When it comes to choosing off-road suited tires for your pickup truck, Jeep or SUV, there are three basic design options to select from. They are the All-terrain (A/T), the Mud-terrain (M/T), and the Rugged-terrain (R/T) tread designs. And to decide which one to go with, you would, of course, have to consider how you use your truck, Jeep, tow rig, or other SUV; and partly, your personal preference.
Each of these designs is meant to suit specific conditions and terrain. In this article, we will be doing an in-depth comparison of these tire types touching on their special strength, and of course, their weaknesses too. So, are you contemplating which one of these Toyo Open Country tires to buy for your truck, stick around and read till the end.
General Difference Between AT, RT, and MT
All-Terrain (A/T) tires are usually the traditional pick for most SUV jeep or truck owners that still use their vehicle on the road. The Mud-Terrain (M/T) works best for off-road use in mud or wet conditions, while the Rugged-Terrain (R/T) proves to be the overall best option for a wonderful off-road experience.
The A/T tires, apart from being very good for on-road use, are considered economically reasonable off-road tire options and they usually have a longer tread life than the other tire options. They are easily the most common, as you would virtually find them under every truck or jeep, or tow rig. They are generally very cheap and the lightest of the three tire types in terms of the equivalent size and load ratings.
They also help conserve your fuel, as they are known to pose the least rolling resistance of the three tires in question. All-Terrain tires come with a more reliable reinforced tread and sidewalls than regular all-season road drive tires, and they also produce more traction on slippery surfaces.
They feature an M+S mud and snow rating, as well as the special three-peak mountain snowflake rating for exceptional ice and snow performance. This is very important if you ply winter or snow-filled roads regularly.
The M/T Mud-Terrain tires, as the name implies, rule the muddy and wet terrains. They come with large projected tread lugs and wide grooves that enable them to move easily through mud and maintain traction in difficult terrains. Like you would expect, they are poorly suited for on-road use, as they are the loudest and least efficient of the three tire types.
The full-depth tread and the additional sidewall lugs make the Mud-Terrain tires the heaviest option of the three. They are relatively more expensive than the A/T and the R/T counterparts. It is a bit difficult to maintain proper balance with the M/T tires when driving on road, and they are generally more prone to wear out quickly and unevenly than others.
Though all M/T tires come with the M+S snow rating, they perform poorly on ice and wet roads due to the presence of large smooth tread lugs. So, if you desire an aggressive driving experience or you work in muddy or wet terrains, this will be the ideal option for you.
The R/T Rugged-Terrain design is a bit new to the party. It comes with tread aggressiveness, as well as on-road and off-road performance that fits perfectly between the A/T and the M/T tire designs. So, generally combines both the features of the A/T and those of the M/T tire types.
It can move smoothly in mud, wet, or snowy conditions with the help of its large knob-like tread and well-siped tread grooves. All R/T tires come with the M+S mud and snow rating and some also have the exclusive three-peak mountain snowflake advanced rating, giving it the needed advantage as a perfect choice for vehicles used both on streets, snowy, and muddy terrains. R/T tires can be used successfully on all types of 4x4s from small SUVs to 1-ton tow rigs.
Related Guide: What Gear Ratio Do I Need for 35 Inch Tires?
Comparing Toyo Open Country AT3 & Toyo AT2
The A/T3 is an upgrade on the A/T2 tire. Though they still have a lot in common, as they are both All-Terrain tires Toyo has added significant improvements to the A/T3 both in material, appearance, performance, and efficiency.
Both tires feature S-shaped tread blocks in the middle on both of these tires, which appear bigger in the A/T2 tire.
The A/T3 has deeper grooves between the tread block, although they both possess an equal number of sipes.
Having much smaller S-shaped tread blocks creates a larger surface area and more contact in all directions with the A/T3 tires. This, in turn, helps it maintain more traction and wear less.
In terms of mud and water evacuation, the large lateral sipes present in the A/T3 tire make it easy to expel water, thereby enhancing traction. On the contrary, the A/T2 counterpart, having smaller sipes, evacuates water and mud less and doesn’t create as much traction.
The tread design, construction, and coupling in the A/T3 tire puts much emphasis on creating pleasant wet weather performance, durability, and longer treadwear life. Key features are superb stability and a quieter ride.
Despite having the same rim protectors, both tires come with entirely different scallops. This gives the A/T3 a cutting edge in stability and handling.
From all comparisons made, it is crystal clear that the A/T3 tire is indeed an overall upgrade on its A/T2 counterpart.
Toyo Open Country AT3 VS RT
The AT3 and the RT are two different tires designed to satisfy different needs. So, deciding which to choose largely depends on what your needs are. If you happen to spend equal time on and off-road, then the AT3 is the best bet.
However, if most of your drive time is off-road, you would need your 4 by 4 to be on tires that are specifically designed for that purpose. And in that case, the RT wins hands down. Both tires offer you comfortable and confident drive time both on and off-road, as the case may be.
