WHEN we were given the opportunity to spec our longterm Discovery we optioned it with 20-inch over the standard 19-inch wheels that come on Discovery SE. While choosing larger diameter wheels for a 4x4 might seem like the wrong decision for any vehicle planning to head off-road - or anyone who appreciates ride quality - we had our reasons for this. We would normally agree with the reasons for not going bigger, but when the standard wheel measures 19 inches - and that is the smallest OEM wheel that will go on the vehicle - we chose to go up one.
The reason is simple: there are a lot more 20-inch off-road suitable tyres than there are 19s. In fact, choosing the 20s opened up a whole swag of all-terrain and mud-terrain tyre options that we wouldn’t have had with 19s. Unfortunately for us, this is still Land Rover’s car and they wouldn’t let us fit anything but a factory approved tyre.
We weren’t about to complain, though, as the factory approved off-road tyre is Goodyear’s Duratrac all-terrain, a tyre we’ve seen on Land Rover’s own off-roadspec vehicles and one we’ve heard good things about. As well as the standard 255/55 R20 size, the Duratrac is available in a plus-one 275/55 R20 size which would fit the Discovery and still remain within legal allowances. But not Land Rover’s allowance, so we went with a set of the 255s.
Our main reason for wanting the Goodyears was durability, as the OE-spec, high speed-rated highway terrain tyres are not made for any sort of off-road use and would severely hamper any off-road adventures. It was lucky we did fit them when we did, because when they stripped the OE tyres off the alloy wheels the guys at Beaurepaires in Chadstone found a huge hunk of tread missing from the inside edge of one of the front tyres, showing the vulnerability of such rubber on rougher road surfaces.
AVAILABLE FROM: www.goodyear.com.au
WE SAY: Add confi dence off-road compared to OE rubber; not LT construction; noisier than OE on-road (as expected).
The Discovery delivers a very refined and quiet ride on the road in standard trim, so we noticed the sound of the allterrain Goodyears as soon as we fitted them. The Duratracs don’t have an overly aggressive tread pattern, and we were initially surprised by the sound of them on-road; but that had more to do with the normally quiet ride of the Disco. It was a small price to pay for added security on the rough stuff.
The Duratrac has a passenger car tyre construction so it’s not as heavy-duty as a tyre with light truck (LT) construction; although, the 255 does have an XL ply rating for heavier loads. Interestingly the bigger 277/55 20 Duratrac only has a Standard load rating yet it has a higher ‘S’ (180km/h) speed rating. The 255s we have fitted are only Q rated, but we reckon 160km/h will be enough for our usage here in Australia and we appreciated the heavier, more durable tyre.
The first 1000km with the Duratracs have been on sealed roads, but we have hit some High Country trails and station tracks as well. While we’re still cautious of sharp objects on the tracks, the tyres have given us a lot of confidence in our ability to take it places where we might otherwise be concerned with the OE tyres.
We’re still running the placard tyre pressures, but we drop 8 to 10psi out of them when we hit the tracks to improve traction and comfort. So far so good, and the Goodyear Duratracs are allowing us to use and enjoy the Discovery as it is intended.