Not much more you could ask for in a serious all-terrain
There are all-terrain tyres and there are proper go everywhere, do everything all-terrain tyres. The Mickey Thompson ATZ P3s are exactly that. They’ve copped whatever I could throw at them off-road, while holding their own on-road – seems to me like the makings of the perfect touring tyre.
This love affair starts with a little disappointment in the Simpson Desert last year. We had travelled over for the Big Red Bash and made the escape across the Simmo. Back then a set of Cooper ST Maxx wrapped the factory 17s on the Amarok – in a 265/70R17 (or roughly 32 inches for those that way inclined). The Maxx tyres seemed like a good option… plenty of life, bit loud but did pretty well on the whole. But after stopping for the first night in the desert, that all changed. A quick vehicle check revealed radial splitting of the sidewalls on three of the four tyres; not just in one place, but multiple places on each tyre. The tread was starting to come away from the sidewalls. Great…
We got to the other side – but it wasn’t without worry. And worrying is a great way to ruin a trip. Fast forward to arriving in Alice and it was like we were walking on eggshells. I made a quick call around to all of the tyre joints to see what they had in my size. I’ll be honest – I’d already done my research on the ATZs and they were high on the list. When Tyrepower said they had them in my size (which isn’t the most common) I was surprised. Yes, they were more expensive than I could pay in Sydney and they were more expensive than the other brands available – but when you’re away from home there ain’t much option.
A shout out to Tyrepower who fitted them up that morning and gave me a slightly better price – maybe they felt sorry for us being stuck in Alice? We were on our way… and didn’t our new shoes look a million bucks.
WHAT THEY’VE DONE
Returning along the rocky desert tracks we made our way to the Flinders where the rocky climbs were met with ease, then hit the very sandy Murray Sunset (see Issue 28) where they never left us wanting.
Since the desert the tyres have seen trips all over this big brown land – experiencing every terrain there is on offer. From traversing a frozen ‘Bluff Track’ in the High Country, to bonnet-deep water crossings on the south coast, rocky climbs in the Blue Mountains and clay-stricken tracks that tested the ‘cleaning’ ability of the rubber.
But all this off-road work isn’t without plenty of travel on tar to get between the destinations. Like any new tyres they start off quiet, but after a little wear the noise is obvious – not the whomping of a muddy, but you know they are there; generally a tyre rotation at 10K sorts this out. As for handling, the stiff sidewalls give excellent feel and steering response, while the sipes in the tread blocks give confidence on wet, greasy tar or those frozen roads during the odd blizzard or two.
HOW THEY’VE FAIRED
After 50,000km the tread almost looks new. There is wear on the shoulders – that comes with city driving – but overall, they are looking pretty damn good. They started with 14.7mm of tread depth, and a quick measure has them currently at 11mm left (on all four).
There is very minimal chipping of the tread blocks (and what there is, I attribute to the – at times – harsh Amarok downhill decent). I’ve had one puncture and that was from a nice big nail that wedged itself between the tread blocks. As for the sidewalls, they have a couple of nicks… but given this size has 10-ply construction it doesn’t worry me.
Speaking of sidewalls, one thing I have noticed is they generally need lower pressures off-road. The stiff sidewalls mean they don’t bag as much as other tyres. Not really an issue, more an observation.
If your vehicle doesn’t leave the blacktop that often, there are better options for you. But if you’re a regular off-road driver then the ATZs are well worth a look. They use a bit more fuel (due to their weight and tread spacing/pattern) and they are a little noisy, but goddammit they do a great job off-road without compromising on-road handling. Not to mention how well they have worn.
Unfortunately, Mickey Thompson knows how to charge for tyres. At $395 (in my size) per corner they weren’t cheap. But knowing what I know now, I’d happily pay it again. Over the last 14 months the tyres have really proven themselves. I would recommend them to anyone who wants to push their vehicle to its full potential without the headache of muddies.
FOR MORE INFO VISIT: MICKEYTHOMPSONTIRES.COM.AU