Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus vs Toyo Open Country AT3


Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus and Toyo Open Country AT3 are both very on road aligned all-terrain tires, meaning you get a better highway performance compared to traction off road. Basically A/T tires cant be great in both areas, so they have to compromise between the two worlds, though some are pretty good.

Toyo Open Country AT3
Toyo Open Country AT3 is a great daily driving tire.

Being a tire engineer, from my perspective the Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus provides is very good in wet traction, hydroplaning, fuel economy and overall off-road capability, whereas Toyo Open Country AT3 is superb with dry grip and handling, tread wear mileage, and on road noise. It’s also not too far off on rugged terrains, where it’s excellent/superior on gravel/areas with dirt despite not having any stone ejectors.

Tread Pattern

The Toyo Open Country AT3 is very famous for its design.

Toyo Open Country AT3
Toyo Open Country AT3 S shaped lugs are very powerful in providing dry grip.

If I start things off form the middle the tire offers S shaped lugs with notches and full depth siping.

The surrounding lugs although don’t make any proper shapes (some look like F, while others C), they have similar features of notches and siping pattern.

All lugs have foundational supports of rubber (another layer), underneath and this provides better tread life, and braking/acceleration grip.

Moving towards its sides, which are prominently divided by wide longitudinal grooves, the shoulder lugs are very packed here.

Although they make lateral gaps in between them, these lateral grooves are actually filled up with another layer of rubber.

In fact all of it’s lugs sit on that continuous running layer underneath and this yields amazing results when it comes to overall handling and steering feedback performance.

On the other side, the Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus has smaller lugs on shoulders, though they are staggered and have thicker lugs on sidewalls.

Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus
Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus although offers ineffective siping, it’s still better comparatively.

All lugs have full depth siping and offset edges and they are separated by longitudinal grooves in a similar fashion setting aside the central lugs.

In the middle there are 2 main ribs, where the middle most are again S shaped (like Toyo), while the surrounding are P shaped.

They intentionally did this for marketing reasons as both letters are initials for Pirelli Scorpion.

All these lugs have similar full depth siping and offset edges, and on sides they have supporting ridges for stability which they call groove cones.

Overall this tires gives you a more open design comparatively, where it’s interconnected grooves join the outer circumferential channels, and they are then joined by lateral tread voids made by shoulder blocks.

Tire Facts

Toyo AT3 gives you 148 sizes ranging 15 to 22 inches in rim diameter.

  • It offers speed ratings of Q, R, S, T and even H.
  • And its load ratings range from C to F.
  • Lightest and heaviest weight of the tire is 30 and 72 lbs, respectively.
  • And Tread depth range from 12.7/32″ to 17/32″.
  • Also, all sizes have 65k miles warranty.

On the other side, the Pirelli Scorpion AT Plus has limited 22 sizes (16 to 20 inches).

  • These sizes have load ratings of SL, XL, C, D and E.
  • Weight range: 29 to 60 lbs.
  • Speed ratings available: R, S, T, and H.
  • Tread depth 13 and 15.5/32″.
  • And all sizes have 50k miles warranty.

For Your Info: Both of these tires are in Tire Driver list of top A/T options.

Internal Structure

You need a stronger tire is you are going off road, as there are a lot of sharp objects there that can pierce through easily. And they puncture the sidewalls first, as it’s the most prone area.

Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus, yields 2 ply polyester cover, and this is the only layer which goes underneath the lugs of the sidewalls.

On top of this casing of 2 layers you get 2 steel belts and 2 cap plies of nylon.

The Toyo Open Country AT3 although offers 2 ply sides as well, it only gives a single cap ply on polyamide, so overall durability is limited here.

Dry On-Road Abilities

All terrain tires have to limit their on road traction for off road performance. But in case of these two the compromise is very little, as both supply with a very well optimized tread which offer a decent rubber to road contact.

Grip From Middle

For contact, the central tread meeting with the surface provide the maximum grip, and both tires offer a very well optimized S shaped lugs in the middle providing that.

Though with a stiffer rubber and notches facing in all direction, the Toyo Open Country AT3 is still a better pick here.

Sideways Grip

The sideways grip of the tire tells us about how well it would be able to corner.

This cornering ability of the tire is measured with g forces impact and overall handling times (on laps).

Here again Toyo AT3 is more efficient. And this also has to do with the rigid composition of this tire.

Although the tire has slightly wider gaps there (lateral), like explained in the tread section above, they are connected together by secondary layers running underneath, enhancing lateral stability.

Pirelli Scorpion does not offer that, and it’s softer rubber is more susceptible to move more, limiting sideways grip of the tire.

But the tire is still better when it comes to steering to wheel communication.

Tire Communication

All-terrain tires can’t be expected to have similar level of communication with your steering, compared to passenger tires. That’s because they are heavier and have deeper tread voids.

Both of these factors cause a delay between the steering input and the feedback.

That’s why the Pirelli Scorpion A/T Plus offers better steering feedback with its’ lighter weight and smaller tread depth (comparatively).

Wet Performance

On wet highways, there are 2 main key areas to focus on, one has to do with overall architecture, which tells water evacuation (hydroplaning) and the other is linked with sipes.

Let’s talk about both of them one by one.

Wet Gripping

Where grooves escape water off, the little bit that’s left off is wiped away with the help of sipes.

That’s why siping is very crucial, but also note that there are two more things going on as well, one the design of the sipes (how efficient are they) and second, what’s the rubber composition of the tread is (can sipes flex?).

The Toyo AT3 provides better siping design but with it’s stiffer composition they are not able to grip well still, whereas the Pirelli Scorpion silica rich compound let it’s sipes flex more and this way they can soak up the water better in their slits.


Hydroplaning is avoided by giving the water channel to leave out. That’s why voided tires are good at it.

