Two years ago Firestone's Destination M/T impressed us with its performance and quality construction, and the new A/T appears to be at least equally good-especially if you prefer all-terrains. This time we didn't even have to install the Destination A/Ts on the vehicle to become very impressed. Firestone set a new record on the trusty Hunter GSP 9700 balancer-actually, two records. While the amount of weight needed to balance out a set of tires doesn't really indicate how vibration-free the setup will run in real life, having to use fewer wheel weights certainly isn't a bad thing. These Destination A/Ts required a mere 8 ounces to perfectly balance all four, and the "worst" tire took only 2.75 ounces. Pretty darn good for a hi-po car tire, and extremely good for a 31x10.50R15LT.
However, far more meaningful for the actual driving experience are the Road Force Variation numbers for the tire and wheel combination, and again the Firestones shined with just 9.25 pounds on average-no wonder they ride super-smooth on the highway. Obviously, Firestone's UNI-T build concept works, but part of the credit should go to Pro-Comp's Xtreme Alloy model 1059 wheels, which were also near perfectly true.
Perhaps the best way to describe the Destination A/Ts highway manners would be to call them flawless. We expected the Firestone to be quiet-running and well-handling, but found the A/T to be practically noiseless and to deliver very crisp handling. Tracking was pretty much nonexistent, and the generously siped tread elements offered excellent cornering ability and response-even on our overweight live-axle test vehicle. That the tire also has low rolling resistance almost goes without saying. Hydroplaning shouldn't be an issue with the openness of the tread, which also seems to wear well-enough so that Firestone offers a 50,000-mile tread-wear warranty.
We didn't really expect a tire that works so well on pavement to be all that capable in the dirt, but the Destination A/T impressed, again. Flotation in sand was helped by the relatively rounded tread arch, so despite the sharp shoulders and a heavy vehicle, the tire did well. When trying to pull an 8,000-pound trailer (with locked brakes-oops) on gravel, this A/T did what an M/T would and quickly dug down for something to grab in the hard dirt below. A more feasible task, but not one we thought would work, was pulling another heavy trailer uphill in very soft-and a bit moist-dirt, but although the 16/32-inch-deep tread filled up, and stayed filled, the Destination A/T's shoulder lugs apparently worked well enough to extract us-unlike what a set of narrow and aggressive tires did. Needless to say, without any trailers in tow, the Firestone's 8.1-inch-wide tread did quite well in the dirt. With good safety beads on both the inner and outer bead, the Pro Comp 1059 wheels kept the Firestones seated despite some dumb maneuvers on our part.
If you can live without the looks of an aggressive tread and instead value impeccable behavior on the pavement, coupled with surprising abilities in the dirt, the Firestone Destination A/T is definitely worth considering. About the only drawbacks we found were that the tread obviously isn't suitable for real mud (you'll want the Destination M/T for that) and that in the 24 sizes available, the tallest are 33-inchers. At least at this writing.
Tire: Firestone Destination A/T
Load range: C
Max load (lb. @ psi): 2,270 @ 50
Sidewall: 2-ply polyester
Tread: 2-ply polyester, 2-ply steel, 1-ply nylon
Approved rim width (in.): 7-9
Tread depth (in.): 16/32
Tread width (in.): 8.1
Section width (in.): 10.7
Overall diameter (in.): 30.5
Static loaded radius (in.): 14.1
Revs per mile: 683
Weight (lb.): 41
Bridgestone/Firestone N. America Tire