Kumho Crugen HP71 vs Michelin Defender LTX MS

Leave a comment

The Kumho Crugen HP71, a Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tire, provides a dependable and smooth ride for a variety of SUVs and crossovers. Meanwhile, the Michelin Defender LTX MS, falling into the highway all-season category, is designed for long-lasting durability and all-weather reliability. Let’s find a better pick for you.

Chevy Tracker
Both tires really suit Chevy Tracker

Key Points

Overall, the Defender LTX MS excels in:

  • Shorter stopping distances and superior directional grip in dry conditions.
  • Enhanced wet performance with advanced siping and hydroplaning resistance.
  • Quieter ride due to its design minimizing tread resonance.
  • Extended tread life supported by Max Touch Construction and EverTread compound.

Whereas the Kumho Crugen HP71 excels in:

  • Overall handling and lateral grip, especially during cornering.
  • Effective steering response aided by compact shoulder lugs and reinforced foundations.
  • Superior lateral grip and traction due to well-designed contact patches.
  • Strong performance in overall handling with a focus on steering characteristics.

Available Tire Sizes

Kumho Crugen HP71 comes in 16 to 22 inches with 54 total sizes, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Weight range: 25 to 43 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 10 to 11.5/32″.
  • UTQG: 640 A A.
  • Treadwear warranty: 65k miles.

Review Kumho’s tire here: https://tiredriver.com/kumho-crugen-hp71-review/

On the other hand, the Michelin Defender LTX MS comes with 68 total sizes, in 15 to 22 inches. And they have the following specs.

  • Speed ratings: R, T and H
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, C and E
  • Tread depth: 10 to 13/32″
  • Weight range: 25 to 60 lbs
  • Not rated with 3PMSF ratings
  • 70k miles for P metric, and 50k miles for LT sizes.

Detailed review of this tire: https://tiredriver.com/michelin-defender-ltx-ms-review/

Overall Dry Performance

To better understand this, let’s take a look at individual elements of dry performance for tires, focusing on linear and lateral grip and steering response.

Directional Grip

Directional grip refers to a tire’s capacity to maintain traction on the road while moving in a straight line.

This grip is primarily influenced by the overall contact patch, the weight of the tire, and the rubber composition of the tread. And these factors collectively determine the tire’s braking capabilities, which are crucial for effective “linear” grip.

Now, upon closer analysis, it’s evident why the Defender LTX MS stands out in this regard.

This Michelin’s tire consistently demonstrates up to 7 feet shorter stopping distances on average when brought to a full stop from 60 mph compared to Kumho.

Michelin Defender LTX MS
Michelin Defender LTX MS

The superior performance is largely attributed to its more streamlined tread design, which minimizes disruptions in the rubber-to-road contact.

Furthermore, the Defender is also comparatively lighter, a significant advantage as it reduces the tire’s momentum inertia, making it easier to decelerate. This combination of a more efficient tread design and reduced weight contributes to its enhanced stopping power and overall directional grip.

FYI: For the ultimate all-season tire guide, make sure to start at my main all-season tire page: https://tiredriver.com/all-season-tires/

Overall Handling

Overall handling in tires is evaluated through their steering characteristics and the lateral grip provided during cornering.

Focusing on lateral grip, the Kumho Crugen HP71 excels, as indicated by its impressive g-force metrics. This advantage is attributed to its compact shoulder lugs, which enhance road contact during turns.

Kumho Crugen HP71
Kumho Crugen HP71

How shoulders matter here? Well these shoulders or I should say, edges of the tread actually bear the most concentrated weight when the tire turns. So they pressing down against the road more firmly, determine most of the traction.

And here, the HP71’s effective contact patch, aided by linear siping that runs both vertically and horizontally is doing better.

Moreover, despite being heavier, the tire also offers superior steering response.

This is because, its shoulder lugs, connected by ridges and supported by reinforced foundations, ensure better control, particularly in mid-turn scenarios.

Conversely, the Michelin Defender LTX MS falls short in these areas, with its more voided shoulder design which fails to provide comparable grip.

Additionally, its softer, (wet traction-focused) rubber composition results in slower response to steering inputs, particularly sharp ones, leading to a tendency to under-steer.

Basically, the lugs on the Michelin tire deform more readily under stress from turns, requiring more time to revert to their original shape. And this delay in recovery contributes to incrementally longer lap times, as evidenced in comparative performance testing.

Wet Performance

Wet performance has two parts, grip, and resistance to hydroplaning.

Grip is significantly influenced by sipes, tiny slits in the tire tread that trap and disperse water to maintain a clear contact surface.

Hydroplaning resistance, on the other hand, is largely determined by the tread voids, which channel water away from the tire.

Now, both tires in question provide adequate hydroplaning resistance with their expansive aqua channels. However, the Michelin Defender LTX MS outshines in overall wet performance due to its enhanced wet traction and steering capabilities, credited to its advanced siping.

The tire’s numerous in-groove notches and interlocking siping lead to superior wet braking. Moreover, its robust shoulder design with full-depth sipes and reinforced foundations not only improves lateral grip but also enhances steering response by preventing lug flexing.

In contrast, the Kumho Crugen HP71, with its linear sipe structure, tends to stiffen during sharp cornering, which affects both traction and steering response.

This is particularly evident under extreme conditions, where the tire exhibits a tendency to under-steer.

