Posted: September 13, 2014
Toyo Open Country R/T Tire Review
Toyo Tire's new Open Country R/T tire combines the best of a mud and all-terrain tireBy Dan Sanchez
Tire technology took a big step forward with Toyo's release of the Open Country R/T tire. The R/T stands for rugged-terrain, but the tire is designed to feature the off-road traction and rugged appearance of a mud-terrain tire, combined with the quiet ride and longer tread-life of an all-terrain. For truck owners who use their vehicles for work, towing heavy loads, and who enjoy aggressive off-road driving on the weekends, the Toyo Open Country R/T seems like the perfect all-around tire.
Trucking Times was invited to test out a set of Toyo's Open Country R/T tires and evaluate the performance. While it would have seemed sexy to test these tires on a new Ford Raptor or some kind of lifted off-road warrior, we decided to evaluate them on a real work-truck. It wasn't difficult for us to convince one of our friends who builds muscle cars and show vehicles, to allow us to try the Open Country R/T tires on his old Dodge Ram. The truck is used to trailer expensive one-off muscle cars, street-rods and race cars that are built out from this person's shop. But the truck is also used as a daily driver. On the weekends, the Dodge hauls ATVs out into the mountains and desert, often taking some rugged trails to get to their destination.
One of the first things we experienced was Toyo's dedication to improving their tire's overall construction. The installer who mounted and balanced the tires for us, mentioned that he had never seen an "off-road" truck tire that didn't need lots of weight to properly get them into balance. When we asked what he was referring to, he pointed out that only two of the tires needed a small amount of weight, while the other two didn't need any weight at all. Surprised at that fact, we liked how the tires looked on the truck, and recalled Toyo mentioning that the Open Country R/T was one of the first tires manufactured from the company's new Advanced Tire Operation Mode; which they refer to as ATOM. This method of construction is fully automated and allows the tires to have 50 to 75 percent better uniformity, a benefit that appeared during our installation experience.
After installing the set of LT285/70R17's on the Dodge, we were also surprised at how quiet the ride was. As avid off-road enthusiasts, road noise from a mud-terrain tire is expected. It's one of those compromises you live with to get the traction you need and to provide the off-road look to your vehicle that turns heads. But the Open Country R/T didn't produce much more road noise than a wider street tire would. The quiet and smooth ride was apparent during all of our time driving the truck on the street and highway. In addition, it's also common for mud-terrain tires to shake a bit when coming to a complete stop, a result of the large lug blocks used on these types of tires. The Open Country R/T's however, remained consistently smooth and didn't shake or vibrate when coming to a complete stop. Toyo explained that the quite and smoother ride qualities come from the tire's optimized arrangement of the lugs on the tread. But would these characteristics limit the amount of traction the tire would have off the highway?
We soon found out when we took the truck off-road. Right away, it was obvious the tread pattern didn't sacrifice any traction capabilities. In soft sand, mud, and even on hard-packed dirt roads, the Open Country R/T tires performed as well as any other mud-terrain tire we've ever tested in the past. The tire's wide shoulder grooves prevented the build-up of mud, and the scalloped shoulder lugs provided plenty of traction that dug into the dirt and soft-sand to keep the truck moving forward. With these tires on the truck, we felt confident enough to tackle even more difficult terrain, which the tires handled perfectly as they gripped well while driving over river washes and larger rocks. When you apply these characteristics to a typical work-truck or a fleet vehicle, the tires would allow for easier access to construction sites to carry in heavy equipment, yet provide a comfortable ride home on the highway after a long day at work. In addition, because the Open Country R/T tires have a three-ply polyester casing, the tires should also be able to handle the weight of a heavy trailer. Hooking up a race car trailer to the Dodge, and driving it on the highway provided the answer. The Open Country R/T tires didn't make the old Dodge feel unstable or less capable. In fact, cornering with the truck, both loaded and unloaded, felt much better than with the factory tires, and because the Open Country R/T tires we selected to test were an LT tire, they maintained the Dodge's towing capacity without any compromises.
After a few hundred miles on the Open Country R/T's, it was evident Toyo had done their homework, and created a truly dual-purpose tire that can survive and perform optimally for daily street and highway use, without sacrificing any off-road capability. The appearance of the tire is also aggressive and will look good on just about any truck or Jeep. In fact, the tire has a different sidewall design on each side of the tire, so you can select the appearance you want on your vehicle. The tire also has a 45,000 tread wear warranty, which takes it good for the average work-truck that sees lots of highway miles.
Truck accessory retailers who also sell tires, can really benefit from the Toyo Open Country R/T. Having one tire that fits the needs of many customers can reduce costs and provide the aggressive off-road tire your customers want, without having to carry several tire lines. Obviously we were impressed with the tire which is currently available in a variety of 17, 18 and 20-inch wheel diameter sizes, and in diameters ranging from the LT285 that we tested, all the way up t0 37-inches. More sizes are due to be released later in the year. For more information on the Open Country R/T, visit www.ToyoTires.com.
Toyo's new Open Country R/T tire features a tread desgin that is quiet but does not sacrifice traction. The scalloped shoulder lugs (in blue) are key to providing excellent traction in mud, snow and dirt.
Stone and mud ejectors keep the tread clean and ready to take on more off-road terrain.
Three-ply polyester casing provides excellent rigidity and strengthens the tire to maintain high load capabilities.
The large grooves and tread pattern provide optimum traction, but with a quiet and smooth ride.
Source: Toyo Tires U.S.A.