OUR VIC High Country escapade earlier this year was an extreme test, but it was well suited to the set of Toyo muddies I’d fitted to the 79 Series Cruiser. After a bit of procrastination on my part, the crew at Reservoir Tyrepower fitted the Cruiser with a set of 285/75R16 tyres on 16x8-inch Patriot matte-black alloy rims from ROH. These rims are available in 16-, 17-, 18- and 20-inch variants. The 285 tyres are load-rated ‘P’, which equates to a max load (at the highest recommended pressure of 80psi) of 1650kg per tyre. The speed rating of ‘P’ corresponds to 150km/h, and that’s plenty for the Cruiser.

The Toyo Open Country M/T tyre is designed to provide full-size pick-ups and wagons with greater off-road capability and extra ground clearance. With aggressive block-type tread pattern – the tread blocks extend to the shoulder and upper sidewall – they offer high levels of traction and excellent self-cleaning in mud and other loose surfaces. Deep siping in the tread blocks helps maintain grip on wet surfaces.

The three-ply polyester carcass, which includes the sidewall, two steel belts and two nylon cap plies in the tread area, makes it highly resistant to sidewall bruising and punctures. This construction also strengthens the tyre to provide good handling and durability, while maintaining its load-carrying capacity. However, it makes the sidewalls stiff and, while we never drove these tyres in sand, many people have commented that you need to lower the tyre pressures more than normal to get the tyre to bag effectively in such conditions.

The tyres handled well on the bitumen, reacting and turning positively no matter the amount of input. Noise levels were impressively quiet, but don’t expect them to be as quiet as a set of A/T or H/T tyres. Expect the noise level to increase as the tyres wear, as all M/T tyres tend to do.

These tyres performed extremely well off- road, exhibiting great traction in the shaly conditions and rocky steps. They withstood the abuse very well, with little tearing or chipping of blocks; even though the rear locker was used on a number of gruelling occasions. On one muddy section the tyres exhibited good grip and plenty of control, with the tread clearing easily and quickly.

Given we’ve only done 5000km on the tyres – and most of that on dirt roads or rugged trails – tyre wear was down by around 1.5mm from the new tyres’ tread depth of 15mm. This suggests they will be good for 40,000 to 45,000km; although, I have heard of much longer distances being covered by this make and model of rubber.

With a RRP of $380 each – you should be able to get them cheaper – these tyres represent great value for the off-roader looking for a tough tyre that’ll perform in the scrub. For those who may not want such an aggressive tyre, check the comparison table at: