"The concept of an all-terrain is to have a tire that works well in all conditions, including rain-soaked highways, where mud-terrains sometimes falter," says Ali Mansour with Four Wheeler magazine. "While the tighter voids prevent most all-terrains from excelling in the mud, for most daily-driven 4x4s, the modern all-terrain tire works extremely well." The increase in traction (versus the street-friendly all-season tire) results in more tread noise, a stiffer ride and lower fuel efficiency. And though the best models can manage deep snow, all-terrain tires tend to be pretty slippery on ice.
Only a few all-terrain truck tires are capable on both pavement and dirt, and reviews say the Cooper Discoverer A/T3 (Est. $170) has excellent performance on both. During his test, Josh Burns with Off-Road.com says the Discoverer A/T3 tracks "straight through the deep mud" and delivers great "control and traction" on wet roads. Other Off-Road.com testers say it "resembles a tire more at home on the highway with a five-rib design that can channel water, but the silica-based tread compound grabs dirt and pulls through hard-pack trails." Users say the Cooper's construction is durable and chip-resistant.
The BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A (Est. $160) "was designed with an aggressive-looking, but noise-reducing, tread pattern with an emphasis on wet-weather traction," says Sean P. Holman from Four Wheeler Network. Experts say this tread pattern offers a good compromise between comfort and grip, making the Rugged Terrain T/A an ideal all-around truck tire. "It ultimately is for someone who might get a little dirty but doesn't want a tire so aggressive it will make the tire louder on the road," says Josh Burns.
The Michelin LTX A/T2 (Est. $190) doesn't exhibit quite the same level of four-wheeling grip as the Cooper or the BFGoodrich, but it gets very good scores for ride quality and low tread noise. Similar to the all-season Michelin LTX M/S2, owners get a lot of miles out of this all-terrain truck tire. One owner at TireRack.com says after 48,000 miles of wear "over fast highways, curvy backroads, potholed city streets, sandy beaches and dunes, fields of tall grass and mud, lots of snow and ice, and the LTX A/T2s still ride, stop and turn like the first month they were mounted."
On the highway, the Kumho Road Venture AT KL78 (Est. $130) outshines all three with its ability to shed water and resist hydroplaning. Stopping power and traction in the snow are also solid, but Kumho doesn't include a treadwear warranty and has a shorter average life span. In comparison to the Michelin LTX A/T2, the Road Venture's "ride isn't quite as good" and it doesn't "corner as well," says an owner review at TireRack.com.