They balance off-road adventure with on-road performance and comfort.
All-terrain tires prioritize and balance both on-road and off-road performance characteristics, and facilitate overland adventure without too much compromise of everyday driving. All-terrain tires often feature the high points of off-road tire technology, including stronger tread rubber and reinforced sidewalls, deeper and more functional tread, and all-around enhanced durability.
Absolutely, that's the idea. All-terrain tires are recommended for drivers who spend up to 50% of their drive time off-road.
While most all-terrain tires won't quite deliver the off-road performance of a legitimate off-road tire, many contemporary all-terrain options are absolutely sufficient to allow for reasonable backcountry adventures when fitted to a 4x4. (Though you might want to think twice about that black diamond mud bog…)
From the perspective of off-road performance and traction, the distinction between the two types of tires comes down to capability. Whereas a mud-terrain/off-road tire is specifically engineered for maximum traction in challenging off-road conditions, all-terrain tires balance on-road and off-road performance. This means all-terrain tires are more of a compromise (and thereby less capable) off-road, however, all-terrain tires are far less of a compromise when it comes to all aspects of on-road driving. Meanwhile, mud-terrain tires usually don’t come with a mileage warranty and often deliver lower performance and handling characteristics for street use than original equipment (OE) tires.
Most road-focused, original equipment SUV and truck tires are all season. All-terrain tires are also designed with four season use in mind. All-terrain tires qualify for the mud and snow ("M+S") traction rating, which is synonymous with all-season performance. And nowadays a growing list of all-terrain tires qualify for a wintertime traction rating (3-Peak Snowflake) that denotes superior performance in snow.
With all-terrain tires, you’re getting enhanced traction and capability off-road, and in inclement, particularly snowy weather conditions. Whereas many OE SUV and truck tires are limiting, all-terrain tires allow for a 4x4's full diverse potential to be realized. Also, due to their superior load range, many all-terrain tires will help maximize a vehicle's towing and hauling capacity. Many all-terrain tires also include mileage warranties up to 60K and speed ratings up to “S,” which matches the abilities of an OE all-season tire.
As compared to road-focused truck/SUV tires, all-terrain tires typically produce a bit more road noise, and they’re not as optimized for fuel economy. Depending on your reference point (current tire), increased road noise and decreased fuel economy are perhaps the most common"cons" of all-terrain tires.
Trucks, SUVs, and some crossovers can benefit from the performance of an all-terrain tire. Vehicles with four-wheel and all-wheel drive traction systems will best be able to appreciate the all-terrain tire traction advantages.
Yes, while all-terrain tires are not winter tires, they do offer enhanced wintertime traction characteristics. In recent times, all-terrain tires have qualified for"Severe Snow Traction" rating. These all-terrain tires are identified by the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol branded on the tire sidewall.