Best Tires For Crossover Vehicles – There are market trends and then there are megatrends. The shift from passenger cars to sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) falls into the second category.

The move to larger rim diameters in recent years, combined with a wide range of consumer expectations for these versatile vehicles, results in a tire segment that is a bit more complicated from a dealer’s perspective.

Best Tires For Crossover Vehicles

Best Tires For Crossover Vehicles

When it comes to SUVs, larger rim diameters — 17, 19, 21 and 22 inches. sizes—all saw double-digit growth since 2015 at the expense of 16-in. diameter, which lost nearly 60% [of market share] at the time, according to Bob Abram, Yokohama Tire’s senior product planning manager, who adds that the 17- and 22-in. rim diameters provided most of the volume for that growth.

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“This is not surprising, as SUV models have recently tried to stand out in the market with two different strategies,” he says. “It is the first with aggressive off-road packages that will have 17 inches. rims and more tires, such as the new Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. The other goes upscale and stylish, which will often be 21 or 22 inches. rims like a Chevrolet Tahoe Premier or a Lincoln Navigator.”

Steve Bourassa, director of product for Nokian Tires North America, adds that the large luxury SUV segment has seen strong growth in recent years.

“Vehicle manufacturers have recently focused their efforts on revitalizing vehicles in this category to attract buyers looking for luxury and comfort,” he says. “This gives tire manufacturers the opportunity to tailor replacement products to the premium tire consumer, who is driven by values ​​such as performance, safety and sustainability more than price.”

On the CUV side, growth has come from mainstream midsize models like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox, according to Abrams, who adds that the new crop of compact CUVs—the Toyota C-HR, Honda HR -V, Mazda CX-3 and Buick Encore—also contributed.

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“CUVs with 19-, 20- and 21-in. All rim diameters have seen double-digit growth since 2015, from 21 inches. achieving growth of over 40%,” he says. “Additionally, H-, V-, W-, and Y-geared CUVs increased dramatically from 2015 to 2019, and V, W, and Y even increased significantly in 2020.”

The first year that new crossover sales outpaced new car sales in North America was 2017: 7.6 million CUVs versus 7.1 million cars, notes Jay Lee, director of product planning for Nexen Tire America.

“According to IHS Markit, light vehicle sales in 2019 were approximately 8.6 million new CUVs sold versus 5.7 million new cars sold,” he says. “Five years from now, in 2024, over 9 million new CUVs are projected to be sold, while only 5 million new cars will be sold. Based on this, we expect demand for OE tires and aftermarket equipment to grow.”

Best Tires For Crossover Vehicles

According to Todd Bergeson, senior product manager of light truck tires for Toyo Tire U.S.A., “Within this buying trend, it has become fashionable to replace OE tires with more capable off-road tires to take better advantage of the excellent 4WD and AWD powertrains these modern vehicles offer. We all know that 2020 has thrown many obstacles at us, but as a result, the outdoor industry is booming. All products that help consumers get out and enjoy the outdoors while ‘social distancing’ are disappearing from the shelves.”

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The “Right Size” tire allows it to better fill the fender opening and provide increased ground clearance while giving an aggressive look.

As SUVs and CUVs have displaced passenger cars, it stands to reason that the most important aspects of vehicle and tire performance are the same as passenger cars.

“The key features are safety in the form of wet and dry grip, a quiet and comfortable ride, and excellent value by providing long tread life and good fuel economy,” says Barry Terzaken, Continental Tire product manager for light truck and SUV tires for the Americas.

He explains that modern SUV tires, in order to complement the vehicles, require a higher level of grip, improved comfort and driving sophistication than their predecessors.

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“The increased popularity of SUVs has not only increased the volume and performance of tires, but the complexity has also increased,” adds Terzaken. “This is due to the ever-growing variety of OE equipment, plus additional sizes, styles and tire segmentation driven by market customization.”

CUV tires are expected to not only carry the burden of added utility, but to do so with high expectations of comfort, sophistication and safety, he says, adding, “CUV tires typically don’t have the complexity of aftermarket customization, but the large model and trim availability runs many combinations of sizes and speeds.”

