The Best Rated All-Weather SUV Tiresby Richard Rowe
When it comes to performance, tires are literally where the rubber meets the road. No matter how well your SUV is engineered or how skilled you may be as a driver, very little will help make your drive safer or better if the tires you choose aren't up to the task. Because of their high weight and the variety of situations they may encounter, choosing the right tires for an SUV is perhaps even more crucial than it is for an average car.
General Grabber HTS
One of the newest and highest-rated SUV tires on the market today is the Grabber HTS. These tires combine excellent wear, good handling on dry pavement, snow and wet conditions and low rolling resistance for enhanced fuel economy at a budget price. You could purchase a more expensive tire, but you'll have a hard time beating the Grabber HTS's bang for the buck. These tires retail for $122 as of January 2010.
Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza
If you live in an area that sees a lot of rain or snow, then the Alenza is for you. These tires have a tread pattern and rubber compound that are designed to optimize contact pressure per square inch, which enhances grip in less-than-perfect conditions. Dry-weather performance isn't quite as good as the Grabber HTS but is still far superior to most stock SUV tires. These tires are standard equipment on 2009 Chevrolet Tahoes, and most people who have a set agree that they're worth every penny of the $184 asking price.
Kuhmo Road Venture APT KL51
Comparing very favorably against the BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A in wet and dry handling, the Kuhmo Road Venture APT KL51s cost about $15 more ($110) per tire. That extra money gets you a quieter ride, less noise at highway speed, a stiffer sidewall and more confident feel, as well as better wet traction and improved braking. The KL51 wears well over the long term and is well suited for lighter SUVs with stiff sport suspensions. It consistently rates at the top of its class for dry road handling, and wouldn't be out of place on a BMW X5, Toyota RAV4 or Acura MDX.
Michelin LTX M/S2
An all-around competent performer, the $157 LTX comes highly recommended for more performance-oriented applications. With its many small water sipes (channels), the LTX is designed to provide year-round versatility, wet-weather braking and handling and excellent performance in light snow. If you live in an area that sees a lot of heavy snow, then you might want to go for a more winter-friendly design such as the General Grabber.
Richard Rowe has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in automotive topics. He has worked as a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic, a rigger at a fire engine factory and as a race-car driver and builder. Rowe studied engineering, philosophy and American literature at Central Florida Community College.