What every best SUV Tires - Light Truck Tires has:
- A long tread warranty.
- Good pavement performance.
- Good grip.
Best all-season truck/SUV tire
Michelin Defender LTX M/S
If, like most SUV and light truck owners, you spend the majority of your driving time on paved streets and highways, an all-season tire is likely your best choice. These tires "have soft sidewalls (for a good ride) and a mild tread pattern (for quietness)," says Ken Brubaker at Four Wheeler Network. If you do take your vehicle off road on a regular basis, look toward an all-terrain tire or mud tire instead (covered elsewhere in this report), as all-season tires don't offer the traction and durability to cope very well with more rugged driving conditions of off-road trails.
For this edition of the report, we found two Michelin tires that rise to the top of the heap in expert reviews and user feedback. Which one is best for you will depend on which tire characteristics you value most, but on balance, we think that most drivers will be very happy with our top selection, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S (Est. $135 and up). For what it's worth, we have had a set of these on our crossover since the fall of 2016, and have been thrilled thus far with their performance on city streets and highways, and under a variety of driving conditions, including dry and wet pavement, and light snow cover.
The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is the successor to the Michelin LTX M/S2 (Est. $185 and up), which can still be found in limited sizes. It's not been as extensively tested as the M/S2, but all feedback we spotted indicates that is a worthy and worthwhile step ahead. "Compared to the popular Michelin LTX M/S2 it replaces, the new Defender LTX M/S tires share the same highly functional tread pattern, and offer improvements in wear life/longevity to better meet the high-torque demands of modern trucks," the experts at Tire Rack say. Owners posting there agree. It's the second highest rated tire in the highway all-season category, bested only slightly by a tire that has amassed good feedback but based on roughly only 10 percent as many driving miles (less than 300,000 versus 3 million).
The Michelin LTX M/S2 was a top performer in tests that we have seen over the years, and the Defender LTX M/S is following in its path. It's been reviewed by Consumer Reports and earns Recommended status. Ride, hydroplaning resistance and winter traction all receive compliments. The weak spot is wet braking, but the editors there note that that's an issue that's typical with many all-season tires. "A high scoring tire with long wear and good performance for most weather conditions," the editors conclude.
AutoGuide.com doesn't review a ton of truck tires, but it took the LTX M/S for a drive and comes away pleased. The tires are tested under a variety of conditions, on road and off, and on a variety of vehicles including a Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup and a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Road manners on asphalt were refined and "about as quiet as you could ever hope," says Craig Cole. Cornering is confidence inspiring as well, though Cole concedes that he didn't really push the tires too hard. "A top-heavy truck with live axles front and rear is hardly an ideal vehicle for slicing and dicing circuitous roads," he notes. Off road testing consisted of climbing to the top of a mountain via a ski slope access path. "We wouldn't have made it without these Michelins, though, to be fair, the Jeep's generous ground clearance, skid plates and low-range four-wheel drive deserve credit as well," Cole says. The Defender LTX M/S is available in versions that are load-rated for light trucks, so regardless of your vehicle, there's likely to be a tire in the series that fits your needs.
If you are willing to give up a little tread life and don't drive where snow is much of an issue at all, a sportier touring tire might leave you even a bit happier. In this category, the Michelin Premier LTX (Est. $145 and up) gets some terrific feedback. Customers at Tire Rack make it the top-rated crossover/SUV touring all-season tire. Experts there test it too, putting it and two competitors on a 2016 Porsche V6 Cayenne, and driving them under a variety of road conditions. The Michelins win out. "This tire raises the expectation of what a Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tire can do in wet and winter's worst weather," the editors say.
These two Michelin tires have some notable differences. The Premier has a lower profile for a sportier look, but also has lower tread depth -- something that's reflected in its lower treadwear warranty compared to the Defender (60,000 miles versus 70,000 miles), and that surprises some owners in some reviews that we spotted. However, it also has Michelin's EverGrip technology, which reveals hidden grooves that are exposed as the tire wears, maintaining solid traction on wet surfaces throughout the usable life of the tire. Consumer Reports tests this technology on a passenger car tire and finds that it largely delivers on its performance.
So which tire should you choose? In a Tire Rack blog post, Hunter Leffel compares the two tires and says, "In summary, if your need is for the best wet grip, take a look at the Michelin Premier LTX. If you're looking for good light snow traction and longevity, start your search with the Michelin Defender LTX M/S."
As the price point shifts from premium to budget, many tires can maintain a high level of performance or durability, but they rarely feature both. A reduction in life span is common -- and with the cost to mount and balance tires, some experts say it can be worth it to spend more on tires and replace them less often. For shoppers looking to spend less than $150 per tire, however, a few all-season models stand out. It may not seem like cost difference is particularly significant per tire, but when you're looking at cost across four tires, it adds up -- and that difference can be much more pronounced at specific sizes.
Among moderately priced tires, we give the nod to the Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus (Est. $125 and up). Tire experts, and tire owners, rate it highly. Editors with Tire Rack say it "offers excellent wet and dry traction." That opinion is echoed at Consumer Reports, where it finishes first among all-season truck tires, even besting both of the Michelin tires above. Winter performance isn't a highlight, however, particularly when it comes to braking on ice -- but that's not a surprise in a touring all-season tire. Users at Tire Rack rate the LX20 EcoPlus as the 5th best tire in the crossover/SUV category, with most saying that they are happy enough with performance and value that they would probably buy it again. The 6-year, 70,000 mile treadwear warranty is a plus, though treadwear itself only grades out as okay among both experts and users.
For even less, the Firestone Destination LE 2 (Est. $90 and up) is another choice to consider. It's less sporty than the Continental tire, and finishes a couple points behind it at Consumer Reports, but the editors seem fairly impressed nonetheless, saying that it offers "An impressive balance of all weather grip, quiet ride, and long tread life." The testers at Tire Rack would like to see a little bit better wet traction, but praise the tire's "Comfortable ride and intuitive steering feel along with good snow grip." Among users, it's rated as the sixth best highway all-season crossover/SUV tire at Tire Rack. That's still very good, but also lower than what we saw last year at this time.
We are adding a new tire to consider for this edition of the report, the Kumho Crugen HT51 ($85 and up). While feedback isn't extensive, it's still the highest rated highway all season truck tire among Tire Rack users, with grades of excellent across all performance metrics save for off road performance, which rates only "good." Expert reviews are a little soft, however. At Consumer Reports it gets a middling rating, though not without some strong points noted -- most notably winter weather performance, with snow traction rated as Excellent, and ice braking rated at Very Good. That leads the editors to say that it's "An all season tire that performs like an all-weather tire." At Driving Press, Adam Thompson throws a set onto this 2009 Chevy Suburban LT1. He says that they are definitely not a good choice for those looking for a performance tire, but that's made up for by a comfortable ride and a budget-friendly price. "It's a training sneaker instead of running shoes. It's a mid-spec laptop and not an aggressive gaming machine. You catch my drift," he says.