AT3 being an All-Terrain expectedly fares better than the RT on-road.
It produces an excellent on-road performance with the smaller tread blocks and tire bars which creates more contact with the surface of the road, thereby increasing traction and stability.
The AT3 shoulders are upgraded to offer more effective handling performance on-roads. Its shoulder scallops are stiffer and more compact. All these stand the AT3 tires out as better for on-road handling as compared to its RT counterpart.
The AT3 tire, again, bosses it in the area of wet traction, as it produces a better on-road wet driving experience. This is due to the design which features smaller but more tread blocks, and deeper grooves between the treads for firmer grip and more efficient evacuation of water when driving along a wet road.
The RT tire is specifically designed to withstand off-road and rugged terrain, so it stands taller in this area. It is usually designed to have larger tread blocks and wider grooves between the tread. This gives it the grip and rigidity to maintain steady traction and stability even in rough terrains.
The wide channels ensure that it hardly picks up stones as it moves, but it also has an excellent stone and mud ejector to help self-clean in motion. On the other hand, the AT3 generally features smaller tread blocks and grooves, making it unstable in very rough off-road conditions. The RT tire is also more durable and has a long tread wear life for off-the-road use.
Snow Traction Comparison
The AT3 tire comes with smaller tread blocks which exposes more square edges of tread to the surface of the snow. The factory siping featured by the treads further gives it more biting edges for firmer grip and better traction. When driving on snow, you want the tread of your tire to be able to move loose snow into the sipes and let the tread squeeze and bite whatever slick surface is under it.
On a hard-packed slick white road, the edges of The tread blocks help on hard-packed slick snowy roads to create a firm grip on the surface of the sticky white road. This makes the AT3 a better tire in these conditions.
No surprise it comes with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating as proof of its unique suitability to snowy conditions. Whereas, the R/T only comes with the M+S rating.
The M+S rating is to indicate that the tire meets the Rubber Manufacturers Association guidelines for mud and snow tires. Therefore, a tire with only the M+S rating will perform less than one with the 3PMSF endorsement.
However, when it comes to traction on loose snow, the RT tire usually performs better because of its large tread blocks and grooves which are designed to thrive on pavements, rough trails, and gravel roads, as well as in loose snow conditions.
Overall Toyo RT and AT3 comparison
After a thorough comparison of these two tires, the choice still boils down to what your usage is. The RT tire generally fits best for rough and rugged terrains, while the AT3 gives you better performance on-road and on sticky snow-packed roads.
Toyo Open Country RT vs MT
Rugged terrain tires were created by Toyo to respond to some of the complaints of their consumers, as they needed to be able to combine high off-road traction and on-road traction, without compromising on comfort, in one tire. They are also fondly called hybrid-terrain tires, as they combine the qualities of the mud and all-terrain tire design.
Where all-terrain tires lose their grip, the mud-terrain tires don’t. Their performance is never limited by rocky terrains and deep mud. So, if your use involves more off-road drives, then mud-terrain tires are a decent choice for your truck or SUV.
On-Road Performance Comparison
The mud-terrain tires come with a high void ratio, which in turn lowers its on-road traction. In addition, it also generates so many road noise levels during the on-road drives. Because of the large tread block designs, thereby causing the vehicle to expend more energy during driving. This increased on-road friction also, in the long run, causes the tread to wear out faster.
Unlike the mud terrain tires, rugged terrain tires offer amazing on-road performance. Though having a rugged tread design, this tire design produces maximum on-road grip while still being excellently comfortable on the road. The improved tread block arrangement, as well as the siping pattern, helps it maintain dry, winter, and wet grip on-road, while also ensuring reduced road noise.
Off-Road Performance Comparison
Mud terrain tires are designed to cater to off-road needs. They feature bulky and staggered tread blocks similar to those in the all-terrain tires, only with wider void areas.
This increase in the void ratio of the tires makes them very suited to use in soft and loose terrains with ease, without fear of getting stuck in deep mud. Based on these, we can conclude that the mud-terrain tires indeed provide better performance on off-road terrain surface conditions.
Just as suggested by the name, the rugged-terrain tires are capable of use in rugged and rough terrain conditions. That means that the rugged-terrain tires can perform excellently in terrains like deep mud, rocky, and very rough terrains, where All-terrain tires fail.
Rugged terrains tires come with a tread design similar to mud-terrain tires. Thanks to the staggered tread blocks, high void ratio, and upper sidewall, the tire maintains forward motion on unpleasant terrain surface conditions.
When it comes to price, the MT tires are generally more expensive. The RT has a more competitive price. However, the price of the MT tire is understandably higher due to its specific uses.
On the other hand, the Toyo RT is more economical, as long as it meets your usage demand, and it has a long tread wear life.