Yokohama Geolandar Mud-Terrain G003 First Drive

May. 23, 2017 By Jim Brightly, KF7SCT, Photos by: Jim Brightly, Yokohama Tire Company, and Josh Burns

A few miles east of Moab and a few miles west of Telluride lies an awesome but almost unknown canyon system, on which five canyons converge. In the middle of this canyon system is the extremely small town of Gateway (population: 50). Yokohama chose this area and the Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa as the location for the new Geolandar M/T G003 tire introduction.

The old movie title—Run Silent; Run Deep—occurred to us when we took a late-night drive to ascertain the tire’s highway performance. In a JK Unlimited with a soft top we ran the speed up to 70 mph on pavement. While the factory soft top is the quietest soft top we’ve enjoyed for several Wrangler models, none of us could hear any road noise over the normal sound of a Jeep Wrangler on the highway.

A fleet of Wrangler JKs were on hand for us it to test-drive during our impression of the M/T G003.

On our trail run we stopped to check out out the tires. The Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 really look good on the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds.

Usually, with a tire having such deep channels between lugs, with exposed side ribs, and pronounced shoulder knobs, highway howling will occur. No such howling, no whistling, and no vibration happened. Not one of the three of us in the Jeep could pick up any tire noise whatsoever. Windows up, windows down, nothing; we even stuck our heads out the windows and could hear nothing. According to Fardad Niknam, Yokohama Tire director of LTR segment development, “… testing reveals the M/T is 2.3 decibels quieter on the road…” when compared to competitors’ off-road tires.

Although the Vegas Off Road Experience race Raptors were not part of the road tour tests, they did prove the enhanced side bites and traction of the G003 tires on the race track.

The second half of the movie title was also proven in a deep muddy shoulder on the John Brown Road—a direct route between Moab and Gateway. We tried the tires in hub-deep, sloppy mud, in two-wheel drive, without a locker or limited slip—solely relying on the M/T G003’s traction and self-cleaning treads at highway pressures (32psi) to extricate the Jeep.

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Since we wanted to test the tire tread, we didn’t approach the mud at speed with the intent to simply drive through it. Instead, we slowly drove into the sloppy mud hole, stopping when both passenger side tires were sunken halfway up the rims in the muck. We then attempted to drive out. It wasn’t a straight shot. We had to rock the Jeep back and forth three or four times until the Geolandars cleared out a path to the hard pan, but clear the path they did, meanwhile cleaning out their own treads.

Although Yokohama calls them side armor, we call them sidewall lugs and they’ll pull you out of holes or grip boulders whenever needed.

We tried one other test during our road tour—an axle-deep erosion channel just wide enough for the 37x12.50R17 tires on the test Jeep. With most off-road tires we’ve tested over the years, the vertical walls of the erosion channel would entirely defeat the tire, resulting in the Jeep meekly following the channel like a train on a track. Not so with the M/T G003! When we turned the steering wheel slightly back toward the center of the road, the sidewall lugs grabbed the channel wall and slipped the Jeep up and out slick as you please.

We received the first set of tires for media testing. Impressive and aggressive, just stacked in the garage.

Our test vehicle is a modified 2005 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited. We’ll bring you a more extensive and detailed test article in the near future.

All of the various tests we ran on the Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 did just one thing—whet our appetite for more strenuous and technical trails. We can hardly wait to try them on the slick rock of Moab or Rubicon, or the various tracks around Silverton, or the roly-poly boulders around Kingman, Arizona.

The aggressive tread design helped us gain traction in muddy conditions.

With an appearance closer to a Mud Bogger than the older Geolandar M/T + tire—the G003 were three years in development—we know you’ll want a set of the M/T G003 tires on your rig as soon as possible, regardless of whether it’s a mall crawler or a rock crawler, but you’ll have to wait until July before they’ll be appearing in your local Discount Tires or Big O Tires stores. The tires have a 30-day, no questions asked, full-price refund warranty; however, prices have not yet been determined.

Our first impression of the M/T G003 is a favorable one, but we'll have a more detailed report in the coming weeks on Yokohama's new mud.

According to Yokohama, the G003 will be available in 37 sizes, ranging from 15- to 20-inch rim diameters. New features on the M/T include aggressive three-ply sidewall styling (for D and E load ranges), Geo-Shield technology and a special triple-polymer compound. Andrew Briggs, Yokohama Tire senior director of tire business and product planning, said “The M/T has it all: intimidating good looks, superior strength, proven performance and excellent traction in all on- and off-road terrains, from everyday highway driving to attacking steep, jagged rocks; muddy trails and desert sand.”

You’ll also enjoy an 8% longer tread life with the G003—according to company literature—and it’ll stop 51 feet shorter on wet roads than its closest competitor. All in all, we had a very favorable first impression of all aspects of the Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 tire.

Yokohama Tire Company

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