Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring AS vs Michelin Defender 2

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The Michelin Defender 2 and Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S are both standard touring all-season tires, each designed to offer a balanced blend of performance, comfort, and durability for a variety of driving conditions. Let’s get to know these tires better.

Tiger Paw on Acura MDX
Tiger Paw on Acura MDX

Bottom Line

So overall, it all comes down to this.

The Michelin Defender 2 excels in:

  • Dry performance (acceleration, braking, cornering)
  • Noise reduction and comfort
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Tread longevity

Review this tire in greater details: https://tiredriver.com/michelin-defender-2-review/

Whereas the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S takes the upper hand, in terms of:

  • Wet handling and traction
  • Ride smoothness (absorbing road irregularities)
  • Hydroplaning resistance
  • Winter performance (especially on snow and ice)

Review this tire in greater details: https://tiredriver.com/uniroyal-tiger-paw-touring-a-s-review/

Available Tire Sizes

SpecsDefender 2Uniroyal Tiger Paw
Rim Sizes16 to 20 inches14 to 21 inches
Speed RatingsH (on all)H and V
Load RatingsSL and XLSL and XL
Tread Depth Range10.5/32″ (on all)10.5 or 11.5/32″
Weight Range25 to 32 lbs18 to 37 lbs
Winter RatingsM+S (no 3PMSFR)Same
Warranty85k miles75k for H
65k for V
UTQG Rating800 A A700 A A

Overall Dry Performance

The efficiency of a tire on dry surfaces hinges largely on its acceleration, braking, cornering, and steering “reactivity”. It’s best we look at them under following two headings.

Directional Grip

When it comes to directional grip of a tire, there are fundamentally two key factors you need to know. Firstly, it’s gauged by the tire’s braking capabilities, and secondly, it heavily depends on the design of the tire’s central tread area.

The importance of the central tread region is paramount, especially since it supports the majority of the vehicle’s weight during linear movements.

This is a crucial point in understanding why the Michelin Defender 2 excels in this area.

This tire is designed with optimized, streamlined central ribs that maintain continuous and more effective contact with the road.

Additionally, its lighter weight, attributed to the single ply polyester casing, plays a significant role. This reduced weight allows the tire to maintain lower momentum at high speeds, thus facilitating easier braking.

On the flip side, the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S encounters several challenges.

Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S
Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S

To name a few, its design includes multiple notches and significant lateral and longitudinal voids, which decreases the amount of rubber in contact with the road. This reduction in the contact patch adversely affects the tire’s grip.

And yes, unlike the Defender, its heavier structure increases momentum inertia, making it more challenging to stop quickly.

So all in all, it makes sense why this tire showcase an average braking distance that is 6 feet longer compared to the Michelin’s.

Overall Handling

Cornering on dry roads involves navigating through three distinct stages, each placing unique demands on a tire’s performance.

  • Entry Phase: This initial phase emphasizes the need for precise braking from the tires.
  • Mid-Cornering: Here, the importance of accurate steering feedback becomes crucial.
  • Exit Phase: In this final stage, as the vehicle exits the corner, tires must smoothly and effectively facilitate the reapplication of acceleration.

And in all of these stages, the Defender 2 takes the lead. Now as already explained, it offers superior braking, and that explains its upper hand in the entry phase.

Additionally, the tire’s stiffer rubber composition and lightweight design significantly enhance mid-corner feedback. This feature is vital as it informs the driver about the remaining lateral grip.

On the other side, although the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S provides similar performance in terms of exiting phase, it still lacks in 2 out of 3 key areas here, falling behind 1.5 seconds on average, on dry handling lap times compared to Michelin tire over here.

Just so you know: For a well-informed all-season tire purchase, my main page is the go-to resource you shouldn’t skip. Navigate here: https://tiredriver.com/all-season-tires/

Wet Performance

The key to a tire’s performance on wet surfaces lies in its proficiency in hydroplaning resistance and overall traction. Let’s take a closer look at each of these metrics.

Wet Traction

Wet traction largely hinges on how effectively the grooves and sipes in a tire can displace water. These elements are crucial for maintaining a relatively dry contact patch under the tires.

To understand this better, consider grooves as the primary channels for water evacuation. Whereas sipes, on the other hand, function as secondary measures, cleaning up any residual moisture.

These sipes act like tiny vacuum cleaners, flexing to create suction that draws in water, thereby drying the surface for improved rubber-to-road contact.

Having said that, it can now be explained why both standard touring tires here, aren’t really that impressive here. But yes there are some differences to note here for sure.

I mean in my comparative testing, while the Defender 2 offers superior wet braking, the overall handling is marginally better in the Tiger Paw Touring A/S, albeit by a small margin.

Michelin Defender 2
Michelin Defender 2

Wet traction is actually the weakest performance aspect of Michelin tire, where the main culprit is its stiffer rubber composition, restricting the effectiveness of the sipes.

