6 Top-Rated Truck and SUV Tires That Won't Break the Bank

By   

View as:

truck tires
Photo credit: flavijus/istockphoto

KEEP ON TRUCKIN'

Most of the same brands that make tires for passenger cars offer tire lines designed to fit crossovers, minivans, SUVs and light-duty pickups. Many also offer heavier-duty tires — which carry an LT prefix —that are specially designed to carry the loads more typical of larger SUVs and pickups and full-sized vans. Our picks for the best truck and SUV tires include wallet-friendly options from well-known tire manufacturers like Continental, Firestone, and even Pirelli, as well as some lesser-known economy brands that have proven able to hold their own against the big names. Choices include all-season tires for day-to-day commuting on streets and highways; all-terrain tires that are made to perform well on pavement, but can also venture off the road if need be; and we've even got a slightly pricier set of off-road tires (also called mud tires) that are acceptable on roads, but primarily intended for where the pavement ends.

To make our picks, we consulted a variety of expert and user reviews. As is the case with our roundup of the best all-season tires, Consumer Reports and Tire Rack, a respected retail site that conducts extensive independent testing of the majority of tires it sells, provide the most comprehensive assessments of truck tires. We also read through reviews at automotive sites and enthusiast sites, the latter being especially helpful in evaluating all terrain and mud tires. User feedback at Tire Rack, Simple Tire, and other tire sellers helped to complete the picture, giving us a sense of how these tires performed over the long haul with real-world usage.

A final note to drivers looking for a truck tire for use in colder climes. Because of their aggressive tread, some truck owners think that all-terrain and off-road tires are also acceptable for driving in severe winter weather. They are not. While some of these tires, carry the mountain and snowflake "severe" winter designation — meaning that they should provide safe performance in moderate snow and ice conditions — they are not ideal choices for negotiating serious snowfalls. We've seen lots of reviews at enthusiast sites that have pitted mud and all-terrain tires against snow tires, and the all-terrain and mud tires have invariably performed poorly in comparison. See our snow tires report to learn more about the benefits, and drawbacks, of dedicated winter tires and to see our picks for the best snow tires for trucks and SUVs.

*Prices and availability are subject to change. Starting prices are generally for smallest tire sizes for each line.

Continental CrossContact LX20
Photo credit: Courtesy of continentaltire.com

CONTINENTAL CROSSCONTACT LX20

Best Truck Tires
Est. Price: Starting around $122 | Buy them from Tire Rack

Pros:
- Very good performance under most driving conditions.
- Better-than-average wet traction.
- Relatively little road noise for a truck tire.
- Covered by Continental's "Total Confidence Plan," including 3 years complimentary flat-tire roadside assistance and replacements for damage within the first 12 months.

Cons:
- May struggle to meet 70,000-mile treadwear warranty.
- Snow performance could be better.
- Mixed feedback on fuel economy.

Takeaway: Experts and owners agree that the Continental CrossContact LX20 is one of the better light truck and SUV tires you can buy. It falls among the top-rated all-season truck tires in testing by both Consumer Reports and Tire Rack and it's praised for its incredible traction on wet roads and stopping power on dry surfaces; it performs capably enough on snowy roads, as well. Handling in emergency situations is also good, reviewers say, though other tires offer slightly better performance. Owners at Tire Rack echo expert assessments, and say the comfort level is quite good and road noise is far less noticeable than with similar truck tires from other brands.

Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus
Photo credit: Courtesy of pirelli.com

PIRELLI SCORPION VERDE ALL SEASON PLUS

Best Sport Truck Tires
Est. Price: Starting around $125 | Buy them from Tire Rack

Pros:
- Very good traction on dry, wet, and snowy roads.
- Smooth, comfortable ride with relatively little road noise.
- Relatively robust treadwear warranty.

Cons:
- Longer-than-average braking distances on wet pavement and ice.

Takeaway: If you drive a luxury or sport-oriented crossover, SUV, or light truck, experts say the Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus is an excellent choice for the money. Traction is great on dry roads, surprisingly decent on snow, and the tire resists hydroplaning very well. The ride is quiet and refined, but handling is still responsive when pushed. As Tire Rack experts have it, the Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus is "all about finesse and balance" and makes an excellent choice for drivers looking for stability and a little excitement on the roads — the twistier the better. But while traction and handling rate well, braking performance on wet and icy surfaces could be better, reviewers add. Based on long-term results, the tire should be able to reach its 65,000 treadwear warranty.

Kumho Crugen HT51
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

KUMHO CRUGEN HT51

Best Cheap Truck Tires
Est. Price: Starting around $90 | Buy them from Walmart

Pros:
- Excellent snow traction.
- Resists hydroplaning better than other truck tires.
- Designed for low rolling resistance, may improve fuel economy.
- Top rated by drivers at Tire Rack and other retail sites.

Cons:
- Experts give this tire only middling reviews.
- Braking on wet surfaces is only fair.
- Relatively short treadwear warranty compared to the competition.

