Almost a decade after its production was stopped, the FJ Cruiser remains one of the most distinctive modern Toyotas. Its funky exterior, outstanding off-road capability, and surprisingly efficient V6 engine gave it something that its predecessors and successors lacked.
The FJ Cruiser’s ride was also surprisingly compliant, especially when you compare it with that of its competition, the legendary Jeep Wrangler. The same went for its body and steering feel, which were characteristically more precise and more serene than the Jeep’s.
Unfortunately, despite all these qualities, the year 2014 sounded the death knell for the FJ Cruiser. Unless Toyota decides to reverse its decision to shut down this vehicle’s production, the 2014 model FJ Cruiser, which some people have kept in great shape, won’t be replaced.
In this article, we’ll look at the nine best tires for FJ Cruiser. Each of the models listed will fit all tire sizes of the FJ Cruiser. Which isn’t a tall order since this mid-size SUV only came in two tire sizes (LT265/75R16 and 265/70R17) during the eight years it remained in production.
#1. Michelin Defender LTX M/S – Best Overall
The Michelin Defender LTX M/S remains one of the best FJ Cruiser tires. An all-season tread compound enables these tires to help your FJ Cruiser stay useful year-round, providing the necessary grip and traction regardless of whether the roads are dry or waterlogged.
These tires’ symmetric tread pattern will make your Cruiser’s drive even plusher than it currently is. The tread pattern won’t also expose the driver to vibrations and the passengers to road noise, meaning you’d be able to enjoy the time spent in this mid-size SUV.
MaxTouch Construction enables the LTX M/S to outlast their treadwear warranty, which is huge given that this model is backed to last at least 70,000 miles.
The Defender LTX M/S are also surprisingly capable on light snow, thanks to the unique siping detail that dots the tread area. A quartet of circumferential grooves helps with water evacuation. Their quick and effective action dispels the chances of hydroplaning.
All these qualities come at a price, a pretty steep one at that. The Defender LTX M/S costs more upfront than any other highway tire on this list, though its extended treadlife will help balance things in the long run.
- Backed with an excellent 70,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Offers excellent levels of grip in dry and wet conditions
- Superb hydroplaning resistance
- Doesn’t come cheap
#2. General Grabber HTS 60 – Best Runner Up
The General Grabber HTS 60 rivals our top pick on various counts.
Like the Defender LTX M/S, this highway tire stays can be used 365 days a year. A cut- and chip-resistant tread compound helps prevent cuts, chips, and punctures. You can therefore use this model not only on the highway and the street but also for light off-roading.
Its highway manners are also incredibly decent for a highway tire. The credit for this goes to the vehicle-tuned tread pattern that absorbs road vibrations and dissipates road noise before either could reach the cabin and hurt the quality of your driving experience.
General knows that not everyone will use the FJ Cruiser for everyday driving. There are people who will rely on this vehicle for light off-roading. To cover both sets of customers, it offers the HTS 60 in light version (the one with the smaller load rating) and a heavier one.
Despite all these qualities, the HTS 60 isn’t our top pick for the FJ Cruiser. Want to know why? Unlike the Defender LTX M/S, which can come in handy on light snow and ice, the HTS 60 has nothing on the tread area that can inspire confidence about its winter performance.
- Competitively priced
- Provides excellent high-speed stability
- Heavier models are great for towing and hauling
- Backed with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Isn’t a reliable performer on snow
#3. Yokohama YK-HTX – Best Budget Highway Tire
The Yokohama YK-HTX has everything people like about this brand’s tires. This all-season highway tire comes at an affordable price point, offers brilliant road manners, and is backed with an excellent treadwear warranty. Plus, it stays quiet at high speeds.
This tire also stays useful year-round, thanks primarily to the silica and orange oil tread compound. Silica is responsible for giving it the firmness needed for enhanced grip on dry roads, with orange oil keeping the rubber flexible for better traction in inclement weather.
Unlike our top two picks, the YK-HTX features reinforced sidewalls. This might be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. For, while the reinforcement protects sidewalls from damage, it also means increased feedback at the steering and a firmer ride.
Fortunately, you can’t complain about its noise. Yokohama has placed a piece of noise-absorbing rubber inside the tread to help this tire stay quiet, even at high speeds. The Japanese tire manufacturer also backs this model with a 70,000-mile warranty, albeit with a catch.
The catch is that only the standard sizes of the YK-HTX are backed for the mentioned miles. The LT tires, which will go on the FJ Cruiser, are only backed for 50,000 miles. Which seems just about right for a pocket-friendly model but low when compared with premium tires.
- Offers excellent dry grip
- Enhanced wet traction
- Is quiet on the highway
- Ride might feel a bit firm at times
#4. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 – Best All-Terrain
The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 is one of the best all-terrain tires on the market. It’s also one of the priciest. If you want unrivaled performance on multiple terrains, go for this model. However, if its asking price seems too expensive, check out the next model on our list.
