Best All-Season Tires You Can Buy | BUYER'S GUIDE
For North American drivers facing all the elements, all-season tires are a popular choice. In this guide, we choose and narrow it down to some of the best all-season tires for SUVs & light trucks, for cars & crossovers, and select some of the top-rated high-performance all-season tires for increased handling.
However, are all-season tires actually good for snow and winter driving? And what are their benefits? How can you tell if a tire is an all-season model, and what exactly is a touring all-season tire anyways? We answer these popular questions as well.
This guide includes the Best all-season tires for:
1. Best all-season tires for SUVs and Light Trucks
Sailun TerraMax HLT
The Sailun TerraMax HLT is a newer entry in the light truck and SUV tire category and has quickly become a strong seller. Sailun says it conceived this tire for long tread life and quiet, stable highway driving. Sizes range from 15 to 20 inches, suited to a wide range of applications including SUVs and pickup trucks. Wet-weather grip is good, but a tread pattern designed for on-road comfort means this is not the tire for serious off-roading.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S
Michelin's replacement for the LTX M/S comes to the marketplace with the brand's Evertread technology, which the company says improves tread life by 10 per cent compared with its predecessor, the confusingly named M/S2. The Defender LTX M/S's strengths are its hydroplaning resistance and low road noise. Despite its all-season rating, it's also an above-average performer in snow traction and ice braking. This tire offers a wider range of fitments than the Sailun TerraMax HLT, especially in 15- and 20-inch sizes. Michelin also offers a 22-inch size. While that may give the impression the Defender LTS M/S is ideal for high-powered luxury SUVs, note that its top speed rating is H, or 210 km/h.
Pirelli Scorpion Verde
The Scorpion Verde finishes a notch down from the two Michelin Defender LTX tires for two reasons: It offers less grip for braking on icy surfaces and a less-generous treadwear warranty. On the plus side, it boasts better wet and dry braking grip, a quiet ride and good hydroplaning resistance. And while the Scorpion Verde comes in a narrower range of rim sizes (16 to 20 inches) than the Michelins, some sizes bear a Y speed rating (300 km/h), which makes it better suited to high-powered and exotic SUV models.
EDITOR'S NOTE: There's a new Scorpion Verde Plus II - read the news piece:
Michelin LTX M/S2
Don't be fooled by this tire's name: It was the predecessor to the Defender LTX M/S that placed second in our tire ranking. The Defender LTX M/S2 has the same tread pattern as the LTX M/S, but is molded from a less-sophisticated rubber compound than the LTX M/S's trademarked Evertread formulation. That's the M/S2's only real deficit next to the newer M/S: it otherwise offers similar grip levels in dry, wet and winter conditions and comes with the same six-year/115,000 km treadwear warranty.
Continental CrossContact LX
The CrossContact LX is an all-season tire designed for trucks and crossovers that will see light off-road use. It places just below mid-pack in our light truck category, thanks to a modest selection of sizes and poorer winter traction despite a tread pattern Continental says was optimized for grip in light snow. The CrossContact LX is also more prone to stiffening up in cold weather, which compromises grip on clear roads in winter driving. The sidewall was designed to help prevent curb damage to expensive wheels.
Hankook Ventus ST
The Ventus ST was designed specifically for high-performance crossovers, which explains its limited range of sizes from 17- to 22-inch wheels. Hankook boasts a quiet ride well-suited to upscale SUVs. Certain sizes carry a W speed rating, which corresponds with a maximum speed of 270 km/h. A relatively low treadwear rating of 420 explains why Hankook limits warranty coverage to 80,000. And despite an all-season designation and "A" ratings for both traction and temperature, the Ventus ST is not well-suited to winter driving, offering poor grip in snow and ice.
Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS
The Dueler H/P Sport AS is positioned as a basic all-season SUV and light truck tire, which explains its last-place showing here. It's not particularly quiet at highway speeds, it has the shortest treadwear warranty of any truck/SUV tire in this comparison and it's not a strong performer in snow and ice conditions. Its poor winter grip is disappointing, considering all sizes boast "A" ratings for traction and temperature. If tread life and speed ratings are your primary concerns, be aware that certain sizes come with both 400 and 500 treadwear options, and in the larger rim sizes, maximum speed ratings include H, V and W.
2. Best all-season tires for Cars and Crossovers
The Sailun Inspire is a high-value tire designed to provide solid performance at an attractive price. And like the TerraMax SUV tire, the Inspire is quickly gaining an audience despite having been introduced to the Canadian market just this year. Sailun offers this tire in a vast array of sizes ranging from 14 to 19 inches to cover most car and crossover applications. And although those sizes include low-profile 40 series models, this is more of a touring tire than performance rubber. Still, the W speed rating on certain lower-profile sizes means the Inspire will stand up to high-speed running, and lots of it, with a 120,000-km treadwear warranty.
Goodyear Assurance Triple Tred
Goodyear says the Assurance Triple Tred was conceived for crossover and SUV applications in spite of a directional tread pattern that would not be out of place on a sport sedan. However, sizing skews heavily toward the higher-profile designs best suited to utility vehicles: the lowest aspect ratio is 55, and it only applies to a handful of 18- and 19-inch sizes. Goodyear calls this tire TripleTred for its use of three different rubber compounds: One is optimized for ice traction, another for wet conditions and a third for dry grip. However, the jury's out on how well that approach works: braking performance on ice is not good, and you could do better for wet braking, too.