And yes, since Kumho has a harder rubber composition and lower silica content the overall effectiveness of sipes further get reduces, and so does the overall water dispersion.

But yes, keep in mind, that this goes for XL sizes on both, as Crugen HP71 doesn’t offer LT sizes like the Michelin LTX MS.

Aquaplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning resistance is basically how well a tire can push water out of the way, mostly through its grooves.

Now, it’s super important because if water gets stuck between the tread and the road, your tires would lose their grip and start skating on the water, which is pretty dicey.

That’s why tires come with these special grooves to quickly and effectively push the water aside, enhancing how fast a tire can handle roads with a bit of water on them, (at least a few mm deep).

Now, when it comes to the Defender LTX MS, it’s doing better here, with its central circumferential grooves interconnected with each other.

And this, along with its deeper tread, means the Michelin can move more water out of the way. In contrast, the Kumho Crugen HP71, with its more compacted up ribs, doesn’t quite match up in performance.

Overall Ride Comfort

Two critical elements for driving comfort are the tread’s noise production and the tire’s efficiency in smoothing out road bumps. Let’s dive into each of these factors.

Noise Comfort

Noise is generated by air particles. I mean, as the tire rolls, the air pumps in and out of the tire, and this air-to-tread interaction is what creates noise.

This noise then echos within the tread walls, adding to overall decibels, in the form of in-groove resonance.

Now, here, the Crugen HP71 is ahead of the game with its superior pitch sequencing and a less aggressive tread design.

Pitch sequencing? Well, its a design element, where lugs vary in geometry, so air particles hitting the walls could generate different sounds because of the tread blocks’ varied shapes.

These different sounds and frequencies end up cancelling each other out, which helps lower the overall noise level.

Moreover, the Kumho tire also features more closed up shoulder blocks, which really helps block a bunch of that air from zooming in and smacking against the tread walls in the first place.

Road Smoothness

Several factors, including the tire’s internal and external structure, tread composition, and design, influence its on-road comfort.

Considering these factors, the Michelin LTX M/S excels in comfort based on my evaluations.

Essentially, the Defender employs a comparatively softer rubber composition, enhancing its ability to absorb rough surfaces. Additionally, it boasts a relatively deeper tread depth of up to 13/32″.

This aspect is crucial, as the increased rubber volume provides more space for road imperfections to dissipate before they reach the vehicle’s cabin.

Winter Performance

Both tires here, are promoted as all-season choices, yet they lack the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification, indicating their limited capability for adequate “acceleration” on snowy surfaces.

Basically, this rating is given to tires which can at least do 10% better in terms of light snow acceleration, compared to standard touring all-season tires. I discussed about it in details here: https://tiredriver.com/3pmsf-and-ms-ratings/

Though you should know that, out of both tires, the Kumho still ends up with less winter scores (from my conducted comparative tests), compared to Defender.

Basically, the Crugen HP71 primarily features lateral notches, which do not offer a good enough or optimal traction. Additionally, its sipes are linear, reducing their efficiency, especially in cornering scenarios.

Furthermore, the tire’s performance is diminished in freezing conditions due to its rubber composition, which does not adapt well to cold, causing the tread elements to stiffen and lose effectiveness in gripping the surface.

This design flaw means the tire cannot create effective snow-to-snow contact, crucial for traction since snow adheres well to itself.

In contrast, the Michelin Defender LTX MS offers more advanced siping, including wave-like interlocking structures that provide better grip on snowy and icy surfaces.

And yes, it also features additional biters, a narrower section width, and in-groove notches.

Why are these important?

Well, because together, these elements foster snow-to-snow contact, crucial for maintaining traction, as snow naturally binds better to itself than to rubber.

Tread Life

The Michelin Defender LTX MS stands out as one of the premier all-season highway tires, particularly in terms of tread wear, surpassing almost all its competitors including Kumho over here.

And this superiority is largely due to two key technologies.

  • The first is the Max Touch Construction, a design approach that ensures the tire wears evenly. This is achieved by distributing the pressures uniformly across the tire’s contact patch, ensuring all parts of the tread wear down at the same rate.
  • The second technology is the EverTread compound. This is a specialized tread composition incorporating resins, silica, and other polymers. These materials enhance the tire’s elasticity and resistance to cuts and chips, significantly extending its lifespan.

Additionally, the tread depth on this tire is also noteworthy, averaging about 12/32″. This thicker layer of rubber means it takes longer for the tire to wear down.

So it makes sense why the Michelin backs this tire with a 70,000-mile warranty for P metric sizes and 50,000 for LT sizes, which is 5,000 miles more than Kumho’s 65,000-mile warranty.

To Conclude

In conclusion, the comprehensive analysis of dry and wet performance, ride comfort, winter capabilities, and tread life of both boys here reveals distinct strengths and weaknesses.

The Michelin Defender basically excels in dry performance with its superior directional grip and shorter stopping distances, as well as in wet conditions with its advanced siping and hydroplaning resistance.

And yes, it also offers a remarkably quieter ride and impressive tread life, backed by a robust warranty.

On the other hand, the Kumho Crugen HP71 stands out in overall handling, particularly in lateral grip and steering response due to its compact shoulder lugs and effective contact patch.

However, it falls short in winter performance and tread life compared to the Michelin.

Overall, both tires demonstrate the intricate balance between various performance aspects and the importance of choosing a tire that aligns with specific driving conditions and preferences.

Leave a Comment