For a 4WD vehicle that sees more Midwestern winters than any sane person could want, snow traction is important. Some of our camping adventures involve unfamiliar dirt or gravel roads and steep grades, so a bit of off-road capability is also a must. And price, as always, is a consideration.
The winter and off-road needs lead me right away to the On-/Off-Road All-Terrain category. But I want to keep the car somewhat civil for all the daily driving on regular streets, so we can't go crazy with oversized mud tires. In the stock size, 225/75R15, there are six all-terrain tires. The General Grabber AT 2 is a fun tire, but they are backordered right now in this size, so we cross them off the list.
If we look at the Tire Survey Results, two candidates are at the top: the Firestone Destination A/T and Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61. Survey results are excellent on both, but the Firestone has maintained its excellent results over 18 million miles and counting, while the Kumho has yet to crack a million miles of results. We'll go with the Firestone Destination based on their well-documented track record.
Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61
So how does a Tire Rack sales specialist shop for tires? Likely a lot like you: identify what is needed, find the available options, evaluate a few of the top choices and make a decision.
Stay tuned to see how my tire choice worked out.