4x4s are the fastest growing vehicle segment in the country. Almost all Vehicle Manufactures are now producing a 4x4 option. Some of the latest models to have been produced are from Vehicle Manufacturers who preciously only made performance cars. For example the new BMW X5 and the Porsche Cayenne.
Blackcircles.com recognise the need for replacement tyres for 4x4s, and have a complete range of tyres for all conditions. Blackcircles.com stock over 400 different tyre options for 4x4s. Stock includes top of the range tyres to budget options, with tyre variants for aggressive off road competition to the family work horse that stays predominantly on the road
4x4 Vehicles and their Tyres
Land Rover Discovery 3 – Tyre Option, Pirelli Scorpion Zero
The latest evolution in the ever popular Discovery range, Discovery 3 is an ideal choice for both on and off road driving. Fitted as factory standard, the Pirelli 255/60R18 and 255/55R19 Scorpion Zero offers high speed comfort for drivers, whilst the technical characteristics ensure excellent performance and traction. The Scorpion Zero is based on the same successful concept as the famous Pirelli P Zero. In the past the standard Discovery fitment was the 235/70R16 & 255/55R16 available from Pirelli in the Scorpion ST.
Mercedes Benz – Tyre Option, General Grabber ST
Made in the USA. You can sure tell it ain't German. But it's good on-road and, with the right tyres, no disgrace off-road, either. It's one of the most convincing all-rounders in the pack. The 320 V6, 270 Cdi 6 are mostly fitted with 255/65 16 tyres. The standard tyre for the M Class is the General Grabber ST. The Tyre is a good all rounder, but its key advantage is the quiet ride when using your vehicle on the road. The Grabber tyre is the US 4x4 tyre of choice, and 4x4s are almost 50% of car sales in the US.
One of the most popular 4x4s on the Road. This car is over 17 years old and continues to sell well. This car can do the business both on and off road. It may look modern but still comes from the Jeep 4x4 stable. The standard tyre size for the Cherokee is a 235/70 16. One of the more popular tyre options in this size is The Goodyear Wrangler HP, which promotes solid on–road handling throughout the seasons, as well as reduced noise.
Range Rover – Tyre Option, Pirelli Scorpion ST
The Badge is still unsurpassed in desirability within the class. The Range Rover combines reasonable on-road driving with an exceptional off-road one. The 4.0/2.5 SDT/4.0SE/2.5 DSE/4.6 HSE often come as standard with the 255/65 16 tyre size. A good Option here is the Pirelli Scorpion ST. This tyre combines an excellent off road performance, with a high speed rating letting the vehicle reach speeds of up to 130mph. The tyre tread on the Pirelli Scorpion ST is more akin to a car tyre tread than a traditional 4x4 tyre, built for speed not offroad performance.
The BMW X5 comes in many different model variants, and provides an excellent 4x4 option. It is an excellent on road vehicle but still has 190mm of ground clearance making it versatile as well. The 3.0i Sport/4.4i Sport/3.0d Sport are usually fitted with 255/50 19 on the fronts, and 285/45 19 on the back. A good option here is The Michelin Diamaris. This tyre provides a good compromise between wet and dry handling, and comes with a rim protector k eeping your alloys safe. The Michelin Diamaris tread pattern is similar to the Pirelli in that it is built for road performance and not as an off road tyre. 2007 models are now fitted with runflat tyres, the manufacturer's recommended fitment being the Continental Contact UHP SSR.
4x4 Owners Clubs
A bit more about 4x4's:
As a member of an owners club you could be eligible for a discount on your tyre purchase
Over the years the 4x4 has evolved massively. The 4x4 vehicle has been around in one form or another since 1900. Perhaps one of the most important developments was in 1941, when the American government requested the production of a new 4x4 vehicle, which should have over 6.25 inches of ground clearance and a payload of 600 pounds. This lead to the development of the original Jeep, which was used throughout World War II. In 1945 the first civilian Jeep became available. Advertisements of the time proclaimed it to be a " Powerhouse on Wheels," selling it as a work vehicle for farmers and construction workers. It came with a tailgate, side-mounted spare, larger headlamps, an external fuel cap and many more items that its military predecessors did not.
1948 saw the launch of the Land Rover Series I, again designed as a rugged, go anywhere vehicle for use by the army, farmers, industrial workers and later, the emergency services. The British built Series I was a big hit with the hard working farmers, who found many uses for the vehicle, one of which was ploughing.
The 4x4 was becoming increasingly popular in America; in 1970 Land Rover followed this trend by launching the Range Rover in the UK. It was truly a multi purpose vehicle, both a practical load-carrier and comfortable long-distance express, and it was as much at home in mud or snow as it was on tarmac. Demand quickly exceeded original sales projections, and for most of the next decade there were waiting lists for new Range Rovers. In the early days, used examples frequently changed hands for more than the initial cost price. Vehicles of this type were constantly developed and refined, gradually becoming more and more of an item of desire, as apposed to the coarse work-man-like vehicles, which they began life as.
