Testing the Nexen Roadian MTX

A Thorough Thrashing

Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

What do you do when a brand-new off-road tire comes on the market and you have a bunch of experienced magazine guys itching to test it? Stuff those expert magazine guys into a mildly lifted but otherwise stock Jeep Wrangler JL Sport, install said tires (in 35x12.50R17 flavor), turn them loose somewhere in Oregon, and let them have at it.

That’s just what we did. Clocking about a thousand miles of on-road and off-road abuse over the course of four days, the four of us (to be named in a minute) all got ample time to see how Nexen Tire’s newest offering performed. The Roadian MTX (MT stands for Mud-Terrain Extreme) is a new tire from a Korean tire company, Nexen. While the name may sound new, Nexen has been around under one name or another since 1942. Nexen’s goal is to build great tires with state-of-the-art manufacturing and innovation. The Roadian MTX is built to perform off-road as a radial tire with three-ply sidewalls, an aggressive patented tread block design with plenty of siping, dual sidewall designs dubbed the Machine and the Beast, and an available F-load weight rating for on-road weight-bearing confidence, all on a carcass ready to be aired down on the trail.

You may be asking yourself why we, of all people, get to do this? What makes us uniquely qualified to test and tell how this new tire performs? Well, between Stuart Bourdon (Jp magazine tech editor), Sean Holman (Four Wheeler Network’s content director), Jared Korfage (Four Wheeler magazine staff editor, and yours truly (Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road technical editor), we have decades of experience evaluating off-road tires.

So, did the Nexen Roadian MTX live up to the name? From dunes to wet and muddy rocks and deep snow, and on wet, snowy, and dry pavement and hard-packed dirt, we put these tires through their paces and found their strengths (which are many) and weaknesses (which are few). In short, yes. Check it out.

Wet dune sand at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area posed no challenge for the Nexen Roadian MTXs on our 2018 JL Wrangler Unlimited. The steep dunes were a blast to play in. Try as we might with the tires aired down to about 15 psi, we couldn’t get the Jeep stuck without heading straight up the back side of a dune (where anything would dig in). With the Wrangler in low range and the transmission in Drive, the 3.6L ripped through the first few gears of the eight-speed auto.