The knobby tread can tear through mud, but performance suffers pretty much everywhere else.
Tyre Reviews on YouTube is back with another comprehensive test of rubber, this time focusing on something near and dear to the truck-loving U.S. market. Mounting up big, aggressive off-road mud tires can make pretty much anything look properly badass, but such tires have a very specific purpose – clawing through mud. How do those tires perform in other situations? Of similar interest, how do street tires and mid-grade all-terrain tires handle various on-and-off-road conditions?
It’s a very tricky question to answer, as different tire brands can have different levels of grip. For this experiment, General Tire stepped up to offer five different truck tires in its Grabber series. The HTS is an all-season street tire, followed by the Grabber APT mild all-terrain tire. They serve as the more street-friendly in this set, with the Grabber A/T X being an aggressive all-terrain tire. The Grabber X3 is a full-on mud terrain tire with a big, blocky tread, and for this test, an oversize 315/70 version of the X3 was also used in addition to a set in 265/70 format – the same size used on all the other tires.
As for testing conditions, all the tires were evaluated on several courses including a hard-pack dirt track, a gravel track, wet and dry tarmac, and in the mud. On-pavement braking tests were also performed, and all tests were accomplished thanks to a first-generation Ford F-150 Raptor. That is, until it lost four-wheel-drive in the mud pit. A Nissan Frontier stepped in for that bit.
Gallery: Off-Road Tire Test
We will let the video spell out the details of the test, as there are lots of interesting conclusions. However, there are a few key takeaways to point out, some of which might be surprising. On pavement, the HTS street tires ruled the roost – no surprise there – but they also performed surprisingly well off-road in dirt and gravel, showing only small disadvantages in grip and traction. In fact, on hard-pack dirt, the street tires actually outperformed the mud-terrain tires.
Similarly, under emergency braking on a wet road, the mudders required an additional 21 feet (6.4 meters) to stop compared to the street tires. That’s a significant difference, and it's certainly something to consider if you spend most of your time on the road and only want the knobby tires because they look cool. However, if you do encounter some tough off-road obstacles or muddy conditions, those M/T tires far outshine everything else.
For complete info on the comprehensive test, check the video above and hit the source links below.