During the 1980’s 4x4s slowly became more popular and more usable, but were still expensive compared to the average family car. 1988 saw the launch of the Land Rover discovery, a vehicle which had some of the refinement and road manners of the Range Rover, as well as a significant amount of off road ability, at a much more affordable price. However it wasn’t until the early 1990’s when the 4x4 boom really began. This decade saw the launch of many vehicles in the new SUV (sport utility vehicle) category, such as the Vauxhall Frontera, Toyota Rav 4, Ford Maverick & Nissan Terrano. These vehicles were much more affordable than 4x4’s before them and quickly became very popular. Land Rover finally launched the Freelander in 1997; it rapidly became Britain’s best selling small 4x4.
The mid 90’s onwards have seen many new SUV’s being launched from all major manufacturers, and their popularity continues to grow. The luxury, top of the range 4x4s have increased their popularity most significantly in the last 5 years. With vehicle launches from BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen to name a few. Thousands of people are replacing their luxury saloons with one of these new generation Ultra High Performance SUV’s due to their on road manners, refinement, performance and their desirability and image.
As you can see the 4x4 has evolved hugely since the early days, the tyres fitted to them have also had to evolve. In the early days 4x4s were purchased to be used and abused in tough off road conditions, this required a strong, narrow, aggressive tyre, in order to obtain maximum bite and grip in mud and dirt.
The tyre requirements of today’s 4x4 owner are far more complex than this. Today’s 4x4 driver is very much an individual, with specific requirements. Many owners use their vehicles on road and off road on a regular basis; the legendary 50:50 All Terrain tyre is the perfect application for this usage. Some owners use their vehicle primarily on road, but would like a tyre with some limited off road ability, an Original Equipment tyre is usually ideal for this. Many 4x4 owners use their vehicles purely for fun, at off road events, they usually require an aggressive Mud Terrain tyre. The new generation of ultra high performance 4x4s are usually purchased by individuals who only use their vehicles on road. They cover a high percentage of motorway miles, so require a quiet, responsive, performance tyre. Below you will find a brief explanation of types of 4x4 tyre.
Types of 4x4 tyre
Original Equipment (OE)
Tyres fitted to brand new vehicles by the manufacturer are usually 80% Road 20% off road Biased. With the increasing number of small SUV vehicles being purchased for predominantly road use it makes sense for the manufacturer to fit a tyre of this type. It gives refined and comfortable performance on the road, with some limited ability in mild off road conditions, should the owner decide to venture off the beaten track or across a field.
E.g. Bridgestone D689
The new breed of High performance SUV’s such as the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne are fitted with high performance road tyres. The tyres fitted to these vehicles are very similar to high performance car tyres, some have directional tread patterns and very soft tread compound. They provide levels of grip and road holding that you would normally associate with a performance car. However these tyres are intended for 95% road use, and will not provide much traction if you choose to leave the road.
E.g. Michelin Diamaris
The All Terrain tyre has now been around for many years, and is still the perfect option for the 4x4 owner who wants to use their vehicle on and off the road. The classic 50/50 tyre is an optional fitment on some new vehicles, but is usually bought by the 4x4 owner who uses their vehicle on a daily basis, covering significant mileage both on and off the road. Advances in technology mean that an All Terrain tyre can now be used on the road every day, and provide acceptable levels of grip and ride comfort. Many people choose to use this type of tyre on the road; because of its harder tread compound, which provides maximum longevity. Some of the best all terrain tyres can cover 60,000+ miles before they need replacing.
E.g. BF Goodrich AT
Mud Terrain tyres are usually 80% off road to 20% road biased. Designed for the serious off-roader. A Mud terrain pattern has large gaps between its tread lugs, these provide maximum grip and traction off the road, and if you are using your vehicle for serious off-roading, a MT can’t be beaten. However on road performance does suffer, due to the large gaps between tread lugs, in particular wet breaking distances are significantly longer, so this type of tyre is not recommended for the 4x4 owner who covers significant mileage on the road.
E.g. BF Goodrich MT
Please click here for 4x4 car insurance details
Blackcircles constantly offer excellent deals across a range of different tyre sizes, so please check our latest tyre deals on our Special Offers page. Do you know that on some vehicles it is possible to fit a different brand of tyre from what is currently on the car, you may find a different brand suits your budget and driving style better – so it’s always worth investigating. However some vehicle manufacturers do recommend that you keep the same brand of tyres that originally came on the vehicle as they have worked with the tyre manufacturers to develop vehicle specific fitments to improve the vehicle’s performance.
If you are at all unsure whether you can change brand, please call our customer service team on 0845 620 2000 who will be able to let you know whether there are any alternative brands for your vehicle. Don’t forget that Blackcircles.com remain independent and we pride ourselves on offering our customers impartial advice on tyres.