Nexen Roadian MTX Review
A do-all mud-terrain for extreme needs
The Roadian MTX is Nexen’s latest venture into the direct replacement and aftermarket mud-terrain category. The MTX, which stands for “Mud Terrain Xtreme,” has a three-ply sidewall that features aggressive lugs, wide voids, dual sidewall design (Machine and Beast), and an F load rating on all flotation sizes, which means it’s a good choice for those with fullsize trucks who need to tow or haul. With that F rating comes a maximum tire pressure of 80 psi, however, the Roadian MTX was designed to run at low pressure for off-roading without damaging the carcass.
We had an opportunity to sample this rugged new tire under a 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Sport lightly modified with 2-inch lift. Being that our Jeep was a Sport model with open differentials, it was the perfect vehicle for testing the Roadian MTXs, as we could directly quantify the impact the tires had on the Jeep’s capability. Thanks to the lift, we were able to run a set of upsized 35x12.5R17s.
Wanting to test these tires in every terrain possible, we headed into the damp and diverse Oregon backcountry where we were met with rain, snow, and ice while traversing mud, sand, gravel, and highway. After nearly 1,000 miles in the span of a week, we had a pretty good feeling for how the Roadian MTXs perform in the real world.
Our first experience was on a rocky, mud-soaked trail, where the aired-down Roadian MTXs were able to grip and claw their way up the boulder-strewn trail. The greasy mud was no match for the MTX’s large voids, while the tires were able to flex and conform to the irregular shape of the rocks. We were amazed that our locker-less Jeep was able to follow our locked-up support vehicles with relative ease.
Next, we headed to the sand dunes of coastal Oregon where once again we were surprised by the performance of the Roadian MTX. Aired down, the MTXs displayed very good flotation and excellent traction, allowing us to climb to the top of the tallest dunes where we could catch a glimpse of the Oregon coastline. Overall, the Roadian MXTs brought out the fun of the Wrangler, allowing us to go wherever we wanted, even giving us the ability to stop on a hill and get going again without digging the Jeep down to the axles.
In the gravel and dirt backcountry roads, the Roadian gripped well, almost too well. In fact, we found it a little hard to slide without a lot of throttle to break the rear end loose in order to drift around corners for that rally car–type fun. However, loose hill climbs with deep, deformable soil were minimized, as the MTXs kept churning and grabbing at the earth, never once allowing the Jeep to lose forward momentum.
Our last off-road test came in the mountains, where we were hit with a pretty significant snowstorm that dropped 6-10-inches of fresh powder on the trail the night before. Once again we worried about aggressive mud-terrain tires being able to stay on top and power through the fresh powder, and once again our worries were unfounded. We discovered miles of fresh, deep, snow-covered trails, and threw up roosts of powder as we plowed through, trying in earnest to figure out what type of terrain it would take to overmatch the Roadian MTXs. Even as the tires clawed through the snow, uncovering jagged, sharp-edged rocks hiding below the surface, the MTXs never showed any signs of chunking or sidewall cuts and never once let us down.
Finally, on the highway the MTX proved that it could pull double duty as a daily driven tire. Noise levels are on par with the quietest mud-terrains on the market, and directional stability is about what you’d expect for an aggressive mud-terrain. Whether it was in a torrential downpour or ice on the highway, the Roadian MTX was always sure-footed, something we didn’t necessarily expect from large-lugged, big-void tires.
The Nexen Roadian MTX is available in 35 sizes (including in 33-, 35-, and 37-inch sizes) for 15- to 22-inch wheels, and it has been positioned with a sensible price point. With a mix of performance and value that is hard to match, the Roadian MTX earned our respect and should be on your short list of tires to consider if you are looking for an aggressive-looking and highly capable off-road tire.