Kumho Road Venture AT52 vs Falken Wildpeak AT3w


Both the Kumho AT52 and Falken Wildpeak AT3w are all-terrain tires, considered as “jacks of all trades.” That’s because with them you get a year-round traction in nearly all-weather conditions, and on all kinds of tracks, on and off-road. Though one tire still exhibits some superior attributes over the other. Let’s check them out.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w
Your truck can never go wrong with Falken Wildpeak AT3w.

Being a tire engineer, in my opinion, the the Road Venture AT52 provides you with superior performance on highways, it’s more fuel efficient, lasts longer with its lowered weight, and is pretty great in the traction department as well, and that also goes for on-road snow. Falken AT3w on the other hand is a more suitable tire to have on rugged terrains, though on roads, the tire does better comparatively, in two areas, comfort and wet traction.

Must Know Sizes Facts

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

  • All sizes have speed ratings: Q, R, S, T, and H.
  • Tread depth: 12 to 19/32″.
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, C, D, E, and F.
  • Weight range: 35 lbs to 79.4 lbs.
  • All sizes have 55k miles warranty.
  • All sizes have 3pmsf and M+S winter ratings.
  • Moreover, all sizes on this tire comes with 2 ply polyester casing + twin steel belts + 2 cap ply of nylon + 2 layers of polyamide on sidewalls.

On the other side, the Kumho Road Venture AT52 provides you with 15 to 20 inches rim diameters with following specs:

  • Speed ratings: Q, R, S and T.
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, C, D, E and F.
  • Weight range: 30 to 63 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 13 to 16/32″ (mostly seen with 16/32″).
  • Ratings: 3PMSF and M+S rated.
  • Warranty: 50k miles for LT, and 55k for P metric sizes.
  • It comes with 2 ply reinforced casing with 2 steel belts and a single cap ply of nylon (so overall it’s less durable).

Know these rating terms:
What is speed rating?
What is load rating?
How to read tire size?

Outer Construction

Both tires have a lot of features, and you can tell them by looking at their tread. Let me start with Falken Wildpeak AT3w.

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

So on this tire, you get to have bigger shoulder lugs (compared to the ones in the middle area).

They carry notches and stepped edges (facing the middle), and their outer margins have saw toothed edges and U shaped sidewall lugs.

All these features basically provide great off-road traction, and to ensure better highway performance with it as well, all these lugs carry reinforced foundations underneath for stability.

Same goes for the lugs in the middle. Where they have notches, chamfered sides, and sharp edges providing off-road bite, with their closed up arrangement, they also don’t compromise on smooth pavements, providing ample directional grip.

You’d also notice that the siping pattern (in the middle) is different from the shoulders.

These sipes are basically engineered to provide directional part of the wet traction, whereas the interlocking design on the sides (shoulders) ensure lateral grip is maintained even on sharper turns.

Now let’s take a look at the newer Kumho Road Venture AT52.

Kumho Road Venture AT52
Kumho Road Venture AT52

Let me start things off form the middle on this tire as well.

So, here the symmetric tread actually makes 4 longitudinal channels with these 3 central ribs.

All these lugs in these ribs may look like they are divided up, they are actually joined up from underneath, providing on-road stability (as they restrict the movement of the lugs).

For example, in the middle most, the U shaped lugs, are actually linked with each other, and together they make thick S shaped blocks providing most of the directional traction.

So this way you get to have a bite off-road with these in groove notches, and at the same time, have “above-average” traction on highways as well.

Though shoulder lugs are not as aggressive, as they carry rectilinear sipes, and their outer margins are not staggered.

Nonetheless, they do make N shaped sidewall lugs on the bead area, so you can get good enough traction out of them with lowered (air) pressure.

Dry Capability

The dry performance of an all-terrain tire is directly impacted by its directional grip, steering, and cornering characteristics, and a technical analysis of these factors is crucial. So, let’s explore each of these components in more detail, separately.

Dry Grip

Dry grip also known as directional grip quantifies a tire’s ability to provide rolling traction on straight roads (and of course in dry conditions).

