The Jeep Grand Cherokee, as we surely don’t need to tell you, is one of the best and most popular midsized SUVs on the market. Debuting in 1993, the Grand Cherokee was immediately hailed for its superior drivability, spacious interior, and unibody chassis that provided durability for all manner of road and off-road excursions.
A Jeep Grand Cherokee, sporting a cool, modern design. Source: Car and Driver.
What tires could be worthy of such a powerful and versatile vehicle? Ideally, tires for your Grand Cherokee should be able to handle on- and off-road conditions and strike that ever-so-elusive balance between on-road handling and all-terrain traction. While most people use their Grand Cherokee primarily as a road vehicle and only occasionally venture out into the wild, the best tires should be able to seamlessly switch from off-road to on-road while handling all manner of weather conditions. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is meant to be a ‘do-it-all’ SUV; its tires should be the same.
Instead of just rattling off all the best tires on the market, we’ll look at the best single tire from each of the following five brands: Michelin, Continental, BFGoodrich, and Falken. Each brand brings something different to the table. Some excel at handling wintery conditions; others are all about on-road comfort and stability.
1. Michelin Defender LTX M/S
While many people may prefer the Michelin Premier LTX for their Jeep, we chose to highlight one of Michelin’s equally impressive offering—the Defender. The Defender LTX M/S (stands for “mud and snow”) is the premier towing tire for Jeep Grand Cherokee that is good for all seasons. It is tough and strong, with great traction and all-season capabilities that let you haul big loads through rain, snow, slush, locusts, or whatever the hell else might be falling from the sky that day. It comes with a 70,000-mile tread warranty. That’s 70,000 miles of potential heavy-duty towing. This tire is even eco-friendly. According to Michelin’s website, it will save you about 65 gallons of fuel over the course of its life. And you know they mean it because they even went to the trouble of converting the units from metric for us American buyers.
Its Maxtouch construction evens the force over the entire tire and ensures that tire contact forces are distributed to enhance tire life. The Evertread rubber compound is designed to provide exceptional durability for maximum tread life. What all this adds up to is excellent grip on corners and suburb traction in wet conditions. It also has short braking distance and excellent stability at high speeds. According to Maryland Tire Company located just outside Baltimore, the Michelin Defender “is a really smooth, comfortable tire … that offers plenty of comfort and luxury. These tires are great for getting you through both rain and snow.”
This tire also makes an excellent choice on roads and highways. It is very stable, comfortable, and quiet at high speeds. Simply put, this tire does it all. Invest in the Defender now and it will serve you well throughout its long and reliable life.
2. Continental TerrainContact A/T
The TerrainContact (one word) A/T from Continental is designed as an off-road and all-season SUV tire. It also works beautifully on light trucks. As its name suggests, this tire is all about making contact with all manner of rough and ready terrains. Continental tires are well known for being able to handle wet conditions, and the TerrainContact is no exception. Thanks to its special TractionPlus technology, this tire has excellent handling and responsiveness in both wet and dry weather. Because of its +Silane additives in the tire compound and special traction grooves, this tire can grip the road in dry, wet and even wintery conditions. Its wide tread grooves do a fantastic job at resisting hydroplaning by eliminating water from below the tire footprint. In sum, this tire boasts exceptional traction and off-road handling, and its enhanced compound extends the tread life of the tire and reduces fuel consumption.
Despite its tough and gritty appearance and off-road expertise, the TerrainContact will provide you with a smooth, quiet, and comfy on-road driving experience. On the highway it will handle just like a top-quality road tire—no one will know the difference! The Terrain Contact truly is the best of both worlds. It also comes with a 60,000-miles tread warranty.
3. Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus
The Dueler H/L Alenza from the Japanese company Bridgestone is a touring tire that is perfect for longer road trips. As its H/L “Highway Luxury” title suggests, this tire was designed to be comfortable and quiet, thanks in large part to the symmetric tread pattern. The treads were tuned to reduce noise while maintaining optimal traction. Polyester cords are employed to stabilize the sidewalls of the tire and reduce noise even further. Notches in the shoulder blocks help maintain stability at high speeds, while wide grooves, stiffed rubber, lateral notches, and sipes (those small grooves that are cut diagonally across larger grooves) keep things stable in wet and wintery conditions. Be aware, however, that the Dueler is relatively narrow as far as Jeep Grand Cherokee tires go. For this reason, its ability to handle snow is somewhat underwhelming.
This tire comes with an 80,000-mile tread warranty—one of the highest you will ever find. In fact, this tire’s #1 feature may be its tread life and durability, which in all likelihood will far outstrip the 80,000-mile threshold. So long as it doesn’t snow too much where you live, you can’t go wrong with the Dueler. Just be aware that this tire is only compatible with the Jeep Grand Cherokee V6. Grand Cherokee V8 drivers will have to look elsewhere on this list.
The Dueler is probably the quietest and most comfortable tire on this list. It lacks a bit of handling compared to, say, the Continental TerrainContact, but makes up for it with its ability to glide straight over big and small imperfections on the road without making so much as a peep.
4. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
These tires are some of the priciest we’ve looked at so far. But, as you’ll see below, you definitely get what you pay for here. The All-Terrain from BFGoodrich offers the absolute pinnacle of off-road driving, even beating out the Continental TerrainContact. As you can see, they have highly intricate grooves, notches, and sipes, alongside a hardcore gunpowder coloration that gives these tires a very militaristic aesthetic. They feature CoreGuard technology for 20% tougher sidewalls and locking 3-D sipes to provide extra tread block stability. Even better, serrated shoulder design allows for increased mud, snow, and rock traction, and its interlocking tread elements maximize traction and handling by stabilizing the tread center. Befitting its all-terrain moniker, this tire also includes BFGoodrich’s Advanced Deflection Design for deflecting producing objects and preventing them from snagging and splitting the sidewall.
This tire is definitely not for everyone, as its on-road performance is lackluster at best. This tire “can deliver excellent durability and confident year-around performance,” said Don Miller Auto in Madison, WI. This tire “has an aggressive design that’s definitely geared to off-road performance.” It has been called “stiffer” than other tires and could cause some flex in the structure of the vehicle. This tire can handle roads, obviously, but its handling and noise reduction capabilities are nothing to write home about. However, if you need to plow through dirt, gravel, rocky terrain, or mud, these tires will get you across safely. The All-Terrain comes with a 50,000-mile tread warranty, which is somewhat lower than other warranties on this list.
5. Falken Ziex STZ05
This all-season radial tire here is the key to turning your Grand Cherokee into a sports car. Or, at least, an SUV that handles like a sports car. The Ziex will grant your vehicle agile handling, quick braking, and excellent grip on the corners that far exceeds typical highway tires. Thanks to the double taper-cut tread blocks and advanced M+S all-season non-directional tread design, the Ziex offers excellent traction in very wet conditions. It’s not really ideal for off-road conditions and can’t handle snow too well. But if you’re using your Jeep primarily as an on-road vehicle, this should be a minor issue. Just don’t try to tow too much with these tires. And for sports-car-like performance, the price is very reasonable if I do say so myself.
However, be aware that this tire features a 50,000-mile tread warranty. Despite the advertisements assuring you of its long tread life, it will not last quite as long as some of the other tires on this list.
Sources: Falken Tires