Many of us with pickup trucks or sport utility vehicles travel nearly all of our miles driving on pavement. Yet there are those times when we need to venture off the smooth surfaces, when we actually need to engage four-wheel drive to reach a cottage, campground, fishing hole or hunting location. For just such drivers, Michelin launches its new LTX A/T2 tire.
Changing tires is the quickest way to enhance any vehicle's dynamic capabilities, whether it's a set of winter tires to deal with snow and ice or upgrading from original equipment to a specialized summer performance tire. Those who spend much of their time off-road often have BFGoodrich tires on their Jeeps or similar vehicles, and now BFG's parent company, Michelin, has developed a tire primarily for those who only occasionally venture from pavement.
"The tire provides off-road grip and durability without compromising on-road performance, ride and comfort," said John Soule, Michelin North America's light-truck tire manager. "We're not targeting the off-road enthusiast, but those who need to go off-road to get someplace they like to go."
The LTX A/T2 offers the more aggressive appearance of a true off-road tire as well as enhanced traction dynamics for dealing with rocks, mud, sand or rain-slickened dirt. However, the tire was designed to provide a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride for all of those many miles on city streets and rural freeways.
The new tire features a four-row tread design with what Soule calls a "cat-claw" shape to its enlarged tread blocks to provide more biting edges. The tire features an expanded contact patch that Michelin believes will provide up to 30 percent better long-term durability. A third under-tread steel belt should be beneficial, especially in heavy duty and commercial use. The LTX A/T2 is available (beginning in August) in sizes from 15 to 20 inches.
We tried the tires on a Ford F-150 and had no problems traveling off-road, up and down very steep hills on dirt trails, traversing awkward and even off-camber side slopes, or going through a very deep and slippery water hole.
For more information on the LTX A/T2, visit www.michelinman.com or a Michelin tire retail store.
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