Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Toyo Open Country C/T is aimed at truck and SUV owners looking for an all-around tire with great on and off-road performance. This could be the marketing description for just about any “off-road” tire hitting the market these days, but the C/T isn’t simply an all-terrain tire aimed at highway and off-road use – it’s also designed to be an all-weather tire that is quiet on the highway but can still confidently tackle, dirt, gravel, mud and snow.
The Toyo Open Country C/T is looking to offer that all-around performance that every off-road enthusiast wants out of an all-terrain, and yet the key purpose of this tire is to provide true all-season performance. If you don’t believe me then maybe the cold-weather capability of the C/T is best reinforced with its 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, a symbol that most all-terrains on the market don’t offer. Toyo even takes winter performance on the C/T a step further by offering the option to install #15 studs on the tire for additional snow and ice traction if needed.
The new Open Country C/T features what Toyo describes as a chip-resistant compound, as the natural rubber blend is designed to resist cutting, chipping and stone drilling but still remain flexible enough to provide great traction in cold weather. The C/T features an all-terrain tread pattern for off-road operation but is engineered to still offer a relatively quiet ride on the highway.
We fitted a set of the Toyo Open Country C/T tires on a 2014 Toyota Tundra 4×4 on what can be fairly described as true “jack of all trades” Southern California truck that tackles everything from hauling and loading a fishing boat in Newport Beach harbor to exploring the coastline and off-road terrain of Baja California, Mexico, to venturing up to the local mountains for snowboarding trips. The owner demands a great deal of his truck, and the tires are his truck’s direct connection to the ground. Whether that ground is pavement, silt, mud or snow, he depends on the truck, and its tires, to make sure he gets to and from each destination unscathed.
Does it Deliver?
Over the course of a few months we learned a great deal about what the C/T brings to the table. For starters, its road performance is great. The traction of the tire never wavered in wet or dry road conditions, and even with thousands of miles on the clock the tread hardly looks worse for the wear – we expect to see 40,000-50,000 miles out of the tire, which is impressive for something aimed and multiple uses and features a fairly aggressive tread design. The C/T does have a little more road noise than a traditional road or moderate all-terrain tire, but in our opinion the light hum is still reasonable considering its high-void design for improved off-road traction. Speaking of getting off the pavement, on muddy roads the tire doesn’t struggle to find traction, as the tread clears out debris nicely. We didn’t go mudding in deep 3- to 4-foot slop, but on weathered muddy roads the tires do not disappoint.
We also are pleasantly surprised at the performance of the stone ejectors. Even on gravel roads, we found the tires didn’t gather much rock accumulation, as the stone ejectors built into the in the tread cavities actually work in ridding the tire of rocks trying to hitch a ride. There’s nothing worse than getting back on the highway and flinging rocks out of the tread for following five miles. We noticed very little rock retention overall.
As for our test tire itself, our 275/65R18 features an E-load rating, meaning it offers what is comparable to a 10-ply sidewall design. The tire offers the proper stiffness to safely and comfortably pull a hefty load (in our case, a boat and trailer up and down the coast), but it also offers enough sidewall toughness for airing down for improved traction in off-road settings. More sidewall reinforcement is certainly preferred when the pavement ends for protecting against pokes and punctures, but having too much rigidity can mean a stiff ride on the highway. The C/T finds a nice balance between the two.
As for the tread pattern itself, Toyo uses what it calls a “medium-void pattern” on the C/T that’s typical with an all-terrain tire. The outer edge of the tread features dual-angle shoulder blocks that provide additional bite for traction off, something we noticed in both the dirt and snow. In person, we’d say the tire is actually a little more on the aggressive end of the spectrum. We wouldn’t go as far as calling this a hybrid between an all-terrain and a mud-terrain (see the Toyo R/T for that), but more and more we’re seeing tires aimed at on- and off-road performance, and although the C/T is technically hailed as a commercial tire it certainly leans toward the aggressive end of the spectrum.
After a few trips up to the local mountains, it’s clear the Toyo Open Country C/T’s deep sipes (those small lines designed in each piece of tread) help provide that additional flex for improved traction in sloppy and soft snow conditions. Sure, part of that is the tire compound Toyo uses, but the sipes, and the flexibility they add to the tread itself, also allow flexibility of the tire in these conditions.
Finding the Right Balance
With the wide variety of tasks this Tundra’s owner puts the truck through, a versatile tire is an absolute must. All-terrains, especially for off-road enthusiasts, have often been hailed as the Swiss Army knife of tires – they can tackle a little bit of everything without being so aggressive that the wide voids howl down the highway. The C/T finds that perfect balance, though, because not only does it offer all-around performance one would expect from an all-terrain, but it also offers great wet traction for rain and snow. If anything, the Toyo Open Country C/T is actually more of a hybrid that bridges the gap between an all-terrain and a snow tire.
Much like finding the perfect car to fit your needs, the same holds true for identifying that perfect tire. The new Open Country C/T is a great overall tire… for the truck we put it on. Its dry traction is excellent, it’s snow and off-road performance is great, and after thousands of miles the tread is wearing consistently. Someone looking for a tire that will almost certainly never touch snow might be a little disappointed because it will have a little more road noise compared to a standard all-terrain. We see this tire being great for snowy towns on the West and East Coasts, the Pacific Northwest and northern states like Colorado, where snow will certainly be encountered from time to time but it’ll see just as much road and dirt.
For what our Tundra test truck goes through, the C/T is pretty close to the perfect fit. If your truck or SUV never sees the white stuff then this tire likely isn’t for you, but if you demand all-season performance, the Open Country C/T is a great choice for new rubber. Sizing for the Toyo Open Country C/T is limited to most late-model trucks and SUVs. There are 19 sizes available for 16”, 17”, 18” and 20” wheels, with load ratings ranging from D to E.
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