Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain AT vs Falken Wildpeak AT3w

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Both the Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain and the Falken Wildpeak AT3w being powerful all-terrain tires allow you to tackle a lot of different kinds of tracks, including smooth highways, as well as rugged/tougher paths. Though there are key factors to consider on both. Let’s find them out.

Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain AT
Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain AT

As a tire engineer, it makes sense to me why Falken Wildpeak AT3 provides you with better traction on wet roads, a better tread life, enhanced comfort, and superior traction on nearly all types of off-road terrains. Whereas Goodyear UltraTerrain is better off on dry roads with it’s amazing directional grip, it’s better fuel economy, and winter traction as well. Though off-road it’s not too far off either.

Tread Appearance

Let’s talk about Goodyear Ultraterrain first, as it’s an interesting tire to look at.

Goodyear UltraTerrain AT
Goodyear Ultraterrain features tractive groove technology like its bigger brother, Duratrac.

So this tire has slightly more closed up middle section with lugs of various shapes and sizes placed in a way that they create a network of grooves.

These interlinked tread voids, basically join together on the outer circumferential channels which then connect with the lateral grooves of the shoulders (allowing for very self cleaning tread).

And helping to that cleaning ability is the Goodyear’s Tractive groove technology, where the grooves have biters embedded within, and these break down the lodged mud and dirt particles so that they can be easily washed out.

Moving towards the shoulders, the lugs are bigger and have notches facing the middle. Though they make less aggressive pattern and this combined with reinforced foundations underneath these lugs, the tire is able to provide amazing lateral grip on roads with them.

And at the same time with aggressive edges, with biters and sidewall lugs the tire also keeps its off-road abilities pretty noticeable.

On the other side, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w’s tread design is optimized to provide optimal traction on both on and off-road surfaces.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w
Falken Wildpeak AT3w may not have staggered blocks, but they still look one of the most aggressive out there.

The middle lugs are closely arranged and have ridges on their sides, which serve as supportive pillars.

These provide on-road stability.

And the notches/stepped edges, basically all these biters, offer above average off-road gripping as well.

Same is going on shoulders.

Since they are bigger compared to the lugs in the middle, the get to provide better rubber to road contact, and with reinforced foundations, they provide lateral stability with that as well.

So with that the tire covers its grip on roads, and with notches and staggered outer edges, you get lateral grip off-road as well.

Moreover, although not visible here the tire also features slanted U shaped sidewall lugs, and those with lowered air pressure especially, get to offer amazing biter off-road on all types of terrains, may it be rocks, sandy dunes or even muddy tracks.

  • Check out Falken Wildpeak AT3w’s tread design in detail here.

Available Sizes

The Falken Wildpeak AT3w has 15 to 22 inches rim sizes with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: Q, R, S, T, and H.
  • Load Range: SL, XL, C, D, E, and F.
  • Weight Range: 35 lbs to 79.4 lbs.
  • Tread depth range: 12/32″ to 19/32″.
  • 3PMSF and M+S ratings available.
  • Warranty: 55k miles on all.

Goodyear Wrangler UltraTerrain AT has limited sizes in 16 to 20 inches rims, with following specs.

  • Speed Ratings: S and Q.
  • Load Ratings: SL and E.
  • Weight Range: 40 to 70 lbs.
  • Tread Depth: Either 16/32″ or 18/32″.
  • 3PMSF and M+S ratings available.
  • Doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty.

Internal Construction

While both these all-terrain tires have cut and chip resistant rubber, their internal construction vary a little bit.

The Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain AT gives you a conventional inner setup with 2 ply polyester cover and 2 steel belts reinforced with 2 layers of nylon on top.

Whereas, the Falken Wildpeak gives you same inner construction with addition of 2 more layers of polyamide running around the tire’s bead. So in comparison, you get a slightly more durable tire.

For Your Info: Out of all A/T tires, BF Goodrich KO2 (review) is the most durable.

Fuel Consumption

The fuel efficiency of a tire is determined, in part, by its rolling resistance, which is the force required to move the tire along a surface. And factors that impact this include the tire’s weight and tread composition.

So with lighter construction and a firmer tread compound, it can be seen why Goodyear UltraTerrain provides you with better fuel economy.

Falken Wildpeak on the other hand, has a lot of weight, and since it’s lugs get to bend more (see in steering response section), the tire wastes more energy there, rather than moving the tire as a whole.

Tread Life

Tread longevity is impacted by 3 key factors: rolling resistance, tread depth, and composition.

This is because tires with greater tread depth endure slower wear, as they take “longer” to burn off, even with a faster wear rate. And as for composition, if the tire has a stiffer compound, the overall burn rate would be slower to begin with.

With a lower rolling resistance, the Goodyear Ultraterrain AT although consumes less fuel overall, and shows slower burning rate in comparison (explained above), it would still wear off faster in comparison.

That’s because the Falken Wildpeak AT3w has a lot of tread depth to it, and it’s compound has a good combination of silica and Kevlar as well, providing elasticity.

Highway Capability

When it comes to evaluating the “dry” performance of an all-terrain tire, it is essential to consider traction, steering, and cornering ability. Let’s delve into the specifics of each of these factors, and see which of these tires comes on top.

Directional Grip

The metric of dry grip or directional grip is a quantitative assessment of a tire’s rolling traction on straight roads (and in dry weather).

And here it’s determined through calculation of braking distances and acceleration times.

Both these factors are determined with the contact the central lugs make with the ground (which get to have the most pressure on them while rolling straight).

And as both tires are pretty packed up there, its understandable why they do great.

Though still you get slightly better results with Falken Wildpeak AT3w. Let me explain why.