And it further explains why Pirelli Scorpion is better overall in wet traction.

Hydroplaning happens when a water comes in between the tire and the road, and the tire starts to float, so here grooves are highly needed to channel the water out, either longitudinally and laterally.

With the web of grooves in the middle on both tires, although longitudinal evacuation of water is not a problem, the closed up voids of Toyo Open Country AT3 towards shoulders restrict water movement a lot.

That’s why here Pirelli A/T plus is better, as it leave out more water, and there’s less left for sipes to work on.

Fuel Efficiency

The harder it is to role the tire, the more the fuel consumption. That’s why heavier tires eat up more fuel.

Pirelli Scorpion AT+ as I showed in it’s specs offer a 10 lbs lighter tire (if you compare the heaviest size), so it’s able to produce very less amount of rolling resistance.

How low? Well, the lowest I’ve seen in the all-terrain tires is on Firestone Destination AT2 (review it here), and our tire here comes at a close second, you can say.

Tread Wear

Tread is burned off as the tire rolls, and how fast it wears depends on the tire’s weight and rolling resistance.

Though you can increase the time for tread to wear off by increasing the tread depth and making the rubber harder, and that’s exactly what Toyo AT3 is doing here.

Even though it’s rolling resistance is higher, it’s harder rubber takes a while to burn off, and here it’s tread depth reaching up to 17/32″ act as a catalyst increasing overall mileage for this tire.

That’s why this tire also offer 15k more mileage warranty in comparison.

Ride Quality

On road impacts are very much dependent on the tire’s structure, besides the vehicle’s secondary suspension system. This combined with tread noise, the overall ride quality is judged.

Groove Noise

Noise is generated by a lot of factors, and here tread design is very important. Tires with wider and deeper grooves basically have more area for air to hit around, but where is that air coming from?

Well, shoulder lugs.

Air is everywhere, it’s in your tire grooves right now. When you drive your tire, it presses with the road and pushed that air out, and when it rolls over, that air goes back in.

The Toyo AT3 is implementing Whisper Groove Technology (initially introduced by Cooper Tires), which is just blocking the shoulder lugs with rubber connectors, check it out in the tread section above again.

Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus on the other side has open shoulder lugs and here air gets to have a free moving path, which as a result produces noise.


Tires flex and deform in the area which contact the road. How much they flex depends on their construction, sidewall height, width and pressure.

Here both tires offer almost similar results, where Toyo Open Country AT3 has a rigid rubber composition, it comes with less cap plies comparatively.

On the other side, Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus has a spongy rubber on top, but it’s rigidity is enhanced with extra cap ply of nylon, and less tread depth (less depth of tread means, less thickness of rubber between you and the road, which as a result offers less room for bumps to get dissolved before reaching you).

Winter Traction

All-terrain tires have all-season capability, so where they are good at gripping in summers, they also get to have 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake ratings (mostly) allowing them to grip on snow just as good. Both tires in question here though have that rating.

On snow, there are 3 main types, on-road snow, deep snow and ice. Both tires are are almost equal in performance when it comes to deeper terrains, but on road things are different.

Toyo AT3 is better in braking department, while the Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus is superior when it comes to acceleration and handling.

And yes, it is also better at gripping on ice as well (though you’d not get impressed with traction there with both).

Off-Road Capability

I divided this section in terms of various terrains. Let’s start with mud (the toughest terrain of all).

On Mud

All-terrain tires are although capable of going on lighter muddy tracks, they can’t have a decent performance if things get deeper.

That’s because mud needs bigger grooves to leave and A/T tires still aren’t able to provide that.

So it makes sense why our tires here aren’t that good. But still, if you have to pick one, go with Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus, as it offers open shoulder lugs and thicker sidewalls, which act as scoops while mud can easily leave out from sides.

Toyo Open Country AT3 on the other hand, can only evacuate mud out longitudinally, as it’s shoulders are pretty closed up.

Rocky Tracks

Rocky terrains have a lot of stuff going on and here some of the main things to consider include, the tire’s sidewalls (both internally and externally), traction notches, and tread softness.

The Toyo AT3 although does not offer as softer a tire, it’s lugs have a lot of biters facing everywhere which produce ample gripping abilities.

It’s shoulder lugs also have bigger traction scoops which aid in lateral traction as well.

Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus on the other hand helps with lowered pressure where it’s footprint get enhanced with it’s U shaped lugs, offering the need climbing power.

These lugs are also protecting towards scratching form solid rocks.

Sandy Terrain

Sand is a weird terrain which requires your tire to have a good contact patch available to meet up with the sand. That’s why balloon tires do so good here.

Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus is a lighter tire, which helps in climbing on sandy hills. It’s tread is softer which yields better footprint with the sand (highly needed), and its sidewall lugs adds to that contact patch when you lower the air pressure of the tire.

The Toyo Open Country AT3 is also a good tire, but it’s sharper sides dig in more, and you don’t want that. Basically sand is a very soft terrain, and digging in is the main cause of getting stuck.

Take Home Points

Both all-terrain tires are great, and by the looks of it, the Toyo AT3 looks more aggressive, yet, the Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus does slightly better in all off road sections surprisingly.

But at the same time, it wears faster as well.

Toyo Open Country lasts a long time and offers very decent traction on roads especially when things are not so wet. Well, with the exception of snow, where you can appreciate it’s performance.

2 thoughts on “Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus vs Toyo Open Country AT3”

  1. I’m just about decide on one of these two for my Sprinter, ordering both from the EU as both are scarce in UK, the Perellis especially.
    Moving from WildPeaks which have been great all round but would perfer something more aggressive looking…
    Simply spilt between these, however the Toyos are priced much better, £130 over £170.

    What to do…….Arrrrrgggh!


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