Toyo Tire’s release of its new Open Country R/T tire has definitely changed the way truck owners can utilize their vehicles. The R/T stands for rugged-terrain, but according to Toyo Tire engineers, the R/T is designed to combine the off-road traction and rugged appearance of a mud-terrain tire, with the quiet ride and longer tread-life of an all-terrain tire. 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.
Invited to test out a set of Toyo’s Open Country R/T tires and evaluate the performance, we put them on a Dodge Ram that is used from everything to accessing off-road trails, a daily driver, towing muscle cars, and hauling the family and a four ATVs out into the mountains and desert. 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. Most off-road tires that we’ve tested, require more balance weights simply because there’s so much rubber on the tread and sidewalls, it’s difficult for tire manufactures to create symmetry during the casting process. In this instance however, only two of the Toyo Open Country R/Ts needed a small amount of weight, while the other two didn’t need any weight at all. Toyo told us 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.
The aggressive appearance of the Open Country R/T kept this truck looking the way the owner originally wanted it to. The tires still featured an aggressive tread design with typical mud-terrain style sidewall tread that can grip into mud and rocks. As avid off-road enthusiasts we expected the road noise, but the Open Country R/T was extremely quiet while driving it on the street and highway.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 quiet and smooth 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. 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. For off road enthusiasts, the tires allow for the traction you expect, but without sacrificing ride quality while driving your truck on the highway. 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 makes it good for the average work-truck that sees lots of highway miles.
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 to 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.