And since the central portion of the tire’s tread is the location of maximum weight concentration of vehicle, it plays a decent role in determining the overall stopping distance (measure of directional grip).

That’s why Kumho Road Venture AT52 with such packed up lugs arrangement in the middle, having reinforced foundations underneath, gets to provide better grip in comparison.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w on the other hand, although also features closed up blocks arrangement too, it’s a lot of tread depth (reaching up to 19/32″), gets in the way.

Too much tread depth basically makes the lugs bend more, wasting energy that could have been used in stopping the tire early (upon full braking).

Lateral Traction

The tire’s lateral traction “during turns” is directly proportional to the amount of contact between the ground and the outer shoulder lugs, as they get to bear the maximum weight on them while cornering.

That’s why you get a slightly better traction on Kumho Road Venture AT52. If you look at it’s tread again (above), you’d note that it’s shoulder lugs are much more packed up in comparison, and are in aligned with the following middle rib.

Both of these factors allow for shorter handling times (on laps, averaged).

Though don’t get me wrong, as Falken Wildpeak AT3w only lacks a hair.

Steering Response

Weight and tread depth are both key indicators of steering sensitivity or communication, as both of these factors causes a tire to either over steer or under.

And so a good tire is the one which has a nice balance between the two.

And so out of both tires, I have to say, I am really impressed with Kumho Road Venture AT52. This tire gives you a very sporty response to steering, where even the slightly variation in the steering provides instant feedback.

The tire basically is much lighter in comparison (on average), and with shallower tread voids, the lugs aren’t that susceptible to flex during turns.

Whereas on Falken Wildpeak AT3w you get the deepest tread in the category, and this combined with weight going up to 84 lbs, it makes sense why lugs upon cornering, get to bend more comparatively, wasting energy, that would have otherwise consumed in to making the tire move as a whole.

Wet Traction

There’s just one main point to consider when it comes to wet traction. And that is water evacuation. The faster the better. That’s because water is not compressible, and if it’s not removed off the tread in time, it would create a thin layer between the surface of the road, and the tread.

Majority of the water gets evacuated with the help of grooves, and these decide how good a tire is at hydroplaning resistance (or floating resistance).

Though with closed up grooves seen on the Kumho Road Venture AT52, water gets to face a harder time in leaving out fast.

And less water getting out, means more for there for sipes to deal with, and these sipes/slits on the tread basically suck water particles in them by flexing.

And since you get more sipes on Falken Wildpeak AT3w and flexibility as well, it can be seen why the overall wet traction is better here.

For Your Info: I’ve ranked Falken AT3w on top, in my list of best performing A/T tires.

Fuel Consumption

Kumho Road Venture AT52, being 20 pounds lighter (comparing heaviest size) and having less tread depth on average gets to provide you with much more efficient fuel economy. This is because all its packed up lugs, get to bear less weight of the tire and so they rub off with the surface with smaller force.

On the other side, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w is not only heavier, but it’s softer compound doesn’t keep its lugs firm enough. So with that, during maneuvering, these lugs tend to bend/twist a little, wasting energy that would have otherwise consumed in to the tire’s movement.

Ride Quality

The factors influencing the ride quality of a tire include noise level, comfort, and impact absorption ability.

And in both performance areas, you are better off with Wildpeak AT3w.

In terms of noise, the tire features variable pitch technology, whereas for bumps absorption, the softer tread compound of the tire with deeper tread voids, provide a lot of area for the vibrations of the road to settle down.

In comparison, the Kumho AT52 features a stiffer compound, and although it’s lugs are packed up (so that air doesn’t mover around too much hitting tread and creating noise), it still produces slightly louder noise as it’s variable pitch formation is not that effective

Also Read: Are all-terrain tires comfortable?

Winter Capability

The crucial elements of winter traction include a tire’s ability to maintain forward momentum, corner effectively, and respond quickly to braking on various snowy surfaces.

