Hankook Roadhandler vs Michelin Defender LTX M/S

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Whenever it’s time to pick new tires, a lot of us, including me, start checking out what’s currently on offer. You might be okay with the tires you had before, but remember, the tire world is always changing. What was top-notch 5-6 years ago might just be okay today.

The first thing most of us look at is the price, then we weigh that against how the tire performs. As I’ve pointed out before, you’ll find the best performance in premium tires. However, mid-range options can offer performance that’s nearly as good but at a more affordable price.

Keeping that in mind, today, I’m going to take a look at two different kinds of tires. From the mid-range category, we have Hankook’s Roadhandler, and from the premium category, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S.

Both tires are all-season highway tires, meaning they’re touring tires built for CUVs, SUVs, and light trucks.

Hankook Roadhandler H/T

Hankook is a brand known for offering good quality tires at a mid-range price. The Roadhandler H/T is no exception, catching attention with its affordability.

When it comes to all-season tires, the key is the rubber compound. Hankook crafted a special rubber for the Roadhandler H/T, making it versatile for use all year round. This rubber helps the tire grip the road or snow in wet and snowy conditions, providing reliable traction.

Hankook also focused on performance during heavy rain. The Roadhandler H/T is equipped with circumferential grooves and lateral sipes. These features work together to push water away from under the tire, offering strong resistance against aquaplaning.

The design of the tire also plays a big part in how it is handled. With a 5-rib design and an optimized pattern, Hankook aimed to make the Roadhandler H/T quick to respond. This effort makes the tire more agile.

The symmetric pattern of the Roadhandler H/T helps extend its life. It evenly spreads the load across the tire, leading to uniform wear and a longer lifespan.

For a comfortable ride, Hankook made sure the Roadhandler H/T was delivered. It’s built to offer the smoothness you’d want from a highway tire. To cut down on noise, the tire uses a variable pitch design, which significantly lowers sound levels.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Michelin offers several choices for highway driving, and the Defender LTX M/S stands out among them. This French brand infuses its tires with advanced technologies, making this model no different.

At the heart of the Defender LTX M/S is its unique rubber blend. Michelin employs its special Evertread formula, designed to extend the tire’s life significantly. Since it’s an all-season tire, the Evertread compound also keeps the tire flexible in cold weather, ensuring it performs well in winter.

Handling snow and wet surfaces can be tricky, but Michelin has tackled these challenges head-on. The Defender LTX M/S is equipped with 3D sipes spread across its tread blocks, enhancing grip on wet roads. For those times you find yourself driving through water, the tire’s sipes and circumferential grooves work together to push water aside. Plus, the tire’s design includes specific patterns to improve traction in snowy conditions.

While not branded as a tire for high-speed thrills, Michelin has sprinkled a bit of its magic on the Defender LTX M/S. Through the Total Performance Package, Michelin boosts the tire with characteristics reminiscent of performance tires. This results in slightly harder blocks, offering a sharper, more engaging driving experience.

Performance Comparison

It’s clear that both tires belong to different categories, so naturally, there’s going to be some variation in performance. But just how significant is this difference?

How do they fare on dry roads?

Generally, most tires do pretty well on dry pavement, and this holds true for both the Roadhandler H/T and the Defender LTX M/S. However, it’s not a perfect tie between the two; there are noticeable differences.

In everyday driving scenarios, both sets of tires offer a solid driving experience, boasting ample grip and traction for the average driver’s needs. Honestly, the difference in how “sticky” the tires feel might not even be picked up by some. The real distinctions emerge when you push them to their limits.

To kick things off, the Defender LTX M/S can handle more aggressive acceleration with less slipping. This advantage extends to cornering, where it allows for higher speeds before understeer kicks in. This isn’t to say the Roadhandler H/T is a poor performer, but it has its limits, and pushing it too hard won’t yield the same level of performance you’d get from the Michelin tire.

When tackling a twisty road, the Michelin tire stands out as the more stable choice, despite neither tire being specifically designed for such conditions.

Braking distances also reveal differences. The Hankook tire isn’t bad and performs exceptionally well within its category. However, it doesn’t quite match up to the Michelin tire’s stopping power.

How do they perform on wet roads?

Tires often find it tricky to keep up their performance on wet roads because of the slick surface. In this comparison, there’s a clear difference between the two tires, with one standing out as the superior choice.

You might not be surprised to hear that Michelin takes the lead here. Known as one of the top highway tires out there, its 3D sipes in the tread pattern work wonders, ensuring excellent grip and traction. This also leads to impressively short braking distances, boosting the tire’s safety factor.

Turning our attention to the Roadhandler H/T and putting it side by side with the Defender LTX M/S, it’s clear why it doesn’t hit the premium mark. However, to give credit where it’s due, the tire does offer high levels of grip and traction, minimizing slip and maintaining control in corners. Yet, it doesn’t reach the lofty performance heights of the Michelin tire, so keep your expectations in check, just like in dry conditions.

