Toyo Open Country RT Trail vs AT3

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The on-road oriented Toyo AT3 meets its bigger brother, the Toyo Open Country RT Trail, a hybrid rugged terrain tire, carrying a pretty aggressive look. Let’s see which tire is a better fit for you.

Toyo AT3
Out of both, the Toyo AT3 makes a better daily driver, if you’re mostly staying on pavements.

Key Takeaway

Overall, the Toyo Open Country RT Trail excels in:

  • Mud Performance: Thanks to its substantial voids, it expels mud effectively, maintaining traction.
  • Rock Traction: Durable with 3-ply sidewalls and thicker lugs there, providing strength and grip on rocky terrains.
  • Sand Performance: Its design allows it to paddle effectively on sand, especially on deeper dunes.

On the other hand, the Toyo AT3 excels in:

  • Wet Traction: Superior wet grip and hydroplaning resistance due to its abundant sipes and effective tread design.
  • Winter Performance: Offers better grip and stability in lighter snow and ice conditions, with thermally adaptive rubber. It’s the only tire here with 3 Peak rating.
  • Noise Comfort: Quieter ride due to its efficient shoulder design that blocks air from entering the grooves.
  • Tread Longevity and Fuel Efficiency: Thanks to its lighter weight and compact lug arrangement.

Design and Structure

The Toyo AT3 showcases a less aggressive tread design.

Toyo Open Country AT3
Toyo AT3 clearly offers more siping in comparison.

The tread is characterized by its squared-off shoulder lugs and central blocks distinctly separated by prominent circumferential grooves.

These outer longitudinal channels are interconnected with each other, courtesy of independent S and F shaped lugs in the middle, each featuring multi-directional notches and interlocking 3D full-depth sipes.

Additionally, these lugs are built upon a reinforced secondary rubber layer for added on-road stability.

Moving towards edges, the shoulders, while creating significant voids, include strategically placed ridges, enhancing road stability yet imposing certain limitations when it comes to dirt and mud evacuation off road.

Nonetheless, these lugs have scalloped edges and robust sidewall lugs, still providing them with good enough off-road capabilities overall.

On the other side, the Toyo Open Country RT Trail offers a relatively more aggressive symmetrical tread design.

Toyo RT Trail
Toyo Open Country RT Trail has a straight forward design.

It features 4 distinctive blocks in the middle, with notches facing both longitudinal and lateral directions, providing grip form all angles.

These lugs are pretty voided up, relatively, where the grooves, they make, prominently join up with the outer circumferential channels, adding to the tire’s off-road performance.

Though they still are good enough on-road, in terms of their stability, thanks to reinforced foundational supports, they have, just like the AT3 variant.

Moving towards shoulders, you again get very spacious design, where prominent lateral voids have stone ejectors in them.

These lugs have very minimal tread features, and are seen with mere siping slits on them.

Though they have bigger mud scoops, and more aggressive sidewall lugs, towards their outer edges.

Available Tire Sizes

The Toyo Open Country R/T Trail comes in 16 to 24 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Total sizes: 47.
  • Speed ratings: Q, R, S and T.
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, C, D, E and F.
  • Tread depth range: 13.5 to 16.9/32″.
  • Weight range: 43 to 98 lbs.
  • Not rated with 3PMSFR, only M+S available.
  • UTQG: 600 A B.
  • Tread warranty: 45k miles.
  • LT sizes have 3 ply sidewalls, while P metric have 2 ply.

Review this tire in greater detail:

On the other side, the Toyo Open Country AT3 offer 15 to 22 inches with following specs.

  • Total sizes: 148.
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, and C to F.
  • Speed ratings: Q, R, S, T and H.
  • Weight range: 30 to 72 lbs.
  • Tread depth range: 12.7 to 17/32″.
  • All sizes have 3pmsf and M+S ratings.
  • UTQG: 600 A B.
  • Treadwear warranty: 65k miles.
  • All sizes have 2 ply sidewalls.

Review this tire in greater detail:

Overall Dry Performance

For both tires here, their overall dry performance was assessed through their directional traction, precise steering, and effective cornering capabilities. Let me share my findings with you.

Directional Grip

So, the Toyo Open Country AT3 is pretty slick with its tight lug setup on its tread.

This means when you’re cruising straight (as that’s where directional grip is at play), the tire’s got more rubber hitting the road, giving you better traction.

And besides providing well optimized contact patch, it also offers a great bite, with its S and F shaped lugs, with numerous notches.

Moreover, the tire comes with relatively shallower tread depth, and all lugs have reinforced foundations.

