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Toyo Open Country A/T Tire Test

Posted in How To: Wheels Tires on April 1, 2005
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Toyo Tire & Rubber Company is one of the top 10 tire manufacturers in the world (based on sales), so when it comes to producing a quality tire that works for the four-wheeling masses, Toyo should know how to build it. Of course, the masses never take their four-bys off the pavement, and the Open Country A/T was surely designed with that in mind, delivering superb performance on the blacktop. Practically noiseless, with low rolling resistance and without any tracking tendencies, the Open Country is pretty much flawless on the highway. However, if you're used to very conforming carcasses that swallow up all the irregularities in the road surface, then the Toyo's two steel belts and nylon caps that help keep the tread so stable and well-mannered on the highway will remind you of their presence on bad roads.

With generous siping and a tread design that allows water a rapid escape route, this A/T is also a good all-season tire that seems to wear really well, even on a front-heavy live-axle Blazer.

Mounted on true-running M/T aluminum wheels, the Toyo Open Country A/Ts took only minute amounts of weights to balance, but the Hunter GSP 9700 showed Road Force Variation numbers averaging in the 20-pound range. While it wasn't noticeable in the vehicle, even at well-over-legal speeds, that was more than we'd expected for a quality 33.3-inch tire.

So what happens when you take a square-shouldered radial A/T that excels on pavement onto the dirt? Usually, that's when the compromises between street and trail performance become very evident, but with these Toyos, that didn't seem to be the case. We'd ventured into unknown territory in 2WD low-range, following some freshly cut roads over dry dirt-sometimes rocky, sometimes with a fairly thick layer of alluvial soil. With 40 psi in the front tires and 35 in the rears (not even this portly K-5 weighs as much-13,660 pounds-as these Toyos can support at their 65psi max inflation pressure), and facing some pretty steep slopes, it was only a matter of time before having to lock the hubs. Or so we thought. Oddly enough, only once did we spin the 9.2-inch-wide tread, and that was on a very steep and loose section. On our regular test courses, we were also impressed with how the Open Country handled most everything, including shallow sand, which we certainly hadn't expected such a flat-treaded radial to do much of anything on-except sink. Deep, loose dirt proved to be the limit, however, and both lateral and forward traction left something to be desired. Airing down to 17 and 13 psi made for a big improvement in forward mobility, but sidehilling at over 20 degrees was still an iffy proposition in the foot-deep soil. In the Open Country's defense, most 'wheelers would never try it, and even if they did, most tires would act similarly.

Despite its highway-oriented design and impeccable road manners, the Toyo Open Country A/T appears to be quite capable on the trail, as long as the dirt's not too loose or deep. Mud? That's what the Open Country M/T is for. Available in an amazing 63 sizes ranging from a petite P225/70R14 to an LT355/60R20, there should be a Toyo Open Country A/T that fits your four-by. At least if it can accommodate tires between 26.6 and 36.8 inches tall.

Tire: Toyo Open Country A/T
Size: LT295/75R16
Type: Radial
Load range: C
Max load (lb. @ psi): 3,415 @ 65
Sidewall: 2-ply polyester
Tread: 2-ply polyester, 2-ply steel, 2-ply nylon
Approved rim width (in.): 7.5-9.5
Tread depth (in.): 16/32
Tread width (in.): 9.2 (measured)
Section width (in.): 11.6
Overall diameter (in.): 33.3
Static loaded radius (in.): 15.0
Revs per mile: 624
Weight (lb.): 57


Toyo Tire
Cypress, CA 90630

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