LAST UPDATED: July 22, 2019
Best Tires for SUVs: Keep Your SUV Moving Through All Road Conditions
Experience enhanced ride comfort and longer service life from your tires with our top picks for the best tires for SUVs
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON July 22, 2019
A key ingredient to having a powerful SUV that can help you navigate through the wettest rainforests to the busiest highways is having a set of SUV-specific tires. Anything less may leave you with a blowout while you’re off-roading. If you own an SUV, check out the top tires in our buying guide, which are guaranteed to keep your SUV operating at its optimal level.
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Why Buy The Best Tires for SUVs?
- Improved performance. The quality of your tires determines your braking distance, how well you make a turn, and stopping time in case of an emergency. Old tires have worn-out treads that are slippery and often take too long to stop when braking. It’s better to replace them with a new set of performance-oriented tires that are easier to control and brake fast enough to avoid accidents.
- Enhanced safety. Depending on the new tire’s tread-wear rating, your sport utility vehicle will be cushioned for safety for at least the next 50,000 miles of its life. You may spend a lot of money replacing the entire set, but it’s a small price to pay to maintain safety.
- All-year traction. Most SUV tires are designed to maintain maximum contact with the ground, especially during high-velocity situations. However, not all tires can maintain the same performance during all four seasons. That’s why you need two sets of tires: all-terrain tires for improved summer performance and mud or snow tires for enhanced traction on loose surfaces.
- Comfortable driving. SUV tires, especially ones with thick and deep-functioning tread patterns, make you feel like your vehicle is floating on the road. The tires also produce minimal road noise and are guaranteed to make your long highway or off-road drives more enjoyable.
Types of SUV Tires
All-season tires are designed to offer a smooth and comfortable ride, especially at high speeds. The tires maintain commendable traction in wet conditions and often exhibit uniform wear across the tread pattern. They can handle a little snow and slush on the road but are almost useless in deep snow.
Snow tires are designed for deep snow and icy roads. The treads have large gaps to pack snow for easy movement. These tires come with a Three-Peak Mountain SnowFlake symbol and are typically used when the temperatures drop below 45-degrees Fahrenheit. However, they have poor performance on dry roads and need to be removed once the winter season is over.
All-terrain tires can be ridden off-road and on highways. They offer a seamless ride and can effortlessly transition from the highway to muddy grass and back without losing their traction, braking power, or performance. However, you have to sacrifice gas and tread mileage with most of these tires.
Bridgestone is a Japan-based, multinational manufacturer of auto and truck parts. It’s the largest tire manufacturing company in the world and has had an 88-year run in the automotive industry. The company is a sponsor and tire supplier of motorcycle races as well as sports car and touring car races. It’s also the official tire for the Olympic Games and the National Football League. One of its top-rated SUV tires that are a testament to its innovative culture as an apex tire manufacturer is the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus.
Goodyear is a US-based tire manufacturer with over 100 years of experience in the automotive industry. The company also has a few other subsidiary industries under its umbrella, including Dunlop Tires, Just Tires, Goodyear Chemical, Fierce, Lee, and Regetta, among others. Goodyear is also the best-rated tire supplier in Formula One history. One of its most affordable tires for SUVs is the Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Firestone has had 118 years of experience as a tire manufacturing company. Harvey Firestone founded the company, and it’s the first-ever company to pioneer the mass production of tires. In addition, Firestone is the official OE supplier of Ford Company due to the long-standing relationship between the founders of both companies. One of its best-selling, all-season tires for SUVs is the Firestone Destination LE.
Pirelli is an Italian tire manufacturing company that was founded in 1872 by Giovanni Battista Pirelli. The company is focused on producing high-performance tires for motorcycles, bicycles, and cars, which are sold in over 160 countries in the world through a chain of over 14,000 distributors and retailers. Since 1907, the company has been sponsoring sports competitions, including FIA Formula One World Championship. One of its high-quality, all-season tires is the Pirelli Scorpion Verde All-Season Plus.