According to Yokohama Tire’s Abram, the growing specialization of CUVs to include off-road packages and high-performance variants means some consumers may need more durability or a higher level of grip and handling to match their vehicle’s potential.

Best Tires For Crossover Vehicles

“The 2018 Land Rover Discovery, Kia Sorrento and Mercedes-Benz GLC use the 235/60R18 size, but it’s not hard to believe that they might all be looking for different performance from their tires,” he says. “SUV tires are not that different for commuter consumers, but for those using SUVs for different roads and terrains, the durability of the compound and casing can also be important.”

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It’s not easy to make an SUV or CUV handle and behave like a car, says Aaron Neumann, product development manager for Nexen Tire.

“The center of gravity is higher and they are heavier, so the tires have more work to do to control the vehicle, especially from a stability standpoint. Safe handling, especially in emergency maneuvers, is a very important aspect of performance,” he says. “We design SUV/CUV tires the same way we design any tire, with a lot of attention to detail to ensure we achieve a good balance of grip, wear, ride comfort, low noise, handling and handling, stopping distance and fuel economy. ”

The desire for safety in all conditions requires a versatile tire that works well in heat, rain and snow, notes Nokian Bourassa.

“All-weather Pumas—year-round products certified with the three-point mountain snowflake emblem—are increasing in popularity as riders in areas with unpredictable winter weather learn there’s a true four-season option,” he says. “In the name of versatility, our custom all-weather tread compound responds to ice, snow and slush as well as rain. Those all-weather products have asymmetrical tread patterns – the inner shoulder cuts through snow and slush, while the outer half of the tire looks more like an all-season product.”

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According to Will Robbins, senior product manager for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, from a pattern standpoint, one of the biggest challenges is balancing the sipes/slots that provide biting edges for winter traction and water evacuation with the overall stiffness of the pattern to resist irregular wear.

“Building products with advanced tire technologies, such as 3-D interlocking sipes, is how tire manufacturers try to minimize performance trade-offs,” he says. “With tread compounds, it is imperative that they provide the same balance of wet and winter while maintaining long, even wear. A new generation of high-silica compounds helps provide this balance.”

SUVs, CUVs, and half-ton pickups are usually equipped with P-metric or Eurometric tires from the factory. The vehicle’s maximum load capacity must match the tire’s load capacity at the OE prescribed inflation pressure, notes Toyo Tire’s Bergeson.

Best Tires For Crossover Vehicles

“A common misconception is that you can install an LT-metric tire and increase the payload or towing capacity of your vehicle,” he says. “This is simply not true. The tire is only one factor that affects the load capacity of the vehicle.”

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Bergeson explains that many things affect a vehicle’s load rating: suspension spring rate, braking system capacity, design and strength rating of suspension components, frame, subframe or body structure, etc.

“Of course, LT-metric tires can be installed on half-ton and smaller vehicles and there are advantages in durability and strength, along with the trade-off of increased weight, higher inflation pressures required and higher purchase price,” he says. “Understanding the difference is key to making the best decision for the application.”

“At Toyo Tires, we use the term ‘Right Size’ to describe a tire developed specifically to fit an OE or aftermarket wheel application, but to better fill the fender openings and provide increased ground clearance, giving it a more aggressive look. and feel,” says Anthony Lee, technical services manager at Toyo Tire. “People often think they have to jump to an LT tire, but one example is our P285/55R20 114T size Open Country A/T III, a size offering that is exclusive to Toyo tires.

“This P-metric tire has an aggressive shoulder and sidewall and is great looking and perfectly sized for half-ton trucks like the F-150 or Tundra, or full-size SUVs like the Tahoe or Sequoia,” he continues. “The P-metric offers advantages over the similarly sized LT-metric option, such as lighter weight, lower cost and greater load capacity at lower vehicle manufacturer specified pressures.”

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Lee adds that because the tire was developed for easier pick-up, driving, handling, acceleration and braking

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