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Best All-terrain Truck Tires

By: Carl Laron on March 07, 2018

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All-Season Truck Tires Best All-terrain Truck Tires Our Sources
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Best all-terrain truck/SUV tire

BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2

All-terrain tires balance comfort with extra traction

"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 Network. "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."

In doing the research for this report, we found a bit of divergence when it came to finding all-terrain tires that both pass muster with the experts and garner positive user feedback. However, a few tires do well with both groups. The BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 (Est. $140 and up) hasn't undergone testing by either Consumer Reports or Tire Rack, but it has been tested by a host of automotive and general consumer publications and sites, and all have nothing but praise for it. Four Wheeler Network tests the tires over a two month span, covering everything from daily commutes to trips well off the beaten path. "We had a chance to sample the KO2s in the rain, as well as on sharp-edged terrain, and regular desert two-tracks," says Sean P. Holman. He adds that the tires have "great manners" on the highway under both wet and dry conditions, and that "On the trail, the KO2s handled everything that we threw at them, even at highway pressures." Noise is a plus as well, and Holman reports that the tires were "As quiet and smooth as any all-terrain on the market, and even some 'highway' tires."

Four Wheel Network's test covered about 1,000 miles in total. Sean Michael at Off-Road.com reports on around 18,000 total driving miles over two years and on two vehicles, including his wife's daily driver. "Between the two trucks we've trekked across the width and height of Utah, as well as trips through Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, British Columbia and Alberta," he says. "Both sets of tires have been run through a full winter, with the 4Runner frequently driven in 2wd to assess the predictability, control and limits of the tires on snow and ice encountered without the benefits of dispersed horsepower." Other than struggling with traction on wet rock, the tires meet all expectations, and then some. "As it stands, BFGoodrich's KO2 has, from our two years of use, proven itself as a great all-around off-road tire," he says. Other expert reviews, both short term and long, largely echo those views.

In addition, users give the KO2 high praise. It's the top-rated tire in the on-/off-road all-terrain tire category at Tire Rack, based on reviews that cover nearly 5 million driving miles. It scores an excellent rating among users in all performance categories save for treadwear, which still rates as good.  

If the All-Terrain KO2s are a little pricy for you, and you live in an area where you expect to be riding regularly on snow and ice, the Kumho Road Venture AT51 (Est. $95 and up) could be the right tire for you. It doesn't do that impressively in testing at Consumer Reports, save in one area -- traction in snow and breaking on ice -- not a surprise since it carries the mountain and snowflake symbol that "indicates the tire meets required performance criteria in snow testing to be considered severe snow service-rated," according to Tire Rack. Adam Thomson of Driving Press admits to not being much of an off-road guy, but gives these tires props. "The Kumho Road Venture AT51 managed to tickle my fancy because it delivers balanced performance without sacrificing the on-road manners of a typical highway terrain SUV or truck tire," he says. He also loves this tire's value.

Users give this tire high grades. It hasn't been driven as much as the KO2 by Tire Rack users, but based on nearly 2 million driving miles it still scores a second place finish in the all-terrain category. It's a step behind the KO2 in most categories, especially in off-road performance (though it's still rated good in that metric).

Mud tires give you the best off-road traction

The main focus of a mud tire is typically one thing: ultimate off-road traction. If you're using your four-wheel drive as your main vehicle, however, your tire also needs to have decent pavement manners. "We believe a good mud-terrain tire should perform well in all versions of terra firma; after all, mud only happens when dirt and water mix. The rest of the time, you have dirt, rock, sand and snow -- not to mention all forms of pavement," says Robin Stover from Four Wheeler Network.

Experts recommend the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar (Est. $195 and up) because of its balanced performance both on the trail and on the street. Unlike some knobby mud tires, experts say the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar is smooth enough for daily drivers. "The on-road manners are pleasant and relatively quiet, with none of the vibration or harshness we expect from tires with high void ratios," says Four Wheeler Network. In a separate road test, Robin Stover with Four Wheeler Network says, "The MT/R hooked up in every area of our test loop at Hollister Hills, yet returned one of the smoothest ride qualities of the group." Truck Trend Network reports that "the highway ride remains surprisingly quiet, with none of the drone of some of the more aggressive off-road tires on the market."

Not all owners agree: In one Tire Rack survey, the Goodyear has the lowest tread noise scores among otherwise top-rated maximum-traction tires. However, it fares better in most performance categories, especially off-road performance, and earns good to excellent ratings on all metrics save for ice traction, where it's only so-so.

Treadwear is the biggest caveat with these tires. Many users report only getting 40,000 to 60,000 miles out of a set of Wrangler MT/R's. Goodyear doesn't include a treadwear warranty for these mud tires: Their six-year warranty protects only against defects in the workmanship or materials.

For maximum off-road traction, we found a ton of positive user feedback for the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 (Est. $160 and up). It's the top-rated off-road maximum traction tire among Tire Rack customers, based on more than 300 user reviews and nearly 6 million driving miles.

Expert feedback is a little hard to come by, and most of the reviews are older. That said, Four Wheeler Network tests the tires and Douglas McColloch is impressed with performance over most surfaces -- though they do struggle a little bit on loose dirt and dusty silt beds if driven at high speeds. The "bottom line," he says is that these tires are "a superior rock tire that also excels in mud while still retaining perfectly respectable street manners."

Truck Trend Network also tests the tires, this time over a one month span and both on and off road. Traction on all surfaces, including mud is excellent -- though perhaps too excellent for less powerful vehicles. "On less powerful gasoline-powered vehicles, the new tread design may be too aggressive in some cases and could conceivably bog the engine," David Kennedy says. He also says that the tires are louder on the street than the previous set he had on his test truck, though users give the tire somewhat higher marks in that regard than the Goodyears. Like the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar, these tires carry only a six year workmanship warranty, with no treadlife warranty at all. However, Tire Rack users have relatively few complaints regarding the tires wearing out prematurely.

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