BF Goodrich KO2 vs Toyo Open Country AT3

1 Comment

The BF Goodrich KO2 and the Toyo Open Country AT3 are top-notch all-terrain tires, perfect for handling both rough and smooth terrains. The BFG KO2 stands out as the ultimate champion in durability, while the Toyo AT3 offers an impressively smooth ride on the road, without falling short when you take it off-road.

Toyo AT3
Toyo AT3 looks pretty cool on Wrangler.

As a tire engineer, my testing and experience with these tires have shown me some intriguing insights. The BF Goodrich KO2 is relatively quieter on the road thanks to its more “consistent lug design”. Plus it matches the Toyo Open Country AT3 in dry road traction but yes, falls a bit short on wet roads (in comparison) due to its stiffer design. Though, it still offers superior hydroplaning resistance. But yes, the tire is a real champ off-road where its 3 ply sidewalls give you that extra needed confidence.

The weaker sidewalls of Toyo AT3 really scares me to be honest.

Where BF Goodrich KO2 is better?

BF Goodrich KO2 is a very powerful tire. It’s the company toughest flagship.

It’s durable inner construction allows it to have a amazing puncture resistant sidewall (even stronger than some of the aggressive mud terrain tires out there).

The tire also provide amazing grip values off road with it’s multiple biting edges seen everywhere around the tread.

Detailed Review of KO2: https://tiredriver.com/bf-goodrich-ko2-review/
By the way, the tire has been updated to KO3, and you can review that tire as well here: https://tiredriver.com/bf-goodrich-ko3-all-terrain-t-a-review/

Where Toyo Open Country AT3 is better?

The Open Country is a tire that you can confidently take off road where it also keeps things incredibly smooth on road.

It offers a very firm grip on road and provides very stable handling, where you get a very quick response from the tires during cornering.

Detailed Review of Toyo AT3: https://tiredriver.com/toyo-open-country-at3-review/

PS: Both tires were able to make it to my list of top A/T tires, through for very different reasons.

Tread Appearance

Toyo at3 tread
Toyo has signature S shaped central blocks
BFG Ko2 tread
BF Goodrich KO2 offers wider grooves especially around shoulder blocks.

Both tires show a very aggressive design, and they both look very different from each other. But considering the shoulder blocks of both, it’s quite prominent, that things are more wild on BF Goodrich KO2.

On the shoulders of both tires:

The tire features very unique design here. It’s bulky shoulders have sharp slits which join the large block valleys around. These provide very tough biting off road. They are also staggered and they join the sidewall lugs which provide traction when pressured down.

On Toyo Open Country AT3 (review), these shoulder blocks are boring in comparison, they don’t offer wild notches but they sure are staggered and are optimized for on road traction with wave like siping and ridges between each block.

In the central area of both:

Toyo Open Country AT3 in the middle has very unique S shaped blocks (they were also seen in it’s previous model AT2).

The other blocks besides this look very similar and they are seen with notches and interlocking siping which helps tire in wet.

On BF Goodrich KO2, there are smaller ribs and they all make very similar shape with each other. All blocks have interlocking siping which are full depth.

For Your Info: See if you can note triangular shapes hidden in KO2’s grooves. They are stone ejectors.

Durability Difference

None of the top tier All Terrain tires can beat BF Goodrich KO2, when it comes to durability.

The tire has very solid 3 ply polyester made skeleton inside, which is then reinforced with steel belts of high tensile strength cords. And both of these then get spirally wound with nylon cords two times around.

That’s why this tire is said to have 3 ply sidewalls.

The Toyo Open Country AT3 provides 2 ply as it’s inner construction include 2 layers of poly-amide. But the tire also has 2 steel belts running with 2 layers of nylon, but here nylon is not spirally wound.

To be honest, Toyo’s sidewalls scare me. They are very weak especially the ones on P metrics.

On Road Noise

Noise is simply air flowing through the grooves. Think of it like the tire trying to whistle, blowing air out of the tire as the tire rolls, and that air goes back in.

Most of this air goes out and comes back in through the shoulders.

So it makes sense why with wider shoulder blocks, the BF Goodrich KO2 is slightly more louder on road.

On Toyo Open Country AT3, if you looked at the shoulder blocks closely in the tread pattern section above, you must have noted the ridge between them.

These ridges were first introduced by Cooper tires and they named it Whisper Groove Technology. Now they are seen in most of the tires out there which try to tackle the noise levels.

Let’s not get too much in to it as this topic would not end, and just put it at this; the Toyo AT3 with these ridges within resist the air moving in & out and this way the tire dampens the noise level more.

Ride Comfort

Sure, ride comfort depends on noise, but its only one part of the puzzle. The second one is even more important and it the feel of ride.

Now although things get a little subjective here, the Toyo Open Country AT3 feels more comfortable to drive on.

As I mentioned in the durability above, the tire has less no of layers inside, so it offers less rigidity in comparison.

That’s why these tires don’t feel as stiff to drive on, as the BF Goodrich KO2.

KO2s feel “on the edge” and they don’t provide better resistance to the impacts.

For Your Info: The best for ride comfort out of all other all terrain tires is Yokohama Geolandar G015 (review).

Fuel Efficiency

With high no. of plies inside, the BF Goodrich KO2 is also heavier in comparison. And this combined with the stiffness of the tire and of course, the vigorous biting edges, the tire simply has more rolling resistance to it.

Toyo Open Country AT3 on the other hand, with it’s lighter and softer make, is going to provide you with better fuel efficiency.

