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OUR VIC High Coun­try es­capade ear­lier this year was an ex­treme test, but it was well suited to the set of Toyo mud­dies I’d fit­ted to the 79 Se­ries Cruiser. Af­ter a bit of pro­cras­ti­na­tion on my part, the crew at Reser­voir Tyre­power fit­ted the Cruiser with a set of 285/75R16 tyres on 16x8-inch Pa­triot matte-black al­loy rims from ROH. These rims are avail­able in 16-, 17-, 18- and 20-inch vari­ants. The 285 tyres are load-rated ‘P’, which equates to a max load (at the high­est rec­om­mended pres­sure of 80psi) of 1650kg per tyre. The speed rat­ing of ‘P’ cor­re­sponds to 150km/h, and that’s plenty for the Cruiser.

The Toyo Open Coun­try M/T tyre is de­signed to pro­vide full-size pick-ups and wag­ons with greater off-road ca­pa­bil­ity and ex­tra ground clear­ance. With ag­gres­sive block-type tread pat­tern – the tread blocks ex­tend to the shoul­der and up­per side­wall – they of­fer high lev­els of traction and ex­cel­lent self-clean­ing in mud and other loose sur­faces. Deep sip­ing in the tread blocks helps main­tain grip on wet sur­faces.

The three-ply polyester car­cass, which in­cludes the side­wall, two steel belts and two ny­lon cap plies in the tread area, makes it highly re­sis­tant to side­wall bruis­ing and punc­tures. This con­struc­tion also strength­ens the tyre to pro­vide good han­dling and dura­bil­ity, while main­tain­ing its load-car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity. How­ever, it makes the side­walls stiff and, while we never drove these tyres in sand, many peo­ple have com­mented that you need to lower the tyre pres­sures more than nor­mal to get the tyre to bag ef­fec­tively in such con­di­tions.

The tyres han­dled well on the bi­tu­men, re­act­ing and turn­ing pos­i­tively no mat­ter the amount of in­put. Noise lev­els were im­pres­sively quiet, but don’t ex­pect them to be as quiet as a set of A/T or H/T tyres. Ex­pect the noise level to in­crease as the tyres wear, as all M/T tyres tend to do.

These tyres per­formed ex­tremely well of­froad, ex­hibit­ing great traction in the shaly con­di­tions and rocky steps. They with­stood the abuse very well, with lit­tle tear­ing or chip­ping of blocks; even though the rear locker was used on a num­ber of gru­elling oc­ca­sions. On one muddy sec­tion the tyres ex­hib­ited good grip and plenty of con­trol, with the tread clear­ing eas­ily and quickly.

Given we’ve only done 5000km on the tyres – and most of that on dirt roads or rugged trails – tyre wear was down by around 1.5mm from the new tyres’ tread depth of 15mm. This sug­gests they will be good for 40,000 to 45,000km; al­though, I have heard of much longer dis­tances be­ing cov­ered by this make and model of rub­ber.

With a RRP of $380 each – you should be able to get them cheaper – these tyres rep­re­sent great value for the off-roader look­ing for a tough tyre that’ll per­form in the scrub. For those who may not want such an ag­gres­sive tyre, check the com­par­i­son ta­ble at: www.toy­otires.com.au

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