SUV tyres can be had from an affordable level to an exuberantly expensive amount of money, but which one should you go for?
With most new cars being SUV these days, we thought it might be a good idea to explore some of the tyre options available for these big hunks of metal on wheels.
For those who think that you can slap on any type of tyres on SUVs, you're actually not wrong because they will go on, but will they be safe when you need them to be is a whole different story.
Regular car tyres are designed to focus solely on-road performance – grip, wet and dry braking and road comfort. On the other hand, SUV tyres are produced to take the additional weight/load of the vehicle alongside road-focused grip, braking and handling, and even some tolerances for light off-roading.
Now, it's safe to say that most vehicle buyers these days want an SUV as their new car, or else why would every vehicle manufacturer make one if this is not true.
With this influx of SUVs, many tyre manufacturers have also had to produce tyres specifically for SUVs, which is why now we have a lot of different options.
To say one is better than the other really does depend on how much someone can afford to spend on a tire. If money is not an issue, of course, we will all buy the best of everything, but in a society where people's needs depend on their budget, it's best we try to break down some of the best SUV tyres within its price range.
A lot of SUVs need between 18 and 19-inch tyres these days, so we'll explore some options based on these standards.
It's pretty amazing really that you can get 18 or 19 inch SUV tyres for these kinds of prices. While some might think it might just blow on you within the first few hundred kilometres, some have proven to be quite reliable and safe.
Of course, you will be shopping around brands such as Chinese owned Westlake or Powertrac and Indonesian-based Achilles Radial at these prices.
If we had to choose a tyre between the three brands, we would go for Achilles' Desert Hawk UHP, as it delivers the most bang for your buck in a UHP tyre in this price range. The performance on dry pavement is very good and not too shabby in the wets. It offers a good cornering grip with a quicker steering response than other budget-priced tires. The downsides are that the tyres do have a short tread life where comfort is compromised when it wears down.
Bridgestone has always been known as a tyre manufacturer who makes one of the best tyres around and their newest SUV tyre, the Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 001 is specifically designed for SUV owners who desire a balance between safety, long wear life and fuel efficiency.
Motorists who have bought and experienced the tyre have reported that the tyre has good grip on dry and wet roads, no latency in braking and that the tyres are pretty quiet. One very satisfied owner even commented that he has used the tyre "in different types of severe weather conditions, wet and dry, different road conditions and have found them thoroughly performing in terms of being super quiet, good road grip, solid driving control and peace of mind of being dependable as a road partner".
At present, Ecopia H/L 001 tyres are available from 15” – 18” sizes.
At this price range, you will be shopping between Japanese and Korean tyre manufacturers such as Toyo Tyres, Yokohama and Nexen. This is a good price point for those who want to equip their SUV with tried and tested tyres with years of tyre build know-how.
To buy poorly made tyres between Toyo, Yokohama, and Nexen is like trying to pick bad chocolates off a factory line as they are all pretty likely to be good. Still, if we had to pick one, we would choose Yokohama's Geolander SUV G055 as they are great on the pavement, cruises well on the highway, have good wear and really low tire noise.
One gripe of the tyre is that it is really road-biased, so don't expect any off-roading performance from them. Also, expect to pay a little bit more than RM500 for them, just about RM50 more.
As we said earlier, if money were not an issue, we would buy the best, and tyres don't get any better than ones made by legendry tyre manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirelli, Continental or Cooper.
But if we had to pick one, it'd have to be the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV, as the driving dynamics are in a class of its own, and the tyre has near faultless performance in the dry and wet and has a good balance of safety and driving characteristics.
Mind you, this is a max performance tyre, so if your SUV is used chiefly for ferrying family around and slow cruising on the highway, then this tyre is a bit of an overkill. Perhaps some Bridgestones would make more sense to the wallet as it has a good balance of performance and value for money.
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Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler