenarios.

The Michelin Defender 2 boosts fuel efficiency, saving drivers money. It maintains top performance and comfort. This tire showcases Michelin’s dedication to quality and reliability.

Differences between Crossclimate 2 and Defender Tires

Sizes Facts

FeatureMichelin Defender 2Michelin CrossClimate 2
Rim Sizes16″ to 20″16″ to 22″
Speed RatingsH (on all sizes)H and V
Load RatingsSL and XLSL and XL
Tread Depth Range10.5/32″ (on all sizes)10.5/32″ (on all sizes)
Weight Range25 to 32 lbs25 to 36.5 lbs
Winter RatingsM+S (No 3PMSF)Yes, all sizes have 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings (3PMSF)
Treadwear Warranty85,000 miles60,000 miles

Tread Design

The Michelin Defender 2 has a unique five-rib design. Three central ribs improve wet traction, preventing hydroplaning. Elongated lugs on the shoulders reduce noise for a quieter ride.

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 has a distinctive tread design. It includes long sweeping arms for snow removal and water dispersal. Slanted slits divide the lugs with wider voids on the edges. Central lugs have dense packing with special siping patterns. They offer better wet traction and directional grip. Moreover, snow-vices on the edges enhance traction on snowy surfaces.

Dry Traction

Dry traction has two main aspects: grip and handling. Grip is measured by braking distances and lateral g-forces. Handling is evaluated by lap times and steering response.

The Michelin Defender 2 shines in dry traction. It beats the CrossClimate 2 in every way.

The Michelin Defender 2 excels due to its design. It’s a standard touring tire with optimized rubber for dry roads.

The CrossClimate 2 excels in braking but lacks the Defender 2’s dry performance.

The design impacts how the tires perform differently. The Michelin Defender 2 is lighter and has better grip on dry roads due to its continuous central rib.

The CrossClimate 2 has a softer, heavier build. This causes more flexing in its tread lugs. Consequently, there’s a delay as the lugs regain shape, affecting steering.

During corners, CrossClimate 2’s weight shifts to the shoulders. Its directional pattern, more voided, struggles for stability. Defender 2 offers better contact patch and stability.

The Michelin Defender 2 is great for dry traction. Its design and rubber are top-notch. In contrast, the CrossClimate 2 falls short in this aspect.

Winter Performance

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 is great on snowy, slushy, and icy roads.

Its V-shaped lugs provide excellent traction on snow, slush, and ice. This feature helps you move forward smoothly on different winter surfaces. The tire’s 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating sets it apart.

The Michelin Defender 2 lacks biting edges and “swooping lugs.” Its rubber compound lacks thermal adaptability, affecting performance in freezing temperatures.

When driving on wet roads, good traction is crucial. It involves steering, grip, and avoiding hydroplaning. Let’s explore these factors further.

Wet Performance

In rainy weather, tires must displace water efficiently. Water is incompressible. Removing water effectively prevents tire slippage and hydroplaning risks.

Tires have grooves to quickly expel water. Directional tread patterns excel in this, guiding water away efficiently.

The CrossClimate 2 quickly drains water. Sipes in the tread absorb extra water.

More sipes mean improved water displacement. A flexible compound aids absorption.

In the Michelin Defender 2, lots of sipes are present. However, due to the tire’s firmer rubber, their impact is limited. This quality is crucial for tire performance in wet conditions. For example, basic touring tires, like the Defender 2, may not perform as well as grand touring tires, such as the CrossClimate 2. The blend of structure and components in the latter usually grants them an edge in wet road grip and safety.


The Michelin Defender 2 is a solid touring tire choice. It’s not as durable as grand touring tires.

Many grand touring tires have 2-ply polyester carcasses, but the Defender 2 uses only one ply, making it less durable. It does have two steel belts and a nylon cap ply for extra strength.

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 is built for grand touring. It has a strong 2-ply polyester casing, wide steel belts, and a tough polyamide cap for extra durability.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency and tread life depend on weight, tread type, and design.

The Michelin CrossClimate 2, being heavier, uses more fuel. Its weight causes increased rolling resistance, impacting fuel efficiency. The tire’s design puts extra pressure on the lugs, increasing fuel consumption.

The Michelin Defender 2 boosts fuel economy with its design. It’s lighter and has streamlined ribs for efficiency. The single polyester carcass inside reduces weight pressure on lugs. This leads to less rolling resistance and better fuel efficiency.

Road Vibrations

Both tires provide a smooth ride with great impact comfort.

The Michelin Defender 2 has a softer tread, absorbing road bumps. It sacrifices a bit of durability for increased comfort.

In contrast, the Michelin CrossClimate 2 has a stiffer build. However, its outer rubber absorbs bumps well, matching the Defender 2’s comfort level.

Noise Generation

Noise comes from air hitting tire walls when it rotates. One might think Michelin CrossClimate 2 is noisier, but it’s just a bit louder than Defender 2 on roads.

The CrossClimate 2’s tread pattern improves airflow, reducing noise levels. It creates varied pitches that cancel out frequencies.

The Michelin Defender 2 is quieter due to its design. It has packed shoulders and lugs with connectors to reduce noise. These features help block air from entering the tread, minimizing noise.

Michelin Crossclimate 2


  • Has the same features as performance tires
  • Better wet performance
  • Can be used as a winter tire


  • Not suitable for off-road drives

Michelin Defender 2


  • More durable
  • Can handle off-road conditions
  • Usable for heavy-duty applications


  • Poor winter performance

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Michelin CrossClimate 2 noisy?

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 is generally quiet. It may get a bit noisy due to gaps in the center section, especially on windy days. Still, it’s quieter than most touring and grand touring tires.

Is the Michelin Defender the best tire?

Michelin’s Defender line features versatile touring and highway tires. They excel on dry and wet roads, offering a smooth, quiet ride. These tires are durable with long-lasting treadwear, ideal for high performance.

Is the Michelin CrossClimate 2 good for SUVs?

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 is great for SUVs. It excels in performance. It offers excellent traction on snow. It has responsive handling and short braking distances. If you need a tire with great traction, handling, and winter performance for your SUV, the CrossClimate 2 is a fantastic option.

So, What’s The Verdict?

Simply put, Crossclimate 2 excels in winter, wet, and comfort.

Defender 2 leads in dry braking and handling, with top tread life.

Its lower weight offers benefits like fuel economy and steering feedback.

What’s your experience with these tires? Share in the comments!

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