Bridgestone recently updated their mud-terrain offering with the new Dueler M/T 674 which it markets as a premium off-road tire. The new M/T offering from the Japanese tiremaker has incorporated revolutionary 3D technology to give it superior durability and serious off-road performance with maximum traction and control.
The 3D design gives it more aggressive grooves and tougher shoulder lugs, while the benefits of the buttress design result in better performance with heavy mud. When placed side-by-side with its predecessor the M/T 673, the new tire features a more modern and aggressive-looking tread pattern that is both aesthetic and functional.
To put the new tires to the test, we fitted a set of 265/75R16 tires to a set of Rota Grid Off-Road wheels to our Ford Ranger. The manufacturer given overall diameter of the tire is 804 mm, while all Dueler M/T 674 tires have a 'Q' speed rating which is equivalent to 160 km/h.
While the tire was primarily designed for off-road driving, we also tested it for on-road performance because most applications will be for mixed terrain use unless you live out in the wild outdoors without a zipcode or access to Facebook.
Despite being a mud-specific tire, it performed quite impressively on fast cornering and braking. Don't expect H/P tire speeds though. But the steering response was also quite good. It went through the winding mountain roads we drove on with ease at speeds of 60-70 km/h. Due to the aggressive shoulder lug, you will feel a slight roughness when coming to a stop.
In terms of noise levels, the new tread pattern and compound seems to have reduced normally unbearable mud-terrain noise significantly. They're quite comparable to aggressive ultra-high performance tires at speeds of 80-100 km/h. At 60 km/h and below, it's quite negligible.
Off the road
After trying the tires on the highway and city use, we take it out to the off-beaten path where they truly belong. We drove through varying terrains such as mud, rocky rivers, and a light to moderate trail to see how Bridgestone’s "technology of tough" performs on the great outdoors.
Going through a light uphill trail with occasional mud, we kept the Ranger in 2H and felt the tire effortlessly go through with ease. Approaching steeper uphills with damp soil, we decided to switch to 4H to see if the tires could claw us out in a similar manner and it did so with the same effort.
We also drove through a rocky river just to have a little fun and wash off the mud. The tough tires seemed unaffected by the small to medium-sized rocks and we splashed through like we would on normal rocky road.
Overall the tires have performed quite well on and off-road. There was a significant decrease of around 20% in fuel economy compared to the factory Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires due to higher rolling resistance, the more aggressive tread pattern, and softer compound. Then again, you're not really buying a mud terrain tire to drive on the highway as these are meant primarily for off-road use.
The Bridgestone M/T 674 265/75R16 we tested retails for Php14,950 each and are available at Bridgestone Tire Centers nationwide as well as select retailers. Visit www.bridgestonetires.com.ph for more info.