Pirelli P4 Four Seasons
Pirelli comes from the same country as Ferrari and Lamborghini, but this tire maker knows there's a vast mass market to cater to as well. Hence Pirelli's assertion that its P4 Four Seasons is aimed at sedan and minivan drivers. It lives up to its Four Seasons name with above-average grip in snow and ice braking, but is less impressive on wet surfaces in both braking and handling. Pirelli warranties the P4 Four Seasons for 135,000 km, so it's conceivable these tires will give the average driver six or seven years of service before needing to be replaced.
Yokohama AVID Ascend Radial
The Avid Ascend is black, like any tire, but Yokohama says it uses orange oil to help bond natural and synthetic rubbers for improved performance. It's not an incredible performer by any measure, but instead promises good dry braking, hydroplaning resistance and snow traction. It's also quiet in highway driving and boasts long tread life. The Avid Ascend's grip in the wet and on ice is less notable. Size availability ranges from 15 to 18 inches.
Michelin says the Primacy's active sipes open and close as driving demands change, creating biting edges that improve traction. However, that technology is not enough to provide good snow grip, which is one of this tire's deficiencies. The other negative is treadwear that doesn't live up to Michelin's 100,000-km promise. Also, Michelin offers the Primacy in just seven sizes, four of those for 17-inch applications. On the plus side, the Primacy is quiet and delivers good grip and handling in dry conditions. If you can control the weather, here's a tire to consider.
3. Best High-Performance all-season Tires for Cars
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3
The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 is a performance all-season tire designed for sporty-car drivers looking for something less-expensive than dedicated summer rubber. Michelin says this tire provides the best all-season performance in its lineup, with an emphasis on handling in dry conditions and grip on wet roads. It succeeds in its mission, with strong braking and handling performance on dry roads and confidence-inspiring grip in the wet. Hydroplaning resistance is also very good. Michelin admits the Pilot Sport A/S 3 is intended only for occasional use in light snow, but it does provide useful snow traction and ice-braking grip. The manufacturer says it uses sunflower oil in the rubber compound to boost traction in low temperatures and on wet roads.
Pirelli P Zero
The P Zero is an outlier in this comparison, as the only tire whose maker does not recommend its use in snow and ice, or even on clear roads in near-freezing temperatures. Pirelli calls out an impressive list of sports cars that have come from the factory wearing the P Zero, like the Aston Martin DB9, Audi R8 and Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Tricks to help keep those flashy cars shiny side up include a rubber compound conceived to provide good grip even before it gets warmed up. The P Zero boasts great grip in dry and wet conditions, but ride comfort and road noise are sub-par, despite a layer of sound-deadening foam built into the tire. Pirelli also makes no treadwear promises for the P Zero.
Michelin Pilot Sports A/S PLUS
An older version of the Pilot Sport performance all-season line, the A/S Plus also caters to a wider range of buyers, with more emphasis on year-round driving than fair-weather grip. The A/S Plus gives up a little bit of performance to the A/S 3 in every measure except snow performance, where the former inspires more confidence. As well, Michelin offers the A/S Plus in just seven sizes, where the A/S 3 comes in nearly triple the fitments, including a 315 tread width suitable for a number of high-end sports cars. The A/S Plus's tread, made up of three rubber compounds, fulfills a promise of more balanced performance, but with less of the dry and wet grip that sports car drivers expect.
Continental says it designed the ContiProContact "for European sport coupes and sedans sold in North America," but now offers it for a wider range of vehicles, including other imports and domestic models. Sizes ranging from 15 to 19 inches back up that claim, though drivers of modern European cars, many of which come with 20-inch wheels, will be out of luck. You might do well to look elsewhere anyway: The ContiProContact can't compete with the other tires in this category in terms of traction on any surface, road noise, or treadwear.
Top FAQs about All-Season Tires
Are all-season tires actually good for snow and winter driving?
In theory, yes, though the answer really depends on the construction of the tire. A chunkier tread pattern might lend itself better to driving in snow, but even a sportier tire design can find grip in wintry conditions if its rubber compound is formulated for traction on icy surfaces. Certain jurisdictions, such as some areas of British Columbia, require all cars to be fitted with all-season tires (as opposed to summer-only tires) during the winter months.
Still, we recommend dedicated winter tires for any vehicle that will be driven regularly in freezing weather and snow and ice conditions. Their rubber compounds stay softer and more flexible in the cold, and their tread designs are optimized to find as much grip as possible on slippery surfaces.
What are the benefits of all-season tires?
As the term suggests, an all-season tire is meant to provide confidence-inspiring performance under any road conditions. For a performance-oriented car, an all-season tire is a better choice for occasional winter driving than a summer tire.
If you have a vehicle that will see limited use in winter conditions and you don't want to have to switch between dedicated summer and winter tires, a quality set of all-seasons is a suitable compromise.
How can you tell if a tire is an all-season model?
All-season tires bear the M+S (mud and snow) designation on the sidewall. That means the tire has wider tread grooves and larger tread blocks to provide more traction in muddy and snowy conditions than a tire intended for summer driving only.
What is a touring all-season tire?
A touring all-season tire tries to be all things to as many different types of driver as possible. Its design will prioritize the most commonly desired qualities in a tire, like long tread life, a quiet ride and useful winter traction. Expect a touring all-season tire to cost more than those labeled simply as "passenger" all-seasons.
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