Trail Impressions: Toyo Open Country A/T III – Initial Thoughts & Overview

Toyo Open Country A/T III Review Dirt Road

Trail Impressions: Toyo Open Country A/T III Tires on the 5th Gen 4Runner – Design, Tread Pattern, and Initial Thoughts

Two things are predictable in the world of off-roading. One, 4Runners are a great time off the beaten path.

Two, tires will always be a point of conflict amongst enthusiasts, almost as much as personal oil choice or what’s the best trail beer! When I finally scored a set of forged TRD wheels that I have always desired, I also decided to try a new tire to go along with them.

I know from experience that a solid all-terrain tire suits my driving and adventure style. In addition, my other main requirements were the 3PMSF (“snowflake”) rating for winter use here in the Pacific Northwest, an aggressive sidewall pattern and something available in a 255/80R17 size.

It didn’t take long to realize that the Toyo Open Country A/T III fit my requirements perfectly.

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Toyo Open Country A/T III’s:

Toyo’s Heritage

Toyo Open Country A/T III Review - Tread Pattern

Toyo Tires have been making tires for more than 70 years; 50 of which were here in the U.S.A. with their American division. They developed the Open Country line of tires that cater to those who spend more time on dirt than the rest with a range that is just as wide as the name would imply.

The A/T III falls in the middle of the group, with a commercial-grade traction tire on one side and a capable (and heavy-duty) mud terrain on the other. It takes qualities from both ends of the spectrum to create what has been a very capable all-terrain tire.

Toyo Open Country A/T III Review Dirt Road Tread Pattern Mud Flaps

Made in and shipped across the U.S.A. from their plant in Georgia, these particular Toyos showed up to my shop here in Central Oregon. Right off the truck, their size took me by surprise. These are a 255/80R17 sized tire, stacking up at just over 33 inches tall and 10.5 skinny inches wide.

My co-worker audibly said “those are for your 4Runner?!” all whilst chuckling to himself. Yes, they are skinny, but there’s a good reason for that which I’ll dive into more in a different article. But in a world of builds that are obsessed with going taller and wider, I am going drastically average, which means that the tires I run need to be that much better to keep up with the pack.

Toyo Open Country A/T III Vs. Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT

255/80R17 Toyo Open Country A/T III 285/70R17 Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT

(Left: 255/80R17 Toyo Open Country A/T III | Right: 285/70R17 Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT)

Mounted to my new TRD forged wheels, the Toyos sit taller and narrower than the Coopers I pulled off. You’ll see side-by-side how the two compare above and below. To put this to bed early, I loved my Coopers and they never let me down. I threw a lot at them, and they always rolled away smiling.

255/80R17 Toyo Open Country A/T III 285/70R17 Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT

But things change, and they no longer suited my needs here in Central Oregon as our mountain passes require a 3PMSF tire during the winter, which the Coopers I had are not rated for. This downfall gives way to a great opportunity to try a new tire to see how the two stack up.

I won’t be comparing the two here in this article, but I will say that the design and features of these tires put them in the same category as each other. That’s a plus for me as they land right in my preference zone.

A Durable Rubber Compound

Toyo Open Country A/T III Tread Pattern 4x4 Labs Rock Sliders

Geared towards finding a balance between great traction and good wear characteristics, this compound shines with mixed use and does well in adverse conditions. It’s tough enough to withstand common chipping and tearing, a big plus for those of us putting miles on gravel and dirt surfaces. Additionally, the choice in rubber attributes to the amount of road noise, on-road performance, and the overall “feel” of the tire.

Weather Compatibility

Toyo Open Country A/T III Mud Crossing

Being a 3PMSF rated tire, these will do well in colder mountain conditions where roads will vary from dry to slush to snow. The rubber compound and additional siping helped achieve this rating and living in an area known for rapidly changing road conditions, I am very excited to try these out when things get gnarly!

Aggressive Tread Pattern (for an all-terrain)

Toyo Open Country A/T III Tread Pattern Kings Street

The aggressive sidewall and chunky main tread will give these tires a nice edge off-road by providing a good amount of traction opportunity and protection while on the most technical trails. The staggered shoulder lugs claw for grip in loose terrain and pair well with the sidewall pattern.

Sure, they’ll likely fall short of a mud terrain when things get slick and sticky, but I won’t expect that sort of performance in conditions like that from these or any all-terrain tire.

1,800 Mile Thoughts

Toyo Open Country A/T III Dirt Trail

I have had these tires installed on the 4Runner for coming up on 2,000 miles now, and I have some initial thoughts on their performance thus-far. Right off the bat, the weight reduction over the 285s I had previously made these tires feel… sporty. Anything that makes the 4Runner feel sporty gets an immediate bump up on my list!

On-Road

Toyo Open Country A/T III Road Mountain View

On-road the Toyos gave off a bit more road noise than I was expecting given the tire size and design. But overall, they stayed plenty quiet and never felt intrusive in the cab.

They track well on the road with a very confident road feel in the corners and under braking. This is considering I typically keep them inflated to around 40psi on the pavement to handle the overall weight of the 4Runner (6,200lbs).

