I miss you dearly! I miss the perfect pirouettes through parked cars at the ski resort. I yearn for the 40 mph donuts across frozen lake Missaukee and giddy powerslides on loose forest roads. One day perhaps I will wear down these Toyo Open Country AT 3 tires to a point where they are bald and we will embrace each other ever so briefly again before the Land Rover LR3’s traction control spoils our youthful antics.
I hadn’t really expected to be complaining about grip, but then I hadn’t expected to have to fix 5 flats on our last overland adventure when the Cooper Discovery AT3 tires abruptly gave up on life. After coaxing my Land Rover back from Idaho (Thanks Les Schwab for the free patch!), I left it in the good hands of Tony at Motorsports Tire and Wheel of Portland. Tony is our local expert on all things wheels, tires, and a supporter of the local overland community. I took this unexpected opportunity to level-up with rugged steel-wheels from Lucky8 Off Road and a set of Toyo Open Country AT 3 rubber.
I’ve driven on the Toyo Open Country AT 2 before, in the summer, and was impressed. What I was really excited about was putting these new AT 3 tires to the test in the winter. While most Portlanders were enjoying the Indian summer days, I was already ready for the flakes to fall. These Toyo Open Country AT 3 tires are 3-peak snowflake winter rated, which means that being sideways is a lot less likely. We carry our chains and a set of Maxtrax for backup, but chaining up is not my favorite way to spend time in the snowy cold mountains.
Finally, late November gave us the snow we needed to go Christmas Tree hunting on touring skis. The winter afternoon in Portland was upon us and the rain came in sheets in the valley. The Toyos didn’t even notice the wet. Braking distances and cornering are just solid.
Nearly missing our coffee pull-out, my wife Laura threw the car into a roundabout at a speed that made me reach for the oh-sh*t handle. Even on a tall heavy SUV the cornering grip and feel is noticeable and welcome.
With caffeine on-board we mushed ahead, the precip had eased, but the roads were a proper mess of icy slush that varied around every mountain pass. It was no fun at all – because these tires make it a downright boring ride. No sideways, no-slip, just grip. Out on forest roads we were unstoppable and even paused to pull a compact SUV out of the ditch.
It was a marginal day for ski touring, but Laura found the best tree on the mountain. On our victorious return, we spotted a frozen parking lot and gave our best effort at getting sideways. The Toyos make it tough, and the LR3s traction control eventually spoiled all the fun. I yearned for my old Subaru that could make anyone into an amateur Ken Block with the right snowy parking lot.
Back on the highway, the Toyo Open Country AT 3 are comfortable and quiet –surprising for how aggressive they look. We keep an eye on the gas mileage, as this heavy V8 powered SUV guzzles premium fuel. We’ve noticed about a 1.5 MPG average loss on the Toyos, over the old Coopers.
At the end of the day, we’re all smiles with these new shoes on our LR3. The steel rims look the business and won’t crack like our OEM alloys did. In times like these, you can’t put a price on having the confidence in your vehicle to get you into nature safely, socially distanced, and safely back home again.
Someday sideways we will find each other again, but not with these Toyo Open Country AT3 tires – they could find traction on Teflon.
Yours In Automotive Adventure, Nick
Toyo Open Country AT 3 Review
We specifically tested the Toyo Open Country AT 3 in a 265/60/R18 size on 18×8 steel Terrafirma wheel on a 2009 Land Rover LR3. The testing took place over a few thousand miles in Oregon and Idaho, on a mix of road surfaces, and in dry, rainy, muddy, and snowy conditions.
We were impressed overall with the low noise, smooth ride, aggressive looks, and above all confidence-inspiring traction. The Open Country AT 3 did not provide the best fuel economy, but for us, that is outweighed by all the benefits of this tire.
The reason to buy the AT 3 over the Open Country AT 2 includes an advanced tread design, stronger construction, and an all-new compound that performs better in all conditions while providing longer tread life. The Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating is also notable, and important. By summer 2021 there will be 127 different versions of the Toyo Open Country AT 3 available. To top it off this tire comes with a 500-mile trial offer and a 65,000-mile warranty for P/Euro-Metric sizes and a 50,000-mile warranty for LT and flotation sizes.
Be sure to purchase the appropriate size and load rating for your specific application.