Af­ter a ten-year hia­tus in build­ing a new mud ter­rain tire, Yoko­hama had to ‘Go Strong’ in or­der to gain our at­ten­tion. You are about to read some bold talk that de­serves a hard-assed Cana­dian tire test – the kind where you vir­tu­ally set out to de­stroy a tire.

“The M/T has it all: in­tim­i­dat­ing good looks, su­pe­rior strength, proven per­for­mance and ex­cel­lent trac­tion in all on- and off-road ter­rains, from ev­ery­day high­way driv­ing to at­tack­ing steep, jagged rocks; muddy trails and desert sand”, said An­drew Briggs, Yoko­hama Tire se­nior di­rec­tor of tire busi­ness and prod­uct plan­ning.

Yoko­hama says the tough­ness comes from their new Geo-Shield con­struc­tion. Higher pro­file side­wall blocks give the tire a very ag­gres­sive look, pro­tect the side­wall from dam­age, and im­prove trac­tion when­ever they can claw into the ter­rain – think mud, sand, rocks – that reach to­wards your rims.

True to many new tread de­signs it also in­cor­po­rates al­ter­nat­ing shoul­der blocks for im­proved trac­tion to pull you out of ruts, and built in stone ejec­tors to keep the voids clear.

Yoko­hama says they’ve de­signed the op­ti­mal tread block-to-void ra­tio for the best trac­tion while their sipe de­sign has re­sulted in shorter stop­ping dis­tances on wet roads.

A new high-den­sity tread com­pound has ex­tended tread life, and in com­bi­na­tion with in a flat­ter pro­file, they say they’ve de­creased tread wear. While they don’t of­fer a tread wear war­ranty (no mud ter­rain tire I know of comes with one) they do of­fer a 30-day money-back trial pledge – a sat­is­fac­tion guar­an­tee.

Time will tell as we con­tinue to rack up kilo­me­tres on the tire.

Yoko­hama ac­tu­ally de­clares that ‘a quiet, on-high­way ride while main­tain­ing of­froad per­for­mance’ is due to their ad­vanced vari­able pitch tread. ‘Qui­eter’ may be ac­cu­rate, but no mud ter­rain tire in­clud­ing the Geolandar M/T G003 is quiet on the high­way. Our first on-the-pave­ment drive af­ter switch­ing out the all-ter­rain Mickey Thompson A/T Dee­gan 38’s proved that, as you could lit­er­ally feel the Geo M/T’s ag­gres­sively spaced tread blocks con­tact­ing

the road as we started to roll. Then the tell­tale hum of per­fectly bal­anced mud ter­rain tires reached our ears as our speed in­creased.

They may be the qui­etest mud ter­rain tires cur­rently on the mar­ket, as Yoko­hama says in­de­pen­dent test­ing shows them to be 2.3dB qui­eter than the com­pe­ti­tion. The trou­ble is that amount is al­most im­per­cep­ti­ble to 50-year old ears like mine. But that shouldn’t de­ter you. If you want a quiet tire you shouldn’t be look­ing for a mud ter­rain, if you want great off-road per­for­mance – you should. Yoko­hama of­fers the tire in 37 sizes on 15"-20" rim di­am­e­ters.

So is it just eye candy or is it the best new mud-ter­rain tire? We weren’t able to test the off-road or wet brak­ing per­for­mance as the dry, desert con­di­tions in south­ern BC cre­ated smoke, for­est fires, and an Ex­treme For­est Fire Dan­ger rat­ing - not rain drops. Stayed tuned next is­sue as we find the lim­its of these tires off-road.

Price as tested for LT295/70R17 $278.44 USD/tire. www.yoko­

The shoul­der blocks are stag­gered to bite into ruts and gain trac­tion, and also have their own ‘Z’ tread in the side.

Func­tional side­wall ar­mour pro­tects and pro­vides an ag­gres­sive look.

Large siped blocks pro­vide wet and dry brak­ing trac­tion, while the large voids shed wa­ter, mud, dirt and sand.

For­est fires pre­vent off-road test­ing.

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