There are traces of the TrXus M/T design in the 16/32-inch-deep tread pattern, and also a hint of TSL, but otherwise this new tire shares little with what we're used to seeing from Interco. First and foremost, the VorTrac is an all-terrain-aggressive enough that some might call it a mud tread, but by far the mildest-looking LT tire to have come out of an Interco mold. Also, it's a radial, although without a fashionable three-ply sidewall with a fancy name. Instead, the VorTrac has a basic two-ply polyester sidewall, just like radial trail tires used to be. A big departure from the Super Swamper line, the VorTrac is obviously made for the masses, those who put lots of pavement miles on their vehicles and want a smoother-riding, longer-lasting tire which can serve well in the dirt when needed. Well, that pretty much defines an all-terrain.
Had we been blindfolded and somebody else installed these 35x12.50R17 tires on our test mule and then asked us what size, kind, and brand of tire we were driving on, we'd be wrong on two out of three. The cushy ride and feel would've indicated a modern radial construction that a 33-inch tall tire would deliver. We would've gotten that one somewhat right, because the stylish and super-shiny Pro Comp 6005 wheels used were 17x9s, giving the same 9-inch sidewall height and consequent sidewall stability as a 33 on 15-inch rims.
When asked what kind of tread we were running on, we would've flunked badly, guessing on a mild version of an all-terrain, certainly nothing like the VorTrac's relatively aggressive pattern.
Finally, there's no way we would've ever thought it was an Interco tire. And, at this writing, the rest of the world doesn't even know that this tire exists. Frankly, we're still trying to get used to the idea that Interco makes an all-terrain.
With a continuous center rib for stability, no tracking tendencies, excellent load transitional characteristics, and a quiet smooth ride, the VorTrac is very well suited for highway use-after all, it is built for it, both in construction and tread design.
Will the new VorTrac claw its way like a TSL, sling mud like a Bogger, or grip dirt like an IROK? No. An all-terrain simply isn't going to provide the kind of specialized traction that those tires can deliver. Especially a flat-treaded radial. Instead, the VorTrac slips and slides a bit in the dirt due to the lower contact pressure resulting from the very flat and relatively mild tread. The square shoulders help cornering in the loose stuff and provide lateral stability on side slopes in the dirt, and while this tire doesn't seem to be overly happy in soft sand (again, it's a radial with minimal tread arch, and somewhat aggressive), it would likely be very well suited for the terrain at the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari, aka Truckhaven Hills.
On steeper, loose dirt trails it was often necessary to use four-wheel drive where we could generally squeeze by in two-wheel drive (using a sensitive right foot) with narrower and/or slightly more aggressive tires. On more hard-packed hills-steep enough that we'd at least partially slide down if in two-wheel drive-the VorTracs had no problem getting back up without any slippage (in 2WD), indicating that it was a lack of contact pressure that lead to a loss of traction on the descent.
While not able to envelope obstacles as a bias-ply could, like most all-terrains the VorTrac gripped rocks very well, helped by the many biting edges in the tread and in this case further aided by generous siping.
Overall, we feel that introducing the VorTrac into a highly competitive market was a good move on Interco's part. If you thought that Interco only made tires suitable for trail use, some more usable on pavement than others, think again. We sure had to.
Tire: Interco VorTrac
Load range: E
Max load (lb @ psi): 3,640 @ 65
Sidewall: 2-ply polyester
Tread: 2-ply polyester, 2-ply steel, 2-ply nylon
Approved rim width (in): 8.5-11 (10)
Tread depth (in): 16/32
Tread width (in): 9.9
Section width (in): 13.00
Overall diameter (in): 35.00
Static loaded radius (in): 15.7
Revolutions per mile: 625
Weight (lb): 70