Product Road Test: Hankook Dynapro RF10 All-Terrain Tires
Finding the right balance between street and dirt
I was invited to see these tires in action on some of California's most challenging trails and twisty highways in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear Lake. We staged up early at the Knickerbocker Mansion Country Inn, where we were treated to a wonderful breakfast before we hit the trails and pavement. Our test fleet included a 2006 Nissan Xterra 4x4 and a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited equipped with Hankook RF10 All-Terrain Tires. I was excited to see the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. I've taken Truck Trend's long-term Wrangler out on a few adventures on its stock tires, which gave me a base to judge how these new RF10s would handle.
We were in good hands for this trip. Our team was led by Don Alexander, who has quite the history as a respected test driver, writer, and racer. He holds the title for driving the world's fastest pickup truck at Bonneville in 2002, hitting 222.139 mph in the Gale Banks Sidewinder -- a Dodge Dakota with a 5.9-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine. Alexander lives to drive and has hit nearly all the trails in the San Bernardino Mountains and then some. Also on board was Malcolm Buckeridge who works with Don on creating a local off-road TV show and off-roading school.
Don and Malcolm started the trip by explaining their thoughts about these new tires. Our first run was a quick jaunt down the back side of the mountain on highway 18. I rode shotgun with Don in the Nissan Xterra as he whipped around the corners to show how the tires had the sticking ability to get around tight turns at average speeds. The RF10s performed as promised, with less noise than other all-terrain tires I've ridden on. I was impressed with the lack of humming on the highway. We switched seats once we reached the base of the mountain, and I worked my way back up the highway feeling the road in much the same way as before; once again the tires stuck to the road as a performance tire should.
According to Hankook representatives on our trip, the RF10s were designed to make daily on-road driving and off-roading more comfortable without compromising performance from either platform. I was impressed with the sticky grip of these tires as we ran up and down the highway. I've driven this highway more times than I can count. As an avid driver, my personal vehicle is setup with high-performance tires to handle these same curvy roads. I've also driven here in several different makes of SUVs. I was surprised that the RF10s felt as sporty as they did on the Xterra and Wrangler. I was able to take the corners and curves with ease, which I find harder to do in the other SUVs I've driven on this road.
The Dynapro RF10 ATs feature an all-new tread design with a seven-to-eight-percent-wider footprint over conventional all-terrains. This new tread involves an aggressive tiger-tooth pattern with deep wave kerfs to reduce heat, extend the tread life, and increase performance on wet roads. Another gripping additive is to the tread-block edge that features a zigzag cut that provides more grip in wet, icy, and dry conditions. Between the tread blocks, tiered side grooves provide less movement of the tread block for increase performance and safer cornering. The tiered side grooves also act as stone ejectors. Their step-like shape more easily expels rocks from the grooves to protect the tire and prevent damage without lost of traction. Scallop grooves between the tread blocks increase off-road traction with this new patent-pending design. The outer tread blocks also have angled side grooves on the exposed side just above the sidewall teeth, which enhance wet traction with a self-cleaning ability that easily pushes mud away.
The RF10s sidewalls have a thick, rugged, wraparound tread whose chunky teeth protect against punctures, cuts, and impact brakes while providing better traction on trails and in mud and snow. A larger rim cushion helps protect wheels from curb or rock damage. It also protects the redesigned sidewall from separation that might occur with low tire pressure. The sidewall of the tire is composed of a thicker-gauge rubber. When tire pressures are low, the thicker sidewall helps prevent the tire from folding and retains an almost full shape for even heat distribution and less wear.
We turned off the main road to air-down the tires to 19 psi. I jumped into the Jeep with Malcolm as my copilot. We continued for a few minutes down a tame dirt road on the mountainside, with Malcolm guiding me over our first set of rocky terrain. It wasn't difficult, but I was still wet behind the ears in off-roading. I soaked up anything he told me. The tires' sticky handling was apparent as we crept over the rocks. There was a strong, secure feeling of control that was missing the time I took our long-term Jeep off-roading.
