Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tire Comparison & Review: Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac vs. Toyo Open Country ATII (AT2)

Tire Comparison: Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac vs. Toyo Open Country ATII (AT2)


Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac
Trying to garner an unbiased opinion about which tire for a 4WD truck/SUV is “the best” is nothing short of asking Chevy, Ford, and Dodge owners why they’re partial to their respective brand – except in the world of tires, there's ten times the choices.  The number of all-terrain (A/T), mud-terrain (M/T), and crossover tires (a new genre, those that bridge the gap between the two) is seemingly infinite.  The good news is that it's hard to find a bad tire, but the flip-side is that deciding on a tire suited to one’s desired price range, load rating, tread pattern, domestic/foreign brand, size, look, etc. is bridging on the verge of impossible. Rather than explore the “safe options” (BFG A/T, Nitto Terra Grappler, Micky Thompson ATZ, General Grabber AT2, Cooper AT3, etc.), I’m going to get very detailed with two of the “hot tires” of the moment which, while not technically new-comers, are popular and well-respected in their own right.
Toyo Open Country ATII (AT2)
Furthermore, to help us differentiate between a tried-and-true “all-terrain” and one of the newfangled “crossover tires,” this comparison features one of each: Toyo’s ATII (the clear all-terrain) and Goodyear’s Wrangler DuraTrac (a mud-terrain with road-going manners, or an all-terrain that thinks it's a mud tire -- depending on how you look at it).  Both were 285/70/17, with the Goodyears being D load rating and the Toyos bearing an E.

In short, both of these tires will help you keep your 4WD bragging rights and off-road ability, but neither will make you feel like you were irresponsible in buying an all-out mudder for your rig that has to be able to handle street duty.  The following compare/contrast is here for those of us unsure as I was as to which type tire best fits their wants/needs.

APPEARANCE

No 4x4 should be wearing shoes that look like those commonly run on a minivan, end of story. The number of compliments and questions I got while running the DuraTracs became borderline absurd. People asked, “what are they?,” “how do they do in the mud/snow?,” “where can I buy them?,” and on and on and on. They simply look like nothing else out there and give off an air of aggression that even some mud tires can’t match. The tread pattern seems to mimic that of the bottom of a Timberland boot (a real Timberland)...all good stuff here for the Goodyear, and the pictures speak for themselves.


While the ATII’s sidewall isn't overly menacing, the tread has enough meat and depth to it so that you won't mistake it for something stock. This doesn't look like a tire you want to attack the Rubicon Trail with, but you probably wouldn't hesitate to run it through some mud, decently deep snow, or do some mild wheeling with it. Think “street tire with lugs that are open enough to clean out fairly well.” It’s tame and understated, but not weak. Still, it can't match the absurdity that is the Goodyears' design.

Advantage: DuraTracs - no question here

AROUND TOWN

It's easy for a tire with an aggressive tread to wobble at low speeds, especially when accelerating and decelerating between a stop and 10 MPH. Luckily, the spacing and pattern of the DuraTrac minimizes this...when compared to something geared even more towards off-highway use. The lugs are positioned close enough together so that the voids don't cause a shake or wobble, and since it doesn't have a totally horizontal layout (ex. Super Swampers), vibration truly is minimal. The Pro Comp A/T’s I had years ago were worse.
Even with its Load E rating, the Toyo is undoubtedly smoother around town, sometimes eerily so.  Additionally, the tires help to eliminate some of the smaller disruptions in pavement that you would otherwise feel in your lower back. Very refreshing after 25K miles with the DuraTrac.

Advantage: Toyo

HIGHWAY CRUISING

Be it the regular commute or towing the quad trailer, a good tire has to inspire confidence in you when you're moving at speed. It really does help to know you won’t suddenly wander out of the lane, and it’s also nice to feel that in a panic-stop situation the tires under your vehicle will work to your advantage.

