In this article, we review the top 4 tires available today for your light truck or SUV.
Drivers of full-sized SUVs and light-duty trucks require more from the tires on their rig compared to an average user. In addition to good on-road performance, these drivers need tires that are suitable for towing, hauling, and traversing unpaved roads. In most cases, they also expect longer tread life from their tires to be commercially feasible.
Figure 1. Hardworking trucks and SUVs require tough tires that are dependable. Source: Falken Tire.
Light truck tires, denoted by the prefix ‘LT’ in their designation, provide the answer. Light truck tires have a higher load rating index than passenger tires, which makes them more suitable for hauling heavy loads and towing trailers. Stiffer sidewalls, reinforced construction, and deeper treads also provide off-road capability and longer service life.
We have shortlisted 4 of the best light truck tires, each for a different use case. We hope to have something for every type of truck driver in our list – whether you are a highway mile-muncher, towing your boat to the lake across the town, or staying off the pavement for days on end.
1. Best Highway Mile Muncher: Continental TerrainContact H/T
Our top choice in this category is ideal for trucks that will spend most of their time on the highway or in town, with mild off-road duty. Highway-terrain tires are a cross between passenger tires and all-terrain tires. These are reinforced for light off-road durability but without sacrificing much road comfort, drivability, and gas mileage.
Figure 2. TerrainContact H/T is ideal for SUVs and trucks that mainly have highway and town responsibilities to fulfill. Source: Chevrolet.
Continental TerrainContact H/T is an all-season tire designed for on-road use and long tread-life. It provides superior dry and wet traction in its class, as indicated by their dynamic test results. TerrainContact H/T achieved by far the shortest braking distances in its class, and also excelled in lateral cornering in both dry and wet conditions. TerrainContact H/T is exceptional in light to moderate snow as well.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON CONTINENTAL TERRAINCONTACT H/T.
Its double steel-belt construction makes it durable even under heavy loads and increases toughness while traversing unpaved or compacted roads. In terms of comfort, expect a quiet, compliant ride at urban speeds that evolves into a mild hum at highway speeds, but nothing that is too disconcerting. Overall, the driving experience is planted and confidence inspiring.
Figure 3. Due to high levels of grip, TerrainContact H/T will be dependable during emergency braking or evasive lane-change maneuvers. Source: Tire Rack.
Continental offers an industry-leading 70,000 mile / 6-year limited tread-life warranty on the TerrainContact H/T. In addition, it also comes with a free 60-day trial plan and 3-year roadside coverage. Although this tire is slightly on the pricier end, these incentives make it hard to overlook the lifecycle value proposition from Continental.
TerrainContact H/T is available in 16” to 22” sizes, and you can get yours at Vivid Racing today.
Sources: Continental; Tire Rack; Tire Deets; Campus Automotive.
2. Best All-Season Hard Worker: Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015
Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is our top choice for people whose trucks are as industrious as they are. The Geolandar A/T G015 can easily tread through mud, grass, sand, or rocks without breaking a sweat and is perfectly capable of handling day-to-day duties on asphalt with ease. It is on-road biased in its design with moderate off-roading capability.
Figure 4. Geolandar A/T G015 is a capable daily-use tire that can easily take the country road home. Source: Expedition Portal.
The Geolandar A/T G015 is a straight-A performer in dynamic tests. It posts shortest braking distances among its peers in both dry and wet conditions, indicating best-in-class longitudinal traction. It corners less aggressively due to its relatively understeer-biased attitude, but it is not sluggish by any standard. It is the only all-terrain tire in its class that offers similar levels of grip to a highway-terrain tire, which in itself, is remarkable.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON YOKOHAMA GEOLANDAR A/T G015.
Geolandar A/T G015 is 3PMSF certified, and finishes close to the top in snow and ice performance as well. The ride quality is well-composed with tread noise at levels that rival highway-terrain tires. It is extremely impressive for an off-road capable tire with a rugged heavy-duty construction and puncture resistant design.
Figure 5. Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is the best performing all-terrain tire by various objective and subjective criteria. Source: Tire Rack.
