Choosing the Right Tyres for Crossovers, SUVs and 4x4s

Jack Dreyer | Wednesday 27th July 2022 4:23pm

SUV parked by the side of a road.

Have you noticed how many SUVs, 4x4s and Crossovers there are on Britain’s roads these days? Time was there were only a few manufacturers who offered these vehicles, but that’s no longer the case. In fact every major automotive manufacturer has an offering in what is becoming a more and more popular vehicle segment. 

SUVs, 4x4s and Crossovers now account for 25% of all new cars sold in Europe. They’re now the preferred choice for many people who would have previously bought hatchbacks and estates. Back in the day, when the range of vehicles in this segment was limited, there was one size, and it was big. 

Today this segment has expanded to seven distinct SUV categories, encompassing everything from “large” (like the Hyundai Sante Fe) to “small” (think Kia Soul). But most people opt for what are known as compact SUVs, and in this segment the Nissan Qashqai is the undisputed market leader, proving to be very popular with UK drivers. 

By their very nature, SUVs, 4x4s and Crossovers require special tyres. So what do you need to look out for when choosing SUV tyres?

Range Rover with SUV tyres

Why are SUVs, 4x4s and Crossovers so popular?

It’s a question worth asking. Typically, most SUV drivers answer “My family is safer in an SUV…” or “I love the higher driving position”. Significantly, you don’t often hear them saying “I love driving off-road”.

So what do you use your vehicle for?

This is an essential question, since your answer will help to determine which tyres are best for you.

Driving mainly on-road?

If you mainly use your SUV, 4x4 or Crossover for the school run, Kwik Fit’s expert tyre professionals will recommend one that’s designed primarily for road use. Exampes include premium tyre manufacturer Continental’s ContiSportContact 5 SUV or the ContiPremiumContact 5 SUV. These are good SUV tyres.

BMW with on-road tyres

The ContiSportContact 5 SUV is a very popular tyre choice since it offers perfect grip and optimal handling in every driving situation, delivering short braking distances on both dry and (more importantly) wet surfaces, as well as a comfortable driving experience and improved rolling resistance (this helps to reduce fuel consumption).

The ContiPremiumContact 5 SUV provides excellent road grip and handling for additional safety when cornering, shorter braking distances in all weather conditions, and reduced fuel consumption and high mileage (particularly welcome, since it’s no surprise that cars in this segment aren’t the cheapest to run!). 

Tyres like these are designed primarily for road use, offering a quieter, more comfortable drive. They’re also designed to provide drivers with reduced fuel consumption. How? It’s all down to tyre compounds that offer what’s known as low rolling resistance. 

These types of tyre are also fine for some light adventures off-road, it’s worth remembering that first and foremost they’re primarily designed for the urban environment, not muddy fields...

Driving mainly off-road?

Where it all started. Remember the world-conquering Land Rover Defender, which dominated the off-road segment? While it’s still going strong (all be it no longer manufactured in the UK) this vehicle market has massively expanded. If you live on a farm in the countryside, or spend any significant time driving in fields, open land or loose tracks, your tyre choice will reflect your need for extra grip. In these circumstances it’s worth considering a tyre like the Continental CrossContact ATR. These are good 4x4 tyres.

Volkswagen off-roading

This tyre offers increased traction in wet conditions, and superior braking on slippery surfaces. It also provides improved overall durability, and significant road noise reduction. Of course you’ll also be driving on paved roads, where the tyres also need to perform well, and this tyre provides high performance all-round.

Why you should consider Original Equipment tyres

Original Equipment tyres, also known as OE tyres, are those that the vehicle manufacturer specifically fitted to your SUV, 4x4 or Crossover when you purchased it new. OE tyres are designed specially for that vehicle. Why? Because the vehicle maker and tyre manufacturer have undertaken a prolonged and comprehensive development process designed to bring out the best characteristics of the vehicle. You’ll find Continental Original Equipment on many SUV, 4x4 and Crossovers. As such, OE tyres enhance the capabilities of your vehicle, providing you with superior braking and driving performance.

Continental SUV statistics

Tyre performance is great, but what about driver safety?

Through their on-going research and development, plus driver safety programmes like Continental’s Vision Zero initiative – their quest to reduce driver fatalities, injuries and accidents to zero – premium tyre manufacturers are helping to reduce the number of road incidents (there are 180,000 in the UK alone each year). Even so, the role tyres play in terms of road safety is still undervalued. This really shouldn’t be the case.

Why? It’s because your tyres are the only contact your SUV, 4x4 or Crossover has with the road and – despite its many airbags and other safety features – when it really matters, it’s the quality of your tyres that truly count. This is especially the case in wet weather conditions which make braking quickly and safely much, much harder.

Remember that when it comes to SUVs, 4x4s and Crossovers, these vehicles are much heavier than typical cars, with a higher centre of gravity which places special demands on the tyres. So whatever choice you make, your tyres need to keep you and your passengers safe by dispersing water as effectively as possible, providing you with excellent grip so you can stop exactly when you need to.

Talk to Kwik Fit for expert SUV, 4x4 and Crossover tyre advice and support

We’re experts in automotive parts repair, including tyres, brakes, exhausts, MOT testing, car servicing and air conditioning recharge. To learn more SUV, 4x4 and Crossover tyres contact your local Kwik Fit centre for impartial, expert advice. You can locate your nearest Kwik Fit centre here.

Tags : Tips

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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