Best SUV Tires Pricing
- Under $200: You may find some of the best all-season tires, summer tires, and snow tires within this price range. Price is not the main factor for determining how well the tire performs in terms of traction, control, and stability. That mainly depends on what the manufacturer puts into constructing the tire. However, the lower you are on this price range, the less tread mileage you get.
- Over $200: Expect to find some of the best SUV tires from top tire manufacturing companies in the industry in this price range. This includes the latest releases that are aimed at improving what the preceding tires failed at. Be aware that some brand-name tires are a bit overpriced and offer minimal performance improvements. Be sure to read consumer reviews before you invest in any tire within this range.
Size is an important component when it comes to tires. The right size promotes a comfortable ride and will determine your SUV’s stopping or braking power as well as its fuel efficiency. Your owner’s manual or old tire’s sidewall will provide the tire size information. They will also give you a range of other tire sizes that will fit in your vehicle.
The mileage or the life of the tire majorly depends on the brand and the technology that goes into constructing the tire. Some manufacturers maintain high standards with their tires and may have a tire with a 100,000-mile tread life, while others in the same category may have a life of only 50,000 miles. The type or purpose of the tire is also a contributing factor to the tire mileage. For instance, on-road tires last longer than off-road tires.
- Speed Rating: This is the T marking on your tire. It indicates the maximum speed that the tire can attain and maintain without sustaining damage. Ensure that you don't go beyond the indicated speed limit to prevent a tire blowout.
- Load Index: The load index is denoted by the first two numbers after the tire size. It indicates the maximum weight that each tire can safely carry. The higher the load index, the higher the carrying capacity.
- Rolling Resistance: This is the force required to roll a tire at a fixed speed of 50 mph. The lower the rolling resistance, the higher the fuel efficiency. Rolling resistance varies with different tires and is often determined by the tread design, tread compound, tire size, and construction.
Best Tires for SUVs Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Bridgestone Dueler is an elegant-looking, all-season tire that delivers all-weather versatility, including light snow traction. It features a cushioned, symmetrical tread pattern for enhanced driving comfort and to minimize vibrations and road noise. The tire features a continuous center rib boost and notched shoulder blocks for increased highway stability and responsiveness. Twin steel belts hardened with spirally wound nylon make up the tire’s internal structure for H, V, and W speed-rated sizes to reinforce the tires under the tread area.
The Bridgestone radial tire includes sipes, lateral notches, and wide circumferential grooves that help the tire maintain all-weather traction and further enhance ride comfort. The tire is a little over 40 pounds and is available for 15- to 20-inch sizes. It also has an impressive 80,000-mile tread warranty and can take you to the 100,000-mile mark if you aren’t an aggressive driver. Lastly, a treadwear indicator lets you keep track of when to replace the tires.
A downside to the product is it’s constructed with wide tread widths that limit traction in snow conditions. It also takes too long to brake on ice. You would have to change to winter tires during the cold season. Moreover, the tires may start to produce vibrations and a lot of road noise after going through half of their service life.
The Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max is an affordable touring tire designed to offer reliable, all-year traction. It’s characterized by reduced rolling resistance to enhance the vehicle’s gas mileage and also includes a fuel-saving tread compound that controls the energy used when the tires roll. The internal structure is reinforced with twin steel belts and a polyester casing that enhances the ride quality.
It has a unique tread design that features inboard and outboard Dry Tread Zones, which include sturdy shoulder blocks for optimized handling in dry road conditions. A central tread zone coupled with Dual Aqua-channel grooves increases the tire’s water evacuation properties to promote wet weather traction and resist hydroplaning. The tire also includes sipes that increase the tire’s biting edge in wintry conditions. It’s available for 16- to 19-inch tires and has a 65,000-mile tread guarantee.
A major drawback of the product is that it has poor traction in the snow just like most all-season tires. The treads are too closely packed to help your vehicle move through deep snow. Also, the performance drops and the tires become noisy after half of their service life. The tires may have a shorter tread life with aggressive off-road driving.
Backed by a strong brand reputation, Pirelli Scorpion Verde is an eco-friendly tire that reduces a driver’s carbon footprint while at the same time helping save money on fuel expenses. It’s branded with the “Eco-Impact” icon on the sidewall, and it reduces carbon emissions. It's an all-season tire with proven fuel-saving technology that reduces rolling resistance, and its lightweight construction enhances fuel economy by providing more miles per gallon.
