When you think of off-road tires, Falken is probably not the first brand that comes to mind. But the company wants to change that perception – and quickly. The new Falken Wildpeak A/T3W is one way they plan on doing that.
Falken really only dove into the off-road light truck market a few years ago when it introduced its Wildpeak A/T. The next project was the development of a competition version of its upcoming Wildpeak M/T, a tire that Tony Pellegrino ran to second place in the 2014 King of the Hammers (which we expect will be offered in non-competition form this year). The brand’s latest move is the unveiling a new all-weather truck tire, the Falken Wildpeak A/TW3. We received an advanced set of the tires late last summer and have tested them through the winter. What follows is our impression of the tires during that time.
The new Falken Wildpeak A/T3W is constructed to be more aggressive than Falken’s Wildpeak A/T without greatly sacrificing on-road handling and quiet highway operation. Less aggressive than a mud-terrain and yet heartier than a standard all-terrain, the A/T3W is right in line with other new offerings such as Toyo’s Open Country R/T and Nitto’s Exo Grappler AWT. Looking at the strength of truck sales in the U.S. and low fuel costs, frankly it’s a wise move to offer truck owners more tire options to cater to specific buyers. This tire is aimed right at the truck or SUV owner who wants comfort during the weekly commute, demands off-road performance on the weekends, and can take the tire into nearly any weather conditions.
Our E-rated 35×12.5R17 test tires were mounted to the new KMC Machete. The Machete makes just about any tire look good, but we certainly received a lot of positive feedback about the aggressive look of the A/T3W’s sidewall design.
This new tire isn’t simply a rehashed version of the original Falken Wildpeak, as the A/TW3 is equipped with a deeper, more aggressive tread design than the standard Wildpeak A/T (Falken says it’s the deepest in its category). The A/T3W is constructed with a silica tread compound designed to perform in categories Falken hails as the 3 Ws – wear, winter, wet performance. This emphasis on wet and snowy capability earned the new Wildpeak A/T3W the Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake symbol. The tire also features what Falken calls 3D Canyon Siping on the aggressive new sidewall design. Falken then employs full-depth sipes and unique groove patterns in the tread design for supreme grip and hold in the dirt. As we noted when we posted our First Look of the tire last year, the A/T3W features a unique outer apex construction employed to protect the tire casing at the bead area by reducing heat buildup, which can be a tire killer when really putting tires to the test off of the highway.
Aside from the deeper tread pattern, full-depth sipes and new proprietary sidewall design, Falken backs up its newest off-roader with a 55,000-mile warranty (it even offers a 30-day hassle-free guarantee). The tires will be available in dealerships this month and will be offered in 54 different sizes that Falken says will cover about 70 percent of the market’s light trucks and SUVs.
First … and Second Impressions
We’ve had months to test a set of E-rated 35×12.5R17 A/T3Ws, putting them on our modified 2012 Toyota Tundra and using them for everything from long road trips, off-road adventures and also towing situations. The tread of our A/T3Ws feature a six-ply construction that consists of two layers of steel, polyester and polyamide, while the sidewall features a two-ply polyester construction. Our 35s offer a maximum load rating of 3,195 pounds at 65 psi, and they weight just a little over 70 pounds each (73, to be exact).
America’s Tire (the California division of Discount Tire) helped us with the install of our Falken Wildpeak A/T3W. We were impressed with the esthetics of the tire before we even got them on the road.
Discount Tire/America’s Tire helped us install the A/T3Ws last year. While store manager Guillermo Campos helped get us dialed in, our first impression is we liked the bold design of the tires before we even put rubber to the road (or… dirt). The angular “canyon” sidewall design and tread pattern look aggressive without being over the top. On more than on occasion fellow off-roaders would see the tires, bend down to scope out the tread, step back and note how much they liked the “tough” and “bold” design. We have to agree.
While the looks of a tire certainly play their part in the decision process, unless you’re outfitting a mall crawler the tire’s looks will only go so far – they have to perform. Fortunately the A/T3Ws behave as well as they look. Our Tundra may be labeled a “light truck” but it’s hardly light, and when bouncing around trails and powering up rocky slopes it’s easy to find a tire’s weakness in the traction department. In soft sand or loose mud, the deep treads of the A/TW3 gripped the trail confidently. We didn’t do any serious rock-crawling, but we did motor up some rocky slopes that required 4 Low and thought the tires hooked up very well. We even aired down to 18 PSI and were pleased with the air-downed performance of the tires – the aggressive sidewall design definitely provides additional traction when aired down as well.
Whether aired down or at highway-level psi, our Falken Wildpeak A/T3Ws offered plenty of grip off of the highway.
Although it seems El Nino may have come and gone already, we did have a decent amount of snowfall in California late last year and at the start of 2016. Anytime we ventured to higher elevations we were especially impressed with the tire’s traction in wet, snowy conditions. Even on warmer days at elevation when the snow turned to mushy mud, the A/T3Ws gripped confidently. We also felt tread cleaned out relatively quickly so that our on-road performance wasn’t compromised after hitting the trail. Overall, the A/T3W delivered in just about every way we had hoped in off-road terrain and are very capable when the road disappears.
What may be the biggest bright spot is the on-road performance of the A/T3W and its road noise – or lack thereof. Considering the added depth of the tread design, we expected a little more road chatter overall but were pleasantly surprised they really aren’t any louder than most standard all-terrains. The on-road grip in wet or dry on-road conditions is great, as is the traction on highways in snowy conditions.
The Falken Wildpeak A/T3W is a great all-around tire that left a positive impression. It is a great multi-purpose tire for truck and SUV owners who will spend plenty of time on the highway but demand traction in all weather conditions both on and off the road. Along with the upcoming Wildpeak M/T that we have been told will be released later this year, the A/T3W helps really round out Falken’s off-road tire offerings. Most importantly, since it will be offered in 54 sizes for wheels sizes from 15- to 20-inch wheels, there’s a good chance you can find a set to fit your rig. Falken may still be a relative new-comer to the off-road scene, but the A/T3W shows the brand is committed to creating a quality tire that off-roaders will want.
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