W e were recently invited on an exclusive driving experience with the new Yokohama Geolandar X-AT, which is the seventh model in the Geolandar family of adventure tires making it one of the most diverse lineups in the industry. It’s also the third in the Geolandar X-series line of “in-between” and “extreme” offerings, according to Fardad Niknam, Yokohama’s Senior Director of Marketing and Planning. The other two are the X-CV for luxury sport crossovers and their flagship off-road, rock-crawling X-MT mud terrain.
A quick, but focused, product briefing with Mr. Niknam prior to the ride-and-drive delivered on four main aspects of the X-AT:
- Durability thanks to improved puncture resistance because of GEO-SHIELD technology. The tire features multiple sidewall piles, a high turn-up carcass and a full nylon cap while being lighter than some competitors.
- Long tread life is a lock with Yokohama’s new high-density HD2 compound. It’s made of a special triple-polymer blend engineered for reliable long tread life and impressive cut- and chip-resistance. An elliptical contact area provides balanced performance of off-road traction with long even wear. The X-AT is backed by a 45,000-mile limited treadwear warranty and their 30-day money back guarantee.
- A quiet, comfortable ride is guaranteed due to the zig-zag grooves that interrupt airflow to limit unwanted sound. Additionally, the tread features are staggered in a five block sequence that add to the reduction in pattern and road noise.
- Gripping off-road traction is achieved by aggressive, large shoulder blocks that are varied in length to create a biting edge and promote mud- and stone-ejection. Also, the angular offset center block clusters provide extra strength and grip. Sipes and narrow grooves are combined on each tread block to provide traction on wet, snow and slick rock surfaces.
The X-AT will also include load-range F-sizes for heaving carry capacities, plus a dual sidewall (named Mesa and Summit ) design, giving owners the option of picking a look to match their vehicle. With an initial 27 size offerings – from 15” to 22” diameters and up to 37” tall, the X-AT will be available starting July 1st, 2019.
The varying terrain outside of the Las Vegas city limits in the Mojave Desert was our test track and who better to trail boss the course than the owner of The Mint 400, Matt Martelli. Matt lead our caravan of Ford Raptors and a Jeep JL south of the city where we were able to sample the X-ATs on-road manners. Quiet is an understatement, granted the tires were new and we were in a new Ford Raptor. Nothing scientific was done to audibly test road noise other than shutting off the radio, and eventually lowering the windows to see if we could detect anything. The subtle notes from the exhaust drowned out anything we could hear from the tires – they were that quiet.
After about 10 miles, we made it off-pavement to test its capabilities through varying terrain of fire roads, rocky washes, sand and silt as well as through slow and technical portions of the The Mint 400 course, where the X-ATs footing would be challenged. Midway through the drive, we were lucky enough to do a few high-speed passes through an empty Jean Dry Lake bed. Unsurprisingly, the X-ATs performed as expected and traction was never in question and inspired confidence through sketchy situations.
As consumer demand continues to grow for an off-road tire that performs better than an all-terrain, and almost as good as mud-terrain, the Geolandar X-AT fulfills that void. The extreme all-terrain tire redefines the term rugged, offering pickup trucks, Jeeps, and SUV owners a tire with excellent off-road performance that doesn’t sacrifice on-road comfort, making it a great performance upgrade for dual purpose weekly work vehicles and weekend adventure rigs.