The product is a premium performance tire that maintains excellent traction in dry, wet, and light snow conditions. Pirelli included its latest design elements and technology when manufacturing this tire to give it a decent service life and great all-condition handling. It also has a strong braking grip and low noise levels, even when the treads start to wear out.
Some disadvantages of the tire are that it performs poorly in deep snow. It’s also not the most comfortable tire, as it feels rough on a highway. It also has a short tread life for an all-season tire, and it may not make it past the 50,000-mile mark, especially with aggressive off-road driving. Moreover, the tires may start to shake after 20,000 miles.
This all-season tire delivers dependable performance while also improving your vehicle’s fuel economy. The tire features Michelin's proprietary EnergySaver Construction that utilizes a unique compound of silica for the rubber tread. It not only improves fuel economy but also helps keep the tire cooler. The tread is a symmetrical pattern with four large circumferential grooves and several rows of independent tread blocks.
You’ll like driving on these tires, thanks to the Comfort Control Technology that’s built into the tire. It uses a computer-optimized design, which also reduces vibrations and road noise. Combine this with the tire’s enhanced grip for predictable handling, and you have a product that’s a pleasure to use.
Unfortunately, this tire spins out easily, which means you’ll lose traction if you accelerate too quickly. This becomes even worse on wet or lightly snow-covered roads. The tire also doesn’t wear evenly, which will decrease ride comfort.
These tires have an aggressive tread block pattern that will give you traction both on and off of the road. They are rated M+S with the three-peak mountain snowflake. This means that you can drive the tire in more extreme, snowy conditions. The product also comes as standard OEM equipment on several light- and medium-duty 2WD trucks and SUVs.
What's nice about this tire is the aggressive tread pattern. It provides plenty of edges for grip to give you solid traction on dry, wet, and snowy roads. It also performs well in warm and cold temperatures. This makes it an ideal all-around tire for those who regularly drive off of the paved path.
The downside of this tire is that it’s not a true winter tire. While you can drive with it in winter weather that’s heavier than light snow, it won’t perform as well as an actual winter tire. This may leave you with less traction than what’s desirable. You might also find the ride comfort lacking on roads due to the more aggressive tread block pattern. The product is heavier than the standard road-only tire, so you’ll also see a decrease in fuel economy.
This sport tire is specifically meant for use on larger vehicles, meaning you get all of the comforts of a touring tire, but with improved performance and handling. The all-season tread will provide you with year-round traction and drivability. The tire’s construction has angled tread blocks, four circumferential grooves, and smaller siping throughout.
What makes this tire stand out is its symmetrical tread pattern. It creates a smooth, quiet ride while also encouraging even tread wear for extended tread life. The product tends to be more affordably priced than other tires, which makes it a smart budget buy.
Unfortunately, this tire’s performance tends to lag when it comes to winter performance. It also won’t perform well on rough roads or when driving off-road.
This all-season passenger tire is designed for use on everything from cars to minivans and SUVs. It boasts a long tread life and comfortable ride. The construction of this tire features a silica-enhanced rubber compound. It’s molded into a symmetrical design that makes it easy to freely rotate the tire for a longer useful life and even wear. The tread pattern features four circumferential grooves for channeling water. There are also deep sipes, giving you more gripping edges when driving on wet or lightly snow-covered roads. The internal construction features one or two ply polyester casings and two wide steel belts that are wrapped spirally in nylon.
You’ll like driving on these tires because they create a smooth and comfortable ride. They can work to smooth out the ride when the surface you’re driving on isn’t the greatest. They also give you enough traction when accelerating or stopping.
The downside of this tire is that it creates a lot of road noise. This only gets worse with increased wear. The more you drive on this tire, the occurrences of feeling a loss of traction will also increase. This most often happens when changing direction on wet or lightly snow-covered roads.
These all-terrain tires are developed to let you drive both on and off the road. They’re tough and durable with a rugged design that enables them to function well in heavy-duty applications. The internal construction of the tire supports more demanding use with two high tensile steel belts that are layered on top of two-ply polyester cord casing and then spirally wrapped nylon reinforcement.