Yokohama backs the Geolandar with a 60,000 mile / 5-year limited treadwear warranty along with a free 30-day trial period. It is available in 15” to 22” sizes, and you can get yours at Vivid Racing.
Sources: Tire Track; Yokohama.
3. Best Mud & Rock Trampler: General Grabber X3
This category is for the best mud-terrain tire and our top pick is the General Grabber X3. The design of mud-terrain tires is heavily biased in favor of off-road use and has limited desirable characteristics on the pavement. Rock bumpers, sidewall lugs, and deep treads are some design features that are commonly seen on tires in this group.
Grabber X3 has a three-ply construction for off-road toughness and puncture resistance. The self-cleaning tread design, complete with staggered blocks for grip in the mud, chamfered edges for stone ejection, sidewall lugs for rock grip, and rim protection edge give Grabber X3 an industry-leading performance. It can even be operated at extremely low air pressures to increase traction on sand, rocks, or snow.
Figure 6. General Grabber X3 is one of the most widely acclaimed mud-terrain tires available today. Source: Expedition Portal.
While the Grabber X3 has sipes for improved grip in wet and snow (and even features a 3PMSF rating for severe snow service), its on-road handling is nowhere near a highway-terrain or all-terrain tire. It fares worse than other such tires in dynamics tests and despite the multi-pitch tread pattern, is a relatively loud tire on road. These concerns, luckily, end where the roads do.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON GENERAL GRABBER X3.
Where the Grabber X3 shines, then, is when the going gets tough. It performs impressively well in gravel, mud, and sand by many objective and subjective measures. “Grabber X3 is considered an extreme terrain tire so highway driving is not one of its strengths. It performs extremely well in mud, dirt, sand, and rocks,” a representative at General Tire told us.
Figure 7. General Tire’s Duragen Technology compound on Grabber X3 increases off-road durability by providing cut and chip resistance. Source: General Tire.
“There is a 6-year warranty on workmanship, 4-years on weather cracking, and a 12-month warranty for vibration and road noise. There is no road-hazard coverage or treadwear warranty on this tire,” the same representative said. General tire offers a 45-day satisfaction trial on Grabber X3. It is available in sizes from 15” to 20”.
You can get your set of Grabber X3 on Vivid Racing today.
Sources: Campus Automotive; Tyre Reviews UK; interview conducted with a representative at General Tire (10/22/2020).
4. Best Workhorse: Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar
Our last category is for the owners of light trucks and SUVs that are commercial workhorses. The requirements for work trucks are often very different from personal vehicles. Operating costs and durability are primary decision factors. In addition, the tires must be suitable for navigating through hostile job sites without getting damaged, and they must haul heavy equipment with ease.
Figure 8. Working trucks require tires that are suitable for hauling and durable in the toughest of conditions. Source: Ram Trucks.
Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar is one of the toughest tires out there. Its sidewalls and tread are reinforced with two layers of DuPont™ Kevlar®, which for the uninitiated, is also used for stopping bullets in ballistic gear. This makes the Wrangler incredibly resistant to cuts, chips, and punctures from any sharp nails and objects in your work site.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON GOODYEAR WRANGLER ALL-TERRAIN ADVENTURE WITH KEVLAR.
“Goodyear’s Durawall Technology reinforces the sidewall to prevent damage from scraping and chipping. The LT variant of the Wrangler also has about 30% more steel in its construction, which increases its toughness under high loads and improves tread-life by aiding even load distribution,” a tire specialist at Goodyear told us.
Figure 9. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar is a highly ruggedized and tough tire for all on-road and off-road surfaces. Source: Goodyear.
In terms of drivability, the Wrangler provides generous grip on-road and off-road under both dry and wet conditions. The ride quality is well-balanced and reasonably comfortable in both on-road and off-road conditions. Its 3PMSF rating indicates suitability for severe snow service during winters as well.
With Goodyear’s 60,000 mile / 6-year limited warranty on Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar, you can run your fleet with peace of mind. It is available in 15” to 20” sizes in both passenger and light truck variants. Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar is available on Vivid Racing, and can also be sourced from your preferred business partner.
Sources: Tire Rack; Campus Automotive; interview conducted with tire specialist at Goodyear (10/21/2020).