or those who follow our YouTube channel or regularly read our articles, we recently reviewed the Kumho AT51 all terrain tyre that we’ve been running on the OTD Pajero for some time.
We really like the AT51, so when Kumho released a new Mud Tyre, we asked them if we could have a set to test them out and they were generous enough to provide a brand new set of their MT-71’s for us to review.
The tyres we were supplied with are 17 inch, so we borrowed a VW Amarok and a spare set of wheels and had the MT-71’s fitted up at Plumpton Tyre and Auto Centre. We chose the VW Amarok because it represents the biggest market sector for new car sales. It is also a car that is very often used as a family 4WD or even popular for many an off-road warrior.
The MT-71’s have a very aggressive tread pattern, as you’d expect from a Mud Terrain tyre, so we were expecting them to be quite noisy on the road. But we were pleasantly surprised. They are very quiet on the bitumen. That is because Kumho has spent a lot of time developing this tyre and that Highway noise, handling and stability were all key design elements, in addition to the off-road performance. The design is supposed to deliver significant on road noise reduction compared to standard MT tyres due to the design of its packed centre block and its dual pitch tread design. If a quiet Mud Terrain tyre was a key design principle, then they have achieved that end.
We travelled to the Watagan Forests north of Sydney to conduct our testing and the area had experienced significant rain fall in the days leading up to our visit. We’ve selected a range of tracks to test the tyres, but we’re also well aware that we don’t want to tear up the surface of the dirt roads with the aggressive tread pattern.
Our first track is mainly black soil and the going has been easy with the tyres performing as expected. These tracks are very popular with 4WDers, so sometimes they can get a bit cut up and we were being careful not to make them any worse. Whenever we take our vehicles off-road, we like to abide by the ‘tread lightly’ rule of thumb so that we can ensure tracks stay opened and in good conditions..
The MT-71 tyre has seven integrated steel and fabric layers. It has a three-ply high-strength construction, with two steel cord layers and two nylon protection plies that Kumho claim is one of the most robust mud-terrain tyres you can buy.
It also has mud and stone ejector bars in the design to prevent damage from stones drilling in and to help with self-cleaning. It also has quite an aggressive side wall design with extra biting lugs which is clearly designed for extra traction.
The first challenge was a very large tree that had fallen across the track many years ago and has been stacked with rocks on either side to allow vehicle access. It’s a pretty tough approach and the log is very slippery. We sent the Pajero over first with the AT51’s and it struggled to get over, but with a bit of effort made it over. The Amarok was next, and made it up onto the log easily with the MT tyres. However, we had a few less capable cars with us so decided to back out, having successfully mounted the log, proving the MT-71’s were up to the task.
The next challenge we set for these Mud Terrain tyres was some hill and rock climbs. We dropped the air pressure down a bit more for this test to give us more traction and climbing ability. I’ve set them at 20 PSI as the terrain on the side of this hill is quite steep. The rocks are also quite slick after the rain shower we’d experienced just before we arrived at the rock climbs.
The Amarok made it up very easily with the MT-71 biting into the sandstone and gripping extremely well. The Amarok’s traction control helped a lot, but the car has travelled up the rock steps far better than the other cars that are with us on the test.
The last test is to find some clay-based mud roads. Nothing like some red clay to thoroughly test a Mud Terrain tyre and we have found the perfect track with mud, clay and a decent hill to go down and return back up to make it even more difficult.
We sent the Pajero down first and straight away the AT style tyres clogged up with mud. In comparison, the tread on the MT-71’s cleared far better as we moved forward and they did not slide nearly as much on the slick mud surface.
The return trip up the hill was also done with ease in comparison to the Pajero with the AT-51’s with the Amarok performing far better on the MT-71’s. We also a had a few other 4WD’s with us and there’s no doubt that the MT-71’s made the climb from the bottom of the hill in the muddy conditions a breeze in comparison, which is what we were obviously hoping.
Conclusion: These are an excellent Mud Terrain tyre, probably the best we have driven on, with the added benefit of being very quiet and well balanced on-road. We thought they might be a bit slippy on wet bitumen, but they hung on extremely well. They also gripped exceptionally well under heavy braking, which means you could easily have them on your daily drive.
In terms of wear, we cannot give any prediction other than Kumho’s marketing which claims you should get at least 80,000kms from a set. Being such a new tyre in Australia, we couldn’t find any information on websites or other videos from any owners with facts on their wear performance.
We rate these tyres very highly and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to any serious off-roader. We didn’t do any crazy tracks in the testing, and our 4WD is a standard VW Amarok. However, we are sure that a set the Kumho MT-71 tyres on a big, well set up 4WD rig would see it go anywhere.
In fact, we are so impressed that we’ve bought a few sets of the MT-71 for the OTD Safari Rally Vehicle… more on that later.
DISCLOSURE: The opinions and information provided in this story are completely our own and have not been influenced by the tyre manufacturer in any way. Kumho had no input into the content of the video or story. However, to be completely open and transparent, the author of the video and story has provided services to Kumho in a commercial arrangement.