But for folks who are still going with KO2, go for a slightly skinnier tire, (see tire sizes below).

Dry On Road Performance

The on road performance of Toyo Open Country AT3 is really impressive, the ridges between the shoulder blocks which act as noise barrier also keep these blocks stable.

Let me see if I can put an arrow pointing these ridges for your better understanding.

Toyo AT3 ridges

So with this, even having larger gaps between the shoulder blocks, the rubber don’t move as independently and these supports keep them firm.

See if you also find foundations underneath these blocks, they also help keeping things stable.

This way more rubber to road contact is made and it’s simple physics from here, the more the contact, the better the grip, no questions about it.

Also the sipes, which sure have a helping hand in wet, they also make a big difference for Toyo Open Country AT3 on the dry pavements as well.

These sipes look like a “number 4”, and because of this they interlock on corners, opening form one side and getting packed on the other (side of the 4).

This way they also aid the tire during handling.

The BF Goodrich KO2 on the other hand, has larger spaces between the blocks, especially on the shoulders, so not as much rubber-road contact is made.

But the tire still has interlocking sipes like the Toyo, and is also more stiffer, and both of these factors make this tire perform almost very similarly to the AT3.

Wet Performance

Wet road is the only area where you will feel the BF Goodrich KO2 slightly lacking behind. The tire with it’s 3 ply sidewalls don’t contribute to the blocks flexibility.

So the sipes on these blocks are not that independent to squeeze in the water underneath.

But it’s wider channels are simply awesome for hydroplaning resistance, where the Toyo Open Country AT3 does not allow as much water to pass through.

Winter Traction

Both tires are branded with 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating. This rating tells you that these tires were vigorously tested on the snow and that they perform better than all season tires.

The Toyo Open Country AT3 is a softer tire as the tire’s composition has much more polymers embedded in it.

This helps the tire in snow, where the temperature gets too low. So where typical tires freeze up and get too stiff to give you traction, the softer compound does not harden up too much.

On the other hand, the BF Goodrich KO2 is slightly stiffer but it makes up for it with deeper siping and wider grooves which are very good at trapping things. So why trapping snow is good here?

Well, because snow to snow contact provides a much better grip than rubber to snow contact.

Off Road Capabilities

Both tires have a lot of biting edges through out the tire. The Toyo Open Country AT3 provides deep notches in the middle which open and close biting in to the rugged surfaces off road.

And on BF Goodrich KO2 the full depth sipes are very powerful.

At a close inspection, they seem to have saw tooth shape to them (where they seem straight) and as they are full depth, they allow the blocks to open and close as they want.

Think of them as a mouth trying to bite in to the surface.

Traction on Sand

There are a lot of variations on sand, but I’d consider an average sand scenario.

Now it was no surprise to see BF Goodrich perform better overall, in fact the only point where this tire lacked was on the incline.

Again the tire’s stiffer sidewalls has to be blamed, as they don’t allow as much flexibility and at the same time increases the tire’s weight significantly.

On the other hand, the Toyo Open Country AT3 would not disappoint here at all.

Traction on Rocks

Traction wise, both tires are great here.

But still considering all factors, like running them on gravel, against sharp rocks, climbing, and so on, the BF Goodrich would seem better.

The tire has very powerful shoulder lugs, and they aid the tire more when they are aired down to a low pressure.

These lugs provide amazing lateral g forces and keep the grip in tact.

On Toyo Open Country AT3, I’d like the fact that due to the tire’s softer compound, you don’t have to air them down too much.

And the S shaped blocks of the tire and C shaped ones everywhere else have enough biters to keep them stuck on rocks.

Mud Performance

Let me start things off here by saying, these tires would not make you happy on mud.

Mud traction is highly associated with self cleaning abilities, and both of these tires are not good at that.

Their staggered shoulder blocks with mud scoops will help you for a while, but make sure you have a backup plan if you are planing to go in to a thick muddy terrain with these.

For Your Info: One of the great mud tire out there is Falken Wildpeak M/T, I reviewed it here.

Take Home Points

So, wow, that was some detailed discussion, we covered a lot, but I get it, some of you folks are in a hurry, so let me try to summarize everything here (although it’s best if you don’t miss anything here).

So, the BF Goodrich KO2… Well the tire is more durable, of course. They provide better lateral g forces on dry. Good handling and braking. But on wet Toyo Open Country AT3 takes the cake.

Off road, things are good for both, except for mud. Both are 3pmsf rated, so good winter traction. And both have enough biters to impress you on rocks.

So what do you think here? Do you agree with my assessment, or did I miss any point? Share your perspective below!

1 thought on “BF Goodrich KO2 vs Toyo Open Country AT3”

  1. Thank you for the detailed review. I am considering these two tires (actually probably the KO3s vs AT3s) and it’s come down to braking distances on dry and wet roads. The only place I’ve been able to find this data is America’s Tire website. It shows that the KO2 is superior to the AT3 for wet road braking distances. So I’m a little baffled at how the AT3s are always rated better on wet roads but their stopping distance is worse. For me, the most important safety aspect for a tire is emergency stopping distance. For wet roads it shows stopping distance for KO2 at 206 v 216 for new tread and 234 v 281 for worn tread over the AT3s. That’s 47 feet shorter for KO2 v AT3 for worn tread on wet roads. And based on your recent review of the KO3, the stopping distance should be even better. I am satisfied with both tires for all other types of driving. Based on this, I will probably go with the KO3s unless I’m missing something. Thanks.

    Reply

Leave a Comment