Crossovers are definitely taking over sedans (and other types of vehicles), and you can thank (or accuse) the Toyota RAV4 for that. Launched in the ’90s, the RAV4 today is almost a crossover icon and one of the best-selling vehicles of its type in the world. Suffice to say, Toyota really made a car that people love, and no one can argue that.
There are few reasons for the RAV4’s popularity, with the most obvious one being room and practicality, but also style, driving dynamics, and even off-road prowess. While the RAV4 certainly isn’t as hardcore in the open as an SUV, it is still the best in its category for off-road driving. That reason alone is why many enthusiasts love this crossover.
However, the RAV4 won’t take you anywhere without a good set of tires. While Toyota usually equips its models with high-quality tires from the factory, they may not be always specifically designed for your needs. Want to drive off-road? You may be out of luck because Toyota mostly installs touring tires on the RAV4. Also, you will need to replace those tires in a few seasons, so why not inform yourself on various tire types?
The best tires for the Toyota RAV4 should give you excellent handling and stability on the road, regardless of the weather and conditions. They should also be quiet and comfortable and long-lasting as well. The problem is, there is no single tire that can give you outstanding results on both performance and comfort fronts. There will always be a compromise. On top of that, tires that are designed for off-road driving usually suck on the road.
In other words, when choosing a set of tires for the Toyota RAV4, you first need to ask yourself what type of driver you are and where you drive your car. To help you learn which tires are better for you, I’ve created a short buying guide for RAV4 tires. Following that buying guide is a Top 10 list of the best tires for RAV4, where I will put my personal favorites for the popular Japanese compact crossover.
What to look for when choosing a set of best tires for Toyota RAV4
To better understand tires, you first need to know by what categories they’re divided. The first and most obvious one is the weather. When it comes to this division, you can find summer tires, winter tires, and all-season tires. Summer tires are specifically designed to work in warm conditions. They usually give the best grip, traction and braking performance out of any other tire type in the summer, both in dry and wet conditions. However, they are unsafe in colder weather and completely unusable on snow.
Winter tires, on the other hand, are designed to offer the best possible grip and traction in cold and freezing conditions. Due to the pliable and soft rubber, they’re made of; winter tires have much better contact with the road both in dry and wet conditions. Their aggressive tread pattern additionally helps them achieve much better traction on snow and ice. Suffice to say, if you live in areas with harsh winters, these tires are the way to go if you want a safe and reliable driving experience. That said, winter tires won’t work in the summer. Then, the rubber becomes too soft, spoiling handling responsiveness and high-speed stability. Winter tires can even be completely destroyed if driven in very warm weather due to excessive tread wear.
All-season tires are designed to offer good performance both in warm and cold weather. Their tread compound is harder in the summer but remains pliable in the winter. Up to a point, of course. Some people view all-season tires as a compromise between summer and winter tires, and while that’s generally true, most modern models offer more than enough performance for the average buyer. The best all-season tires for RAV4 have pretty responsive handling and high levels of grip and traction, both in dry and wet conditions, regardless of the temperature outside. On top of that, some of them even work in light snow, which means that they might be the only tire type you might need if you live in areas with mild winter.
After understanding the basics, we can now move on to more serious stuff, like the type of surface you’re driving on. Here tires are divided between touring or grand-touring tires, high-performance tires, and all-terrain tires.
In my opinion, touring and grand-touring tires (also called highway tires if they’re specifically designed for SUVs), offer the best combination of performance and comfort for the average RAV4 owner. These tires are specifically designed to offer a comfortable and quiet driving experience, even at higher speeds. They are also very stable on the highway and provide enough responsiveness in the corners for the average driver. Grip, traction, and braking are also very good in dry and wet conditions (these tires are almost exclusively offered as all-season tires), giving your Toyota RAV4 a safe and reliable drive. Touring and grand-touring tires are also extremely durable – they’re designed for long road trips and people who cover a lot of miles annually. That said, touring tires aren’t the best option for aggressive drivers or those that want the ultimate driving experience on the road.
If you own a RAV4 and fall into the category of sporty drivers, then high-performance tires are the best for you. I know, not a lot of crossover drivers want to drive their vehicles like maniacs, but there are still some. High-performance tires offer absolutely the highest amount of grip and traction in the corners, both in wet and dry conditions. They are also extremely responsive, transforming your RAV4 into a much better corner machine. Most high-performance tires are of the summer variety, which means that they can only be used in warmer conditions, but there are also all-season high-performance tires that work in colder conditions. The main disadvantages of these tires are more noise and harsh ride, as well as short tread life.