With low mileage on the set, the DuraTracs were surprisingly pleasant and had good characteristics overall at higher speeds: wander wasn't bad and braking distances were “good enough.” They did, however, squirm a fair share under hard braking, which only got worse over time. Overall, highway quality was decent but dropped off quickly after 20,000 miles, the point at which they became drastically worse riding and exhibited some characteristics – wander, bad braking distances, excessive noise – that were enough to force me into buying a new set (they were replaced by the Toyos).

On the contrary, the Toyos performed admirably on the highway. Wander was even less than the DuraTracs, braking distances were great for a tire of this genre, and they were smooth riding and coasted with ease. Honestly, these tires portrayed the best driving characteristics of any tire I've ever owned, aggressive or not.

Advantage: Toyos

NOISE

Noise is commonly a big issue when dealing with truck tires in plus-sizes. Highway hum can be overly aggravating if you're not accustomed to the noise of the M/T's, and it can truly make you enjoy the time spent in your vehicle less than you otherwise would.

The compound Goodyear uses for its DuraTrac is much softer than that used by Toyo in the ATII, and such is one factor why it makes a lot more noise. Furthermore, the open, criss-crossing tread of the DuraTrac does itself no favors here. Chalk it up to the Goodyear being geared more towards traction in off-road situations, prioritizing grip and ability over pleasantness. Still, it could be worse; the DuraTracs are noticeably quieter than the typical mudder.

As quiet as the Goodyear is for a tire of this style, the Toyo is drastically quieter, silent to extent that you almost forget they're rotating continuously beneath you. To call the DuraTrac bad in the noise department is a totally relative statement, because Goodyear has made a valiant effort in helping the DuraTrac to be easy enough to drive around on without them humming your ears off. Meanwhile though, the ATII is outstanding when it comes to road noise. Again, different styles, different purposes; these only become more obvious as you spend more and more time with each.

Advantage: Toyo

HANDLING

Yes, this does matter when it comes to trucks;, seeing as nobody wants their vehicle to feel sloppy going around a corner even if said vehicle weighs upwards of three tons. The DuraTracs, with their soft makeup, did well on mountain roads and really gripped the pavement when pushed hard. Likewise, the Toyos did mighty fine for a tire not designed to be driven like you would a sports car, but that didn't stop me from doing so when the Avalanche was my only vehicle. The one big difference between these two was that the Toyos were much more progressive in their limits whereas the Goodyears would hang on and then give up suddenly with little to zero notice. Either way, unless you're on a race track, both tires do very well, better than one would even expect. The nod goes to the Toyo though, for having less sidewall roll in the corners and for being more forgiving in their ways when driven hard.

Advantage: Toyo

BRAKING

Be it in slow-speed traffic, at cruising speed, or especially with a trailer hitched to the back, braking performance is crucial when it comes to truck tires, if not the most important aspect. Here the Toyos reigns supreme, with absolutely zero drama to them and dead-straight, worry-free stopping qualities. The DuraTracs, while largely problem-free, do squirm a little under hard braking which is only worsened when there's a trailer behind the truck. It's nothing that would be considered “worrying” and they really are competent enough to handle any kind of towing duty you can do with your light-duty vehicle, but if you know you have to slam the brakes often it's something to consider. Both are good, but the Toyo continues to shine when it comes to on-road personality.

Advantage: Toyo

RAIN, SNOW, AND ICE – HARSH DRIVING CONDITIONS

Presumably you also drive not only in good weather, but in the bad as well: rain, snow, ice, and the like. You don't want your truck to let you down, and you expect the same from your tires.

Rain should be fairly straight-forward: hydro-planing is bad, end of story. Luckily, neither of these tires showed even the faintest sign of inability to cope with water on the roadways, be it constant rain or post-downpour standing water. And both tires will, when given the cattle prod, handle wet-condition drifting with ease (a friend told me this). I'd probably choose the DuraTrac though, for it stays a little more sure-footed when coming across puddles in the road.

