Many people have simple needs and desires from a car. To be roomy, reliable, and easy to drive. The Toyota RAV4 does that marvelously, thanks to many bits of engineering and a dependable platform employed by Toyota. Not only that, but the RAV4 is also quite decent off the road too, if we don’t consider its hybrid powertrain. A vehicle you can actually rely on needs a proper set of tires so it can keep doing what’s best at. In short, here are the best tires available for the trusty Toyota RAV4.
Best All-Season tires for the Toyota RAV4
1.Goodyear Assurance All-Season
Ride Quality: 9 Noise Comfort: 9 Handling: 7 Traction: 8
Starting off with a tire built for comfort and versatility. The Goodyear Assurance All-Season aims at doing exactly what it states, to provide the driver plenty of confidence in all the seasons. Not only that, but you’re receiving a tread life warranty for 65,000 miles, meaning that not only does the Assurance All-Season deliver good traction overall, it’s also quite dependable as far as wear is concerned.
The sidewalls are soft, and the compound finds itself in a similar position. This makes the tire well suited for colder climates without snow from the get-go, simply because the tire will remain compliant and not turn into wooden skis. Noise generated is quite limited, thanks to a bit of clever engineering done by Goodyear.
Three tire ribs cross the tire’s circumference, broken apart every so often by small angular channels aimed at expelling water outward. There are plenty of curvy sipes with the goal of ejecting water locally and provide a small bit of snow traction. Overall, the contact patch will remain significant, not being entirely affected by the tire blocks nor by the tire grooves.
Snow and ice performance isn’t the Goodyear Assurance All-Season strong suit, only being capable in the lightest snow dusting. All this comfort is a trait that emerged to the detriment of stability and feel, making the tire quite squishy in the process. The softer climate also dictates poor summer wear if the days are torrid and dry.
2.Continental CrossContact LX25
Ride Quality: 9 Noise Comfort: 8 Handling: 7 Traction: 9
Continental offered another specialized tire in their huge array of options. On this occasion, we’re actually taken aback a bit by the tread pattern’s complexity, usually sticking to simpler designs.
There aren’t many points worth mentioning as far as the compound and sidewalls go. They are both quite moderate, with the sidewalls and tread blocks leaning on the softer side, with the latter being taller to compensate. The goal is to provide a supple ride and good wear characteristics.
The tread pattern is highly intricate. Symmetrical at heart, the tire blocks are distinct but weirdly shaped, like a parallelogram, each block being split by a decently sized channel. The center tire blocks are continuous, forming a solid rib aimed at improving on-center feel. The many grooves, channels, and sipes aim at improving the tire’s performance in the wet. The same sipes are also placed strategically as a way of reducing generated noise.
Downsides aren’t many, and some are to be expected. For once, the winter performance isn’t all that good. The sidewall’s softness in conjunction with the taller tread blocks makes this tire somewhat unbalanced. This unbalance translates completely into a small loss in handling.
Best All-Weather Tires for the Toyota RAV4
Ride Quality: 9 Noise Comfort: 7 Handling: 8 Traction: 10
If the size’s available, you can expect the Michelin CrossClimate2 to find itself in the All-Weather category. The performance is just too good to pass, not many tires coming close to the levels of performance the CrossClimate2 brings to the table.
The compound is special, designed at withstanding hotter summer days and colder temperatures, cold enough for a moderate snowfall, all while being geared towards the tougher side. This makes the tire highly versatile, and generally enough for anyone who doesn’t live in the extremes. When looking at the sidewalls, they aren’t too tough nor too soft, trying to provide an equilibrium for summer and winter usage.
A V-type tread pattern is what makes this tire so capable, keeping its overall effective contact patch shape both in snowy conditions and dry conditions. Local water evacuation is quite good, same can be said about water expulsion thanks to significant grooves and clever sipes, making this tire versatile in the wet too. The same sipes also assist with colder weather, providing the tire blocks more overall flex.
Problems are a few and expected from an all-weather tire. First and foremost is the price, being one of the most expensive tires on the current market. Noise generated is also plentiful, sadly, but it mostly depends on the car, and the Toyota RAV4 should be quite well endowed with NVH reducing materials making the experience more pleasant. Another area where the Michelin CrossClimate2 is lacking is in the cold-breaking performance.
2.Vredestein Quatrac Pro
Ride Quality: 9 Noise Comfort: 8 Handling: 8 Traction: 8
Still highly capable in snowy conditions, the Vredestein Quatrac Pro is aimed at the extreme wet performance, such as driving through snowy conditions when they happen, and the aftermath which follows slush and puddles. Even if it doesn’t seem that significant, puddles and slush can be just as dangerous for traction as is snow.
The compound and sidewalls are of average firmness, aimed at providing the best available performance out of the tire all while keeping it as comfortable as it could possibly be. The tread life warranty is generous with 50,000 miles, especially for an all-weather tire which will be driven in all kinds of weather. Overall, a very athletic tire, especially in the all-weather category.
There are 3 ribs which compose the tire’s overall contact patch, each rib being split by different sipes. Zigzag sipes help with snow traction, while the other two are banked and almost perpendicular to one another, aiming at expelling water locally in as many directions as it could. The shoulder sipes are also different, with the same logic as the blocks themselves. A very competent tire both in the dry, having a tread pattern similar to a summer/all-season tire, but clever engineering rivaling high performance tires which are fantastic in the wet and snow performance rivaling mediocre choices.
Best Winter Tires for the Toyota RAV4
1.Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra
Ride Quality: 7 Noise Comfort: 7 Handling: 8 Traction: 10
A very interesting tire which appears to be highly capable in all kinds of winter conditions. If your winters are long, oscillating randomly between very snowy and completely dry, then the Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra is as good as you’re going to get.