All-terrain tires are the complete opposite of high-performance tires. Instead of giving you responsive drive on the road, they are designed to give you a combination of a good grip on the road and good traction in off-road conditions. Sure, most RAV4 owners never venture out of the road, but there are still some that do, especially those that own AWD models. For them, all-terrain tires are the best choice because they are still drivable on the highway and much better on slippery and loose surfaces such as gravel, sand, rocks, and mud. That said, you might experience a lot more noise on the highway when compared to touring or grand-touring tires, but that’s expected from the aggressive tread pattern.
After we exhausted every type of tire you might want to install on your Toyota RAV4, we can move on to the Top 10 list. There you will mostly find touring and grand-touring tires, because that’s what the average RAV4 owner needs, but I will throw high-performance tires, winter tires, and all-terrain tires to satisfy the needs of all people.
Top 10 Best Tires for Toyota RAV4
Michelin Premier LTX
Best touring tires for Mazda CX-5
The Premier LTX is the newest addition to Michelin’s strong touring lineup and probably the best to date. Designed for SUVs and crossovers, this tire will give you much better responsiveness than tires designed specifically for SUVs, like the Defender LTX. The Premium LTX is an all-season tire, which means that it will work in most weather conditions, giving you a piece of mind on long road trips.
The best thing about the Premier LTX is how it drives. While it’s certainly no high-performance tire, the Premier LTX is the best of all touring tires when it comes to responsiveness in the corners, thanks to the use of extreme silica and sunflower oil in the tread compound, molded into symmetric tread design with continuous center rib. It also offers very high levels of grip and traction in dry conditions. As much as it is good in dry weather, the Premier LTX is perhaps even better in rainy conditions, thanks to the EverGrip Technology that utilizes Expanding Rain Grooves around the circumference and Emerging Grooves across the shoulders. With a set of these tires on your RAV4, you will have complete control over the vehicle regardless of the weather outside, including light snow, where this Michelin again shines when compared to other touring tires.
Despite offering excellent performance through the corners and while braking, the Premier LTX is supremely quiet and comfortable. On the highway, it irons smaller imperfections with ease and softly goes over bigger bumps. Also, you can hear almost no noise at higher speeds, which is another big plus. Being a touring tire, the Premier LTX is also very durable with owners of the previous generation reporting 4-5 years of driving. Nonetheless, the 60,000-mile tread wear warranty is shorter than its rivals.
The reason why the Premier LTX is so good lies in the Total Performance Technology that utilizes a lot of innovative technologies to achieve high levels of grip and traction, better fuel economy, long tread life, and quiet rolling.
Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus
Best comfortable tires for Toyota RAV4 / best quiet tires for Toyota RAV4
While the Michelin Premier LTX is the most responsive touring tire on the market right now, the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is definitely the most comfortable. And you shouldn’t worry about performance, too – the Bridgestone is one of the best tires in its category when it comes to grip, traction, and stability on the road.
But you are still reading this because you want to know about how comfortable it is. With a set of these tires on your RAV4, smaller and bigger imperfections will be ironed out smoothly, both on the highway and in urban areas. The comfortable nature of the Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is additionally improved with the absence of noise. Yes – apart from being very comfortable, this is also the quietest tire you can have on your RAV4. According to Bridgestone, this was achieved thanks to the symmetric tread pattern designed for lower noise levels at higher speeds, and better ride comfort.
Despite the focus on comfort, this Bridgestone tire is still very good in the corners thanks to excellent grip and traction. It also offers very good stability at higher speeds, and it works in every condition you can imagine, including light snow thanks to the circumferential grooves, lateral notches, and sipes.
The Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is also extremely durable – it will easily serve you for 5 years without any issue. It also comes with outstanding 80,000-mile tread wear warranty, which is one of the best in the category.
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
Best all season tires for Toyota RAV4 / best tires for Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Another competitor in the touring category, the Continental CrossContact LX20, is closely matched to the Michelin and Bridgestone that sit on top of this list. Thanks to the EcoPlus Technology, this tire will also lower the fuel consumption of your RAV4, which makes it a great choice for RAV4 Hybrid owners.
The reason why the CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus is so good is the compound made of Tg-F polymers and +Silane additives that according to Continental helps the tire achieve better contact with the road in warm and cold conditions, and also with durability. Thanks to this, Continental gives 70,000-mile tread wear warranty, which is one of the best in its category.
On the road, the CrossContact LX20 provides the driver with high levels of grip and traction in dry and wet conditions, and it is even usable in light snow. The Continental is also very responsive in the corners thanks to continuous center rib and independent tread blocks. On top of the excellent performance, the LX20 is also very quiet and comfortable, even at higher speeds.
The Continental also has a lower price point than the Michelin Premier LTX, which makes it an easy recommendation for RAV4 owners who value a balanced set of tires.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Best winter tires for Toyota RAV4 / best snow tires for Toyota RAV4
While most all-season tires today work in the winter, if you live in areas with harsh areas, you will still need a pair of winter tires. The best winter tires for RAV4 are the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80. In almost all areas, the Bridgestone is better than its direct competitors, especially when it comes to handling in dry and wet conditions, traction in snow and ice, and braking performance in every winter setting imaginable.