This combo is a winner for giving you that crisp, responsive feel when you’re coming out of a turn and straightening up. It’s that on-center feel that makes handling feel just right. I like to call this on-center feel of a tire.

Side Note: I’ve actually added the AT3 in my list of top all-terrain tires, as a great all rounder pick. See the list here:

On the other side, the Open Country RT Trail with its heavier construction takes more effort to stop, as seen by its relatively longer braking distances, (which is how directional grip gets measured in the first place).

Overall Handling

When you’re taking corners, the vehicle’s weight shifts towards the outer tread edges of the tire. And if these areas don’t maintain/provide enough contact with the road, the tire’s lateral grip suffers.

Toyo AT3 packed up shoulders
See how packed up are the shoulders on Toyo AT3.

This is a key point where the Toyo AT3 excels with its tightly packed shoulder design, offering more consistent ground contact and better lateral stability.

On the other hand, although Toyo RT Trail provides good enough lateral traction as well, it faces a lot of challenges, particularly in terms of steering response.

Steering sensitivity is a pivotal aspect, and here the R/T Trails, with increased weight, deeper treads, and unsupported lugs, is pretty lagging, (resulting with a lot of understeering).

Basically, the tire putting greater burden on each of its tread blocks (as it turns), causes them to flex, which delays the transfer of this movement to the tire itself.

In contrast, the Open Country AT3 is a champ at steering.

It’s built with lugs that are closer together, and although you see wide lateral grooves in between these shoulder blocks, they are interconnected to each other longitudinally, with ridges, (as can be seen in the image above).

This inter-connectivity of the lugs, combined with tire’s reinforced foundations (clearly visible in its tread), provides Toyo AT3 with spot-on steering.

Wet Performance

Wet performance in tires is all about two big things: wet grip and hydroplaning resistance.

Both of these depend on getting rid of water from the tire’s tread. This helps keep the part of the tire touching the road dry and slip-free. Let’s break it down.

Wet Traction

Think of wet grip as a tiny-scale water wipeout, which is provided by sipes (on tread), while majority of water leaves out through grooves.

Here’s the deal: the water that the grooves don’t catch ends up under the sipes. And these sipes then act like mini vacuums, sucking up the leftover water, which lets the rubber of the tire properly touch the road.

Having said that, its not surprising to see Toyo RT Trail lacking here. The tire is not just low on sipes, but even the ones it has don’t flex well enough to do their job effectively.

That’s mainly because the tire’s rubber is pretty stiff, which stops the sipes from flexing, thereby restricting their water soaking abilities.

On the other hand, the Toyo AT3 is packed up with a lot of sipes, all over the tread, and its rubber is just right for letting them work well.

Though compared to other tires in its on-road oriented A/T category, the Toyo AT3 isn’t so impressive, in overall wet traction.

Side Note: Out of all tires in its category, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides the best wet traction overall. You can review this tire here:

And if you’re wondering why this tire lacks, among its direct competitors…The main reason for that is its packed up shoulders, with connectors between them.

This design doesn’t let water escape to the sides very well. And so less (lateral) water evacuation puts more burden on sipes, lowering overall traction.

Winter Performance

When it comes to how tires handle winter conditions, you’ve got to think about grip, acceleration, sideways traction, and overall stability on various terrains, like snow and ice.

Now, after checking out these tires in all these areas, it’s clear why the Toyo AT3 is a better pick for lighter snow and ice, particularly in comparison here.

The tire offers a thermally adaptive rubber, which keeps its biters, notches and sipes flexible (preventing them from freezing/stiffening up). This is exactly why the tire comes with Tri-Peak rating, allowing it to grip effectively, even below 45° F (or 7° C).

Moreover, its tread lugs, both the central C/F shaped ones, and shoulders, are optimized for trapping snow. This then provides better grip as snow grips best to other snow rather than rubber.

Remember, snow , so this design is a big plus for stability on snowy roads.

On the flip side, the Toyo RT Trail, with its open tread structure, is more suited for deeper snow. Though it tends to oversteer a lot on packed snowy roads.

This means the vehicle turns more than you want it to, which can be a bit tricky to handle. So, even with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and traction control, it’s not a good enough choice, especially for icy tracks.

Overall Noise Comfort

Noise mostly comes from air moving through the grooves on your tire’s tread. This air basically enters the tire from the shoulder voids (for the most part), and smack into the tread walls, creating primary sources of, “tread noise.”

