4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -

GOODYEAR is a name syn­ony­mous with off-road tyres, and Wran­gler as a brand con­jures images of go-any­where abil­ity. Just to ram the whole ad­ven­tur­ous theme home, Goodyear has added “All Ter­rain Ad­ven­ture” to the moniker of the rub­ber tested here. Per­haps that helps Goodyear jus­tify the hefty $339 RRP that deducts some early points from the brand’s lat­est all-ter­rain.

Sourced from China, Goodyear clearly wants to in­fuse some Euro­pean cred­i­bil­ity into the sales pitch, stat­ing on the side­wall: “En­gi­neered by Goodyear in Europe, man­u­fac­tured by Goodyear in China.” (For the record, the rest of our tyres were sourced from Thai­land and Ko­rea)

Like the name there’s a retro wisp to the tread pat­tern, with spa­cious open­ings sep­a­rat­ing the rel­a­tively small blocks. Less im­pres­sive is how the Wran­gler per­forms on-road.

Stokell picked the poor grip from the out­set, not­ing their “skati­ness” in the wet.

“Wet brak­ing was poor,” he said, frankly. “They didn’t want to stop in a straight line … it took quite no­tice­ably longer to pull up.”

The sen­ti­ments were backed by raw data, which showed the Wran­glers re­quired 32.6m to stop in the wet from 70km/h, at least 2.2m longer than the next worst.

Wet cor­ner­ing was no bet­ter, the Goodyears slip­ping and slid­ing for the long­est time through our two bends. The low grip lev­els also had the tail will­ing to wag, some­thing that would keep the sta­bil­ity con­trol busy through round­abouts or tight cor­ners if you get too en­thu­si­as­tic.

The Goodyears were also less than av­er­age when dry brak­ing, al­beit only just be­hind the bulk of the pack. There was a sur­prise re­sult in dry cor­ner­ing, though, the tyres slot­ting to­wards the top of the fin­ish­ing or­der cour­tesy of some re­spectable grip. “In the dry cor­ner­ing, it wasn’t too bad,” said Stokell.

Per­haps some of that less-thanstel­lar per­for­mance can be ex­plained by the off-road fo­cus of the Wran­glers. Goodyear adds a layer of Kevlar in the con­struc­tion, some­thing claimed to bet­ter re­sist punc­tures. That wasn’t some­thing we got to test this time around, but it adds a level of in­ter­est for those look­ing to pun­ish their rub­ber. It also per­formed well on the off-road course, Walker notic­ing there was “plenty of grip on the rocks” and above av­er­age trac­tion through mud and gravel.

Even with that five per cent boost, though, the sub-stan­dard on-road per­for­mance made life tough for the Goodyears.

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