It’s not every day that one of the major tire manufacturers launches a new tire. It’s even more rare when a tire company decides to launch what it considers to be an entirely new segment, but that’s what Toyo Tires did with its new Open Country R/T tire. This “rugged terrain” tire is designed to provide truck and SUV owners off-road perform while still offering a great on-road ride. We recently got our hands on a set of Toyo Open Country R/T tires to check them out first hand, and we came away pleasantly surprised with the results.
Toyo’s idea behind the Open Country R/T is simple: provide a tire that is more aggressive than its new All-Terrain A/T II but much more road friendly than the off-road-focused Mud-Terrain M/T. The company believes there is a large enough demand among truck and SUV owners for a tire that fills this middle ground, and the vision is simple in the Toyo Tires’ message: “Off-road performance meets on-road comfort with the Open Country R/T.” With that said, a little background on the tire’s construction and design are in order.
Toyo Tires is happy to announce that the new Open Country R/T is 100 percent American-made at its factory in Georgia. What separates this tire from others in Toyo’s lineup is its unique blend of qualities from both the all-terrain and mud-terrain that make it both durable for dirt and rocks yet smooth and quiet on the road. The R/T features a three-ply polyester casing for overall tire strength for heavy loads or air-downed operation off-road. The casing also helps increase the tread life, which Toyo surprisingly backs with a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty – not something typically seen on such an aggressive tire.
The tread design of Toyo Open Country R/T clearly blends elements of both the A/T and M/T Toyo tires. The wide shoulder grooves of the new R/T are designed to provide great traction off-road and prevent mud and snow buildup, though the grooves are not quite as spaced out as they are on the mud-terrain tire. For added traction on the trail, Toyo also features scalloped shoulder lugs to give the tire more bite in mud, dirt and snow. Toyo offers a unique feature on the R/T in that each side of the tire features a different sidewall design, though each pattern offers the same level of side-impact protection and cut resistance regardless of your esthetic preference. Small stone and mud ejectors are incorporated into the R/T’s design and are placed between the tread to help prevent rocks from borrowing into the tire. Toyo also notes that the R/T features an optimized pattern layout designed to reduce road noise for quieter operation on the road.
Since Toyo just launched the R/T, there are limited sizes available for the time being, with more slated to be released as soon as late 2014 or early 2015 (no official date has been announced for more sizes). For now, there are 10 tire sizes available fitting 17-, 18- and 20-inch tires, each offering an E load rating that Toyo says is comparable to a 10-ply rating.
Rubber to the Road… and Dirt
We outfitted our Toyota Tundra with a set of R/Ts in a 35×12.5R18LT. SoCal SuperTrucks in San Bernardino, a one-stop off-road shop that is no stranger to outfitting its customer’s trucks and SUVs with Toyo Tires, helped us with the installation of the new R/T. There’s little doubt that the R/T was a hit before we ever got them installed, as shop workers, customers and our staff was impressed by the aggressive, clean look of the tire. What may have been most impressive is that during installation of the tires on our 18-inch Black Rhino wheels, no tire took more than 6 ounces of weight during balancing. More specifically, only one tire took 6 ounces to balance, while two took 3.5 ounces, and another only 2.5 ounces – that’s pretty good for such a hefty, thicker tire.
For load ratings, our Toyo Open Country R/T 35×12.5R18 tire can tackle a max load of 3,415 pounds, which equates to a total of 13,660 pounds for all four tires combined. Toyo lists a weight rating of 77 pounds for our specific tire, and we came away with the same weight for our R/Ts. Our test tire also has a max PSI rating of 65, though two of the tires currently available offer a max of 80 PSI. On road, we ran at 40 PSI during testing.