Where the competition tightens up is in aquaplaning resistance. The Defender LTX M/S stays stable at higher speeds. Although the Roadhandler H/T doesn’t quite match up, it’s not far behind.

Can they be used on snow?

When considering all-season tires for snow performance, it’s essential to understand that while both tires discussed here offer a degree of utility, they aren’t ideal for severe winter conditions. The Michelin tire outperforms in this category, providing more reliable performance in snow.

The Roadhandler H/T faces challenges in winter scenarios, especially as conditions worsen. It performs adequately in light snow, ensuring decent traction and control even when slipping begins. While its performance in packed snow isn’t disastrous, it does lag slightly behind in comparison to its performance on looser snow.

The Michelin Defender LTX M/S, on the other hand, excels in light snow conditions and remains effective even in somewhat deeper snow. This tire maintains a sense of stability and security, but it’s crucial to remember it is not a specialized winter tire, so extreme caution is advised.

Ice presents a challenge for both tire models, and it’s generally best to avoid if possible. Though minor ice patches might be manageable, overall performance on ice does not meet expectations.

An area where the Michelin model shines is in braking distances, particularly notable when compared to the Roadhandler H/T. The Defender LTX M/S achieves shorter stopping distances, underscoring its superior performance, though the Hankook tire remains a competitive option.

Will they deliver good off-road performance?

The Defender LTX M/S and Roadhandler H/T are tires you can put on your SUV or light truck. But, don’t count on them for wild off-road adventures. They don’t have the right pattern, design, or rubber to grip well in tough conditions like mud or rocks. At most, they can handle some dirt roads if you’re cautious. Rough surfaces might wear them out faster than you’d like.

Are they good in the handling department?

Don’t expect these tires to give you the thrill of a Pilot Sport. That said, for everyday driving, they do the job well enough. They react to your moves without feeling dull. So, most drivers will be pretty satisfied. However, enthusiasts might want more. The Michelin Defender LTX M/S, with its Total Performance Package, offers a bit more excitement. It’s more responsive and gives better feedback through the steering wheel. The Roadhandler H/T isn’t as thrilling, but it’s not the worst either. It’s somewhat responsive, though it could do better with steering feedback, especially when driving straight.

How well-refined are the tires for everyday driving?

When talking about How well-refined are the tires for everyday driving?, it’s crucial to dive deeper into the essence of refinement in the driving experience. The Defender LTX M/S not only elevates comfort but also excels in durability, making it a reliable partner for long journeys. Its superior build minimizes the transmission of road irregularities, ensuring a serene and undisturbed ride. The Michelin brand’s commitment to quality is evident in the tire’s performance, reinforcing its position near the top of the quiet tire hierarchy.

On the other side, the Hankook Roadhandler H/T impresses with its adeptness at maintaining tranquility, courtesy of its innovative design. The tire’s ability to remain quiet, even on varied surfaces, is commendable. However, its approach to handling more significant road challenges, like deep potholes or unexpected bumps, reveals room for improvement. Enhancing the tire’s ability to absorb such impacts could elevate the driving experience to new heights, making it an even more formidable competitor to the Michelin offering.

Do any of them offer a warranty?

Moving Do any of them offer a warranty? it’s apparent that warranties are a testament to a manufacturer’s confidence in their product. The Hankook Roadhandler H/T not only surpasses expectations with its generous 100,000-mile treadwear warranty but also sets a high bar for its category. This warranty is a clear signal of Hankook’s commitment to quality and longevity, offering peace of mind to consumers.

In contrast, the Defender LTX M/S, with its 70,000-mile warranty, still provides a robust guarantee of durability, though it falls short of Hankook’s offering. This distinction in warranties underscores Hankook’s edge in this aspect, adding another layer of attractiveness to its value proposition.

Hankook Roadhandler H/T Pros and Cons


  • 100,000-mile treadwear warranty ensures long-lasting use.
  • Offers great value for the price, giving you more bang for your buck.
  • Performs almost as well as the Michelin tire in certain conditions, showcasing its quality.


  • Not the smoothest ride, which might affect comfort.
  • Struggles in harsh winter weather, making it less reliable in snow and ice.

Michelin Defender LXT M/S Pros and Cons


  • Top-notch performance in both dry and wet conditions, ensuring safety and reliability.
  • Highly refined, providing a superior driving experience.
  • Offers slightly sporty characteristics, adding a bit of excitement to your drive.


  • Priced higher than many competitors, which could be a drawback for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Less warranty coverage compared to the Hankook tire, offering less long-term protection.

Which of the two is a better option?

When you first look at it, picking seems straightforward. You might think the Defender LTX M/S is the top pick, right? Well, it’s not that simple.

Sure, the Michelin tire outshines the Hankook one. But the gap between them isn’t huge. This makes the tire from Korea a solid pick. The Roadhandler H/T offers a great deal when you weigh its performance against its price.

If you’re aiming for the top tire and have some flexibility with your budget, then Michelin is the way to go. Just remember, it comes with a shorter treadwear warranty.

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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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