The inflated asking price seems justified, considering the improvements this model features over its predecessor, the T/A KO. BFG’s internal tests reveal that the T/A KO2 offers 10 percent higher traction on the mud and 19% higher snow traction than the model it replaced.
A double-thick tread compound helps this tire in more ways than one. For starters, it doesn’t let stones, rocks, or other roadside debris penetrate the rubber, thus keeping punctures at bay. The tread compound also keeps the T/A KO2 stable on soft, hard, and loose terrain.
An equally thick sidewall also minimizes the risk of damage to the tire, though it also transmits greater feedback to the steering for an enhanced feel of the terrain you might be driving on. In doing so, it makes the tire’s driving less comfortable than what we’d have liked.
A 50,000-mile treadwear warranty is a welcome feature, especially when you consider that most all-terrain tires only come with a workmanship warranty.
- Backed with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Can be used for rock crawling when aired down
- Highly resistant to cuts, chips, and punctures
- Might get noisy at high speeds
#5. Kumho Road Venture AT51 – Best Budget All-Terrain
The Kumho Road Venture AT51 is a highly capable and pocket-friendly all-terrain tire. Given that we’re presenting this model as a replacement for the BFG TA KO2, it seems pertinent to compare the two models. Here’s a brief comparison of the two solid A/T tires.
Start with the terrains these models can conquer. Fortunately or unfortunately, there isn’t much here to separate the two tires. Both Road Venture AT51 and BFG TA KO2 are reliable performers on sand, gravel, and rock, with tread compounds and sidewalls that can easily resist punctures.
Next comes their stability on wet roads. The AT51 comes with lateral and circumferential grooves that expedite water evacuation for a lower hydroplane risk. The T/A KO2 also has water channels that do a pretty fine job of not letting water particles stay in the tread area for long.
In terms of their performance on snow, the T/A KO2 emerges as a clear winner. In fact, if we’re to compare, the AT51 offers the same level of snow performance as the T/A KO, which, as noted above, had 19 percent less traction on snow than its replacement discussed here.
Treadwear warranty is also where the AT51 loses. While the T/A KO2 is backed for 50,000 miles, this model comes with no treadwear warranty. All in all, if you don’t want unrivaled snow performance and don’t care about treadwear warranty, the AT51 might be a good pick.
- Competitively priced for an all-terrain tire
- Balanced on- and off-road performance
- Delivers superb dry and wet performance
- Might struggle on thick snow
#6. Cooper Discoverer A/T3 – Best All-Terrain
The Cooper Discoverer A/T3 isn’t your average all-terrain tire. Mainly because your average A/T tire doesn’t perform as well on off-road as it does on-road. But also because your standard all-terrain model isn’t backed with a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Its five-ribbed design isn’t just meant to steal glances from onlookers. The design also enhances this tire’s high-speed stability and, more importantly, on-road handling. Were it not for it, the A/T3 wouldn’t have been as capable as it is on paved roads.
Aggressive shoulders ensure added traction on softer surfaces, such as dirt, mud, and sand, while also increasing the appeal of this tire. Right beside them are the thick grooves that evacuate water and therefore make this tire reliable on wet roads.
A unique siping structure in zigzag shapes performs five crucial functions. The biting edges work to give this tire even road contact for reduced road noise and even tread area. Plus, they evacuate stones from within the tread area and stabilize the tread blocks.
Thus, if for some reason the above two A/T tires failed to catch your attention, the Discoverer A/T has the looks and the performance to convince you to get the wallet out.
- Outstanding grip in dry, wet and snow
- Surprisingly quiet for a highway tire
- Self-cleaning mechanism doesn’t let mud particles affect traction
#7. BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 – Best Mud-Terrain
The BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is the replacement of the T/A KM2, offering better traction on loose and slippery surfaces than its predecessor. It is also much quieter than its ancestor, with larger voids that make this tire noticeably better at self-cleaning.
However, it isn’t only its family members that this tire can beat. Three design elements – off-road tread compound, independent tread blocks, and linear flex zones – enable it to give competition to any mud-terrain tire on the market, regardless of brand name or price.
The off-road tread compound is buffeted by doubly-reinforced sidewalls and an internal three-layer sturdy polyester construction. The result? Better traction in on- and off-road conditions as well as superior protection against cuts, blemishes, and punctures.
To justify its mud-terrain credentials, the T/A KM3 has massive tread voids where its all-terrain counterparts usually feature sipes. These voids self-clean this tire off of hard-packed mud, sand, and snow, Plus, they also lower the risk of stone- and rock-drilling.