Snow is probably my favorite condition to drive in, but while stepping the back out in the winter is hysterical childish fun, you want to feel safe when you're not fooling around. Let's start with how the tires perform in a dusting: in 2WD the DuraTrac does well, though it gets a little tail-happy when you're hard on the gas and the snow is light. The Toyo is similar but to a lesser extent. In 4WD the tires handle light snow flawlessly (really as if it isn’t even there). Medium-depth snowfall is similar, with the DuraTrac pulling a slight lead as the Toyo's lesser ability to clean out becomes evident. In deep snow, however, the tires' differences suddenly become major: the DuraTrac will go places in 2WD where the Toyo requires the extra two front wheels spinning.  There's pretty much no snowstorm that the Goodyears can't handle once you engage 4WD, and it's reassuring to know you can still get wherever you need/want to go when the winter weather suddenly turns bad. I live at the top of a massive hill and there were situations in which the Toyos required the handy 4WD switch when I could still make it in 2WD with the Goodyears and some modulated wheelspin. Summary: the DuraTracs definitely portray the better snow-going abilities and were a more competent drifting companion as well.


Advantage: DuraTrac

OFF-PAVEMENT

Pardon the poser pic...
You don't have to be an expert in tires to know how this is going to go. Just by glancing at the two tires side-by-side it's almost laughably easy to tell that the DuraTrac will perform better off-road. A more intricate pattern, more openly spaced lugs, more aggressive sidewalls, and a softer compound all help contribute to the DuraTrac's benefits versus the Toyo's closer lug spacing and harder-composition. Put simply, this is a matter of being deliberately designed for more off-road use, and it shows. Here's a *quick* breakdown of off-road characteristics:

Mud: Toyo has obvious disadvantage with more road-friendly tread; DuraTrac does well and cleans out as one would expect.
Rocks: DuraTrac likes to throw rocks hard and far but otherwise climbs like a mountain goat. Soft sidewalls are concerning, though. Toyo does well on rock-only surfaces but doesn't like climbing as much due to harder makeup; also picks up many smaller rocks in tread-blocks and holds them there.
Fire roads: DuraTrac holds straight and reacts well to inputs, whether small or large. Toyo rides more harshly and is twitchy at speed. Drift-ability is a wash; the DuraTracs drift better at higher speeds and the Toyos are more cooperative in low-speed sideways action.

Advantage: DuraTrac

TREADWEAR

Tires don't last forever. Just like the cars or trucks they ride under, every model has a lifetime and, accordingly, that varies based on many factors. Composition, hard/soft, tread pattern, and others (especially driving style) have an effect on how long a particular set will last, and the two sets in this comparison are no exception.

At 20,000 miles or so, the Goodyears took a quick turn for the worst; by around 25K, they were showing heavy signs of wear: low tread, increased noise levels, and worsened braking/handling characteristics. 25K would be decent for a mud tire but it's a little disappointing here, where I expected 30-35K. And though I must admit my driving habits were no help to longevity, 25K equates to basically a year's worth of driving for me. That's not a lot of life out of a set.

On the contrary, the Toyos seem to have endless life in them. As of this writing there’s ~20K miles on the set and they look just as they did when they were brand new. My dad has the same tires (down to the size and load rating) on his 2500HD Silverado – a much heavier truck – and his set was just starting to show wear at around 50K miles, and that's with a fair share of towing and hauling. At this rate he will get 60-65K out of them before he buys another set, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the set on the Avalanche lasts even longer. This is shockingly good, and acts as a financial benefit as well.

Advantage: Toyo

PRICE/VALUE

Truck tires are, in a phrase, painfully expensive. $1000 for a set is totally commonplace for plus-sized kits, and your wallet will suffer accordingly. In identical sizes, Goodyear charges a fair amount more per tire – about $30-50 depending on the source – than does Toyo. It would be fair to argue that those who prioritize off-road performance are willing to pay more for their rubbers to minimize the hit in on-road performance and, for how well it performs, the DuraTrac is priced competitively versus other tires that only do slightly better when the pavement ends (yet struggle to hold themselves together at all when hitting the highway). For the price, the DuraTrac is a great value.

