Lone Writer recently replaced his '04 Grand Cherokee with a '10 Liberty. In the process, BFGoodrich provided a set of Rugged Terrain T/A tires to mount on it. The design of the tire has a rugged enough tread pattern to give the Liberty a more beefy appearance without affecting its ability to provide a quiet ride along Colorado's 75-mph highways.
Admittedly, our interest in testing the Rugged Terrain tire had very little to do with highway performance. We wanted to see how well this rather recent addition to the BFG lineup would perform in the outback. In less than a week after the tires were installed, the Liberty was on I-70 headed for Utah.
The first leg of the trip at speeds between 55 and 75 covered about 450 miles and ended at our base camp destination near Temple Mountain. We had two first impressions. First of all, the tires were quieter than we were used to, and second, we were getting a rougher ride than expected. After arriving at camp, the tire gauge was dug out of our travel kit and we quickly found out what was causing the rougher ride. The people who installed the tires had put 50 pounds of air in them. We dropped that down to 30 pounds and the rough ride went away. During the next several days, we kept the tire pressure at 30 pounds simply because the Liberty has very little ground clearance, and we could not afford to lose any of it by lowering the pressure more.
The next day was spent on a loop that included Wild Horse Canyon, where the surface varied between loose sand and sections of sharp rocks that threatened our minimal ground clearance. The tires performed well without exception taking the abuse from the rocks and floating over the sand. The sidewalls took quite a beating in some places but held onto their rubber, showing scuffs easily wiped away with standard tire wipes.
The next two days were spent in Poison Spring Canyon and going over Sunset Pass in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The surface of the trail was similar to the Wild Horse Canyon route with the addition of crossing the Dirty Devil River. Once again, the tires performed flawlessly.
We ended our outing with a trip into Beef Basin by way of Gooseberry Road. Once in Beef Basin, we traveled through Beef Basin Wash to the parking area for a well-preserved cliff dwelling. Getting in and back out included crossing a very deep side-wash where both banks dropped suddenly to a sandy floor about 6 feet below. Both banks consisted of nothing more than loose sand. We were pleased the Rugged Terrain tires climbed in and out of the wash effortlessly.
Of course the Rugged Terrain T/A was not designed for the extreme rated trails often featured on the cover of this magazine. It was designed for people who need a comfortable highway tire that is tough enough to get the driver to favorite fishing spots, historic ghost towns, or to Mother Nature's most scenic locations. Our 1,500-mile testdrive across a variety of terrains proved the BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A is fully capable of performing that task.