Although the above features might make it hard to believe, the T/A KM3 is quiet, unless you air it above the recommended PSI. That is true for the off-road. On the highway, this tire will be noisy, which isn’t surprising given the category that it belongs to.
- Brilliant traction on rough terrains
- Works well on mud, rocks, sand, and slush
- Incredibly tough and durable construction
- Will be loud on paved roads
#8. Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 – Best Mud-Terrain
The Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 has everything you might expect from an M/T tire. A high-density tread compound (containing an increased amount of silica) gives this model the toughness needed to thrive on extreme off-road conditions, such as mud.
Looking at the tread design, the meaty shoulder blocks and the touch sidewall are highly visible. Which seems appropriate given that the due protects the sidewall against rock punctures. Plus, they also help the M/T G003 deliver added grip in hard terrain.
Innumerable computer-optimized sipes on the tread blocks ensure quick evacuation of stone, mud, and sand particles out the tread area, enhancing this tire’s stability. For comfort, variable pitch blocks work together with the high-void tread pattern to reduce noise.
Thanks to the variable pitch bocks-high void tread pattern do, the MT G003 is quieter than most mud-terrain tires on the street. Which seems just about right when you consider another feature this model offers that most M/T tires don’t: added grip on hard surfaces.
- Excellent sidewall protection
- Brilliant on-road manners for a tire in this class
- Is exceptionally quiet on the street
- Not the best tire for rock crawling
#9. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 – Best Winter Tire
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 is the latest model in the lineup globally renowned for reliable performance in extreme wintry conditions. This tire hit the market in January 2021 and, based on what we have read and seen to date, it’s one of the best winter tires ever.
Compared with its predecessor, the Hakkapeliitta 9, this model features a higher number of studs. So better snow performance is all but guaranteed. The studs’ placement is also tailored by tire size to ensure that all tires perform equally well when the going gets tough.
One problem with studded tires is studs coming off every few miles. To solve this problem, Nokian has used more rubber at this tire’s base, thereby giving the studs something extra to grip. This should help the metal studs stay in place for an extended period.
Nokian claims that the “Silent Drive” sound absorbing technology has lowered this model’s road noise by as much as 6 decibels. Unfortunately, the technology doesn’t come on all versions of this tire, so you won’t be able to enjoy its fruits on your FJ Cruiser.
- Comes with pre-installed metal studs
- Offers remarkable snow and ice traction
- Incredibly quiet for a studded snow tire
- Offers better fuel efficiency than its predecessor
Silent Drive technology is only available on the EV version
Best Tires for FJ Cruiser
Several factors make highway tires the best pick for the average FJ Cruiser driver. The first of which is these tires higher load ranges (vis-à-vis touring tires). Their high load carrying capability means you can use highway tires for hauling and towing the heavy stuff.
Another benefit of investing in highway tires is their low initial asking price. These models cost nearly half as much as that of similar size all-terrain tires, with premium mud-terrain tires costing even higher. As such, you won’t have to blow your budget to afford these.
The last, but certainly not the least benefit is extended treadwear warranty. All the highway tires listed above are backed for at least 50,000 miles, with our top pick coming with a treadwear warranty of 75,000 miles. This means you can easily get 5, 6 years out of these.
Premium all-terrain tires come in handy on multiple terrains, including highway, street, sand, mud, and even rock. These models tread compound is strengthened to prevent the ingress of stones and rocks, thereby enhancing their resistance to punctures.
Furthermore, in contrast to what most people believe, all-terrain tires also come with respectable treadwear warranties. Take the two tires recommended above. Both of them are warrantied for 50,000+ miles, with one being backed to last as many as 55,000 miles.
However, not everything is great about these tires. While they are undoubtedly useful on the highway, all-terrain tires have a habit of getting louder with speed. Furthermore, their ride is a bit firm. So you cannot count on them to be as comfortable as highway tires.
Mud-terrain tires are worth a shot if a) you’re an off-road enthusiast who spends days exploring difficult terrains and b) you can afford buying another set of tires for on-road use. That is because M/T tires are as good as useless on the highway and street.
However, as far as off-road is concerned, that is where mud-terrain tires shine. With their reinforced tread compounds, thick sidewalls and sturdy internal construction, these tires can help you conquer the most challenging of terrains humanity has ever set foot on.
That said, if you push these tires to their limits, they will wear pretty quickly. Which might prove to be a budget-breaker since they don’t come with a treadwear warranty. You’d thus have to fund the entire cost of replacement out of pocket, a costly affair since M/T tires don’t come cheap.
As stated above, the FJ Cruiser is one of Toyota’s most distinctive vehicles. But its unique exterior won’t impress you much unless it’s matched with a comfortable ride. Which is why it’s crucial that you pair the FJ Cruiser with tires than can play to its strengths and play down its weaknesses.