Takeaway: While experts are only mildly impressed with the Kumho Crugen HT51, drivers seem to absolutely adore it. It's the best-in-class highway all-season truck and SUV tire (out of nearly 40) among drivers reporting at Tire Rack, and it routinely draws raves from consumers. Experts don't give the tire very good grades on dry and wet road performance, but users disagree, and rate it as good or better in those regards than the competition, including tires that cost significantly more. If there's one area of agreement between owners and experts it's that this tire performs well above average on snow and ice. The treadwear warranty is for 45,000 miles for light truck size tires; it's also available in sizes designed for passenger cars but that fit some light trucks (at a reduced load), and those tires carry a 70,000-mile warranty.

Continental Terraincontact A/T
Photo credit: Courtesy of continentaltire.com

CONTINENTAL TERRAINCONTACT A/T

Best All-Terrain Truck Tires
Est. Price: Starting around $164 | Buy them from Tire Rack

Pros:
- Rave reviews from owners and experts.
- Very good handling in emergency situations.
- Relatively little road noise for an all-terrain tire.
- In addition to generous warranty, covered by Continental's "Total Confidence Plan" road service package (when purchased from authorized dealer).

Cons:
- Firmer ride with higher rolling resistance, so fuel economy not the best.
- Traction suffers slightly on soft surfaces like sand.
- A relatively expensive tire.

Takeaway: Expert reviewers, truck enthusiast sites, and consumers largely give these Continental all-terrain tires top marks, saying the Continental TerrainContact A/T is a competent performer off road and manages this without sacrificing performance on the highway. In tests, this tire gets positive reviews for handling and braking, especially on dry roads, and it resists hydroplaning better than similar tires. It's not the best tire in snow and ice, but it still rates higher than many competitors in that regard. The Continental TerrainContact A/T is also one of the quieter all-terrain tires we've reviewed. Tire Rack ranks it best in its category and calls it "a standout" and "remarkably talented all around." An added bonus, its 70,000-mile treadwear warranty comes alongside upgraded service perks, like three years of complimentary flat-tire roadside assistance and replacements should tires be damaged on the road within the first 12 months.

Falken Wildpeak A/T3W
Photo credit: Courtesy of tirebuyer.com

FALKEN WILDPEAK A/T3W

Best Cheap All-Terrain Truck Tires
Est. Price: Starting around $103 | Buy them from Amazon

Pros:
- Good performance on dry and wet roads.
- Designed for all-weather driving; capable in snowy conditions.
- Extremely confident off-road handling in testing by Off-Road.com.
- Many are impressed with the bold design and strong look.

Cons:
- More road noise than other all-terrain truck tires, according to some owners.
- Brand is newer to the off-road market.

Takeaway: The Falken WildPeak A/T3W may not be as smooth an operator (or as widely acclaimed) as our pick for best all-terrain tire, the Continental TerrainContact A/T, but given the substantial difference in prices it's a tire that's also more than worthy of consideration. Its performance is just a hair worse on dry roads than the Continental, but it does better in light to moderate snow — unlike the Continental it bears the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol (3PMSF). It's also designed to be taken into rougher territory; reviewers at Off-Road.com describe it as straddling the line between standard all-terrain and mud tire and say it grips extremely well on both sand and rocks. Road noise is definitely noticeable, users say, but reviewers at Off-Road.com insist the Wildpeak A/T3 isn't any louder than most all-terrain tires, despite its deeper, more aggressive tread design. The tire carries a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, and it should have little trouble meeting that; long-term testing suggests 70,000 miles is a better estimation of this tire's life.

Firestone Destination MT2
Photo credit: Courtesy of firestonetire.com

FIRESTONE DESTINATION MT2

Best Off-Road Tires
Est. Price: Starting around $205 | Buy them from Tire Rack

Pros:
- Terrific off-road performance, based on testing.
- Tread pattern prevents stones, debris from becoming lodged.
- Relatively good on-road performance.

Cons:
- Quieter than some other off-road tires when on the highway, but still fairly noisy.
- Stiff ride.
- Relatively expensive.

Takeaway: If you're the type of driver that doesn't need, or want, paved roads to get to where you're going, the Firestone Destination MT2 is your type of tire. Enthusiast reviews of this mud tire are nothing short of glowing; according to experts, its off-road performance is stellar and it won't be fazed by any terrain you can throw at it. Also, reviewers at FourWheeler Network say the Destination MT2's wide tread blocks are adept at repelling rocks that can get lodged in tires and hamper traction when down in the dirt. It's a pretty good tire for its type on paved surfaces, too, and among the better ones when those surfaces are wet — just expect a stiffer, louder ride compared to all-season tires, and even all-terrain ones. User reviews aren't terribly abundant (this is a redesign of the popular but discontinued Firestone Destination MT), but there's enough feedback at Tire Rack to make it the highest rated model in the "off-road maximum traction" category. Like most off-road tires, this model does not carry a treadwear warranty, but users consistently say they've been amazed at how well these tires hold up.

Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.