And although both tires have 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings, the overall grip is seen better on Kumho AT52. This is because the tire has numerous in groove biters, and more in number full depth sipes, and both these feature provide better biting abilities.

Wildpeak AT3w on the other hand, provides better traction only on deeper terrains (on fluffy snow), as where it’s deeper tread voids help a lot.

Tread Mileage

When it comes to tread life, there are two main things to consider, wear rate, and wear time.

With a lower rolling resistance, (like I’ve explained above), the Kumho Road Venture AT52 gets to show a slower wearing rate, with it’s lighter construction.

But that does not mean it’s significantly better in comparison here. That’s because with a lot of tread depth the Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides you with longer wear time.

That’s why there is only a difference of 5k (warranty) between the two.

For Your Info: The best tire for tread wear is General Grabber A/TX (explained), in all-terrain category.

Rugged Terrains Traction

Off road, there are a lot of land variations, and each require tires to have different skills. Let’s check out all of them.

Rocky Tracks

When driving on rocky surfaces, a tire with a flexible tread and robust grip in all directions is necessary to ensure traction and stability.

Furthermore, you also need powerful sidewall with biters on top, and thick inner construction that would bring the needed durability.

Kumho Road Venture AT52 is a good tire for light rocky terrains, but in comparison to its counterpart, it lacks overall.

That’s because unlike the Falken Wildpeak, it’s sidewall lugs aren’t that thick and you don’t get a bigger groove mouth in the middle combined with tread depth (which helps in biting in to the rocky surface).

Recommended Read: Are all-terrain tires good on rocks?

Muddy Trails

Mud is pretty challenging, and its the only reason, why M/T tires are named after it.

But how do those more aggressive tires do it? Well, because of their high tread void ratio. In other words, they provide multiple channels for the thick material to pass through.

And so it makes sense, why Kumho Road Venture AT52 packs up quickly on this terrain. It’s continuous running central rib and closed up overall design especially on the outer margins, invites the mud to settle in and this loses all the traction.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w on the other hand features an open design with more tread depth, and it’s staggered shoulder lugs and sidewalls act as mud scoops scooping mud up and throwing it backwards to create forward momentum.

On Sand

Sand requires a tire that is lighter in weight and has smooth edges to avoid digging in (which is major cause of getting stuck).

That’s why the Kumho RV AT52 with it’s stiffer compound and Skinner sidewall lugs don’t get to provide as much traction as it’s competitor, even though it’s much lighter in weight.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w basically has a softer overall composition, its sidewall lugs provide larger footprint, and it’s lugs having deeper tread voids provide bigger groove mouth to paddle on sand.

Dirt-Filled Roads

When driving on gravel, stones can easily get stuck in the tire tread and cause damage to it, which can then impact the tire’s handling and directional traction.

That’s why Kumho AT52 with missing ejectors isn’t able to provide as much grip in comparison.

The Wildpeak AT3w on the other side, although does not feature conventional stone ejectors as well, it’s ridges/supports and stepped edges do a similar job of not allowing debris to settle in. So you get to see a better performance here.

Summing Up

Comparing both tires, it can be seen why Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides you with better off-road traction with it’s superior durability and self-cleaning grooves having larger tread voids and depth up to 19/32″.

Though what’s surprising to note is that the tire does that without compromising it’s on-road comfort, where it’s wet traction is even better comparatively.

Kumho AT52 on the other side, does better on pavements, as it provides you with greater dry grip, fuel economy and tread life. Moreover, its new gen all season tread compound allow it to be better on snowy terrains as well.

3 thoughts on “Kumho Road Venture AT52 vs Falken Wildpeak AT3w”

  1. Interesting comparison – thank you for your insights, especially from someone with your depth of expertise. I am sure that you can predict a lot of performance characteristics just by looking at the tire and its specifications. Am I right to assume that this is the basis of your comparison (i.e. you haven;t actually had both tires on the same vehicle on the same terrain, same day to do measured comparative tests ?). Visual Only or physically tested ?


Leave a Comment