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Discussion Starter #1
I drive a 2011 Outback 4cyl. I went throught the OEM Contis in about 36,000 miles and looked forward to buying Michelins. I've driven Michelins for years and I've always loved them. Not so with these Defenders.

Depending upon whether I can catch a commuter van, I drive between 450 - 690 miles a week and almost all of it is highway. With my prior, supposedly crap Contis, I was getting 30-32 mpg at highway speeds between 60 and 65 mph. With these Defenders, that number has dropped precipitously to 27 - 29 mpg. And I might add, I have to strictly observe a 60 mph limit AND a cold tire pressure of 37 PSI to manage even that.

And yes, I know these Defenders arent' snow tires but for what I paid for them, they should do a LOT better than they do in the snow. Don't get me started on how poorly they take corners. Yes, they can handle basic uphill hillclimbing but any kind of turns and these things are sliding all over. As a test, I've dropped the cold tire pressure to 30 psi to deal with the snow - still, a no go.

I've even felt them hydroplane on rainy highways. These tires are definitely a disappointment.

I wrote Michelin and stated the above - their response was that the tires had exceeded the 30 day return policy. Yeah, I'll keep that in mind when I go to buy my next set of tires. Nokias perhaps?
 

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2013 OB 3.6R Limited, Black Silica
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383 Posts
Nokians are a great performing tire, but expensive and tend to wear a little faster, but I love driving on them around here. I am however trying a different tire right now that is a close match for less money, but if your are in the US, you won't be able to get them anyways.
 

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2011 Subie 3.6R Limited 2013 Cmax e=nergi PHEV
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781 Posts
anyone going to refute the information, offer counters, or similar experiences.

Astroturfing or a serious review?

Any additional information on the Defenders would be helpful. Already read Tire Rack etc.
 

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'05 Outback(Mine) and '12 Outback(Wife's)
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6 Posts
I have seen my mileage drop from 29mpg to around 24mpg since switching to the Defender tire. Handling has not been an issue for me since I drive mostly too and from work with my 05' Outback. Mostly country roads and highway. I will not purchase this tire again.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
Tires are a complicated beast. The higher the wear rating usually means harder rubber, not great handling, harsher ride, more noise but better MPG. The more performance tire is the inverse. The tire flexes moreso gives better handling (we are talking normal sidewall here, not tires with 3" or less sidewalls), quieter ride, shorter life, lower MPG.

Snow tires usually give the worst MPG in sacrifice for traction (and all the work moving against snow)

Shopping tires is not easy. I have not read the traits of these tires, but OE tries to find the perfect balance which means compromise. Individuals will shop according to thier own desires and needs and see one area of performance lacking. I make that compromise when I buy tires looking for something decent in mud and the highway.
 

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2011 Subie 3.6R Limited 2013 Cmax e=nergi PHEV
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781 Posts
Highway and snow. Polar opposites. I thought that the Defenders would fill the bill based on others' recommends.
 

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13 outback 2.5
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70% highway driving at SoCal. Mileage drop from 28 to 26.7 switching from 16 OEM Contis to 17 Defenders, can't tell the difference between ride quality and handling.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Premium MT
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Michelin Defenders

I drive a 2012 Outback MT 45-50k miles a year about a 60 40 split between highway and rural roads. Not much city stop and go. The original Contis lasted 30k. Avg mpg 28.6. I have 25k on s set of Michelin Defenders and avg mpg dropped to 26. Looks like I will get more than 30k out of the Defenders, but they were about $40 more per tire than Contis. IMO either both tires suck in the snow or the OB sucks in the snow.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,529 Posts
I am happy with stock Contis here in NW FL - especially handling in a heavy down pour rain...on my previous Foresters I had stock Yokohamas and I was happy with those as well... since I switch cars quite often I never shop for new tires because when I sell the car, it still has orig. OEM tires...
 

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2018 Outback Premium, sold 2003 Subaru Outback 2.5i Wagon Limited
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207 Posts
I am also pretty disappointed with the performance of my Defenders so far. I have about 2000 miles on them and my mileage has dropped from 21 to 19mpg. I make lots of short trips and live in a winter climate so that's a big factor in my overall fuel consumption. Another disappointment for me is the Defenders' cold wet grip. Very average and I expect more from such and expensive tire. They are also quite hard, even though I maintain average tire psi (33 front, 32 rear).

