Tested: New Wran­gler All-ter­rain Ad­ven­ture

Patrick goes to Ger­many to try out Wran­gler’s lat­est tyre

Land Rover Monthly - - Contents - Story: Patrick Cruywagen Pic­tures: Patrick Cruywagen and Goodyear

Tyres. The only part of your Land Rover which is mak­ing con­tact with the sur­face you are driv­ing over. Un­less you roll it, of course. That makes tyres rather im­por­tant, right? Hell yeah. So when Goodyear de­cided to show the me­dia the lat­est ad­di­tion to their tyre fam­ily, the new Wran­gler All-ter­rain Ad­ven­ture tyre, they took us to the Land Rover Ex­pe­ri­ence near Dus­sel­dorf to try it out, but not be­fore stop­ping off at the Goodyear In­no­va­tion Cen­tre (GIC) in Lux­em­bourg.

The cen­tre, lo­cated in the tyre town of Col­mar-berg, is the heart of Goodyear’s Euro­pean op­er­a­tions, which prob­a­bly ex­plains why 3240 peo­ple work there. This in­cludes tech­ni­cians, sci­en­tists and en­gi­neers rep­re­sent­ing 40 dif­fer­ent na­tions. The Goodyear com­plex dom­i­nates the town with its test cir­cuit, tyre plant, dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre, of­fices, tyre test lab and the in­no­va­tion cen­tre. The place never sleeps and I’m not only re­fer­ring to the pro­duc­tion side of things. Test­ing needs to sim­u­late the many miles driven over all types of ter­rain in all temperatures, so the ma­chines (and peo­ple) cre­at­ing th­ese types of test sit­u­a­tions run vir­tu­ally non-stop. Not only do they test Goodyear prod­ucts here but also the stuff pro­duced by the com­pany’s com­peti­tors.

Af­ter a whistle stop at the de­sign stu­dio we were taken into the lab. Did you know that a mod­ern ra­dial tyre con­sists of ap­prox­i­mately 25 dif­fer­ent rub­ber, cord and steel com­po­nents? We were given a demo of this in the lab where they ac­tu­ally pro­duced a small amount of tyre rub­ber af­ter mix­ing the var­i­ous com­pounds and then heat­ing it all up. Our fi­nal stop was at the de­sign stu­dio, where the far-out na­ture of some of their de­signs re­minded me a lit­tle of the Geneva Mo­tor Show. And that’s be­cause this is the place where they de­sign tyres for con­cept cars. I was then handed a sketch of some­thing that looked like the new De­fender, or was it the DC100? Prob­a­bly the lat­ter.

The 4x4 and SUV sec­tor is the fastest-grow­ing tyre mar­ket and Goodyear ob­vi­ously sees this as a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity. They have al­ready made mas­sive in­roads at Jaguar Land Rover as they sup­ply tyres for a num­ber of mod­els in­clud­ing the new Dis­cov­ery.

In fact, they de­vel­oped the Ea­gle F1 Asym­met­ric SUV AT tyre for the Jaguar F-PACE and Range Rover Velar. And if you look at lit­tle closer at one of th­ese tyres on the above men­tioned prod­ucts then you will see that it car­ries the pretty dis­tinc­tive JLR mark­ings. This means that th­ese tyres are ap­proved by JLR in the fol­low­ing three fit­ments: 255/60R19 113W XL AT, 255/55R20 110W XL AT and 275/45R21 110W XL. While you and I might be used to driv­ing our De­fend­ers or Dis­cov­ery 1s at say 60 or 70 mph, the above tyres have a W speed rat­ing and can safely travel at speeds of up to 168 mph.

Sadly the bus which was tak­ing us from the GIC to the Land Rover Ex­pe­ri­ence near Dus­sel­dorf did not have W speed rat­ing tyres and so the jour­ney took us a cou­ple of hours. The ex­pe­ri­ence was set up in an old quarry and we were greeted by a line-up of the lat­est Land Rovers, in­clud­ing the new Dis­cov­ery, which was fit­ted with the su­per-ag­gres­sive Wran­gler Du­ra­trac tyres. Nice-look­ing tyre but sadly only avail­able in mas­sive wheel sizes, so not enough rub­ber or side­wall if do­ing a trans-africa trip. Th­ese tyres are happy when play­ing in the mud and are known for their self-clean­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

I was more in­ter­ested in the new Wran­gler All-ter­rain

Ad­ven­ture tyre, which was fit­ted to a Dis­cov­ery Sport. I was cu­ri­ous to see how it would do. In my younger days, I loved ag­gres­sive mud ter­rain tyres – back then, the noise and in­crease in fuel con­sump­tion didn’t bother me. Now I am a changed man and I have fit­ted All-ter­rain tyres to my last few Land Rovers.

So what sets apart the new Wran­gler All-ter­rain Ad­ven­ture tyre from a com­peti­tor’s All-ter­rain tyre? It has a Kevlar-re­in­forced layer which will help pro­tect the tyres when driv­ing over rough ter­rain. While it might all sound im­pres­sive we were ac­tu­ally given a demo of this in the lab. They took a strand of an older All-ter­rain tyre and then the new one and stretched them both. The one with Kevlar lasted the long­est be­fore snap­ping. The tyre also has what they call Du­rawall Tech­nol­ogy, so they’ve added sil­ica in the side­wall. This sup­pos­edly pro­vides a “stronger net­work”, which trans­lates into a tougher side­wall. So, less chance of a sharp rock slic­ing it open like a can of sar­dines.

They say that the proof of the pud­ding is in the eat­ing and so I hopped into a Dis­cov­ery Sport to ex­pe­ri­ence the new Wran­gler tyre for my­self. I cur­rently have the older Wran­gler All-ter­rain tyre on my De­fender and the one dif­fer­ence I no­ticed with the new tyre is that it has open shoul­der blocks to help eject mud and muck from the tread, which in the­ory should give it more trac­tion.

The Dis­cov­ery Sport re­minds me a lit­tle of the Free­lander as it is cur­rently the least ca­pa­ble Land Rover still in pro­duc­tion line-up. I have yet to drive the Velar. This meant that we could not go where a De­fender or new Dis­cov­ery could due to its ground clear­ance and lack of low range. Still, we took it up some slip­pery in­clines, side slopes and sharp de­clines and it took ev­ery­thing in its stride.

This was prob­a­bly helped by one of the new fea­tures of the tyre. If you look at the tread of the tyre you will see that it now has a high num­ber of sipes in the blocks, which cre­ate lots of small bit­ing edges that in turn gives you more grip. I like to think a Land Rover can go any­where no mat­ter what tyres you put on it. Goodyear might dis­agree...

Good tyres aren’t cheap, but Goodyear en­gi­neers claim that due to the tread de­sign and even pres­sure dis­tri­bu­tion, their new All-ter­rain tyre will give you 37 per cent more mileage than some of the other tyres that they tested.

Ob­vi­ously my blitzkrieg on Ger­many was just a taster into how their new Wran­gler All-ter­rain Ad­ven­ture per­forms. We will have to sub­ject it to a longer and more rig­or­ous test for a more en­light­ened re­view. That said, I do like the fact that it will sup­pos­edly last longer, is stronger and will give more grip than its pre­de­ces­sor.

Cap­tion: The open shoul­der blocks help to eject mud and other bits from the tread, thereby in­creas­ing trac­tion

This page: The im­pres­sive Goodyear In­no­va­tion Cen­tre em­ploys 3240 peo­ple and is seen as the heart of their Euro­pean op­er­a­tions

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