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So--after input from various people on Defenders vs Premier A/S (some conflicting) -- I'm wondering which tire gives a smoother, gentler ride and also quiet? Perhaps I"m mistaken, but I've been thinking that smooth ride and road nose would go hand-in-hand, but maybe they are different considerations? Right now my Forester has a very harsh ride and every tiny bump is felt and heard.
CR scored ride comfort the same for both tires at "very good". However, CR road noise tests scored the Defender T+H as the quieter of the two.

Have you considered that your harsh ride might be from a worn suspension. For example, Is your 2004 still running with the original factory struts?
 

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Discussion Starter #22
CR scored ride comfort the same for both tires at "very good". However, CR road noise tests scored the Defender T+H as the quieter of the two.

Have you considered that your harsh ride might be from a worn suspension. For example, Is your 2004 still running with the original factory struts?
Yes, I've thought it could be the struts all along because it's been harsh since I bought it (in 2016, with only 30K miles on it) -- I'm just in denial about that :) due to the expense it would be. I need new tires no matter what, so that will be the first thing. If the ride is still really harsh I'll have to have the suspension looked at. I'm also wondering if that year (2004) and model (XS) Forester perhaps came with stiff struts.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
So -- looking around, I found a discussion site about Michelin X Tour A/S vs Defender H+T--and there was a LOT of back and forth about whether or not they are the same exact tire, the Tour being branded and sold only for Costco (and Sam's). Most respondents said the are exactly the same. So If one wanted the Tours (assuming same as Defenders), the only disadvantage would be you can get them only from Costco and be wed to their services, but the advantage is that Costco is a very reputable company that backs its products and service. So are they really the exact same tire?
If so -- also, now for me it's a choice between Premier or the Tour (or Defender if I get them elsewhere). The Costco guy said the Premier is quieter than the Tour -- but unless I've gotten confused, that's not what others say about Premier vs Defender. Any thoughts? And is does "quiet" mean they will give a comfortable ride too? Thanks much for everyone's input.
 

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The Costco guy said the Premier is quieter than the Tour -- but unless I've gotten confused, that's not what others say about Premier vs Defender.
How does the Costco guy really know that? Do you think he has performed a comparison by driving both sets of Michelins on the same vehicle with a sound meter? I highly doubt that. Trust CR's opinion on which tire is quieter based upon their controlled testing.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
How does the Costco guy really know that? Do you think he has performed a comparison by driving both sets of Michelins on the same vehicle with a sound meter? I highly doubt that. Trust CR's opinion on which tire is quieter based upon their controlled testing.
Right-- I don't know. Maybe trying to sell me the more expensive tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Followup -- Went to Costco, and after good conversation with the Costco salesperson about Premiers vs Tours (aka Defenders) , I got the Tours. So much smoother a ride! There is still a fair amount of road noise rumble, but these are crummy roads. Next is to have the struts examined. THANK YOU all for your great input--I would have been lost in a sea of tires.
 
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