As for the ATII, Toyo has managed to create an incredibly long-lasting, quiet, pleasant, all-weather-capable tire that looks the part and is up to the off-road task 75% of the time. At $30-50 less per tire than the Goodyears and with a lifetime of about 25K longer per tire, Toyo scores extremely high in the value factor. It's a great tire that will last long past the point at which you're thinking about your next set, and performs well along the way.

Advantage: Even (both pose great values in their own right)

CONCLUSION

After spending years with both of these tires under the same truck, it's easy to hone in on where one betters the other and which is best in each discipline. It's impossible to belittle the Goodyear DuraTrac's off-road capabilities, but ignoring the Toyo ATII's on-road dominance wouldn't be fair either.

It comes down to this: if you drive your truck daily and really don't off-road it that much, stick to the Toyo Open Country ATII (AT2); its longevity and road manners are simply outstanding, it doesn't flop on its face when the going gets tough, and it'll never fail you in its duty. However, the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac is a great option for the guy that wants the off-road look (or abilities) without the tradeoffs that typically come along with a dedicated off-road tire. It manages to handle regular on-pavement driving just fine, and adds a menacing look to any vehicle.

What we can conclude from this comparison is that the age of off-road tires having horrid downsides is well past us. Modern light-duty truck tires are in fact capable of multiple responsibilities and can in fact look good doing so. Additionally, this comparison has proven how different two tires that show up under the same grouping on a website can actually be. Both of these tires prove that retaining road manners is not mutually exclusive from performing well in winter weather conditions or when wheeling your rig, and also that it is possible to justify a somewhat more aggressive tire even if it's not what suits your driving best. Hats off to Toyo and Goodyear for two great creations.




Oh, which would I buy? Probably the DuraTrac, even though the Toyo undoubtedly suits my needs better.  I just can't get over how great the Goodyears look; in writing this article I realized I had taken easily 100 times as many pictures of the truck with the Goodyears than the Toyos, and with how minimal the trade-offs are, I would willingly suffer through a little extra road noise and shorter treadlife to love how the truck looks.

-Ross, 10/29/14

Edit: 11/12/14 - for proper/improper use of term "directional"

30 comments:

  1. I usually would discredit an review where the author had an overwhelming bias for tire aesthetics. However, in this case, it does a good job of supporting the merits of the Toyo tire. Knowing that you'd buy the Duratrac because of looks alone, tells me that anything you experienced from the Toyo must have a good deal of logical analysis attached to it. The ATII tire suits my needs extremely well and I hope it lasts as long as yours have in this article.

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    Replies
    1. Wingfly1-
      There's no denying that Toyo's ATII is the better all-around tire. It's more livable, it'll last longer, it has a large portion of the DuraTrac's off-road capability, and it costs less. However, I'm young; logic doesn't always reign supreme at this stage of life. Driving in the snow was far and beyond my favorite part of owning a truck, as was mild off-roading and knowing it could get through pretty much anything I threw at it (within reason)...and looking great in the process certainly helped as well. Those factors were largely why I said I'd re-buy the DuraTracs, but with all of the new options out there since this comparison, I'd have to take a chance and try something else before going with an option that's already familiar.

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  2. Thanks for sharing details. I am happy to real such informative blog. I have online researched on tires prices. Got lots of information. I would be happy to suggest you about tires of BMW, trucks, cars. To see all brands of tires
    see toyo open country mt


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  3. Awesome review! Been debating which one to go with on my new Grand Cherokee. Like you said, Toyos make more sense for the driving I do, but I had the Duratracs on my older 4Runner and loved them for the look. Maybe I will go with the Toyos after the Duractracs but I'm also young and illogical when it comes to my cars and Duratracs are hard to pass up. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. The DuraTrac is undoubtedly hard to pass up for the limited trade-offs it has, but there's no doubt it's the less practical tire for 99% of driving. We actually just put Cooper AT3's on our WK2 Grand Cherokee and like them as well. Not sure how they compare to the ATII's (they're on different vehicles), but both are good options.