In contrast, the Uniroyal tire features a more advanced siping design, where it features multi-directional sipes, combining linear and wave-like patterns, enhancing grip in various directions.

Additionally, with a more open tread pattern this tire takes out more water through its grooves in the first place, which takes off a lot of burden from sipes to begin with.

Aquaplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning occurs when a tire’s grooves fail to efficiently channel water away, leading to a layer of water forming between the tread and the road. This phenomenon causes the tire to lose contact with the pavement and essentially “float”.

In simpler words, hydroplaning resistance depends on the effectiveness of grooves.

In this aspect, the Uniroyal tire, with its intricate network of grooves running in various directions, demonstrates superior performance. This design allows for more effective water displacement, thereby reducing the risk of hydroplaning.

On the other hand, the Michelin Defender 2, with its closely-packed ribs, struggles in this area. Meaning it doesn’t take out as much water as the Tiger Paw Touring tire, lacking behind in both straight and curved float speed tests.

(Float speed is the direct measure of aquaplaning. It tells how fast a tire moves on watery surface before it starts to float).

Overall Ride Comfort

The ease of a ride is closely related to how effectively a tire can smooth out road bumps and diminish noise. Let’s break down these two components.

Noise Comfort

In the world of road noise reduction, the Defender 2 emerges as a top contender, where it maintains a lower-profile auditory presence, relatively, emitting only a subtle white noise at lower speeds.

Even on highways, where noise becomes more discernible (on the Uniroyal tire), the Michelin blends smoothly with background sounds.

This superior performance of the tire is credited to its J-shaped grooves (seen on the outskirts of shoulders, or technically on sidewalls).

These grooves along with the refined blend of its rubber compound basically work together to provide a more innovative pitch sequencing.

In other words, this design minimizes echo within the grooves, dampening in-groove resonance by alternating contact points with airflow, resulting in a spectrum of sound frequencies that are less prone to collective resonance.

Road Smoothness

In terms of on-road smoothness, which involves mitigating the impact of road irregularities, the Tiger Paw A/S gets to have the upper hand. And it makes sense as this tire offers a relatively softer rubber composition.

Uniroyal’s construction basically includes an additional polyester layer in its casing and an extra nylon cap ply, contributing to a greater layered build, comparatively.

Moreover, it also features slightly deeper tread depth which enhances its ability to absorb bumps further, by providing bumps more space to settle down.

In contrast, the Michelin Defender 2, though offering good enough stability, which is also a factor here, still falls short in delivering as much of a “seamless” ride

MPG Efficiency

Fuel efficiency in tires is centered on minimizing rolling resistance.

As the name suggests, this resistance is basically a form of friction that hinders a tire’s motion as it rolls over a surface. And a lot of factors affect it, including tire’s weight, its construction (both internal and external), and the composition of its tread.

In this regard, the Michelin Defender 2 takes the lead, providing slightly better MPG readings on my conducted tests with multiple sizes.

And it makes sense because this tire is comparatively lighter in weight and comes with a less aggressive tread pattern contributing to a reduced rolling resistance.

Basically both these factors ease the burden on the lugs (on the tread). So energy is not wasted in the form of heat and reshaping them.

Tread Longevity

Tread longevity is influenced by factors such as the tread compound, design, depth, and the tire’s weight.

Now here, the Defender 2 not only leads among these two but is also the best in the overall all-season category.

This is due to Michelin’s use of MAX Touch and EverTread technologies. Let me explain.

Simply put, MaxTouch technology optimizes weight distribution across the tire, leading to lower rolling resistance.

While the EverTread compound, enriched with specific polymers, enhances durability against cuts and abrasions, making the Defender very long-lasting (which can be easily guessed by its whopping 85k miles warranty).

Snow and Ice Traction

For winter performance, it’s important to note that there are more specialized options out there, particularly in the grand touring all-season category, including all-weather tires with 3-peak mountain snowflake ratings, a feature absent in both boys over here.

But yes comparing both these standard touring tires together, the Michelin does provides slightly better results in overall winter conditions based on my extensive testing, where the tire takes the lead on both icy and snowy terrains.

I mean, despite its slightly harder rubber composition, which theoretically becomes more rigid in cold temperatures, the Defender’s abundant siping and chamfered tread edges still provide you with better ice traction.

Additionally, it provides superior snow performance too. Its secondary groove patterns effectively trap snow particles in a better way, relatively, enhancing snow-to-snow contact which becomes crucial for traction when it comes to powdery snow.

To Conclude

So, to sum it up, the choice of a better tire overall is nuanced, with each tire having specific strengths.

The Defender 2 outperforms Uniroyal in dry conditions, noise comfort, fuel efficiency, and tread longevity, thanks to its optimized tread design and advanced technologies.

However, the Tiger Paw excels in wet handling, ride smoothness, and hydroplaning resistance due to its superior siping and tread design.

Moreover, although both tires have limitations in winter conditions, the Michelin provides marginally better performance on snow and ice.

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