Comparing Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra vs Michelin Defender LTX M/S

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In the ever-evolving tire world, manufacturers are always in a tug-of-war, striving for supremacy. It doesn’t matter if it’s the high-end segment or the more budget-friendly tier; the industry thrives on competition. Today, we’re diving into an exciting face-off between two cutting-edge touring tire choices for CUVs, SUVs, and even some light trucks.

It’s a common misconception that all touring tires are created equal. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Each brand brings its own special blend of technology and production techniques to the table, aiming to outshine the rest. This diversity is precisely why tires can show such varied performance across different situations.

For this showdown, I’ve selected two noteworthy contenders, one hailing from France and the other from Japan. In 2021, Bridgestone threw down the gauntlet with its Alenza AS Ultra, setting its sights on challenging the Michelin LTX M/S.

Both brands boast about their products’ capabilities, but the real question is: which one is the right pick for you? And, even more intriguing, does Michelin’s somewhat older model have what it takes to stand up to Bridgestone’s fresh offering?

Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra

Touring tires are crafted with a blend of features aiming to fulfill their performance promises, and Bridgestone’s Alenza AS Ultra is built on this principle. It’s an all-season touring tire designed to offer a smooth ride and reliable performance year-round.

Bridgestone has introduced a technology I’m particularly fond of called QuietTrack. Its main goal is to minimize the noise produced as the tire rolls, aiming for a quieter ride with the Alenza AS Ultra.

For performance across all seasons, Bridgestone chose an all-season rubber compound. This choice is pivotal, as it’s intended to provide balanced performance whether the roads are dry, wet, or covered in snow. However, it’s important to note that in winter conditions, its capabilities are somewhat limited compared to specialized winter tires.

Another benefit of this compound is its contribution to the tire’s longevity. Despite how well a tire performs, its value diminishes if it doesn’t last. The Alenza AS Ultra addresses this with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, showcasing its durability and long-term value, which is exactly what you’d expect from a touring tire.

The tread design incorporates features called Snow Vices. These are essentially edges within the tread pattern that offer improved traction on snowy roads. They also enhance grip on wet surfaces, providing an added advantage.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Despite differences in their release dates, the feature set of the Michelin Defender LTX M/S closely aligns with that of its Bridgestone counterpart. Michelin has incorporated its top touring technologies to ensure the Defender LTX M/S stands out as a premier touring tire.

Longevity is a key focus in its design, with the EverTread Compound leading the charge towards a more durable tire. Michelin asserts that the Defender LTX M/S will outperform many others in its class regarding lifespan.

Some may find the tread pattern choice less appealing, as Michelin opted for a symmetric design. While not the top choice for handling or traction, Michelin has enhanced the stability of the tread blocks. This enhancement is part of the MaxTouch construction, which aims for even distribution of forces across the tire’s contact patch.

This combination of tread pattern and rubber compound positions the Michelin tire as an outstanding performer in wet conditions. The tire features full-depth 3D active sipes that excel in providing traction on wet roads. Additionally, its design includes grooves that efficiently channel water away, reducing the risk of hydroplaning.

Lastly, as expected from an all-season tire, the Defender LTX M/S is engineered to perform in snowy conditions. The pattern includes full-depth zig-zag sipes for better snow grip. While it doesn’t match up to specialized winter tires, it offers respectable performance in lighter snow conditions.

The Ultimate Showdown: Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra vs. Michelin Defender LTX M/S

It’s showdown time! We’re pitting the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra against the Michelin Defender LTX M/S to see which tire earns the right to take its place on your ride.

Off-Road Showdown: A Gentle Reminder

First up, let’s talk about off-roading. Both the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra and the Michelin Defender LTX M/S are built for the road, not the trails. So, if you’re looking for tires to take you off the beaten path, these might not be the champions you’re looking for.

Winner: It’s a Draw

On-Road Performance: Dry Conditions Battle

When it comes to dry roads, knowing the strengths and limits of your touring tires is key. While both the Alenza AS Ultra and Defender LTX M/S offer superb performance for everyday driving with top-notch grip, traction, and braking, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re identical twins.

In the heat of more intense driving, like navigating a series of bends, some differences start to show up. Both tires keep their cool and stick to the road, but it’s in the heat of emergency stops where the Michelin Defender LTX M/S pulls slightly ahead with its marginally shorter braking distance.

Pushing the limits, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S takes the crown for feeling more secure and confident in corners, although the Alenza AS Ultra doesn’t fall far behind, boasting impressive lateral grip for its class.

At higher speeds, both tires keep their composure without breaking a sweat, only showing signs of excitement when pushing well beyond typical road speeds.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Wet Roads Duel: Navigating the Slick

When the skies open up, both the Alenza AS Ultra and the Defender LTX M/S showcase why they’re considered premium, offering exceptional performance that makes driving in the rain feel like a walk in the park. The differences between them become a bit more nuanced under these conditions.

In everyday wet driving, it’s hard to pick a favorite, as both tires offer excellent grip and handling. But when the driving gets a bit more spirited, that’s where the personalities of the tires shine through. The Michelin Defender LTX M/S digs in and keeps you grounded, while the Alenza AS Ultra might let you dance a little on the edge, offering a thrill for those who like a bit of adventure in their drive.

Even when pushed to their limits, both tires maintain their composure, allowing for quick recovery from any slips, ensuring a secure and enjoyable ride.

