The balance between off-road tire capability and fuel economy is very much a give-and-take arrangement. Design priority on one side of the equation tends to invariably compromise the other.
Tires with go-anywhere potential integrate aggressive tread patterns and bulky tread blocks that clutch and claw in off-road environments. But those tread attributes also tend to create significant rolling resistance when on-road.
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But as the all-terrain tire segment has exploded in popularity, more tire manufacturers are investing in R&D to keep rolling resistance on the pavement at reasonable levels, and not magnetize your 4x4 to the local fuel pumps.
These all-terrain tires are engineered with an eye toward minimized rolling resistance and have earned a reputation for infusing reasonable fuel economy along with delivering true off-road capability and durability.
Hankook’s latest generation all-terrain tire features substantial improvements in comfort, noise, and fuel economy as compared to its predecessor, the Dynapro AT-M.
“The new Dynapro AT2 delivers a superior blend of all-around performance in the All-Terrain segment. Designed to strike a perfect balance between off-road traction and on-road manners.” – HankookTire.com
Hankook’s “block-chain control system” involves a tie bar that reduces and optimizes the amount of movement between the blocks. This noise reduction technology also works to create a more connected tread pattern, and no doubt cuts down on the individual tread block movement (flex and deformation) that is so detrimental to fuel economy.
This tire employs a multi-sequence tread design in the center of the tire tread and the shoulder, which helps to reduce noise and prolong wear.
A reduction in noise involves the limitation of tread movement/flex and even distribution across the tire contact patch as the tire rolls – these design features can also contribute to improved fuel economy.
Nexen rates the Roadian A/T Pro RA8 an “8 out of 10” for fuel economy. For comparison, the more hardcore, dedicated off-road Roadian MTX is scored a “6.”
The Road Venture AT51 features a dual silicone compound that’s designed to keep cool under load, which contributes to both fuel economy and long, even treadwear.
“I was real pleased with the ride. Nice and smooth. Gas mileage stayed the same 18 to 21 on the highway and 14 to 16 in the city.” – TireBuyer Kumho Road Venture AT51 customer review
As an added on-road bonus for northern U.S. customers, the Road Venture AT51 qualifies for the Severe Snow Service traction credential, which assures strong snow traction.
A recent introduction to General’s all-terrain tire lineup and “little brother” to the more adventuresome Grabber AT2, the APT swings the design pendulum more toward on-road driving characteristics.
“I saw the APT and read the reviews, didn’t like that it wasn’t QUITE as ‘aggressive’ an all-terrain as the AT2’s but was willing to try the balance of road quiet to off road performance for where I live. So far, these tires ROCK!!!” – TireBuyer.com General Grabber APT customer review
General Tire’s StabiliTREAD™ Technology and Comfort Balance™ Technology keep on-road noise disturbances to a minimum and drop rolling resistance in the process.
According to Continental, the TerrainContact A/T “strikes the perfect balance between off-road traction and on-road manners.”
With a fuel efficiency rating of “8 out of 10,” Continental suggests that the TerrainContact A/T is actually a step up from select tires in its street-oriented truck/SUV tire lineup.
“Truly the quietest riding A/T tire I’ve ever ran, taken them on jobsites all over the place, plenty of wet roads and they’ve never slipped once. Fuel economy hasn’t dropped a bit like it usually does with new deeper treaded tires…” – customer review from ContinentalTire.com
An entry-level all-terrain tire, the Ironman All Country A/T is easy on the wallet to start with, and according to users, doesn’t penalize much at the pump either.
“Great for summer driving, I actually noticed a slight increase in highway gas mileage…”
While these all-terrain/off-road options won’t quite match the fuel economy of most street-oriented truck and SUV tires, the small penalty in fuel economy is well worth it for adventurous drivers.
Reasonable fuel economy is often achieved along with other desirable on-road performance characteristics like low road noise, good comfort, and long treadwear. And so 4x4 drivers who are willing to forego more extreme off-road tire performance will experience a range of real benefits on their daily drive.
TireBuyer has a large selection of off-road tires for sale. If you want to discuss which off-road tire brand is right for your vehicle, give us a call at 866-961-8668.