For commuters and long-distance drivers who spend a lot of time on the highway, tires are an important consideration. They can make all the difference in your ride quality and the comfort of your vehicle on long trips. However, you may not want to get stuck with highway-specific tires that aren’t going to help you on different terrain like dirt and ice. Fortunately, today’s post is all about finding the best all terrain tire for the highway that is a great middle ground between these two uses.
Figure 1: All terrain tires offer a stable ride on all kinds of road surfaces. Source: TwelfthRoundAuto.com.
If you are regularly encountering these kinds of varied road conditions, you are going to want a tire that can handle them all. It can be difficult to find tires that offer benefits in all of these environments. However, by understanding the tire features that help in each of them, you can find a set that will be beneficial no matter what kind of driving you are doing.
Since there are so many different tires on the market, it can be hard to sort through them all and find the features and technologies you need. To help, we have put together a shortlist of the best all terrain tires for the highway. By choosing a set from this list, you can be sure that you are getting the best performance from your vehicle on any type of road.
What Makes a Great All Terrain Tire for the Highway?
When searching for the best all terrain tire for the highway, you are going to want to keep an eye out for some specific features. By choosing tires that have these characteristics, you can find a set that has a good mix of grip on ice and dirt as well as comfort and high performance on the highway.
One of the most important features is an asymmetrical tread pattern. Sometimes, when a tread pattern has too many repeating blocks, as is common in all terrain tires, it can make the tire noisy at high speeds. This is because as the tire rolls along the asphalt, it will trap air in the repeating pattern. The air is not allowed to escape and produces a high pitched whine at a consistent frequency, which can be distracting on long highway drives.
Figure 2: All terrain tires can eat up a lot of fuel unless they use specific highway-friendly technologies. Source: MadDigi.com.
The disadvantage of all terrain tires is that they can be detrimental to gas mileage. This is due to their high rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is the amount of force that is required to push the vehicle along the road. All terrain tires tend to have a softer constitution which requires more force. This can have a seriously detrimental effect on your gas mileage at highway speeds.
However, with the development of new additives and tire compounds, this problem has been slightly mitigated. We spoke to a sales representative at America’s Tire who told us “All terrain highway tires are a pretty new thing. It used to be impossible to find an all terrain tire that wouldn’t completely tank your gas mileage. Now, though, there are all kinds of compounds out there that can help keep the mileage low.”
The best all terrain tire for the highway will have additives such as silica that will help the tire adjust to the type of road it is on as well as the temperature. This is instrumental in saving your highway mileage without sacrificing any of the grip that all terrain tires offer. The best all terrain tire for the highway will have a good balance of both of these factors.
How Did We Pick the Best All Terrain Tire for the Highway?
We have scoured the market looking for the best all terrain tire for the highway to come up with our shortlist. All of the tires listed below have unique properties that allow them to be useful in both highway conditions and less than ideal environments. They will all give you the best possible mileage on the highway without having to sacrifice any of the grip necessary for ice and dirt.
All of the all terrain tires we have selected use unique tread designs to help prevent uneven wear on the tires. This will keep them performing well and lower your maintenance costs even if you are often switching between different types of terrain. Even tread wear reduces the amount of tire rotations you have to do on your vehicle on a yearly basis.
Figure 3: Even on dirt roads, all terrain tires offer good traction and a stable ride. Source: CarAndDriver.com.
They are all designed to give you the least possible amount of road noise as well. By using staggered tread blocks, they are able to cancel out the frequencies that turn into a loud ride on the highway. They also keep the car stable at higher speeds and allow the tire to keep a solid contact patch at lower speeds on less stable road conditions.
Figure 4: The Michelin LTX A/T 2 is perfect for commuter as well as commercial drivers. Source: TireRack.com.
The Michelin LTX A/T 2 was designed with commercial drivers in mind. By combining off-road durability with touring-style comfort, they are able to provide you with a comfortable ride without giving up the handling and control necessary for off-road applications.
This tire uses notched blocks that are staggered to create a strong grip on the asphalt as well as a biting edge on loose dirt and small amounts of ice. They are also rated for use in wet grass and snow, which are incredibly common surfaces that other touring tires may have an issue with. The biting edges hold onto the solid portions of these surfaces and allow the vehicle to grip where other tires may just spin.
The rubber compound used in the LTX A/T 2 is developed especially for lightweight trucks and utility vehicles. They offer a smooth ride using Michelin’s Comfort Control Technology. This computerized design process creates a tire that is perfect for highway driving and precisely tuned to not create excess noise and vibration. This combination of comfort and utility is what makes it one of the best all terrain tires for the highway.
Figure 5: The Geolandar H/T by Yokohama uses an innovative compound to say safe and comfortable on every surface. Source: TireRack.com.
The Geolandar H/T by Yokohama is another great example of innovation in the all terrain tire. Although it does not use an asymmetrical tread pattern, it uses Adaptive Shoulder Blocks to reduce noise on the highway and offer a more comfortable ride at higher speeds. These blocks adapt to the kind of terrain you are driving on to give these tires the best possible performance, even when the road types change.
The real innovation, though, is in the rubber compound. The Geolandar H/T uses Orange Oil Technology as well as Micro Silica to adapt to terrain changes. The polymers in the rubber allow the tires to stay soft even when the temperature is below freezing. This technology is what makes this one of the best all terrain tires for the highway. You are sure to have a tire that is right for the conditions, no matter what they may be.
They also utilize 3D sipes that stabilize the tread blocks and help the tires to wear evenly. This eliminates the need for constant tire rotations, which is a common occurrence when driving in all kinds of different conditions. Even if you are switching between off-road driving and high-speed highway driving, they will not wear unevenly or start to deteriorate faster.
Figure 6: Toyo’s Open Country H/T II has a unique tread design that can adapt to highways as well as dirt roads and winter conditions. Source: ToyoTires.com.
Toyo’s Open Country H/T II is an all terrain tire specifically designed for highway use. It uses wide circumferential grooves to wick water out from under the car even at high highway speeds. This can be especially useful for commuters in wet weather who often encounter hydroplaning conditions. They have a unique tread design as well, which is asymmetrical and perfect for keeping the noise low even at high highway speeds.
One of the things that makes this one of the best all terrain tires for the highway is the expanding shoulder grooves. This kind of adaptive technology is perfect for poor driving conditions since it helps keep the tread blocks steady and keeps the tire from slipping on loose road materials. Combined with the unique design of the treads, this is a best of both worlds for both off-road and highway driving.
One of the more unique features of the Open Country H/T II is the dual sidewall design. This tire features two different designs on either side of the tire so you can choose the look you want for your vehicle. Being able to pick between a classic look and a sporty look is a great feature and makes these tires more adaptable to all kinds of vehicles.