What makes this tire stand out is its tear and chip resistance. It’s made from a special triple polymer compound that’s molded into the aggressive symmetrical tread pattern. The tread block also combats the typical road noise that comes with this type of aggressive tread design. It has pitch variation enhancement to reduce unwanted sound levels. The product also meets the industry standard for severe snow service. It’s branded with the three-peak mountain snowflake.
Unfortunately, if you drive on paved surfaces a lot, you’ll find that the tread life is greatly reduced. These tires also don’t perform well in muddy conditions. You may find that while the tire is very quiet at installation, the tire gradually gets louder with use and wear.
The Evolution is an all-season tire that’s meant for use on crossovers, vans, light-duty trucks, and SUVs. It’s a touring tire, so you can expect a comfortably smooth and quiet ride. The construction of the tire is a high silica compound that’s molded into a symmetrical tread pattern. This helps with even tread wear and a longer useful life for the tire. The increased amount of silica also helps the tires to grip better in wet driving conditions, and the 3D sipes improve the tire’s grip when driving in light snow conditions.
What makes this tire stand out is its intricate design. The different elements are specifically placed to reduce road noise while also preventing uneven wear. The tread blocks have an interlocking feature to help increase the tire’s stability and boost the amount of contact you have with the road.
Unfortunately, the tread wears fast on these tires, and all of the special attention to the tread pattern doesn’t prevent it from wearing unevenly. The tire also tends to lack decent traction when the roads are wet.
This tire is specifically meant for use on light trucks and SUVs. It’s perfect for use on larger rims with its low-profile design. You can drive on these all-season tires in dry, wet, and light snow conditions. It comes as the OEM equipment on several 2WD and 4WD light- and medium-duty trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. The tread pattern features four wide circumferential grooves, effective for channeling water away from the tire. It also has lateral grooves and plenty of sipes to give you solid contact on wet and lightly snow-covered roads.
You’ll like driving on these tires because they’re extremely quiet and comfortable. This is a unique feature because low-profile tires typically lack both of these qualities. They also perform well at higher speeds by providing you with reliable traction.
The downside of this tire is that with wear, it can develop an annoying hum, which will only get louder with use. You may also find that a vibration develops with wear at higher speeds.
- Take note of the tire's manufacturing date, which is indicated on the sidewall (the section between the rim and tread of the tire), to determine the tread life of your tires. It's given by the last four numbers after the 'DOT' marking. For instance, 1016 means that your tire was made on the 10th week of 2016.
- Remember to ask the mechanic to keep a record of the tread depth of your tires every time you go for an oil change. That will help you determine when it’s time to change the tires with respect to the manufacturing date. Alternatively, insert a penny into the treads, and if you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head then your tires are good for a few more miles.
- Road damage may unexpectedly shorten your tire’s service life, and it mostly occurs on the tire’s sidewall. The damage is irreparable, but you can detect it before you get a tire blow out. Look for bubbles that resemble little marbles or balls buried under the sidewall and replace the tires before the damage gets worse.
Q: Can I replace only two tires?
A: If you don’t need to replace the complete set, at least ensure that the new tires are installed on the back axle. It helps the vehicle maintain control on wet roads and slippery surfaces. Moreover, it’s best to maintain traction in the rear wheels because the vehicle may spin off the road if you hit the emergency brake.
Q: Are all tire damages repairable?
A: No. You have to buy new tires if your old tires have sidewall damage or if there's a cut or tear in the pre-existing repair. Also, it's not possible to replace worn-out treads or tread indicators and punctures larger than 0.25 inches.
Q: Could I use a repaired tire before I get a replacement?
A: It depends on how well the repair is done. Tire repairs should be in line with the procedures set by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). If not, you may end up with a burst tire, which could be catastrophic. Also, you should only use a repaired tire for a month at most and avoid high-speed or off-road driving.
The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is our top pick. It's an elegant-looking SUV tire with a durable construction that's built for high speeds.
Our pick for a budget-friendly but high-performance tire suitable for all-season driving is the Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max.