What’s the Difference Between Car, SUV and 4x4 Tyres?

Friday, 16th October 2020

Cars, SUVs and 4x4s are three very different types of vehicles. And with these different types of vehicles come various needs and capabilities that require a tyre designed specifically to meet those needs. As well as type of vehicle you have, you should also consider the terrain you drive on, the conditions you drive in and the season when it comes to buying the right tyres for your vehicle.

Cars perform best when driven on roads, so they need tyres that deliver in city and suburban areas. SUV tyres have the same capabilities of a car tyre but are reinforced so they can carry the heavy weight of an SUV, while 4x4 tyres are mainly dedicated to off-road driving.

Car Tyres

When driving your car, you want both your car and its tyres to work in-sync together to deliver the best possible driving experience. That’s why many people choose to fit their car with Original Equipment (OE) tyres to ensure that performance is met. Car tyres focus solely on road performance with means they play an important role in everything from acceleration and braking to handling and comfort.

Your tyres are specifically designed to support the weight of your vehicle, even when you brake hard and shift most of the vehicle’s weight to the front suspension. They’re designed to work with your suspension and shock absorbers to provide cushioning against any small bumps, potholes and cracks in the road. And although your car’s performance generally decides how well it accelerates, brakes and takes corners, you’ll find that your car tyres play a part in delivering that performance too.

SUV Tyres

We’re definitely seeing more and more SUVs on the road, and it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down, with over 4 million SUVs on our roads as of April 2020. SUV tyres are very similar to car tyres. They take everything from the car tyre and build on it for an SUV specific application. They focus predominantly on road driving which is ideal if you drive your SUV in city and suburban areas and are typically bigger to handle the increased weight of an SUV.

When it comes to buying SUV tyres there are few points to consider including the power of your SUV, its weight and whether it’s electric, hybrid or built with a traditional combustion engine. If you ever use your SUV for off-road driving or regularly face tough road conditions like gravel, steep inclines, and mud, then your tyres need to be suitable for the change of terrain and driving conditions too.

4x4 Tyres

Traditionally, 4x4 tyres were designed for more off-road use than on-road use. But now, they’re designed for 80% off-road use and 20% on-road use. 4x4 tyres have a massive block-like tread pattern which is deeper and contains larger gaps than car tyres to give you excellent grip off road. They’re made with reinforced sidewalls and tread cap which allow you to climb over rocks safely without the risk of a puncture.

When you’re driving with 4x4 tyres on the road, you may notice higher noise levels from your tyres and possible increased braking distance on wet and dry roads. Road driving will cause 4x4 tyres to wear down quickly due to the increased rolling resistance and friction on the rubber. If you do spend more time on the road than off-road in your 4x4, then you should always change your tyres accordingly to the terrain you drive on.

Can You Put Car Tyres on an SUV?

No, you can’t put car tyres on an SUV. SUVs are much heavier than cars, and therefore need a tyre that can support this increase in weight.

You’ll notice SUV tyres are much larger and wider than standard tyres. They’re reinforced to ensure they can support the heavy vehicle when accelerating, braking and navigating corners.

Can You Put SUV Tyres on a Car?

No, you can’t put SUV tyres on a car. Although SUV tyres take all the features of a car tyre and build on it for SUV use, they’re much wider than standard car tyres which means they won’t fit properly in the wheel cavity.

Using tyres that aren’t designed for your vehicle risks damaging your vehicle and will compromise its safety and driving capabilities.


Seasonality is still a key consideration when choosing tyres for your vehicle. There are summer, winter and all-season tyres available for not just your car, but for SUVs with 4 Wheel Drive too.

Summer Tyres

Summer tyres, for both SUVs and cars are designed to be excellent in warm weather, regardless of dry or wet conditions. However, as soon as the temperature drops below 7° you should ideally switch to more suitable tyres.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres have a softer and more elastic rubber compound that remains flexible in low temperatures, compared with summer tyres which stiffen up in cold conditions. This guarantees extra grip in the colder months of the year.

All-Season Tyres

An all-season tyre blends the best of both the summer and winter tyre into one package, meaning you can run it all year round. All season tyres provide good performance in summer and winter, without excelling compared to specialist summer and winter tyres. They can be a very convenient purchase if you don’t want to change from summer to winter every 6 months or so.