Braking on wet roads? It’s nearly a tie, with the Michelin maybe, just maybe, edging out by the slimmest of margins. But it’s so close, we’re calling it a draw.

Winner: It’s a Draw

There you have it! Whether you’re cruising dry roads or navigating through a downpour, both tires have their moments to shine, with the Michelin Defender LTX M/S taking a slight lead on dry ground. When it comes to choosing, it all boils down to your driving style and what you value most in a tire.

Are They Good in the Handling Department?

Touring tires might not be the first choice for those seeking top-notch handling. However, for everyday drivers, they’re more than capable. When it comes to handling, both the Alenza AS Ultra and the Defender LTX M/S impress. They’re responsive, with only a slight delay in reaction. They might not match the precision of Ultra-High-Performance (UHP) tires but stand out in the touring category. If I had to choose, the Michelin model edges out slightly, offering a sharper feel.

Feedback from the tires is another area of distinction. The Michelin Defender LTX M/S excels at delivering steering feedback, making it a solid choice among touring tires. It doesn’t reach the heights of the Pilot Sport series but does well for its class. The Alenza AS Ultra, while not the least responsive, could offer clearer feedback.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparing on Snow Performance

Buying an all-season tire comes with the expectation of some winter capability. Both the Alenza AS Ultra and the Defender LTX M/S meet this expectation, albeit with limitations.

All-season tires can handle light winter conditions, but aren’t substitutes for winter tires. The tires under review perform adequately in light snow, offering sufficient grip and traction along with reasonable braking distances.

In demanding conditions, the differences are subtle. The Michelin tire generally feels more stable, though the Alenza AS Ultra is not significantly behind. It’s worth noting that the difference in understeer is minimal and likely unnoticeable to most.

However, ice remains a challenge for both tires, where their performance is only marginally acceptable. In icy conditions, considering winter-specific tires is advisable.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparing Treadwear and Durability

A key feature of touring tires is their lifespan. We often look at the warranty to guess how long they might last. It’s not a perfect method, but without driving them for miles and miles, it’s a practical approach.

In terms of durability, the Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra stands out. Bridgestone promises an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty for this tire, surpassing the Defender LTX M/S, which offers a 70,000-mile warranty. Note that these figures apply to the T and H-rated models, while the R-rated versions are guaranteed for 60,000 miles.

Winner: Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra

Comparing Comfort

Touring tires prioritize smoothness, a quality you’d naturally expect. Both the Alenza AS Ultra and the Defender LTX M/S excel in this area, with only minor differences between them.

The comfort provided by either tire is top-notch. Whether you encounter small bumps or need to glide over larger potholes, both tires handle with ease. Driving over rough roads filled with cracks poses no challenge, maintaining a comfortable ride. Personally, I might lean slightly towards the Michelin tire, but it’s a close call.

Noise levels, however, set these tires apart. Despite my expectations for the Alenza AS Ultra, thanks to its QuietTrack technology, it’s a bit louder than the Defender LTX M/S. On smooth roads, you might not notice, but in other conditions, the Bridgestone tire is a tad noisier. Still, it remains within the expected quietness of a touring tire, just not as silent as its rival.

Winner: Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparing Price

Price-wise, Michelin isn’t the leader. Bridgestone offers a more wallet-friendly choice.

Looking at an 18-inch model, the difference is about $15 – not a huge amount, but worth noting. Although the size and load ratings match, the Defender LTX M/S falls short on speed rating compared to the Alenza AS Ultra.

Winner: Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra

Pros and Cons

While both tires share many traits, their differences are just as notable.

Bridgestone Alenza AS Ultra Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Balanced performance offers a good mix of comfort and durability.
  • More affordable, making it a budget-friendly option.
  • Longer warranty, providing extra peace of mind.

Cons

  • Can slide more easily on wet roads, requiring cautious driving.
  • Slightly noisier, which might be noticeable during long drives.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sharper handling gives a bit more control and precision.
  • Better grip in wet conditions, making it feel more secure.
  • LT models available, catering to light trucks specifically.

Cons

  • More expensive, which might stretch your budget.
  • Shorter treadwear warranty, meaning you might need to replace them sooner.

Which Tire Should You Choose?

Depending on how closely you’ve been following, you might think I’m leaning toward recommending the Defender LTX M/S as the superior tire. In technical terms, it holds an edge, but reality isn’t always black and white.

Looking at performance, the gap between the two isn’t huge, and both tires meet the needs of most drivers. Sure, there are moments when the Defender LTX M/S might have the upper hand over the Alenza AS Ultra, but the difference is slight. True, it’s a bit louder and falls slightly short in wet conditions, but neither tire is about pushing limits.

When considering everything, the Alenza AS Ultra comes out ahead. It’s more wallet-friendly, and its performance doesn’t fall far behind the Michelin to warrant the extra spend. However, if you’re in the market for LT models, the Defender LTX M/S should probably be on your radar.

Lucas Liam

Lucas Liam

Hi, I'm Liam, the enthusiast behind Off Road Genius. With more than 10 years of conquering diverse terrains, my experience with Jeeps extends beyond the ordinary. I've mastered the intricate details of these off-road champions, pushing their capabilities to the limit. Through this platform, I share my profound knowledge and lessons learned from countless miles on the trail. I'm here to inspire, educate, and guide you through the thrilling world of Jeeps. So, buckle up for this adventure-filled ride!

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