As we dug deeper down the hillside, we came to a gnarly rock climb. I got out of the Jeep to watch as the Nissan Xterra climbed over the sharp rocks down narrow path. It was amazing to see the RF10s grip onto the rock like pouring water, then getting sucked back up as the wheel continued to turn. The rubber flexed and turned over each rock almost effortlessly. Back in the Jeep, I worked my way down the path as Malcolm guided me ahead. Watching his hands for signals, I squeezed the Jeep down the path. We got through the rough part and made our way to a turnoff for lunch.
After the break, I switched vehicles and was once more in the Nissan with Don. We went up the same trail we descended for a different view of the road and for the performance of the RF10s. The trail back looked a lot more dicey, but the tires easily gripped and got us up the mountainside. Back on the narrow path, Don stepped out to guide me through the rock, but this time he had me focus on a new climb. Toward the end of the path lay a huge boulder. I crept up to it slowly and, as my front left tire easily caught the rock, I centered the wheel on the top. I jumped out of the driver's seat once more to check the twisted body and suspension of what I knew was the Nissan -- but with all dramatic turns and the uneven stance of the wheels that made it less recognizable.
With that trail behind us and plenty of time to spare, Don took us on a second path. Little did he and his team realize, but most of that trail was washed out from rains earlier that month. We went ahead anyway and worked our way around and through some sticky conditions. This trail wasn't as rocky as the first one, but it still presented obstacles that really put the RF10s to work.
When we were over the trail, Don told me I have great throttle and braking control for someone who's never climbed rocks before. It was really the great coaching and performance from the RF10s that made me look like a pro. Make that a pro rock climber trapped in a speed-freak's body.
|S-Code||Size||Ply Rating||LI & S/S||Application|
|2001372||LT235/75R15||6||104/101R||Most Pickups & SUVs (97-05)|
|2001373||LT265/70R16||8||117/114R||Dodge Dakota Pickup(06), Mitsubishi Raider(06)|
|2001403||LT305/70R16||10||124/121R||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001375||LT225/75R16||10||115/112S||Most Pickups & SUVs(97-07)|
|2001376||LT245/75R16||10||120/116S||Most Pickups & SUVs(97-07)|
|2001312||LT265/75R16||10||123/120R||Chevy Silverado Pickup(05-07), Ford Excursion(00-05) /F250(03-04)/F350(99-04), GMC Sierra Pickup(06-07)|
|2001378||LT285/75R16||10||126/123R||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001404||LT315/75R16||8||121R||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001380||LT215/85R16||10||115/112R||Chevy Silverado Pickup(03-07), Dodge Ram Pickup(97-99), Ford F350(97-03), GMC Sierra Pickup(03-07)|
|2001381||LT235/85R16||10||120/116R||Dodge Ram Pickup(00-02), Ford F250(97-04)/F350(97-04)|
|2001382||LT245/70R17||10||119/116R||Dodge Ram Pickup(03-07), Ford F150(04-07)|
|2001383||LT265/70R17||10||121/118S||Dodge Ram Pickup(03-07), Ford F150(02-03)/ F250(05-07)/F350(06-07)|
|2001405||LT285/70R17||10||126/123S||Dodge Ram Power Wagon(05-07)|
|TBD||LT295/70R17||10||121/118R||Lift up : Pickups & SUVs|
|2001386||LT245/75R17||10||121/118S||Ford F250(05-07)/ F350(05-07)|
|2001387||LT235/80R17||10||120/117R||Dodge Ram Pickup(03-07)|
|2001427||LT325/60R18||10||124/121S||Lift up : Pickups & SUVs|
|2001406||LT275/65R18||10||123/120S||Ford F150(04-05)/F250(05-07)/ F350(05-07)|
