Trail Impressions: Yokohama Geolandar MT G003 Tires – Terrain Performance and Initial Impressions
The Toyota 4Runner is synonymous with the theme of being “overbuilt”. One of the first mods an owner will undertake is upgrading the wheels and tires. So, why not keep with that theme? Enter the Yokohama Geolandar MT G003.
I was fortunate enough to score a used set of SCS wheels with an aggressive offset. I wanted to get an equally aggressive tire to match that look. We’ll be discussing the Yokohama Geolandar MT G003 in the 285/70/17 10-ply E-Load size. Although these tires are extremely tough, you won’t sacrifice weight, comfort, or cabin quietness (relative to an MT tire).
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The Yokohama Brand
Yokohama entered the U.S. tire market in 1969. They have been gaining a ton of traction (pun intended) in recent years in both the OEM and off-road spaces.
Yokohama has tire lines ranging from eco-friendly to hardcore rock crawling. As the name implies, the Geolandar line comprises the all-season, all-terrain, and mud-terrain categories. Today, the MT G003 is their second most aggressive tire in the lineup. They follow behind the X-MT, which is typically reserved for the most demanding off-roaders.
The motto of the Geolandar line is “Go Strong” and I can assure you, they do just that. Keep reading as I cover some various terrain that I have taken these on and how well the G003 has performed in each.
Yokohama Geolandar MT G003
Size: 285/70/17 10-ply E-Load size
The Geolandar MT G003 is classified as a mud-terrain tire. It features a 3-ply construction, nylon cap, and triple polymer compound that help mitigate some of the cons of a mud-terrain. The sidewall design also has chunky lugs that will help protect you from rock damage. If you are not familiar with some of the basic pros and cons of this category of tire:
- Maximum traction off-road due to ability to easily eject mud and rocks
- Increased durability in both the tread and sidewalls
- Sometimes lighter in weight than an all-terrain
- On-road performance is reduced due to large tread voids
- Louder than all-terrain (or category below of tire)
- Shorter tread life than all-terrain (or category below of tire)
Due to the particular rubber compound and tread design used, these are quieter, last longer, and have better traction than other MT tires.
Left: The outer tread block void is the exact size of a 12-gauge shotgun shell.
At first glance, I can tell you that the siping (what helps in wet conditions) in each tread block helps tremendously. Most MT tires will offer minimal siping in the middle tread block if you’re lucky. Some, none at all.
I have not noticed any horrible loss of traction in wet weather, and the noise levels are totally livable; our newborn actually likes the faint tire hum and even falls asleep to it!
Personally, my rig is more or less a weekend warrior and family hauler when needed. This allows me to throw a bit of caution to the wind in terms of the reduced tread life characteristic that MT tires are notorious for.
Having the aggressive tread and durability of an MT reduces my chances of getting stuck (or worse) on a trail. While this in no way means they’re impervious to those things, any additional piece of mind helps when exploring new terrain.
These tires perform great in mountain snow. This includes both fresh powder piled high at elevation and the slushy stuff that you’ll encounter getting there. Performance on ice on the trails is acceptable due to the embedded rocks frozen inside. However, it would be wise to keep a set of chains handy for icy paved road conditions.
This is at no fault to Yokohama – almost no MT tire will perform well on ice due to their lack of siping and large tread voids. Since I live in an area that rarely sees icy conditions, this was a sacrifice that I was willing to make.
Right: An all-season tread print intersects with that of the Geolandar MT’s print.
I live on the west coast, so I’ll inevitably be hitting the beach.
Fortunately, we have some beaches that allow us to drive right up to the water (but not too close, for obvious reasons). These tires have performed flawlessly in even the dry, soft stuff that most people don’t dare attempt to drive through. If you maintain similar driving practices as in snowy conditions, you won’t be getting stuck.
Mud & Rock Handling
This is the category where MT tires are supposed to shine, right? Well, this is definitely the case with the Yokohamas.
While I’ll admit that I haven’t gone mud bogging with these tires, I have had the chance to take them through some mushy stuff that would certainly make the stock tires spin in their tracks. With a steady throttle, sometimes I can’t even tell that I’m on a slick surface like what is pictured above.
I’ve driven over 2K miles on these tires so far and I couldn’t be happier with my selection. I first got these at the beginning of summer. As a result, on-road performance did not suffer as conditions were typically dry. As we enter fall and winter, I’m finally getting the chance to see how they handle more adverse conditions that a daily driver will experience. Even in torrential rain, I have not experienced any hydroplaning or slippage on the pavement!
Even with occasional, moderately icy conditions, I have managed to maintain decent traction. I didn’t have high hopes given the category of this tire, so I was pleasantly surprised!
One note to keep in mind, and this will apply to most 10-ply tires, is that the sidewalls are extremely durable but are also very stiff. These types of tires are also intended for the weight of 1-ton trucks, which the 4Runner is not. When airing down, you’ll likely see very little sidewall flex even at 20psi.
I know a mud terrain tire doesn’t suit everyone’s needs and can be seen as impractical to many. For myself, I like to be prepared for worse conditions than I’ll likely encounter, and these tires fit that bill.
If you have or currently run MTs, I’d love to hear how many miles you’ve gotten out of them!