SoCal SuperTrucks helped us with the install of the tires and were able to help us with some minor wheel-well trimming to accommodate the 35s. Once installed, we were ready to hit the road to see what Toyo’s new R/Ts sound like. On city streets, the tires didn’t sound too loud, and in all honesty weren’t much louder than the all-terrains we were switching from. The highway would be the true test of the tire’s tread noise, however, and we were pleasantly surprised that the R/Ts were really not very loud at all. On the highway, the R/Ts are much more in line with the sound of an all-terrain as opposed to the typically louder sound of a mud-terrain. Now, that’s not to say the tires are silent, because they are not, but they are much quieter than one would expect an aggressive tire to be.
In terms of handling, the Toyo Open Country R/T feels great on the highway. Compared to an all-terrain, there’s a small amount more of vibration felt in the steering wheel, but that’s to be expected with an aggressive tire. Dry traction is excellent on the highway, and though we’ve been in a serious drought in Southern California we did have the chance to test the R/T in wet conditions and give it no negative marks. Overall, on the road, the R/T provides the same level of traction and performance we expect from an all-terrain tire. We observed no notable difference in fuel economy switching from an all-terrain tire to the more aggressive Open Country R/T.
The truest test of the R/T’s abilities came when we got the tire in the dirt. Running our off-road test loop that blends hard-packed fire roads, sandy banks and uphill climbs, and even the occasional muddy section, we came away very impressed with the R/T. At times, the R/T feels as though it grabs just as well as a mud-terrain tire. Whereas an all-terrain might slip or lose traction in loose dirt sections, the R/T never faltered – in fact, the only way to get some playful tire spin would be to stay out of four-wheel drive and stick with two-wheel drive; otherwise, the R/T just hooks up far too well in the loose stuff.
We ran part of the loop aired up at our highway test pressure of 40 PSI. The truck performaned well at this pressure but it was still a little stiff off-road. We aired down to 20 PSI for the second half of our loop and found that to be a great sweet spot. We wanted to still be able to power around soft turns, so without beadlocks we felt 20 PSI was a safe range for fun, aggressive driving. The 10-ply rated R/Ts had no issues with the lower pressure, and traction was only improved during soft, sandy hillclimbs. Hard-packed sections were even easier to tackle with confidence when aired down. Overall, we came away very impressed with the performance and off-road feel of the R/Ts. We’ll look forward to getting into more mud and snowy conditions as winter approaches, so be sure to check back for a follow-up story once winter hits.
Tale of the Tape
We had our doubts about the Toyo Open Country R/T at first. Sure, the concept of an off-road tire that provides great on-road handling is fundamentally sound – it’s arguably the key aspect weekend warriors are looking for in a tire for their daily driver that transforms into a trail rig or toy hauler on the weekends. We just weren’t sure whether Toyo would be able to deliver a tire that is significantly different from its popular A/T II all-terrain or M/T mud-terrain tires.
After our initial skepticism, color us impressed with the all-new R/T. It performs quite well on the road, and most importantly it’s much quieter than a traditional mud-terrain tire. With that said, the R/T still looks like a mean tire. And it is. The R/T has design cues to make it perform well on the highway, but that doesn’t mean it is lacking in the dirt. We really appreciate the all-around performance of the tire matched with its sleek design. It’s been enough of a head turner that we’ve had our fair share of questions about what tire it is and how it performs. For those looking for a tire that won’t make your wife and kids deaf on the highway from tire noise but still want something that’ll really perform in the dirt, the Open Country R/T should high on the list.
- Tire Tested: 35×12.5R18
- Sizes Currently Available: 10 (for 17, 18, 20 wheels)
- Load/Speed: 123Q (Q=99 mph)
- Load Rating: E (10-ply rating)
- Approved Rim Width Range: 8.5-11
- Weight: 77 lbs.
- Tread Depth (1/32”): 18.9
- Overall Diameter (inflated): 34.8 in.
- Overall Width (inflated): 12.5 in.
- Max Load (single): 3,415 lbs.
- Max Pressure: 65 PSI
- Revs Per Mile: 598
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