The Toyo AT3 and BF Goodrich KO2 are titans of the all-terrain tire market. Both of these tires have their loyal fans, and for good reason. But which is better? It would seem the KO2 has a more recognizable name but is it actually better than the AT3?
The first thing we look at when reviewing tires is the price; considering these are all-terrain tires for the everyday person, it’s important to take price into consideration.
There is not much difference between the prices of these tires, and depending on where you buy them, one may be slightly more expensive than the other.
Both tires are from reputable companies that stand behind their products, they both get good mileage, so we think that they are definitely worth the money.
The design of the tire is what it’s all about; we want to be able to demand extreme things from our tires, especially all-terrain tires, which need to be able to handle mud and then swap to highway driving on the way home.
A tire that is required to make these extreme changes needs to be designed exceptionally well.
KO2 tires have over 40 years of development behind them, which means 40 years of improvement to get to the tire we have today.
Toyo has been developing the Open Country tires for some time, and the AT3 makes some improvements on the still available AT2.
Tread pattern and quality is the make or break of any tire, even more so if you plan to take that tire off-road. In the case of the KO2 and the AT3, there are no surprises in tread quality.
The KO2 has been around for a while now, and its tread pattern is well known and easily recognized. The treads on the KO2 work well across a multitude of terrains; it ejects stones and loose ground easily.
Its serrated shoulders help grip in mud and on rocks. However, while they perform admirably in mud for an all-terrain, I’m still not convinced they are as good as the AT3 in mud or snow; however, I think they outperform the AT3 on rocks or loose ground.
The tread on the AT3 is aggressive but not so aggressive to affect on-road handling. The AT3 excels in snowy, icy, and muddy conditions. It is a three-peak mountain snowflake tire and is severe snow rated. The blocks are adequately spaced enough to eject stones and mud but not so much to affect on-road driving or icy conditions.
The sidewall of a tire is a huge contributor to the success of a tire off-road. A weak sidewall will leave you with damaged tires, whereas a well-constructed sidewall will enhance your performance for airing down, rock crawling, and just about every other type of terrain.
BF Goodrich pulled out all the stops when designing the sidewall for the KO2. The KO2 now uses BFGoodrich’s KR2 Baja tire technology CoreGard. BFG claim Coregard offers 20% tougher sidewalls; while we don’t have any stats to prove or deny that claim, we can say we have not damaged any sidewalls yet, and that is after extensive off-road sessions.
Toyo went for an aggressive approach to the Open Country AT3 sidewall. The sidewall closely resembles the pattern of the treads, which provides exceptional grip when off-roading. The AT 3’s also come with two choices for sidewall design; you can choose the standard black or OWL sidewalls.
The performance of these tires is similar but yet different. Both tires perform well as all-terrain tires, but they excel in different areas.
The KO2 has exceptional on-road manners and is plenty capable for mild off-roading. We found the KO2 to be great in dry off-road conditions, think washboard trails, and rocks.
However, if the conditions get a little too muddy, the KO2’s begin to struggle. The same is true with snow; if the snow becomes too heavy, the KO2’s falter. They are fantastic in the rain and dry conditions; it’s almost as they are a happy medium and don’t like the conditions to get too extreme one way or the other.
The AT3 picks up what the KO2 lets down and vice versa. The AT3 performs well in snow and ice, as good as one can expect from an all-terrain tire. They are great at slightly muddy trails but not as good as the stt.
Both the AT3 and the KO2 come with impressive mileage warranties that guarantee the lifespan of the tire.
BF Goodrich has offered a mileage warranty on all of their tires for quite some time now, and the KO2, in particular, has an impressive warranty of 50,000 miles.
However, as impressive as this warranty may seem, most users, and ourselves included, get considerably above that milage. I can generally get 55k-60k on a set of KO2 tires with proper rotation.
Toyo offers an almost identical warranty to BF Goodrich; their warranty is also for 50,000 miles. But they are even more impressive in actual use. Most users claim up to 70,000 miles before needing a new set.
Who is the KO2 for?
We recommend the KO2 to just about anyone who is looking for a good all-around tire that handles well in moderate off-road conditions. This is as long as you don’t live in a snowy area.
Who is the AT3 for?
In our opinion, the AT3 is for the overlander or the person who wants to do a bit of everything. It handles well in snow and ice, has super on-road manners, and takes most off-roading in its stride. But I caution not to get too extreme, or you may find yourself stuck in the mud.
The AT3 has become a favorite for overlanders because of its on-road manners yet rugged off-road abilities.
The KO2 is not going away anytime soon; they are a staple amongst off-roaders who also use their rig as a daily. Regarding popularity, the KO2 is a clear winner.
However, which you choose is down to you; both tires are plenty capable and offer some of the best performance of any all-terrain tire.