The previous generation Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tyre, the G011 A/T, was not as well accepted as Yokohama would have liked by customers and fitment centres alike. As good as the tyres were, they were prone to uneven wear and excessive road noise, thanks mostly to a tread pattern design that could have been better. And after spending a few days with a group of work-hard, play-even-harder independent tyre fitment dealers in the forests of Magoebaskloof I got to learn a few things.
These independent guys don’t have the massive marketing budgets the franchise dealers have to keep luring customers into their shops. They have to rely on repeat business they earn through honest advice and service, along with competitive pricing. And when these guys say their biggest customer complaint about a tyre is noise, you need to listen.
And that is just what Yokohama did. They have introduced the Geolandar G012 A/T jam-packed with the latest in tyre technology, also featuring an aggressive design that will not only make your bakkie or SUV stand proud, but is now substantially quieter and harder-wearing, thanks to multi-stepped grooves and dual interlocking pyramid sipes.
Modern four-wheel drives are refined and luxurious, just like the Chevrolet Trailblazers we used for the trip up into the country. The rugged Trailblazer, which is built on Chevrolet’s body-on-frame bakkie architecture, is tailor-made to meet the needs of users who battle more than just traffic jams.
Fit the right all-terrain tyre like the Geolandar G012 A/T and they’re also very capable off-road – as we all found out when specialist driver training company Yokohama Driving Dynamics, headed by racing legend Grant McCleery, led our convoy on a bit of an on-road and off-road adventure that took in highways, to dirt roads and tracks I did not think were actually meant to be driven on.
The 2.8 litre Duramax diesel Chevrolet Trailblazer made short shrift of any obstacle thrown in its way, thanks mostly to a chunky 500Nm of torque and 144kW of power, along with a switch on the fly two-wheel high to four-wheel high option, as well as a four-wheel low option.
Driving off-road, it is important to stay in the tracks on the road and not stray into the countryside when travelling fast on gravel. The Geolandar has a good on-centre feel and straight-line stability that makes you feel more confident and comfortable in such conditions, which is very important if you spend a lot of time on dirt.
Just as important must be the tread compound on the Geolandar G012 A/T is remarkably cut and chip resistant, especially when compared to some specialist off-road tyre brands.
Wrapping up this vastly improved offering from Yokohama you have Silent Tyre Technology from their passenger range, making this all-terrain tyre surprisingly quiet on tar – and that is what everybody wanted.