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  4. The Toyos hands down I've been a goodyear guy since the 60's feel Dumb now that I wasted my $...mostly looks & no 2 much Go

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  5. This is really informative. Very good article sharing Tires. If anyone wants to Buy Tires Online then visit our site Tyreonwheels and get tire in lowest price.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great review. I have run the Duratracs for two years now, though performance-wise, I should have replaced them after the first year. I will totally agree with Ross, the DuraTracs looked awesome, had deep lugs and performed great for the first year, but then fell flat. The sipes are only half-tread depth, which probably give it better handling when new, however, once partially worn, they were scary in the snow and ice. I'm going to try the Toyo's now.
    For me, bottom line, if you are ok to replace your tires after one year, your trade-off is a spectacular tire. For me, it just wasn't worth it.
    Cheers
    2008 F-350 Crew FX4 275/65R20

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the compliments--
      Definitely agree. The DuraTrac is a great tire with trade-offs, the Toyo is a great tire all-around (if you don't need the off-road performance). I never noticed the depth of the sipes but can tell you the DuraTracs definitely scared me a few times in the snow...snow drifting is one of my favorite pastimes, but having the back end step out on you while barely turning or when braking is wholly disconcerting.

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  7. I really appreciate all the great reviews and comparison on your blog. My husband and I are looking to buy a truck that can handle heavy duty towing. Having the right tires sound like it will really make a difference. It is nice to know how the tread will hold up, even with the extra weight from the trailer. http://www.crousebodyshop.com/towing.htm

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  8. Great review! These are the two brands/models I'm looking at for my 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD. I'm having the truck leveled and will have room for a 305 55r20 tire; much larger than I'm running now. I'm working with a 4X4 performance shop for the leveling and their recommendation is the Toyo based on my driving patterns: Approximately 80% of my driving is on pavement (I live in Colorado so a fair amount of snow driving too). 20% off-pavement which is different than off-road. I own a ranch that I hunt and work. I drive in mud, sand, loose dirt, I don't really 4 wheel. The Toyo is the city guy's tire who likes to get dirty on the weekend. The shops thoughts: DuraTrac looks great and performs great for 20K, after that the drop-off in performance is very noticeable. The Toyo isn't as sexy but performs just as well off-pavement, better on-pavement and lasts 3X as long. I'm an old guy and went with the Toyo!

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  9. Finally a unbiased review of two very comparable tires! I personally am running a set of Duratracs (275/64R18)on my '13 Ford F150 which have just rolled past 70,000km. I'm originally bought them based on looks alone (aggressive pattern)and was pleasantly surprised with how they have held up. HOWEVER, I am really noticing the road noise now, and lack of performance in a typical northern Ontario winter. These tires will last the winter, but a majority will have to be in 4WD. Majority of my driving is highway (70%), and the remaining 30% on logging roads for hunting and fishing. I'm giving the Toyo's a nod for my next set based on practical use, price, and longevity. I will miss the 'look' of the Duratracs, but that's a small price to pay.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  11. I live in Fairbanks Alaska.untill Tires are even more expensive here due to shipping costs. I have a 2006 Ford F350 that I haul a heavy dump trailer with. It is also my daily driver year round. We have snow on the roads from sometime in October to sometime in March/April usually and construction season for the rest of the year. I have been looking at these two tires to replace my Firestone's and couldn't decide until I read this article. The Toyo's sound like the perfect fit ( I don't want to replace my tires every year ) and there is a local dealer with the size I want in stock. Thank you for a great article.