I am thinking about going back to Discount Tire and figuring out a way to replace these with something else. Bummer!!!
 

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2012 2.5i Premium CVT
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921 Posts
Wow, I posted a question in another tire thread about MPGs with the Defenders. I was under the impression that fuel economy would go down because they're something like 2-3 lbs heavier than the stock Contis. The answers given weren't exactly conclusive so I'm glad that I stumbled on this thread.

It'll be at least another year or two before I need new tires. I already had the Defenders in mind, but I think the frontrunners are now the Conti ProContact Eco Plus. Hopefully something else new and innovative comes out in the meantime. Yokohama YK580 comes to mind, but I don't know their weight off the top of my head.

Tire weight is a very important spec if you're into getting good MPGs.
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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1,698 Posts
Tire weight is a very important spec if you're into getting good MPGs.
Not near as important as rolling resistance. But rolling resistance is harder to get quantified, and there is somewhat of a correlation between rolling resistance and tire weight, just because heavier tires tend to have more rubber in the tread area, so they can develop more squirm.

Worn tires of the same type generally develop a bit less rolling resistance, so final mileage readings on old tires vs. fuel usage with new tires are not quite apples to apples.

Plus, small differences in rolling diameter play havoc with fuel economy calculations. (Slightly shorter tires seem to give more MPG than they actually do, and vice versa.)
 

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2012 2.5i Premium CVT
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Not near as important as rolling resistance. But rolling resistance is harder to get quantified, and there is somewhat of a correlation between rolling resistance and tire weight, just because heavier tires tend to have more rubber in the tread area, so they can develop more squirm.

Worn tires of the same type generally develop a bit less rolling resistance, so final mileage readings on old tires vs. fuel usage with new tires are not quite apples to apples.

Plus, small differences in rolling diameter play havoc with fuel economy calculations. (Slightly shorter tires seem to give more MPG than they actually do, and vice versa.)
Agreed. But like you said, hard to quantify. I see tires either listed as LRR or not and even then I'm not sure what that means. Plus can you compare Brand X's LRR tire to Brand Y's? At least weight is a good metric that anybody can use for comparison purposes.

Tires are fascinating. Buying them is always a major decision for me because they're a fairly long term commitment, so it's difficult to build a personal "database" of tires for a specific car based on my preferences. I may only go through 2-3 sets on a given car before I move on to a new vehicle. Thank goodness for peer reviews and forums!
 

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2011 Outback Limited/2.5L/CVT
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394 Posts
I've had almost the exact same experience as the first poster, with the same vehicle and total mileage when I got the Michelins. I thought the trip computer had failed until I started doing hand calcs! I've been running 35 psi F and 33 psi R.
 

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Full Size Spare

I have been told that the 2013 Outback spare is a small donut type, and I have been told that it is full size on the diameter but not as wide. I have been told that with this full size spare that it is not longer necessary to disengage the all wheel drive feature if the full size spare is used. Will the full size wheel and tire that is replaced by the "spare" fit in the storage space that the spare came out of?

So: What is the straight story on the spare on the 2013 Outback? I cannot find these answers on the internet, there is no dealer close to me, and my telephone calls to out of the area dealers get conflicting answers.
 

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I don't like Michelins. At all.

Good tires should be nice and soft vertically and nice and hard horizontally. Every set of Michelins that I've ever had have been very much the opposite.
 

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Michelin MXV4 ..handle great and I mean handle. There great in the rain and off road and quiet. But this is my opinion. Mpgs have ranged from 23-25 depending on road conditions and where I am there are a lot of hills and curves all good for my OB.
 

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1997 SVX Bordeaux 2012 OBW 6 speed 1992 SVX Ebony 1992 SVX Claret
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I almost bought Defenders, I'm glad I didn't. From past experience on my daughters '97 Outback, I went with Hankook Optimo H727. They are wonderful tires in all regards and inexpensive too. There are many different Optimo models but H727 is the one to get.
I highly recommend them.
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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I got defenders from Costco about a month, and 2k ago. They are quieter than the Contis, ride better, and seem to handle a bit better as well. No chance to try them in rain or snow yet. Mileage is about the same......30 straight up for the last 2 tanks......but I haven't gotten a chance to take them on a long highway trip, yet.

Interesting how some people have good and bad experiences with the same product.
 
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