"Strong and silent" were the buzzwords at Goodyear's recent press launch for the company's new Wrangler and Fortera lines of light-truck tires. The Texas-style press launch, held at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas and at the tire company's San Angelo test facility, came on strong and was anything but silent. Everything is supersized in Texas, and as such, we were treated to Texas-sized meals, limos, entertainment, and a private plane ride, which took us from Dallas to the 7,250-acre San Angelo facility some 200 miles southwest.
There, the supersizing didn't stop as we got to ride with superdriver Walker Evans on an off-road course, and had a chance to drive one of those big yellow Caterpillar earthmover dump trucks with 12-foot-tall tires!
Dog and pony shows aside, though, the main reason for our visit was to drive and compare Goodyear's latest light-truck tire offerings against their competition. A fleet of brand-new GM fullsize trucks was provided, shod with both the new Goodyears and competitor tires. We were asked to drive and compare each tire over several road courses, including various patches of different pavement surfaces, an autocross-type cone course, a wet skid pad, and some dirt roads. Unfortunately, the "off-road" course that had been set up for us had been flooded by heavy rains, and we were told it was "impassable." Of course, that's the last thing a Four Wheeler scribe wants to hear as we were mainly there to report on the new Wrangler's 'wheeling capabilities. Oh well, the plane ride and the dump truck were cool. All kidding aside, during all the pavement tests we drove, the new Goodyears really did handle better and were noticeably quieter than the provided competition.
This is what the new Wrangler looks like. Being an all-terrain-type tire, it doesn't have
This is Goodyear's wet skid pad at San Angelo. We were allowed to flog new GM SUVs through
These are some of the severe pavement-type surfaces available at San Angelo to test the du