The burliest of the beasts, M/T tires (aka Mud Terrain and Maximum Traction) are the epitome of form and function. They're for the consumer who wants the most aggressive looks combined with the deliverable traction their vehicles and driving conditions demand. At first glance, one might surmise that they're not a tranquil sounding tire nor might they set the record for longevity - and, they'd probably be right! While that is often the case, several of our TOP 10 M/T Tires for 2016 do break into that realm however, the compiling of this list did take those inherent characteristics of a M/T maximum traction tire into consideration. These top performing tires all have their similarities and idiosyncrasies but one thing is for certain, they kick ass off-road, climb and crawl like ninjas and perform well on pavement.
Note: Maximum Traction, Mud Terrain, M/T tires are marked with the M+S sign (Mud & Snow) on the sidewall. But, it is important to keep in mind that they lack the ability to fully deliver on-road winter traction on icy surfaces and packed snow due to their smooth tread lugs and lack of dedicated snow biting sipes (little different sipe implementation than those found on an M/T tire).
So, without further ado - let us get on with the show!
** Like any top performer list there is room for discussion. Start with our lists and sort as you see fit.
PROS: Superb treadwear | Winter traction | Mud traction | Low price
CONS: Road noise
Nope, your eyes do not deceive you. Firestone's Destination M/T soars to the #1 spot on our Top M/T list of 2016 packing heaps of actualized performance at a value Sam Walton would appreciate. A tough mudder starts with amplified strength and the Destination M/T lays it on thick with Long Link Carbon Black spearheading the rubbers fight against debris damage and increasing treadwear. Its symmetrical tread pattern features deep lugs with shoulder wrapped side lugs rockin' a 23 degree attack angle for exceptional mud/pulling power through the troughs. Firestone's Dura-Lock 3-Ply fortified sidewall support solidifies its overall resilience.
The Destination M/T is one of the cheaper options on our Top 10 list yet has some of the most successful traction in all Weather conditions. The treadwear is consistent and you will not be dissatisfied when you compare this tire’s price tag to its competition.
PROS: Desirable looks | Quiet
CONS: Upper end price point | Inconsistent treawear
What a beast! This tire is incredibly well rounded eating up the sloppy stuff while quiet and well mannered on the roads. Climbing is certainly one of its strong suits with gnarly sidewall lugs & flex zones dedicated to adapting and clutching to rocks and obstacles when aired down. Despite its total ownage of off-road conditions, it's a bit of a clean freak using a self-cleaning tread design to keep the crap out. Ontop of everything mentioned, it sports a dual compound tread, Bridgestone's TriGard construction (3 full width polyester carcass plies) fortified sidewall cord and 2 steel belts with a single full-width nylon cap ply. Looks like BFGoodrich's Mud-Terrain T/A got into Popey's spinach.
** Standard manufacturer's limited warranty
PROS: Treadwear | Surprising winter traction | Quiet | Great self-cleaning | Aggressive sidewall
Built like a Greek God, the Baja MTZ Radial has an agenda! Mickey Thompson applied a specially designed silica-reinforced tread compound giving it a wider temperature range for traction consistency along with reliable treadwear on a wide range of vehicles. Foregoing the smooth tread lugs, you'll find draft-angled tread with sipes for elevated winter traction & stone ejection. A (deep breath) four-pitched SideBiter pattern featuring continuous mud scooped scalloped shoulder tread blocks that drape onto the sidewall for handling the loose stuff with precision. The Baja MTZ Radial also gets a Mickey's 3-Ply PowerPly technology and a decoupling groove rounds out its obstacle conforming abilities. It's stacked to take on the likes of Zeus!
PROS: Mud traction | Rock crawling | Upper end price point | Desirable looks
CONS: Upper end price point
Probably one of the best lookin' M/T's on our Top 10 catwalk, the Discoverer STT Pro brings function to form in spectacular fashion. Cooper's unique tread compound gives it on and off-road versatility. A 3-2 center rib alternates the tread lug pattern to treat road noise and traction in soft conditions (sand, mud, loamy dirt, deep snow etc). Cooper's Flex Groove further tends to the reduction of 'tread slap' for a quieter ride. Distinguished side biters drape from the shoulders for maximum grip in ruts, loose soil & gravel.
Underneath its good looks and performance lurks Cooper's ARMOR-TEK3 imparting 50% more defense than standard 2=ply tires which safeguards the carcass from the usual 'extreme surface' suspects. The Discoverer STT Pro is an off-road connoisseur.
PROS: Quiet for such an aggressive style | Balances out well
Balance is the key to a 'mud' tires life. Aggressive in looks with a soft heart, Dick Cepek's Extreme Country treats its drivers to a balanced performance agenda spanning the gnarliest surfaces to smooth highway drives. While the other competitors have implemented their versions of a 3-ply carcass wrap, the Extreme Country features a 2-Ply Next Generation High Tensile (HT) carcass corded wrap to give that bolstered sidewall strength sans the addition of increased rolling resistance, heat accumulation, weight and stiff ride.
