GOODYEAR is a name synonymous with off-road tyres, and Wrangler as a brand conjures images of go-anywhere ability. Just to ram the whole adventurous theme home, Goodyear has added “All Terrain Adventure” to the moniker of the rubber tested here. Perhaps that helps Goodyear justify the hefty $339 RRP that deducts some early points from the brand’s latest all-terrain.
Sourced from China, Goodyear clearly wants to infuse some European credibility into the sales pitch, stating on the sidewall: “Engineered by Goodyear in Europe, manufactured by Goodyear in China.” (For the record, the rest of our tyres were sourced from Thailand and Korea).
Like the name there’s a retro wisp to the tread pattern, with spacious openings separating the relatively small blocks. Less impressive is how the Wrangler performs on-road.
Stokell picked the poor grip from the outset, noting their “skatiness” in the wet.
“Wet braking was poor,” he said, frankly. “They didn’t want to stop in a straight line … it took quite noticeably longer to pull up.”
The sentiments were backed by raw data, which showed the Wranglers required 32.6m to stop in the wet from 70km/h, at least 2.2m longer than the next worst.
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Wet cornering was no better, the Goodyears slipping and sliding for the longest time through our two bends. The low grip levels also had the tail willing to wag, something that would keep the stability control busy through roundabouts or tight corners if you get too enthusiastic.
The Goodyears were also less than average when dry braking, albeit only just behind the bulk of the pack. There was a surprise result in dry cornering, though, the tyres slotting towards the top of the finishing order courtesy of some respectable grip. “In the dry cornering, it wasn’t too bad,” said Stokell.
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Perhaps some of that less-than-stellar performance can be explained by the off-road focus of the Wranglers. Goodyear adds a layer of Kevlar in the construction, something claimed to better resist punctures. That wasn’t something we got to test this time around, but it adds a level of interest for those looking to punish their rubber. It also performed well on the off-road course, Walker noticing there was “plenty of grip on the rocks” and above average traction through mud and gravel.
Even with that five per cent boost, though, the sub-standard on-road performance made life tough for the Goodyears.