Now remember those ridges, I talked about, connecting shoulder lugs together on Toyo AT3? They’re key here, as they block air from getting into the grooves, providing you with a quieter ride.

This shoulder design doesn’t just make the AT3 quieter than its RT Trail bigger brother, but it also stands out for being quieter compared to other tires in its league.

Now, although Toyo RT Trail, with its bald tread design, tends to be a lot more noisier, here, its also not that bad for its category either, thanks to its well designed pitch sequencing.

I discussed it further here:

Tread Longevity

When evaluating tread longevity, the Toyo AT3 performs quiet well, with its robust, and well-engineered tread rubber, ensuring decent wear resistance.

Now, there’s a bigger difference in how long they last if you compare the bigger, heavier-duty LT sizes. But if you’re looking at the regular P metric sizes, the difference isn’t that huge.

You can sort of guess this by looking at their UTQG ratings.

Both tires having similar UTQG of 600 (on their non-LT sizes), tells you that they roughly lasted 6 times as long on the government test track, compared to a tire graded 100.

I discussed it more here:

But yes, that doesn’t mean both tires have similar performance. The Toyo AT3 still has the upper hand, doesn’t matter which size you pick.

This is because the tire is relatively lighter, and has a more composed up tread design.

Being lighter means the tire puts less pressure on the lugs (on tread) as it rolls, which means less wear.

Plus, it’s got this neat, compact lug arrangement with strong foundations, so the lugs don’t bend as much, generating limited heat.

Now as heat accelerates wear, this tire’s aspect helps with tread life, but it also means better fuel economy. This is because less energy gets wasted as heat, and (re-shaping of deformed tread).

So overall, the Toyo AT3 offers better tread life and fuel economy compared to Toyo RT Trail.

Mud Performance

On this slimy terrain, the ability of a tire to expel mud from its tread, is one of the most important aspects, improving traction.

And this is where Toyo Open Country RT Trail excels, with its substantial voids, as it doesn’t get packed with mud as easily, compared to its less aggressive counterpart.

Moreover, the tire’s features a lot of biters, and stone ejectors, breaking down mud particles, as they leave out through the tire’s wide interconnected circumferential grooves.

Plus, this tire has some strong edges on its staggered shoulders and sidewall lugs. It’s like having paddles that help you push through the muck, scooping it backward and helping you move forward.

On the other hand, the Toyo AT3 tires are a different story.

They’ve got their lugs packed really tight, which means they get jammed with mud way quicker. I mean the grooves on this tire are very smaller, so they’re not great at getting rid of the sticky stuff.

And although the tire does offer good enough staggered shoulders like its RT counterpart, with “mud scoops”, it still can’t provide as much (forward) propulsion, due to missing (good enough) sidewall lugs.

Traction on Rocks

When it comes to rock climbing, tires need to have a good grip from all angles and be tough inside and out. The Toyo RT Trail is a star performer here.

Starting with durability, the Toyo RT Trail is built tough. It’s got 3-ply sidewalls and thicker lugs, giving it a lot of overall strength.

Moreover, in terms of grip, the tire’s interlocking lugs are awesome at providing grip from multiple angles. Like I discussed earlier, its interconnected grooves and notches facing everywhere, grip in all directions.

And yes, the tire provides much more aggressive sidewall lugs, which effectively grab onto rocks, especially when you lower tire’s air pressure.

Toyo AT3 on the other hand, has very weak sidewalls, which are actually very prone to puncturing, and it doesn’t have good enough sidewall lugs either. Though you do get good enough traction from the middle of its tread.

Sand Performance

Sand requires tire, which can propel forward without digging in. That’s why this terrain requires you to lower tire’s air pressure.

Now, although the Toyo RT Trail is heavier off the two tires, it still isn’t susceptible to sinking, as it provides you with greater contact patch, thanks to its bigger sidewall, lugs expanding out.

Also, if you take another look at its tread design, you’d notice that its central lugs are very laterally oriented. This allows the tire to paddle effectively on sand, providing traction, particularly on deeper dunes.

Wrapping Up

So here you have it.

Overall, the Toyo Open Country AT3 excels in wet traction, winter performance (comes with 3PMSFR), noise comfort, and tread longevity thanks to its sipe density, thermally adaptive rubber, efficient shoulder design, and robust tread rubber.

However, it falls short in mud and rock traction, where the RT Trail takes the lead with its substantial voids, strong edges, and 3-ply sidewalls that excel in harsher, more demanding environments.

Each tire’s design and features make them suitable for specific conditions and driving needs, highlighting the importance of choosing the right tire for your vehicle and driving conditions.

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