The secret behind the outstanding winter performance of the Blizzak WS80 is in the Multicellular Compound with Nano Pro-Tech that keeps the rubber pliable at freezing temperatures, thus improving grip and traction. Bridgestone additionally equipped this tire with Hydrophilic Coating that takes the water out of snow and ice, improving traction on the way. The result is outstanding grip and responsiveness in cold weather, both in dry and wet conditions and the best traction on snow and ice out of any other winter tire right now.
The Blizzak WS80 is even quiet and comfortable for a winter tire, and it is pretty durable as well. Its only disadvantage is that it doesn’t come with treadwear warranty, but I wouldn’t look much into that.
Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter
Best budget winter tires for Toyota RAV4
If the Bridgestone Blizzak is too expensive for you, then the Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter is a great budget option. Of course, the performance it gives isn’t on the level of the best premium winter tires, but it is definitely the best for the price. For the average RAV4 driver, or for owners of older models, I think that the Goodyear is more than good enough.
On the road, the Ultra Grip Winter provides the driver with responsive handling and high levels of grip and traction in colder conditions. It also resists hydroplaning very well, and it works in both light and deep snow. The Goodyear is also studdable, unlike most winter tires in its category, and it works on ice.
One disadvantage this tire has when compared to the best premium winter tires is more noise on the highway, but the difference is not very big and perhaps only noticeable when you compare them side-by-side.
General Tire Grabber HTS 60
Best budget highway tires for Toyota RAV4
The General Grabber HTS 60 is a highway tire, but don’t let that confuse you – it is similar to touring and grand-touring tires in the way it drives. According to General Tire, the Grabber HTS 60 offers a blend of style, comfort, durability, and performance, which is what the average Escape owner really needs.
While most manufacturers will praise their products, the Grabber HTS 60 translates all the praise into the real world. Traction and grip are very good in warm and cold weather, regardless if it’s dry or it rains. The Grabber HTS 60 is also very quiet and comfortable, almost on the level of the best touring tires, and it even works in light snow. It also comes with a 65,000-mile tread warranty, which is certainly not impressive, but good enough for the price.
Kumho Road Venture AT51
Best budget all-terrain tires for Toyota RAV4
If you want to use your RAV4 in off-road conditions, then the Kumho Road Venture AT51 is a great choice. Even though it is cheaper than most competitors, the Kumho still offers excellent traction in most off-road conditions, and it is also pretty quiet on the road. The only disadvantage is probably the somewhat lower ride quality, but that’s nitpicking really.
Made of new dual silica tread compound, the Road Venture AT51 is also resistant to punctures, cuts and bruising – very important for a tire that will be used in harsh off-road conditions. The full-depth stepped circumferential grooves are great for gravel roads, while the tapered tread blocks give better clean out capabilities for other types of off-road driving. The Road Venture is also good on the road, as far as all-terrain tires go.
Despite the lower price point, the Kumho comes with 55,000-mile tread wear warranty, which is one of the best in the category.
Kumho Solus TA31
Best budget all-season tires for Toyota RAV4
All touring tires higher on this list are on the expensive side, especially for owners of older RAV4 models. That said, there are still good budget all-season tires, such as the Kumho Solus TA31, which is designed to offer high levels of grip and traction in most conditions, like dry and wet surfaces in both warm and cold weather. The Kumho is also very comfortable and quiet on the road and comes with 60,000-mile tread wear warranty, which is good for the price. That said, even though marketed for use in light snow, the Solus TA31 isn’t on the level of the best premium tires here.
Best high-performance tires for Toyota RAV4
If you want to give your RAV4 a more elevated driving experience or own a RAV4 V6, then the Nitto NT421Q is an excellent budget choice. This tire has excellent handling characteristics and outstanding levels of grip and traction, at a fraction of the price of premium tires. It is also pretty quiet and comfortable for a high-performance tire thanks to the Quiet Serration Technology, and it comes with excellent 75,000-mile tread wear warranty.
Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus
Excellent touring alternative
The Scorpion Verde All Season Plus is a great alternative to touring and highway tires from Bridgestone, Michelin, and Continental. It works very well in every weather condition imaginable, and it is also very quiet and comfortable. The Pirelli is also lighter than its competitors, which makes it a great choice for owners that care about performance. That said, the 65,000-mile tread wear warranty is lower than some premium competitors.
The Top 10 list above contains only high-quality best tires for RAV4 that will give the driver a safe and reliable driving experience. Nonetheless, I strongly recommend choosing tires according to your needs and the weather in your area to be completely satisfied with the purchase. You wouldn’t want to drive with high-performance tires in the mud, would you?