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  12. Nice Blog,Auto Electrical & Mechanical also Provide cheap quality cooper tyres prices and operated, we pride ourselves on being part of the neighbourhood. Addington has undergone a rapid transformation in the last five years

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi!
    Commercial truck tires represent a significant cost in truck driving. Extending the lifespan of your tires can help you save money and can keep you and everyone around you safer on the road. Most of what you need to do to keep your commercial tires in good shape is staying on top of regular maintenance. Get in the habit of doing the following:Buy High-Quality Commercial Truck Tires.Truck tires

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello!
    Replacing your truck tires is one of the regular expenses to be expected when operating a commercial truck. Irregular wear, however, can force you to replace truck tires early and waste money.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello!
    At Hunter Tires our mission is to earn and develop long lasting relationships with our customers and business partners, through responsive actions, a dedication to quality and the highest standard of manufacturing.

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  16. Hey!
    Replacing your truck tires is one of the regular expenses to be expected when operating a commercial truck. Irregular wear, however, can force you to replace truck tires early and waste money.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello!
    At Hunter Tires our mission is to earn and develop long lasting relationships with our customers and business partners, through responsive actions, a dedication to quality and the highest standard of manufacturing.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good review, i was just sold some Toyos for my silverado1500 and wasn't sure since my history is with Goodyear. I was told treadlife and noise were all great and consistent with what you said but i like that your review was more of a real life experience versus a sales pitch :) Thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi!
    Properly maintained commercial truck tires aren’t just a matter of safety and fuel economy (although that should be enough reason for any owner/operator or fleet manager); it’s a matter of federal regulation.

    ReplyDelete
  20. How did both tires do on Ice? This will probably be the deciding factor for me. Also does anyone have any comparison notes on the Cooper Discoverer AT3 or ATW?

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    Replies
    1. Didn't do much ice driving with either of them, though the DuraTracs in 4WD did get me out of an icy parking lot once; aside from that, I don't have any real ice-driving experiences relevant here. I'd expect the Toyo to do better if the sizes are the same, more contact patch is a good thing here.

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  21. Great review! I actually read this review before I bought my Toyo AT2! After living with then for almost a year, I am going to replace them with Duratrac's. The tires are just "fine" for most driving but today I was able to test them out in snow. I can honestly say that for the snow we see this tire is absolutely pathetic. I have owned over 30 all wheel drive and 4 wheel drive vehicles, I have even taught winter driving, but I have never experienced a tire with such poor performance. Less than 10000 miles and they have got to go.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, and I'm surprised to hear that! What size were you running, and on what vehicle?

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  22. I finally need tires and found this review which is excellent. I live in California again but spent 13 years in Oregon where Toyo is king because, as much as anything, that is where the headquarters is for Les Schwab Tires and where their tire business grew up. Les Schwab pushes Toyo hard and in Oregon they both are as popular as the Oregon Ducks Football team. With that said I grew up in California on Goodyear tires there. I have had Ford trucks, Isuzu Troopers/Rodeos and Toyota Tacoma and Tundra trucks. I am in a 2010 Tundra Double Cab, TRD right now and ready to replace Geolander tires which the vehicle came with used. I have run BF Goodrich, Toyo and Goodyear on my vehicles over about 38 years. My experience driving is freeway, around town, snow, off road and trails. In my opinion the Toyo are the best all around because of how long they last, there handling on/off road and in snow and on pavement. To compensate for the stiffness when off road I just let 6-8lbs of tire pressure and they become just as solid as the Wranglers which are great off road. I will say though that the BF Goodrich Radial TAs I had on my Tacomas ran real nice as an all around tire on a lighter vehicle and lasted past 60,000 miles. The earlier Goodyears I have had on my Ford F150 and F250 were excellent as well all around. I am about ready to purchase Toyo AT Open Country for my Tundra and know I will be a happy truck driver.
    Again, great comparison and overall article.

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  23. I went with Toyo AT my dad has duratrac, we will compare, I'm up here in Alaska grew up in Wyoming, my dad is still in Wyoming, I will attempt to run the Toyos during the winter but if it gets schetchy I will throw my studded Cooper Discover MS studded, I can tell you with experience that no AT tire will perform like a studded M+S especially when roads are completely black ice like they can be much of the winter here in AK,

    ReplyDelete