4 Of The Best Tires For Your Ford Explorer

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The Ford Explorer helped usher in the SUV craze, debuting for the 1991 model year as a replacement for the Bronco and peaking in popularity in 2000 with nearly 450,000 units sold. The Explorer has a reputation for longevity, ranking fifth on Forbes' list of vehicles owners hang on to the longest.

While European markets are getting an EV Explorer soon, North American buyers are stuck with hybrid and gas-powered versions for now. The Explorer is currently in its sixth generation, and the 2023 model was unchanged from the 2022 version.

The Explorer's popularity over its 30-plus year lifespan is largely due to its versatility and strong performance on various surfaces and in a wide range of conditions. This makes your choice of tires especially important, as they are critical to both the performance of the vehicle and the comfort and noise level the driver and passengers will experience. Let's look at four of the best tire options for this popular SUV. 

Michelin Premier LTX

For an all-purpose vehicle like the Explorer, the best choice of tires will be one that is well-suited for a variety of different surfaces, and the Michelin Premier LTX definitely fits that bill. The 255/65R18 version of this tire — which fits the 2023 Explorer — retails for $224 each at Discount Tire and  $299.99 at Amazon.

Only nine Amazon buyers left reviews for the Premier LTX, and the average rating was 3.5 stars. B. Allison called them "Great Tires" and wrote, "After 63,000 miles on Michelin Latitudes, we switched to the Premiers. Great traction in snow, quiet on the road, and handling seems to be good on our SUV. Highly recommend!"  

Driving Press ranked the LTX the best overall option for the Explorer, praising the tire's performance on wet roads and touting the quiet ride and 60,000-mile warranty offered by Michelin.

Several outlets that tested the Premier LTX also praised its wet-weather stopping ability, although many also pointed out that it was relatively expensive at well above $200 per tire.

Continental Crosscontact LX20 EcoPlus

For a tire that will offer great all-season performance, consider the Continental Cross-Contact LX20 EcoPlus. The 255/65R18 size  LX20 EcoPlus sells for $199 each at Discount Tire and  $193.99 at Amazon. The EcoPlus label is Continental's indication that a tire uses polymers and additives that it claims will increase tread life and fuel economy.

Driving Press praised the LX20 Eco Plus for its solid performance on wet and dry pavement but said the tire could wear down quickly, especially for drivers who spent a significant amount of time on dirt, gravel, or other unpaved surfaces. 

Tire Rack customers ranked the LX20 Eco Plus 4.1 stars out of 5, with many giving it high marks for its performance in foul weather conditions. One Lutz, Florida resident who outfitted their 2006 Explorer with a set of LX20s wrote, "Very quiet, they are very smooth and handle the rain excellent ... cornering is also good ... so far they have been everything that was advertised."

BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2

Drivers who frequently use their Ford Explorer on dirt, gravel, sand, or other off-road surfaces will want to consider the BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2. While this tire is relatively expensive, retailing for $239.99 at Walmart and $233.99 at 4 Wheel PartsCar and Driver ranked it the best option for SUV drivers looking for "confidence and control on- and off-road." Ford includes the KO2 as standard equipment on its F-150 Raptor pickup truck, and  Tire Rack said of this tire, "It's quieter than we expected, steers better than we expected, it's good in the snow and competitive in the wet."

Tire Rack customers also rate the KO2 highly, giving it an 8.6/10 overall rating, including a 9.0 for off-road use and a 9.2 for dry pavement performance. One repeat KO2 buyer wrote, "Had the tires on my 98 Explorer, love them on the jeep." 

Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3

Another highly regarded option for your Ford Explorer is the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3, available from Discount Tire for $239 each or from Amazon for $202.97 each.

The Scorpions carry a 70,000-mile treadlife warranty and are classified as touring tires. That means they are best suited to drivers who will use their Explorers primarily on the highway and occasionally on dirt roads like those found in campgrounds and won't take their vehicles rock crawling or mudding or use them in other demanding off-road situations.

Tire Rack customers rate the Scorpions 8.9 out of 10 overall, including 9.4 on dry pavement and 9.1 for treadwear. One Ford Edge driver compared them favorably to one of Michelin's premium offerings, writing, "Smooth and quiet with superb handling. I drive with plenty of spirit. I have Defenders on my Explorer S, and these are just as good or better."