Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 Review

Jun. 05, 2017 By Josh Burns, Video by Jay McNally
The Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 looks like an impressive tire, but does it deliver on the trails?

Yokohama is the first to admit its light truck tires are in need of an overhaul, and the company is in the midst of doing just that. While we saw a new all-terrain from Yokohama last year, itís a new mud-terrain that could truly bring the brand back to relevance in the off-road world.

Thatís where the new Geolandar M/T G003 comes in. This new mud-terrain is an aggressive, mean-looking tire that is a pleasant surprise to see from Yokohama because it seems like something far more extreme than what weíd expect from the company. Even the Geolandar G015 all-terrain Yokohama unveiled last year isnít a horribly aggressive all-terrain, so this new M/T shows us the company is serious about the off-road market.

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The Yokohama Geolandar M/T features high voids and an aggressive sidewall design.

The new Yokohama M/T G003 is not a hybrid all-terrain and mud-terrain combo Ė this is an aggressive mud tire that looks the part. The tread design on Yokohamaís M/T features a high-void design aimed at providing grip on rocks, in mud and solid winter traction in the snow. Yokohama put a lot of engineering into the tread pattern to create a variable pitch design aimed at traction and also keep road noise down. The tire features a new triple-polymer blend for improved traction on the road and off of it, and the new high-density material is designed to provide an improved profile that is flatter and wider for great wear performance for the life of the tire. The tread also incorporates siping into the tread itself for block flexibility so the tire can adapt to the terrain, while mud and stone ejectors are incorporated into the tread design to help clean out debris in sticky conditions and reduce stone retention once back on the highway.

Yokohama provided some additional information from independent testing that found the M/T G003 to have 8% longer tread life, be 2.3 dB quieter and stop 51 feet shorter in wet conditions than a competitive tire. Whether all of this equates to a quality tire on the trails, however, is what we aim to find out.

Hitting the Trails
Yokohama gave us the opportunity to test its new Geolandar M/T G003 at an event in Gateway, Colorado. During our first impression with the tire, we tested it on some modified Jeep Wrangler JKs as well as some short-course off-road trucks thanks to the Vegas Off Road Experience (VORE). We came away with a favorable impression after our trail ride and short-course laps, but we wanted to gauge the tireís performance on a more heavily modified trail rig.

We borrowed contributor Jim Brightlyís 2005 Wrangler LJ (Build Part 1, Build Part 2) for our test, and we fitted his 17x10 beadlock wheels with a set of 37-inch M/T G003s with an E load rating. We spent some extra time out in Colorado after Yokohamaís event to put the tire through its paces, and the overall impression is we only liked the tireís performance the more time we spent with it.

Yokohama touts that it uses its Geo-Shield technology on the M/T, which really is a fancy name for its stout construction that uses a full nylon cover beneath the tread, a corded thread rim protector, and three-ply sidewall construction for the sidewalls (on the D and E load range tires). Once we got on the highway and fire roads heading up to the trails outside of town, we were impressed with the tireís noise, or lack thereof. A mud-terrain tire is not going to be as quiet as a pure highway tire, but the idea is to have something that doesnít hum down the highway. Fortunately, the engineering behind the variable-pitch pattern isnít just lip service, because the tires do produce a little bit of road noise but itís perfectly reasonable for the high-void design. Itís fair to say passengers wonít be forced to yell at each other during casual conversation.

It was relatively dry during our testing, but we did find some mud to test the tire in. Keeping the Wrangler in 2WD, we powered into the mud to see how well it gripped to get us in and out. We were impressed with the traction, and how well it cleans out the tread, in sticky mud.

The growing trend among aggressive off-road tires is a mean-looking sidewall, and Yokohama added a tough sidewall design on the G003 to make its tire stand out. The good news is the sidewall design isnít just for looks, because not only does the this offer added sidewall protection from sticks, rocks and ruts, but it also provides additional traction for everything from mud, rocks and soft dirt (we didnít get a chance to test snow performance, unfortunately). Part of what makes the sidewall design successful in terms of providing grip is that it is paired with thick, meaty shoulder blocks on the edge of the tire tread. We chose not to air down the tire at all during this review so we could gauge the tireís performance at highway psi, but the shoulder lugs and sidewall tread will clearly offer great traction in air-downed situations.

Much of the terrain during our testing consisted of hard-packed rocky trails. Even at full air pressure, the Yokohama M/Ts gripped the rocks and dirt confidently. Looking at the tireís performance closely, itís clear the wide voids help grip rocks for added traction. The area was relatively dry during our test period, but we did come across some thick mud. Keeping the Wrangler in 2WD, the M/Ts dug right into the mud for supreme traction. At one point, we were actually a little nervous weíd get stuck because the mud was so deep and tacky, but the M/Ts did their job and pulled us out without ever engaging 4WD.

The new M/T from Yokohama isn't just flashy looking - it actually works on the trail. This aggressive new tire breathes some new life into Yokohama's off-road tires.

Final Thoughts
Yokohama readily admitted it has more tires coming down the pipe for the off-road segment, though itíll likely be at least a few months before we find out what the next offering will be. The Geolandar M/T G003 really brings Yokohama back into the fold. Itís an honest off-road tire that looks the part for anyone wanting an aggressive tire for their street queen, but most importantly itís a great off-pavement tire for trucks and SUVs looking to play in the dirt.

At present, the largest tire in the M/T lineup is a 37Ē, but once the entire lineup is launched over the course of the year there will be 37 different sizes in total for LT and flotation applications, with sizes available for everything from 15- to 20-inch wheels. Although specific pricing has not been announced, Yokohama tells us the tire will fall in line with its current pricing, so donít expect a big price hike for a new set.

SOURCE
Yokohama Tire
YokohamaTire.com


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