IT’S BEEN around six months since th Hankook Dynapro AT-M tyres were fitted to the Discovery. The tyres were originally chosen on the basis that I was keen to try something a little bit different; as opposed to my preferred Light Truck (LT) choices, the Dynapro AT-M tyres don’t feature LT-specific construction (Hankook does offer LT versions in the Dynapro AT-M stable) so this was a new road, so to speak, for me.
There were a few reasons for this choice, with the first (and main) one being the fact that, as much as I like to dream of those week-long off-road escapes, the reality is the Disco and the Walker family only occasionally get to head bush for a weekend camping adventure. So, I was keen to ensure the Disco’s fuel consumption around town was affected as little as possible, while still being able to enjoy the benefits of what is a beefier tyre than the OE hoops. Further to this, I opted for the Hankook Dynapro AT-M 235/70R16 – an exact match for the Disco’s stock tyre size. Past experience with a taller set of LT-spec all-terrain tyres on my previous Disco TD5 – and the resultant lift in aroundtown fuel consumption as the slightly lethargic donk tried to spin the heavier, taller rubber – had taught me a lesson in that respect.
RRP: Contact your local Hankook dealer
WE SAY: Tough, ample traction, functional and rugged.
These Hankook tyres are considerably chunkier in appearance, but, thankfully, this is not all for show; the most obvious design feature is the wraparound tread on the sidewall, which is designed to protect against side punctures and cuts – add in a thicker gauge of sidewall rubber and, so far, this has proved the case. The off-road surfaces the Hankooks have been subjected to have comprised mainly coastal hinterland tracks. These are primarily dirt and sand based, but with roots, sticks and rocks bordering their edges; the broken tree roots in particular are often perfectly angled toward the track to stake the sidewalls of tyres. With tyre pressures dropped for the terrain the Dynapro AT-Ms bulge accordingly, but that reinforced sidewall, in conjunction with the aggressive side-biter section, seem to offer decent protection.
This side-biter pattern has also assisted in traction when funnelling the Disco through narrow, rutted tracks – and a few muddy ones – with the resultant scratches and marks on the sidewalls evidence that they are, indeed, working to up the tractive quality of the tyre and keep the big Brit rig moving forward. Hankook touts the tyre’s jointless bead wire as assurance against bead separation when you’re running low air pressures; that is, at this stage, hard to quantify because we’ve spent only a short amount of time at really low pressures. During that time – and owing to this cautious driver – I did not subject the tyres to many aggressive changes of direction that could lead to a tyre/wheel separation.
In between these occasional off-road forays there’s been a pile of bitumen driving, ranging from freeway blasts to off-camber, narrow, sealed and unsealed country roads, in all weather conditions. This is one area where I have found the Hankooks to really impress; all-round on-road performance has been fantastic. The Disco is no sports car, but there’s been a few corners approached at a decent click and the tyres just hung on – there’s no sense of the Hankooks about to let go or even approaching their tractive limits. Even on wet, coarse bitumen roads the tyres grip assuredly, while tyre wear has, to this time of writing, been nothing worth noting. And speaking of minimal; it may well be the clattering and droning of the TD5, but tyre noise in-cabin is barely discernible, even allowing for the fact they’re not an LT construction tyre. Still, nobody inside the cabin is complaining. The engine noise, on the other hand…
The Hankooks are coming up to around 6000km of use now – still very low, really – and to date the performance has been impressive. If I was planning an outback expedition I would look at tougher rubber – most likely Mud Terrains – but for the majority of the on- and off-road terrain this writer’s vehicle traverses (and will continue to for some time yet before that big trip), the Hankook Dynapro AT-M tyres have proved somewhat of a surprise package – and a welcome one.