The Extreme Country also wants to impart longevity and consistent/even wear so Dick Cepek pours its tires with a compound designed to do just that while furnishing superb traction & handling. You'll find that the lug layout: close-fitted inner void & sizeable tread elements paired with wider outer voids and slanted shoulder scallops offer better handling & a quiet ride with uber good off-road grip & self-cleaning faculties. Dick Cepek's Extreme Country is a sleeping giant.
PROS: Low price point for USA made | Road noise | Traction | Tread-life
CONS: Could corner/handle a bit better
An affordable M/T playing in the pros with the big leaguers is very impressive. The Courser MXT has earned the recognition, hands down. It goes the full 9 innings with tremendously consistent and actualized treadwear. Increased amounts of rubber clamp the road for a solid foundation in extreme terrain. Its side biters are not as over the top as some of the others but still very effective at clawing in ruts and loose conditions. Canyon like voids with alternating tread elements outfit the shoulder and outer tread blocks with additional biting edges and self-cleaning abilities. Siping is great but Full Depth sipes for augmented off-road, highway & wet traction are even better. Throw in it's a quality USA made product and you've got a veritable All-American bad ass!
PROS: Directional tread | Dry traction | Very quiet
CONS: Tends to be a bit over-priced for a Korean product
Direct(ional) and to the point, the Road Venture MT KL71 is great for chillin' & thrillin' and anything in between. Probably the quietest tire on the list thanks to its focused, close-fitting, dual pitched center tread blocks pacifying the road getting an added benefit of better off-road climbing and traction abilities. Like our # 5 ranked Dick Cepek Mud Extreme Country, Kumho applies a similar concept with their version of a High Tensile-full width 2-Ply steel belt application amplifying durability while lowering rolling resistance & weight. A big contributor to its cosmetic attractions are the stone ejectors in the shoulder lugs removing, you guessed it, stones and mud. Conquering the rugged terrain you're bound to traverse couldn't be possible without its cut-and-chip resistant rubber compound protecting your journey.
With a wide range of sizes for both passenger and LT sizes, you've got a phenomenal M/T product in Kumho's Road Ventrure MT KL71.
PROS: Traction in all seasons | Good value w/ mid-grade price
CONS: Softer sidewalls than above tires | Kumho is quieter
It's official - this thing literally covers all seasons. The Geolandar M/T+ sports angled twin cut tread block grooves in its directional tread pattern directed to amplify snow, ice, rain and dirt traction. A prominent center channeled step-block groove adds traction & tread stability and water evacuation. Two sidewall protection bars ward off cuts and ruptures. Yokohama beefed up its on-road performance with their long lasting tread compound and a 3-Ply casing for assured handling of heavy loads at highway speeds. Shoulder braces and side protectors boost its durability and eject dirt & mud. The Geolandar M/T+ is a veritable fortress on & off the beaten path at a price point that's right in the sweet spot. It's an ultra quiet riding tire to boot.
** 30-Day Satisfaction Guaranteed Trial
PROS: Winter traction | Quiet for the treads style | Unique tread pattern | Tire Performs great when lowering psi | Kevlar technology
CONS: Expensive | Balance inconsistencies | Heavy
Good looks, traction and Kevlar, oh my! So the Wrangler MT/R w/Kevlar is stacked in terms of a balanced blend of strength, performance and looks. A bit heavy but some like em' with a little weight. The DuPont Kevlar reinforced sidewalls are virtually bulletproof spider crawlers pulling and scaling the MT/R up, down and across the gnarliest nooks and crannies with up to **35% sidewall puncture resistance. No Mud Terrain is complete without a strong set of shoulders & you get em! - indefatigable shoulder treads drape artfully off the footprint and onto the sidewall for deep sand, mud and rock traction. The silica infused rubber compound works its magic in off-road & winter/wet conditions.
The distinctive asymmetric tread pattern delivers traction enthusiasts routinely attest to.
PROS: Popular tread-style | The tire balances out well | Consistent treadwear
CONS: Can be expensive in some sizes | Heavy
Toyo has been killin' it on our Top Performer lists and their Open Country M/T offering rounds out our Top 10 M/T list of 2016.
Enthusiasts, weekend warriors - drivers of all kinds - enjoy and know the Open Country M/T for:
- Added ground clearance, higher load carrying capacity, low noise & long/consistent wear.
- An appealing yet highly functional tread design with over-the-shoulder-tread for traction in extra loose conditions.
- Its Assertive, hooked tread pattern and scalloped shoulder lugs for improved traction and anti-crud build up (mud n' snow).
- Cavernous siping for wet traction with a 3-Ply polyester casing fortifying itself providing a more responsive, durable tire that'll carry a load even Atlas would be proud of.
Toyo's Open Country M/T has earned its spot among the Mud Terrain Tire Gods.
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