|2001418||LT285/65R18||8||121/118S||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001428||LT325/65R18||10||127/124S||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001419||LT275/70R18||10||125/122S||Ford F250(05-07)/F350(05-07), Dodge Ram1500(00-01,05)|
|2001432||LT285/55R20||10||122S||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001433||LT305/55R20||10||121/118S||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001429||LT325/60R20||10||126/123S||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001430||LT325/50R22||10||122S||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|2001370||31X10.50R15||6||109R||Chevy Blazer(97-03)/S-10(97-03), Dodge Dakota(97-00),Ford Ranger(02-05), GMC Jimmy(97-02)/Sonoma(97-01), Toyota Tacoma(99)|
|2001371||33x12.50R15||6||108R||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|S-Code||Size||LI & S/S||Application|
|1008665||P255/65R16||106T||Dodge Dakota Pickup(01-07), Nissan Frontier Pickup(00-03), Nissan Pathfinder(00-04)|
|1008666||P225/70R16||101T||Jeep Cherokee(00-01), Wrangler Sahara(99-03),Toyota Highlander(01-07)|
|1008717||P235/70R16 XL||107T||Ford Explorer(02-07), Ford F150(98-04), Ford E150(04-06), Mazda Tribute (01-06), Jeep Liberty(02-05)|
|1008668||P245/70R16||106T||Dodge Dakota Pickup(03-07), Dodge Durango(03), Ford Explorer(02), Isuzu Rodeo(99-03), Jeep Grand Cherokee(99-00),Toyota Tundra(01-06)|
|1008669||P255/70R16||109T||Ford Expedition(98-02)/Explorer(98-05)/F150(98-03), Mitsubishi Montero(00-04)|
|1009326||P265/70R16||111T||Chevy SUV&Pickup, Dodge Pickup, Ford F150(02-03), GMC Yukon(98-06), Nissan Pickup & SUV, Toyota Pickup & SUV|
|1008718||P225/75R16 XL||106T||Jeep Grand Cherokee(99-04)/Liberty(05-07)/Wrangler(07), Isuzu Rodeo(00-04), Dodge Pickup(98-01)|
|1008719||P235/75R16 XL||109T||Chevy Express(03-06)/Pickup(99-07)/Savana(03-06), GMC Sierra Pickup(99-07)|
|1008672||P245/75R16||109T||Chevy, Dodge, GMC Pickup, Jeep Wrangler(07), Toyota Tacoma(05-07)|
|1008708||P265/75R16||114T||Chevy Silverado Pickup(04), GMC Sierra (04), Nissan Frontier(05-07)/Pathfinder(05-07)/Xterra(05-07)|
|1008720||P235/65R17||103T||Jeep Grand Cherokee(01-07)|
|1008673||P245/65R17||105T||Ford Explorer(03-07), GMC Envoy(02-07), Honda Ridgeline(06-07), Jeep Grand Cherokee(05-07), Mercury Mountaineer(03-07), Nissan Pathfinder(02-04)|
|1008675||P265/65R17||110T||Dodge Dakota Pickup(05-06)/Durango(04-07), Nissan Frontier(02-07)/Pathfinder(05-07)/Xterra(02-07), Toyota 4Runner(03-07)/Tacoma(05-07)/Tundra(04-06)|
|1008676||P245/70R17||108T||Chevy Silverado Pickup(05-07), Dodge Durango(04-07)/Ram Pickup(02-07), GMC Sierra Pickup(05-07)|
|1008678||P265/70R17||113T||Chevy Avalanche/Silverado/Suburban/Tahoe(01-07), Dodge Ram(02-07), Ford Expedition/F150(01-07), GMC Sierra Pickup/Yukon(01-07), Toyota FJ Cruiser(07)|
|TBD||P255/75R17||113T||Jeep Wrangler(07), Lincoln Navigator 4x4(00-02)|
|1008681||P265/60R18||109T||Dodge Dakota Pickup(07)/Durango(06-07), Ford F150(04-07), Lincoln Mark LT(06-07), Toyota 4Runner(06-07)|
|1009329||P275/65R18||114T||Ford F150(04-07), Lincoln Mark LT(06-07)|
|TBD||P255/70R18||112T||Ford Expedition(07), Toyota Tundra(07)|
|1009331||305/50R20 XL||120T||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|
|1009332||275/55R20 XL||117T||Chevy Avalanche/Silverado/Suburban/Tahoe(05-07), Dodge Pickup(02-04), Ford F150(06-07), GMC Sierra(06-07), Toyota Tundra(07), Lincoln Mark LT(06-07)|
|1009333||P275/60R20||114T||Dodge Ram Pickup(02-07)|
|1009334||305/45R22 XL||118T||Lift up : most Pickups & SUVs|