So this tire basically for one, has biters (on C shaped lugs) facing in all directions, two, all these lugs have summer sipes on them which are especially designed for dry directional traction. And third, despite having a lot of tread depth, the lugs are still very supported with ridges placed beside them all.

Dry Cornering

During cornering, the whole weight of the tire gets shifted towards the shoulders. So how much contact these outer lugs make with the ground is significant in determining the overall handling abilities and lateral traction.

That’s why both tires having such compacted up lugs there provide almost similar handling times (calculated by looking at the average of multiple lap completed times).

Steering Response

An overlooked, but crucial performance metric, steering sensitivity or communication, determines the ease of maneuvering tires and is judged based on the consistency of the rubber-to-road connection, which can be broken by grooves. It also depends a lot on the overall tire’s weight and tread depth as well.

That’s why the Goodyear Ultraterrain provides better results here. The tire is lighter in comparison, and they don’t have too much tread depth to them.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w on the other side have that, and it causes it’s blocks to flex more. So you get to see more over and under steering here.

Recommended Read: Are all-terrain tires good for daily driving?

Wet Performance

Wet traction is achieved with water removal. And this is because water is not compressible, and if not removed in time, it would form a layer between the tread and the road, causing loss in traction.

That’s why grooves and sipes are designed. With grooves, most of the water gets to escape out, while the left over is dealt with sipes, which have slits sucking water particles in them. So more the better.

That’s why Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain lacks here a little bit. The tire has less siping in comparison, and even those sipes aren’t that efficient either, because their rectilinear design make them stiff on corners.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w on the other side, has a mixture of two different sipes, and both have the flexibility to provide superior wiping.

Tread Noise

The air flow through the shoulder grooves generates noise, as these air particles strike around on the walls of the tread.

And even though, both tires have a very closed up design, you get a quieter ride on Wildpeak AT3w, as it features a superior variable pitch technology, where through out the tread, the lugs vary a little in shapes, and generate different tones on different area of the tread as air hits.

Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain AT on the other side, is slightly off here.

Also Read: Are all-terrain tires noisy?

Winter Traction

The evaluation of a tire’s performance in snowy conditions is based on its ability to provide stability while stopping, maintain control during turns, and effectively accelerate on shallow and deep snow and ice.

And with both tires having 3PMSF rating, we have the acceleration part covered, as this symbol tells that both these tires have at least 10% better acceleration abilities on hard packed snow.

Though on deeper terrains, the Falken AT3w provides you with better results, as it’s multiple notches facing in all directions, combined with more tread depth allow for better snow to snow contact there.

Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain on the other hand is better with lighter terrains only.

Off Road Capability

Off road, there are various types of terrains, so let me explain how each tire performed in each of them.

On Sand

A tire’s air pressure must be decreased when driving on sand to achieve a “floating” effect, making it better suited for the soft terrain.

But sicne there are other factors provide the needed floating, it makes sense why Falken Wildpeak at3 even though with its heavier weight produces better traction.

Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain AT basically has a harder compound and it’s sidewall lugs don’t provide as much contact patch as the Falken.

Moreover, with less tread depth, it’s lugs don’t get to provide what we call paddling effect. I’ve explained this all in my analysis of all-terrain tires on sand.

Gravel

Despite the cut-resistant rubber in off-road tires, they can still experience harm and reduced traction from stones and dirt that can become embedded in the tread voids. That’s why you need a tread with self cleaning grooves and stone ejectors.

Out of these tires, you are not going to impressed with Wrangler UltraTerrain. As this tire really invites the stones/dirt particles to settle in the tread.

It’s tread is actually not as flexible and it’s in groove notches are very susceptible to hanging on to the stones. Though you do get tractive groove technology on this tire, which helps it a little.

On the other side, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w although also has missing conventional stone ejectors, you do get ridges and stepped edges (on almost all lugs) doing the same job for you.

Moreover, with it’s more flexible compound, the stones can leave out with more ease.

On Mud

All-terrain tires mostly struggle in mud due to limited evacuation capabilities. This is caused by the narrow grooves which fail to allow mud to leave out in time.

That’s why out of the two, since Goodyear UltraTerrain is more packed up, it’s susceptible of getting packed with mud more quickly in comparison.

The tire actually has longitudinal foundations underneath, connecting each blocks with each other. And this hinders the lateral evacuation of the mud.

Wildpeak AT3w on the other side only only offers a better/open network of vertical and horizontal channels, but you also get more tread depth, staggered shoulders with mud scoops in them, and sidewall lugs which gets the tire out when it’s aired down deep in mud.

On Rocks

With thicker sidewall lugs on Falken AT3w, you get a superior traction with it. As these lugs (under lowered air pressure) provide you with extra foot-print, and with their slanted U shaped design they are able to grab and pull more in comparison.

Moreover, as the tire also features more tread depth, the grooves have a bigger mouth to bite in to the rocky surface.

Though the Goodyear Ultraterrain on the other side, is also not too far off, as it’s biters on the sidewall are also good enough, and although the ribs are in the middle aren’t that flexible they still have various groove notches to grip while climbing on rocks.

Though worth reminding, the tire really needs some durability on the sidewalls.

Key Takeaway

So we have learned here that the Goodyear Ultraterrain features a structure which is better on dry road (especially when it comes to steering response), fuel economy, winter traction (lighter terrains only), and off-road does a better job when it comes to gravely roads.

Wildpeak AT3w on the other side, is great on wet roads, provides superior comfort, and a quieter ride, and is a great pick for rocks, sand and mud, as it offer bigger groove mouth.

2 thoughts on “Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain AT vs Falken Wildpeak AT3w”

  1. A great tire replacement choice. Falken Wildpeak AT3W is clearly better than Goodyear Ultraterrain in multiple ways, with higher load range, longer tread life, and warranted mileage.

    Reply

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