Tire Review: Yokohama Geolandar X-MT

If off-road tires were like beers, all-seasons would be lagers, good for anytime and any day but hardly hardcore; all-terrains would be session IPAs, a little more rugged and rough around the edges; and mud-terrains would be stouts, gnarly and biting no matter the occasion. Yokohama’s new mud-terrain, the Geolandar X-MT, yearns to strike a good balance between the realms of dedicated off-roading and day-to-day on-roading, and we got our hands on a set to test out.

As the pinnacle of Yokohama’s off-road-centric Geolandar line, the X-MT represents a new way of thinking at the eminent tire manufacturer. From the ground up, the X-MT is a tire that goes full-bore into off-roading utility, but also promises decent manners on-road to strike a pleasant balance.

But back to brass tacks. After taking delivery of the X-MTs and seeing up-close the interesting tread pattern and sidewall design, we knew there had to be more hiding underneath the black, rubbery surface of this tire.

Background of the X-MT

We learned from speaking with Yokohama that the “X” designator denotes “extreme,” and is being rolled out to the Geolandar line to offer more range in choices for customers. The X-MT is the first to do this, and will soon be followed by the X-AT in 2019.

But we digress – the core of our focus is the X-MT, which is the best of the best in terms of off-road tires currently offered by Yokohama. As such, it contains a number of features that make it stand out from the pack.

“For an extreme off-road tire with tenacious grip and killer looks, the Geolandar X-MT offers outstanding treadwear and on-road handling to provide consumers – from rock-crawlers to truck enthusiasts – with an exceptional balance of performance and value,” said Yokohama’s Fardad Niknam.

Yokohama’s inaugural size options for the X-MT start at 35 inches and span to 40 inches in diameter. This lets you know right away these tires are meant for lifted, ready, and capable vehicles looking to do serious off-roading. Ours were the 37×12.50R17 size.

Starting with the sidewall, we liked the pincer-like arrangement of the side blocks. This looked like it would offer a good biting edge whether being used in forward or reverse. Their depth was also nice, and would offer good protection against getting poked by a jagged rock.

As for the tread blocks, Yokohama went with a staggered pair design and left lots of room in between the pairs. The pairs also matched with a side block. The empty spaces contained stone ejectors, keeping debris from getting lodged into the tire.

Alongside so much off-road capability, though, the X-MT adds to the package with a high-density, triple-polymer compound that wears well and provides a long tread life. And on-road, the tread pattern mitigates chatter and noise as much as possible, promising a mannered ride on asphalt.

Buried underneath the visible aspects of the X-MT is what Yokohama calls its Geo-Shield construction, which features a full nylon cover, three-ply construction and extra-thick sidewall protection.

Picking The Right Rig

When it came time to choose a vehicle for the tire test, we turned to social media to find the right one. We came across Oscar Ruvalcaba and his 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon, which had a lot of positives going for it.

Oscar’s deep appreciation for off-roading brought him to our attention when we made an announcement on social media. He also had an extensive background in photography and would be helpful with getting shots of the Jeep doing rough-and-tumble stuff on his own. He also had a perfect setup to go for the 37×12.50R17 size that Yokohama had sent to us.

Oscar Ruvalcaba loves off-road, and he gets all he can handle in his 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon. It comes complete with front and rear Dana 44s, as well as locking differentials.

He pulled his Jeep into our shop and we got to work, putting the rig onto a lift and removing all four wheels. After transferring the tire pressure sensors (TPMS) and going through the mounting and balancing process, the X-MTs were ready and waiting to undergo our evaluation. We inflated the tire pressure to a safe 35psi and headed out toward our adventure.

Time For The Test

 

We had our rig, and we had our tires, and we had time to get out to an off-road hotspot and do some bashing. We set off and got our first real sensation of what the X-MTs were capable of on-road, and to our surprise, the tires delivered on one aspect right away.

This was the road noise, of course. Other mud terrain designs have produced considerable noise on pavement, especially here in SoCal, where the roads are anything but uniform. Patchwork pieces of new asphalt are smooth in some sections, and then change brutally to old asphalt with its aged issues in the form of cracks and potholes. The X-MTs were able to negotiate this “terrain” very well, and surprised us, given the gaps between the tread blocks, which often spells harsh noise. Going through turns, the X-MT still held up, too, and didn’t skid around or flex too much.

On-road, the Geolandar X-MTs were very well-behaved. Road noise was no big issue, and we could keep a conversation going without having to raise our voices.

We got to our off-road testing spot and aired down slightly. By that point, unfortunately, the day was drawing down and we were not able to go as far into the reaches of the place as we would have liked, but we still got to “take the tour,” so to speak.

Our terrain selection was washboards, ruts, and gravel. In each area, the X-MT performed without fail. The washboards got the Fox shocks on the Jeep cycling, and the X-MTs did the rest, giving us steady grip as we went up and down. Through the ruts, we got to sample how the tires handled off-camber, and they did a great job here, too. It felt like the weight of the vehicle was getting loaded onto one side, but never did the X-MTs slip or struggle to find a foothold – the traction was always there. Finally, in gravel, we found the X-MTs kept going right over the tiny rocks, and none of them managed to lodge themselves in the tread.

Off-road, the X-MTs excelled. They went through ruts, washboards, and whoops with ease, never losing traction when we needed it most.

Conclusion

Photo: Oscar Ruvalcaba

We’ve been away from the Rubicon Recon for some time now, but the owner has had time aplenty to get used to the X-MTs. We reached out to Oscar to provide some commentary on the experience of driving on them since the installation.

“I thought they were going to be great for off-road, but not so good for street use,” he said. “I thought they were going to be loud and thumpy because of the large gaps in the thread. But having used them now for several weeks, I’m very satisfied!”

Oscar has gotten a lot of use out of the X-MTs, finding deep mud to blast through and get a sense for how the tires handle themselves in their namesake. "They offer great traction every terrain I've tested them on," Oscar commented. Photos: Oscar Ruvalcaba

“They feel lighter on the road, compared to the tires I had on before,” continued Oscar. “They give me a little better fuel mileage on the freeway, too. And off-road, it’s a world of difference. They offer great traction every terrain I’ve tested them on, including sand and mud. I haven’t tested them on snow yet, but I’m looking forward to doing that soon.”

All in all, the Yokohama Geolandar X-MTs truly do give the enthusiast a foothold in several off-road environments – mud, sand, rocks, and more. We think they’re excellent tires and worthy of any 4×4 ready to drop into low-range and get through an obstacle. To find out more, we encourage you to check out the Yokohama website and Facebook page.

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About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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