4x4 of the Year- Day 2
The Tires Make The Machine
"If clothes make the man, do tires make the machine?”
You can tell a lot about the intended use of a vehicle by the tires that it is shod with. The field for Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road 2016 4x4 of the Year test runs the gamut from aggressive all-terrains to tires that belong on sports cars. That said, every manufacturer is chasing fuel economy these days, and lighter tires with less rolling resistant help improve mileage. While you can always change out the tires that come on your 4x4 (and we often upgrade to bigger, more aggressive tires anyway), at 4x4 of the Year we test the vehicles as they are delivered, right down to the air pressure. Here is the rubber that is hitting the road at the Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road 2016 4x4 of the Year.
Our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van came shod with LT265/75R16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2s on understated aluminum rims. While looks are subjective, we prefer the understated wheels on the Sprinter to the busy painted aluminum wheels with machined surfaces that seem to be popular this year. Ram Rebel. Subaru called, they want their Crosstrek wheels back. The tires on the Rebel make up for the wheel styling though. They are 285/70R17 Toyo Open Country A/T IIs, the largest tire of any vehicle in the test.
Ram Rebel. Subaru called, they want their Crosstrek wheels back. The tires on the Rebel make up for the wheel styling though. They are 285/70R17 Toyo Open Country A/T IIs, the largest tire of any vehicle in the test.
The Nissan Titan XD runs 275/65R18 General Grabber APT on aluminum rims with machined accents. The wheelwells on the Titan XD look like they could accommodate larger tires without the need to lift the truck.
Range Rover gets a pass for putting 20-inch rims on the Sport since they are necessary to clear the huge brakes. The 255/55R20 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires definitely sacrifice traction off-road for handling on the pavement, but at least they are easier to source than the oddball 21-inch wheels that Range Rover offers as an option.
The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 comes with 265/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs that are taller and wider than the tires found on other trim models. We did notice that our test vehicle did not have a matching spare under the bed.
The Jeep Renegade Trailhawk comes with P215/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels. These are larger and more aggressive than the 215/65R16 all-season tires that come on the Sport and Latitude trim packages. The Trailhawk also gains a fullsize spare tire.
The Mercedes-Benz G550 comes with 275/55R19 Pirelli Scorpion tires on 19-inch rims. Fortunately the G-Wagon comes with a fullsize spare on the tailgate, because we don’t think that your local tire shop is going to have a 275/55R19 if you put a hole through the low profile sidewall.
The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro comes with P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler All- Terrain Adventure with Kevlar tires. We appreciate the tall sidewalls but would prefer if Toyota shod the top-of-the-line TRD Pro with an LT tire with stronger sidewalls than the P metric tire.