This tire isn’t made for performance and going fast. Its goal is to be a dependable tire in the winter that won’t leave you stuck no matter what, all while being safe on regular town roads. The sidewalls are on the average side, mostly getting its traction from the tread pattern alone. Sadly, there isn’t a mileage warranty, however, not many winter tires offer such an option.
We’re presented with a winter-focused V-type pattern, which should get traction in every wintery condition out there. The V helps a lot with slush traction, along with snow traction and on-center feel for dry days. There are many cuts, grooves, and sipes, which solely aim at increasing the tire’s flexibility, allowing you to drive this tire when it’s so cold that rocks are beginning to crack. On top of that, the sipes also increase the snow and wet performance significantly. The grooves assist the slush and wet driving, by directing the water towards the outside of the tire.
Wear isn’t great. Using this tire when it’s still decently warm outside will shred it to bits way too quickly. Dry performance when it’s truly cold is alright, but poor when it’s just around freezing simply because the tire will be really soft and won’t withstand great longitudinal and lateral forces. The tire’s also noisy, not providing any reasonable noise suppression technologies.
2.Continental VikingContact 7
Ride Quality: 7 Noise Comfort: 7 Handling: 9 Traction: 8
A more reasonable winter tire, which is also decently capable on running on warmer winter days. Still, actual spring driving is subpar and will wear the tire quite fast, but we don’t really care about that. All we care about is the tire’s winter performance and why that’s the case.
The sidewalls are softer than average, to assist with grip on icy surfaces, but it’s really tough enough to withstand dry use and milder temperatures to a point. The compound is quite clever, thanks to Continental’s choice to use canola oil. This helps the rubber blocks keep their shape in warmer temperatures and allow them to flex in colder temperatures.
A V-type tread pattern is used here, it’s constructed by significant rhombus-shaped blocks, cut across by many sipes which assist with snow traction. Overall, the contact patch is significant, helping dry usage significantly, and ice traction as well. To help with tire block flex, Continental used a series of rubber linkages aimed at improving rigidity.
The cons aren’t all that many, but significant and worth mentioning. The grooves are too narrow, which in conjuncture with the tire blocks do a fantastic job at trapping the water instead of ejecting it. Even if the tire can work in warmer winters, you still need to drive it in the winter. Comfort-wise, noise generated is significant and a point of concern for some, but it should be fine for most users.
Best Touring Tire for the Toyota RAV4
1.Yokohama Avid Ascend LX
Ride Quality: 10 Noise Comfort: 8 Handling: 7 Traction: 7
A real competitor for touring tires, providing great comfort, good wear resistance, and fantastic wet performance. If you drive a lot and you don’t want to keep switching the tires around, then the Yokohama Avid Ascend LX are fantastic for you.
The sidewalls are soft and compliant, aimed at absorbing bumps and road irregularities. They took a great deal at making the tire as durable as possible, both for being environmentally friendly and to provide potential buyers with a good deal. As such, they offer an 85,000-mile tread life warranty to cater to your long-distance needs.
Each block is cut across by a myriad of sipes, aimed at expelling the water from the contact patch so you can get a good grip on asphalt, even in wet conditions. The center grip aims at improving on center feel, which you will see that the tire desperately needs. When looking at the shoulders, we’re seeing a similar story. The conclusion is that the Avid Ascend LX is very capable in all kinds of wet weather, not missing a beat.
The issues are somewhat apparent. All this softness and wet bias doesn’t help in other areas. For one, the softness makes the tire squishy and unable to perform all that well during hard braking tests and hard acceleration tests, while the wet bias doesn’t really do much more. The softness also hurts lateral grip, meaning that if you push the tire hard, it will understeer on your Toyota RAV4.
Best Tires for the Toyota RAV4: Buying Guide
For most Toyota RAV4 owners, an all-season or all-weather tire should suffice
The reason is simple. You don’t need two dedicated sets of tires if the climate you live in isn’t particularly extreme. If you only see a bit of snow, and warmer temperatures which are far from torrid, then an all-season or all-weather tire is more than enough. Why that’s the case? Well, it’s simple really.
Apart from the tread pattern which gives the tire its distinct particularities in use, the nomenclature of “all-season” or “all-weather” refers to the tire’s operational temperature range. 20F to 85 F is normal for an all-season tire and just enough for it to perform okay, while 13 F to 92 F is alright for an all-weather tire. Please, bear in mind that this is a range and it depends from tire to tire. No tires have this exact temperature range, so great care should be taken in regard to the limits.
An all-season or all-weather tire could work all right in 85 F, but as soon as it gets to 15 F they will both struggle majorly. As such, pick a tire which seems better suited for your climate, and that’s only if the climate is mild.
If you see heavy snowfall and torrid summers, get two sets of dedicated summer/winter tires for your Toyota RAV4
Some people regularly see months of snowfall and ice and months of oven-like temperatures. In such ranges, no all-season/all-weather tire is enough. Your only sensible choice is to get two sets of tires, dedicated at a specific task.
Think what kind of weather you see for the most part and what’s the type you’re most afraid of and pick accordingly. Also, consider how much you will use each set, because for some the winters will be harsh but short while for others the winters will last for many months. In the first case, tread life isn’t important, while in the latter’s being of utmost importance.
Overall, the whole experience shouldn’t be that expensive, because the wear will be split across two sets of tires, basically achieving the same thing in the end. It’s just a nuisance to change the tires every few months or so, but that’s what you must do if you want to be truly safe and sound.