Kumho Crugen HT51 vs Michelin Defender: Tested in 2023


Written by

Henry Speciale



Steven Schiller

kumho crugen ht51 vs michelin defender

Most tire shoppers compare Kumho tires vs Michelin based on price points and quality. That is why we decided to closely examine the Kumho Crugen HT51 vs Michelin Defender and list down the features that make these tires truly attractive.

Michelin Defender LTX MS is a more dependable tire in wet, dry and mild winter conditions. However, the difference in performance, comfort and noise is relatively small that the affordable pricing of Kumho Crugen HT51 makes it an impressive tire option.

Factors Kumho-Crugen-HT51 Michelin-Defender-LTX-MS
Dry Above average Winner
Wet Above average Winner
Snow and Ice Winner Decent
Comfort/ Ride Quality Stable Winner
Noise Moderate Noise Winner
Price Winner, cheaper by $50 Expensive
Mileage Warranty Equal Equal

What Are They?

1. Kumho Crugen HT51


Kumho Crugen HT51 is an all-season highway tire for light-duty vans, crossovers, and SUVs. It was introduced in 2016.

This tire has a five-rib asymmetric tread design that provides straight-line stability, increased dry grip, and durability.

It is also stylized with four wide circumferential zigzag grooves and 3D zigzag sipes for a better grip on water and snow.

2. Michelin Defender


The Michelin Defender line comprises two standard touring tires (Michelin Defender 2 and Defender T +H) and an all-season highway tire called Michelin Defender LTX MS.

Since the Kumho Crugen HT51 is a highway tire, we will compare it with the Michelin Defender LTX MS.

Defender LTX MS replaced Michelin’s LTX M/S2 in 2015. It features a symmetric tread design molded with a more advanced compound called Evertread and high-density Active Sipes. This combination provides durability and traction in tough weather conditions all year round.

The tire’s profile is equipped with Michelin’s MaxTouch construction, which provides a sufficient contact patch that enables smooth acceleration, braking, and cornering control.

Similarities and Differences: Michelin Defender vs Kumho Crugen HT51

Let’s go into detail on how these two tires differ in features, performance, and cost.

1. Specifications

Michelin’s Defender LTX M/S is 2 pounds heavier than the Crugen HT51, but it can accommodate a bigger load.

UTQG ratings show that the Defender LTX M/S has a slower wear rate since its treadwear rating (800) is higher than the Kumho tire (720). Their traction and temperature grades are similar (AA).

Specifications Kumho Crugen HT51 Michelin Defender LTX M/S
Brand Kumho Michelin
Tire Size Inspected 235/70R16 235/70R16
UTQG 720 A A 800 A A
Max Load 2094 pounds 2271 pounds
Max PSI 51 psi 50 psi
Tread Depth 12.5/32 in. 12/32 in
Tire Weight 31 pounds 33 pounds
Mileage Warranty 70,000 miles 70,000 miles

2. Warranties


Though both tires share the same mileage support of 70,000 miles, the Crugen HT51 does not offer a special warranty aside from free tire replacement on the first year or first 2/32 in. of wear.

On the other hand, the Defender tire provides a 60-day trial and 3 years worth of roadside assistance.

3. Performance reviews


Based on consumer feedback, Michelin’s Defender LTX M/S takes the lead in all-season versatility and off-roading capability with a high level of comfort and longer wear life.

4. Wet


Puddles of water won’t slow down this Kumho tire because it has effective groove channels and zigzag sipes to wick water away. However, when driving in rainy conditions, you need to be careful in oversteering and braking because the response lacks the precision and speed similar to a premium tire.

In contrast, the Defender tire has an excellent wet grip, so driving under heavy rain is not a problem. It remains stable even when pushed through corners or during hard acceleration.

5. Dry


To enjoy highway stability, the Crugen HT51 must be driven at higher speeds. Forcing it to run at moderate speeds will cause the tire to twitch to hold its grip.

In comparison, the Defender LTX M/S has stronger steering control that can evenly distribute pressure across its contact patch for the needed acceleration and braking power. It has plenty of dry grips because the tread blocks are stiff.

6. Noise/Comfort/Ride quality


The Crugen HT51 delivers a stable ride even with heavy loads or a trailer attached to it. It has a sufficient grip on corners.

However, it produces an audible tread growl on rough roads. The road feedback is high when you hit bumps and potholes, and it takes a while to go back to fine handling.

On the other hand, the Defender LTX M/S is not only firm on pothole-filled roads but also great in crossing riverbeds, sandy hills, and mud at slow speeds. It delivers a quiet and smooth riding experience. Some drivers revealed that it has low road noise on the highway.

7. Snow and ice


Kumho Crugen HT51 tires that were manufactured in 2017 carried the snowflake symbol, which meant that they could handle harsh winter conditions.

Crugen HT51 tires produced before that are not snow-rated, but they perform decently on icy roads and snow-laden areas.

Meanwhile, the Defender LTX MS is not snow-certified, so it is not usable in severe snow conditions. However, this tire has good grip and braking ability in light snow. It can pass through slush and ice.

8. Cost


Kumho Crugen HT51 is cheaper by almost $50 than Michelin’s Defender LTX M/S. For example, Kumho, with a tire size of 235/70R16, costs around $161, while the same Defender tire size is sold at $220.99.

Pros and Cons

Kumho Crugen HT51
  • Cheaper
  • Comparable treadlife
  • Above-average wet and dry performance
  • Steering and braking ability could use some refining
Michelin Defender LTX MS
  • Superior wet and dry performance
  • Usable in light snow
  • Quiet, comfortable and stable ride
  • Expensive



Is Kumho Crugen HT51 a good tire?

Yes, Kumho Crugen HT51 is a good tire. It is a low-cost choice that can deliver highway stability, all-season traction, and durability that is close to what premium tires can offer.

How long does a Kumho Crugen HT51 tire last?

Kumho’s Crugen HT51 has a mileage warranty of 70,000 miles or a wear life promise of up to 6 years. For light truck sizes, the treadwear warranty covers 45,000 miles.

Which is better, Kumho Crugen HT51 vs KL33?

The Crugen HT51 defeats the summer touring tire, KL33, in wet and dry performance. It has superior cornering stability and a more responsive steering control.


This comparison of Kumho Crugen HT51 vs Michelin Defender is only an example of why Kumho tires are at the top of the list for a cost-effective but truly functional alternative to premium tires.

The Kumho brand delivers its promise without breaking the bank. Certainly, this result would spark further interest in Michelin vs Kumho tires matchup. You might be curious about other models like Kumho Crugen HT55 or Kumho Crugen HP71.

Don’t worry. We’ll try to keep you updated with more Kumho Crugen tires review, so stay tuned.

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Henry-Speciale - Writer

Henry Speciale

I’m Henry, the content writer for PPMC Transport. We build our site entirely on experience and extensive market and customer research. My goal is to create a trusted platform where people can go to determine what is best for their vehicles in terms of safety and convenience. Keep an eye out for our useful guide!...more