As the only part of your car that touches the road, tires are extremely important.
The proper tire not only affects your car’s safety and handling, but even its fuel economy. It’s difficult to shop for tires, however, with a wide selection of offerings from numerous tire manufacturers, so thankfully, Consumer Reports has tested more than 150 tire models to find the best tires available in 2016. The publication put each tire through a battery of tests, including braking, handling, hydroplaning resistance, winter traction, ride comfort and rolling resistance.
In addition, Consumer Reports evaluated how long a tire wears by driving on them day and night for up to 16,000 miles in rural Texas. Here are Consumer Reports‘ top picks for each category.
Best All-Season Tire – Michelin Defender
Claiming the all-season tire category is the Michelin Defender, besting 16 tested models. The tire offers solid all-season grip and crisp handling and owners can expect a long tread life up to 90,000 miles.
Best Performance All-Season Tire – Continental PureContact
Those looking for more performance in their all-season tire should go with the Continental PureContact, which offers slightly more emphasis on handling and cornering grip. With impressive dry and wet braking, handling and hydroplaning resistance, the Continental PureContact is Consumer Reports‘ choice for best performance all-season tire. Although its not best in class, the Continental PureContact does provide very good tread life.
Best UHP Summer Tire – Pirelli P Zero
The best ultra-high-performance summer tire is the Pirelli P Zero, boasting a speed rating above 149 mph while delivering the ultimate in dry and wet handling. Naturally, they’re not suited for cold weather. The publication notes that like many summer tires, the Pirelli P Zero has fair tread life, but some runner-ups did last longer.
Best All-Season Truck Tire – Michelin LTX M/S2
Ideal for heavy loads on SUVs and pickup trucks, the best all-season truck tire is the Michelin LTX M/S2. Designed to perform well in most conditions, the LTX M/S2 has an impressive balance of four-season grip with very good snow traction, a quiet and smooth ride as well as excellent tread life.
Best All-Terrain Truck Tire – Hankook Dynapro AT-M
If you need something to tackle all sorts of different terrains, the Hankook Dynapro AT-M claimed top honors in the all-terrain truck tire category. The more rugged tread offers additional traction on unpaved and snowy roads and Hankook’s tire scored good or better in all test categories. It is also just one of two all-terrain tires that were tested to have excellent tread life.
Best Winter/Snow Tire – Michelin X-ice XI3
Winter is coming! OK not really, but for the cold months, you will want to grab yourself a set of Michelin X-ice XI3 tires, which offer outstanding snow traction and grip on ice along with a smooth, quiet ride.