While road performance isn’t always the most fun portion of a review for an off-road geared vehicle, it’s arguably one of the most important aspects of the review! Sometimes with the change in tire brand, type, or size there is a “learning curve” where the driver needs to adjust driving habits to match the new tire set.

Spending long miles on the road with these tires, I have gotten comfortable with them in a hurry. I have had no complaints with their handling on pavement; a great sigh of relief because ultimately, I spend a lot of time on the road traveling to fun places!

Off-Road

Toyo Open Country A/T III Trail Lineup 4Runner Ranger Air Down

Off-road I have had a few distinct opportunities to test these tires by exploring Central Oregon this summer. Bombing around forest service roads, these tires perform very well. Stability at speed on loose surfaces is enough to make me confident coming around corners a little spicy, although most of my driving is at a slower pace.

They do pick up more small rocks than I was expecting compared to my last all-terrain tires, but it’s nothing that the flaps can’t handle.

Technical Terrain

Toyo Open Country A/T III Rock Crawling 4Runner Mountains

In technical terrain, these tires can handle some pretty tough conditions without skipping a beat. I took them on a technical trail here outside of Bend, OR that is mainly comprised of volcanic rock. For those unfamiliar, volcanic rock is very rough on tires with its coarse texture and jagged edges.

In these conditions, I try to choose lines that are going to have the least impact on my tires. With so many rocks, the tires are ultimately going to be tested. Aired down to about 18psi, the Toyos handled the terrain very well.

Toyo Open Country A/T III Aired Down Tread Pattern

They conformed to the rocks and provided more than enough traction during our day out. I attribute the tough sidewalls in protecting the vulnerable portions of the tire, and after inspection, they faired well with only minor amounts of scuffing and abrasion on the lugs. No cuts or gashes were seen on the inside or outside of the tires.

Toyo Open Country A/T III Tread Pattern

As I pushed the 4Runner up and over obstacles, the main portion of the tread suffered a few chipped lugs from some of the tougher sections of trail where there was some limited wheel spin. It’s not surprising to see this sort of wear on terrain like this. All in all, I think they hold up well in this regard compared to other tires in the category.

Toyo Open Country A/T III Mud Crossing Splash Guards

I have had some brief run-ins with the sticky stuff as it has just started to change seasons here. The tread design and narrower overall width allows the tire to ‘bite’ in muddy terrain. The Open Country A/T III’s are all-terrains at heart, and with that in mind, there is only so much one can expect. So far, they have shown they can get the job done without issue.

Aired Down

Toyo Open Country A/T III Aired Down Kings Dirt Trail

Aired down, the sidewall is forgiving and allows for a lot of additional traction and compliance on the trail. They may not look like much at highway pressure, but take ‘em down to 18 pounds and they float!

Trail Takeaway

Toyo Open Country A/T III 4Runner Dirt Trail Oregon

A good tire asks for adventure. A good tire inspires confidence. A good tire takes a “well I probably shouldn’t” and turns it into a “yeah, I got this”! It’s the perfect match for a well sorted vehicle, and can make or break a trip. In the time the 4Runner has been paired with this set from Toyo, they have earned their keep. They’ve added to the 4Runner and more importantly, they haven’t taken anything from it. I have enjoyed them so much so that I bought another set for my full-sized GMC heading into the winter months.

Toyo Open Country A/T III 4Runner Mountain View

I am looking forward to the miles ahead on these Open Country A/T III’s, and am happy to report that I’ll be back with a Trail Tested article to tell you all about how they do in the long haul. In the meantime, I will be putting on the miles and pushing them through some amazing terrain.

What do you want to know about these Toyos? Where do you want to see them go?

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Partywaggin
Partywaggin
13 days ago

Even though it’s an E tire, do you think the tall sidewall helps it feel better for on-road manners?

Matt Adams
Matt Adams
23 days ago

Looks like the chipped lugs are the same issues as the AT II. I had a sidewall tear at 4k miles and toyo wouldn’t warranty them because I was “using the tires beyond their intended use” which they determined from all the torn up lugs I had from sharp AZ rocks. Looks like I wont be buying these either.

daniel mulvaney
daniel mulvaney
24 days ago

Great write up. I have been pretty happy up western WA for the last year on these.

Daniel S.
Daniel S.
30 days ago

Awesome write up! Also, I’ve never seen those wheels on a 4runner before. Did they come bronze color? They look fantastic!

crazygooseovrlnd
crazygooseovrlnd
1 month ago

Nice write-up. I went from stock size KO2’s to 255/80/17 Falken AT3W’s on the OEM TRD OR rims and have loved it. Being in northern Canada, winter performance was a factor and these have been excellent so far but I noticed the same thing as you. At this size, the truck seems to drive more “freely” as in the wheels seem to roll easier and the truck drives more “sporty”. The only thing I might do different is switch to some aftermarket rims with 0 offset for a slightly wider stance. The Toyo’s were on my list too due to having the 255/80/17 size and they look lighter than the Falkens so may try them next time.

Will
Will
19 days ago

Did you have to lift at all? Or what did you do to fit them, if anything? I’m looking at this same size in the AT3Ws

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