All too often, buying a set of replacement tires is an exercise in compromise. If you want aggressive looks and optimum off-road performance, be prepared for an annoying drone on the highway. If you want a quiet ride, you give up off-road traction and capability. For its latest generation of Geolandar Mud-Terrain tire, Yokohama set the bar high, and based on our first impressions, exceeded the company’s goals, as well as our expectations with the new Geolandar M/T G003.
In a word…everything. Replacing the Geolandar M/T+ in the lineup, the M/T G003 brings improvements in durability, traction, braking performance, ride comfort, and noise levels. Compared to competitors’ equivalent mud-terrain tires, Yokohama claims 60-0 stopping distances up to 51 feet shorter, eight percent longer tread life, and a 2.3 decibel quieter highway ride. Based on our experience behind the wheel, we were most impressed with the quiet on-road ride. The G003’s aggressive tread design and styling had us expecting the characteristic mud-terrain drone on the road, but the tires are not notably louder than the more aggressive all-terrains we’ve driven recently. You can credit that to the tire’s variable pitch tread, which utilized computer modeling and simulation to help come up with a tread pattern that gives mud-terrain buyers the aggressive look they want without the tiresome drone characteristic of so many tires in the class. As impressive as it is on-road, off-road is where the G003 really shines, with its optimized block-to-void ratio offering ample grip in mud, sand, and dirt.
Form and Function
One of the features of the G003 that got the most attention at the introduction was the aggressive sidewall armor pattern on the tires. While Yokohama admitted aesthetics were a consideration on the feature, they also pointed out that the sidewall armor also plays a functional role, especially on Jeeps, when the vehicle can go through narrow passes where the sidewall actually grips the rock, as well as adding an extra measure of sidewall and wheel protection.
Other functional improvements on the G003 include Geo-Shield construction consisting of multiple sidewall plies, steel belts, a full nylon cap, and a high turn-up carcass for the ultimate in strength, even in challenging off-road environments.
To serve off-road enthusiasts, and customers looking for an aggressive look, Yokohama is offering the Geolandar M/T G003 in an unprecedented 37 sizes from 15 to 20 inches, with 20 sizes available as of June 1, with 12 more sizes coming in September, and five more rounding out the lineup in the fourth quarter of 2017. With the broad selection of sizes, the company will offer a fitment for everything from the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, and other off-road oriented SUVs, to midsize and full-size trucks.
As is customary for mud-terrain tires, Yokohama is not offering a treadwear warranty on the G003, for the reason that the usage scenarios are so unpredictable for the tire. While many will buy the G003 just for its rugged looks, and may get as much as 50,000 miles out of them, there are others that will hit the trails and dunes with reckless abandon, putting the tire’s tread wear to the test. Andrew Briggs, Yokohama Tire’s senior director of product planning and sales operations, doesn’t believe the lack of a treadwear warranty will be a significant deterrent to potential buyers. To ensure buyers are satisfied with the product, the company is offering a 30-day money-back trial on the new tires.
As impressive as the performance of the M/T G003 is, there are some customers that demand even more, and Yokohama promises an even more aggressive M/T tire coming in the fourth quarter of 2017. The company promises that model will be more oriented toward extreme performance, with less of a concern on on-road manners and civility. With the introduction of the G003 and the forthcoming extreme performance tire, the Geolandar line is one of the broadest on the market, covering everything from compact crossovers with highway-terrain and all-terrain applications, to the hard-core off-road enthusiast market with its M/T tires.