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Best SUV Tires / Light Truck Tires

By: Carl Laron on March 07, 2018

Editor's Note:
For SUV, light truck and crossover owners, a Michelin all-season tire is your best bet -- and we have a set of our Best Reviewed tires on our vehicle and couldn't be happier. For more adventurous drivers, we name top all-terrain and off-road mud tires, too.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Traction grade -- A Temperature grade -- A Tread warranty -- 6 years/70,000 miles

Best all-season truck/SUV tire

The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is a top choice for those who take their trucks and SUVs mostly over roads, but who also want a tire that won't leave them flat when the pavement disappears. Testing reveals it to be a competent performer for a variety of vehicles and over a variety of driving surfaces. Owners love it, too. The treadwear warranty is among the best for a tire that can also be taken off road on occasion.

Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Traction grade -- A Temperature grade -- A/B Tread warranty -- 6 years/70,000 miles

Best value all-season truck/SUV tire

The Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus is a safe and stable all-season SUV tire that compares favorably with more expensive models for highway use. It brakes exceptionally well on both wet and dry roads, and delivers a comfortable and quiet ride. You can take it off road in a pinch, but look elsewhere if that's a prime consideration. The six-year, 70,000-mile warranty matches that of the Michelin.

BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Traction grade -- N/A Temperature grade -- N/A Tread warranty -- None, workmanship only

Best all-terrain truck/SUV tire

Reviewers say the BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 is the best all-terrain truck tire because it excels as both an off-road tire and as a comfortable tire for the daily driver. Experts put it to grueling tests, off-road and on, and on dry surfaces, wet surfaces, and snowy surfaces, and come away satisfied every time. It's also smooth and quiet (for an all-terrain tire) on the highway. However, like most off-road tires, there's no treadwear warranty.

Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Traction grade -- N/A Temperature grade -- N/A Tread warranty -- None, workmanship only

Best off-road tire

The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar features aggressive tread and Kevlar-reinforced sidewalls to maximize grip and durability, crawling past the competition on rock courses and through muddy trails. Its well-rounded design delivers excellent performance in sand, snow and on pavement, with a ride that's smoother than the average mud tire. The Kevlar-reinforced sidewalls are puncture-resistant, an important plus for heavy-duty off road use under a variety of conditions.

The right tire makes all the difference in the performance of a light truck or SUV

Braking, accelerating, steering and suspension have one thing in common: The quality of your tires affects them all. A worn set of tires can lead to rough rides or -- even worse -- cause you to lose control of your vehicle. The wrong set of tires isn't much better. The right rubber, on the other hand, "will offer the responsiveness necessary for obstacle avoidance, short stopping distances that aid panic braking situations, and road-holding grip under both dry and wet conditions," says the Car Care Council.

Though tires often appear to be very similar, the difference in performance and handling can be night and day between sets. The best truck tires and SUV tires are strong performers, as long as you keep in mind their intended use (pavement versus off-road, for example). However, none of them excel across the board, according to professional comparisons. That's why experts recommend that buyers consider how and where they will drive, and then pick the type of tire that best fits their needs. If you don't drive an SUV, crossover or light truck, we cover passenger car tires in their own report. Regardless of what vehicle you drive, you can find the best winter tires in our snow tire report.

Types of SUV Tires - Light Truck Tires

All-Season Tires

Designed primarily for use on pavement, the best all-season truck tires combine a comfortable ride with safety features for stability on curves, short braking distances and adequate traction on wet streets to deliver a quieter, more car-like experience. They have the lowest rolling resistance of the three tire types to boost mileage performance. Top models can manage light snow and ice, but if your region gets heavy snowfall, consider switching to a winter truck tire, which will give you the best grip on slick and snowy roads. Our report on snow tires includes some recommendations for winter tires for SUVs and light trucks.

All-Terrain Tires

If you drive mainly on pavement, but also have occasional off-road adventures, an all-terrain tire is the way to go. The best all-terrain tires maintain a good balance between highway performance -- quiet and smooth enough to be comfortable for most daily driving -- but with enough aggressive tread to crawl through mid-range off-road trails. According to Consumer Reports, many models of all-terrain truck tires have enough grip for light to moderate snow. However, most only provide so-so braking on ice, so a snow tire is still the better choice for winter driving. The increase in traction all-terrain tires provide increases the tires' rolling resistance, so users should expect poorer gas economy compared to an all season model.

Mud Tires

These tires are designed for off-road use, providing maximum grip for rock-crawling and dirt trails. Their open tread patterns are designed to break through mud without getting stuck, and their sidewalls are reinforced to withstand punctures from rocks. On the highway these features increase tread noise and gas consumption while creating a stiffer ride.

A word on pricing

Unless otherwise indicated, pricing estimates in this report are per tire, and for the least expensive size available at retail. Pricing also doesn't include installation -- sometimes free, depending on your retailer -- and you can incur extra costs for balancing, stems, tire disposal, etc. If buying online, some sellers offer free shipping, but others do not; shipping costs on one tire, let alone four, can sometimes be substantial.

These prices are a guideline only and are provided to show relative value between choices. Actual prices are likely to be higher for different sizes, and for tires designed for heavier loads (designated with an LT -- light truck -- prefix). See the buying guide for more information on tire sizes and load capacities.

Finding The Best SUV Tires - Light Truck Tires
Our Sources
"All-Season Truck Tire Ratings"
"All-Season SUV Ratings"
"All-Terrain Truck Tire Ratings"

To find the best SUV and light truck tires, ConsumerSearch editors began by evaluating professional road tests, looking primarily at reviewers that test tires under a variety of conditions and using appropriate methodology. Consumer Reports excels at this, and tests tires for SUV and light trucks, including all-season and all-terrain models. Tire Rack also tests tires, and does a good job documenting its findings, though it doesn't cover nearly as many choices.

However, Tire Rack is an outstanding source for user reviews of tires. Many options have accumulated hundreds of reviews covering thousands and even millions of driving miles. Considering that feedback, owner feedback at other sites, and feedback at additional expert sites that test tires on occasion or using more casual methodology, we found a number of SUV and light truck tires worth considering. We narrowed down the field by focusing on safety features -- including braking abilities, handling in corners and resistance to hydroplaning. From there, we picked truck/SUV tires that combine excellent performance with comfort and durability, and found several top models in a range of prices. Match one of these to your budget and driving needs to find the best tire for you and your vehicle.

Recently Updated
SUV Tires - Light Truck Tires buying guide

What every best SUV Tires - Light Truck Tires has:

  • A long tread warranty.
  • Good pavement performance.
  • Good grip.

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