The Falken Wildpeak H/T is designed for light pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles, and sporty crossovers. In this test drive and review, I was able to acquire a 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser equipped with 17-inch aftermarket wheels and Falken Wildpeak H/T tires.
The owner of the Fj Cruiser decided to update the look of his SUV from a dedicated off-road machine to a swift highway cruiser. This was the reason for him to use the highway-terrain tires. I am familiar with the characteristics of the FJ Cruiser so I am excited to find out if the tires were enough to tone down the rugged manners of this SUV.
My test car used to be fitted with all-terrain tires that, in my mind, seemed better suited to the go-anywhere capabilities of the FJ Cruiser. The owner decided to buy a set of Falken Wildpeak H/T tires after her daughter went to college across two neighboring states. Since the SUV will now be cruising on seemingly endless amounts of open roads, I think the owner made a wise choice in changing his tires.
While I’m not a big fan of the Toyota FJ Cruiser, I know this SUV has the handling characteristics of a boat, although it feels more settled when exposed to the rudiments of extreme off-roading. Let’s see if the FJ Cruiser can really transform itself into a proper highway cruiser by simply changing from all-terrain to highway-terrain tires.
The Falken Wildpeak H/T is designed for all-season performance. It has a non-directional symmetric tread design with a five-rib tread pattern. There are four large straight grooves designed to efficiently disperse water to prevent hydroplaning. The tire is also equipped with a continuous solid center rib to deliver enhanced stability and braking performance on wet and dry pavement.
This tire is equipped with a variable-pitch shoulder design for better handling and cornering while reducing tire roar at high speeds. There is a barrage of multi-wave lateral sipes on the tread that enhances traction on wet or snowy roads.
The Falken Wildpeak H/T was constructed utilizing an all-season M+S rated tread compound and wider steel belts to enhance the strength and durability of the tire. It comes with a 60,000-mile limited tread wear warranty and is available in 15” to 20” diameters.
The best part? You can order these tires with outlined white sidewall letters!
I got in and drove off before the rains began to pour. I figured it will be the perfect opportunity to test the wet capabilities of the Falken Wildpeak HT.
As luck would have it, it was raining for the better part of the review. However, I got the chance to travel on a mildly damp highway as I drove home to return the car.
I was thoroughly impressed with the traction and grip on dry roads considering the roads were still a bit moist from the rains.
I would have wanted to extend the test drive so I can speed up on the dry and hot pavement, but the owner of my test car only gave me the entire day to complete my review.
I had the whole day to test the Falken Wildtrack H/T on wet roads. The tires were calm and composed as I breached the speed limit. The tires felt relentless as I drove over water puddles near the sides of the highway. The steering still felt responsive but there was simply too much body roll that I had to wash off excess speed before approaching the next set of wide corners in the wet.
Overall, I was impressed with the damp and wet capabilities of the Wildtrack H/T tires. I didn’t feel the tires lose grip even as I stepped hard on the gas pedal to coax a bit of wheel spin.
It would be unwise to assume that the Falken Wildtrack H/T will perform better in the snow than a set of all-terrain tires.
In this regard, I will give the tires an average score, but they can handle up to 6-inches of snow before traction became an issue.
If you live in a cold climate with inches upon inches of snow-covered roads you are better off with a set of chunkier all-terrain tires.
The floaty suspension of the FJ Cruiser gave it good amounts of ride comfort on the highway, but the Falken Wildpeak H/T tires were able to take the comfort levels up a notch. True to the merits of a proper highway tire, I felt comfortable whether I was cruising on the wet freeway or navigating over rough patches of back roads.
If an all-terrain tire like the Falken Wildpeak AT3W can cruise silently on various surfaces, what more if the tire is designed for the highway? I am proud to say the Falken Wildpeak H/T was silent all throughout my short journey.
Tire roar was virtually nonexistent at slow to average speeds and there were only minor tidbits of noise at higher speeds. The FJ Cruiser did feel like a certified ‘cruiser’ since it can now conquer the highways without bothering the driver and occupants with unnecessary road noise.
The Falken Wildpeak H/T tires on my test car were still new at less than three months old. There were no signs of accelerated wear on the treads given the weight of the FJ Cruiser.
I talked to the guys at the tire store and they told me the wear characteristics of the Falken Wildpeak H/T was slightly better than those offered by Michelin or Bridgestone.
The Falken Wildpeak H/T tires on my FJ Cruiser were a revelation. I wasn’t expecting much in terms of comfort and road noise, but the tires stayed true to form.
Perhaps the biggest consideration for choosing the Falken Wildpeak H/T over other brands is the low base price, but this would seem unfair since the tire is worth more than the actual numerical value.
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Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for DrivingPress.com