Toyo is one of the most well established tire companies in Off-Road so it is relatively rare and always exciting to see an entirely new design launched. The Open Country R/T is particularly interesting because it occupies a whole new niche in the Toyo lineup.
The R/T falls between the tried and true Off-Road standout Open Country M/T and the quieter and plusher Open Country ATII. Claiming to offer the best of both worlds in terms of Off-Road traction and daily drivability they appeal directly to those like me who want to have their cake and eat it too.
The tires found a home on my mostly-stock Ford Raptor, a perfect candidate. My truck sees a 70/30 ratio of pavement to dirt and it gets used to tow UTVs all over the place, take weekend trips to the desert and perform pit vehicle duties at races. When I can take the trailer hitch off, clear out the bed and really get out into the dirt and get after it the truck gets to stretch its (stubby, mid-travel) legs.
I had the tires mounted and balanced at Conover Tire in Oceanside, CA and threw them on the truck inflated to 40psi. I was coming from another brand’s 37” AT tire and I had mentally prepared myself a harsher ride out of the considerably more aggressive looking Open Country R/Ts. I found myself pleasantly surprised; road noise was actually less with the Toyo’s (virtually nonexistent) and the ride felt planted and comfortable. Another thing worth noting is that the Toyo’s balanced perfectly on the first try, an intense relief to me because the tires they replaced were an absolute nightmare to balance the vibrations out of.
I have driven over 5,000 miles on the pavement, 1000+ of which with trailer in tow, since installing the Open Country’s and the tires are still riding smooth and quiet. I really can’t say enough about the on road manners of this set-up! We don’t get a lot of rain in SoCal but I did get a couple of chances to try them out on wet roads. They never broke loose under normal driving, though anything spirited would break traction pretty quickly. The transition to sliding was predictable however, easy to hold it sideways (at least to the extent possible with all the electronic nannys).
You wouldn’t be reading this if on-road manners were the most important thing to you, let’s get into the important stuff, the off-road test! After coming home from a long day of work I got the “let’s go to the desert!” text, you know the one, it usually comes 15 minutes before the scheduled departure with an itinerary as clear as mud but with all the promise of a weekend to remember. Reminding myself I had some tires to test I loaded up the bare essentials and headed off to Ocotillo at 8pm on a Friday.
Being something of a piggy-backer on this trip I had just assumed somebody had a camp site figured out. Happy to be in the dirt for the first time in weeks I was paying attention to the feel of the tires, as I followed the lights ahead of me up to a fire pit with absolutely no idea how we’d gotten there. I dumped my gear with everyone else’s at our camp and we headed out into the nearby desert. The Open Country R/Ts finally got their chance to sling some dirt and they did not disappoint. I climbed all around the smooth hills of the desert surrounding us in 2wd, slipping at times but never failing. The tires worked very well for off camber hills and the like, however when traction would start to go it was hard to get them to bite again.
The R/Ts feel most at home sideways through the flat corners, sliding predictably and only a flick of the wrist from grabbing and launching out of the exits of turns. We worked our way through rocky washes and even found some soft-silt like sand to play around in. I was very happy with how the tires were performing and even happier to not have damaged them the couple of times I pushed off the trail into the bushes or missed sharp rocks in the riverbed. It was around this time that we circled the trucks and decided to head back to camp, at least in the general direction of camp.
I like to think of the long search for the camp that followed as learning a lesson the hard way. We broke into teams and broke the land into small chunks to make searching easier, but alas it was not to be until morning light. I could not have imagined a better puncture-resistance test for the Toyo’s however. Six hours of lumbering around through the dark, drawing straight lines across almost exclusively uncleared land, It felt like asking for a flat. Eventually morning came, we found the camp and my Open Country R/Ts delivered me back to civilization in quiet comfort.
At the end of the day these tires delivered on their promise of great off-road performance without sacrificing daily drivability. They didn’t have any noticeable compromises over my old ATs in the noise, handling or gas mileage departments and they still had grip in situations where an AT would have floundered in the desert. Also worth noting is that the sidewall is different on either side of the tire, giving the end user even more control how their ride looks. If you are looking for a do everything tire for an off-road rig that still needs to maintain a modicum of civility, the Open Country R/T should be near the top of your list.
By – Jake Yubeta