The optimization of both off-road and on-road performance is a relatively new automotive development. Whereas it used to be a zero sum arrangement between the two performance themes, nowadays modern 4x4 truck and SUV owners can achieve both. Increasingly, the seamless blending of on- and off-road performances is becoming an expectation.
A case in point is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. "Trail Rated®" from Jeep, the Trailhawk gives up little in the way of on-road performance and comfort to achieve its off-road credentials.
4x4 truck & SUV tire development is reflective of this automotive evolution and diversification of performance, especially in the all-terrain tire category. Modern all-terrain tires like the Bridgestone Dueler A/T REVO 3 are engineered to give a tangible boost to off-road performance without too much compromise in on-road driving dynamics, comfort, and efficiency (fuel consumption).
As luck would have it, we've got the dual-purpose Trailhawk and a set of the new Dueler A/T REVO 3. How does the pairing deal with the numerous challenges posed by Michigan's rugged on- and off-road environments?
Here's a sneak peek into what REVO 3 buyers can expect.
Unpacking the Dueler A/T REVO 3
Okay, before we get rolling, let's nerd out and take a gander at the REVO 3. (Everyone does this with new tires, right?)
Observation 1 isn't particularly scientific, but well, this is a darn good looking all-terrain tire. We struggle to find one angle from which the REVO 3 isn't a looker.
The REVO 3 sidewall is standout with both functional and aesthetic features. The staggered shoulder lugs extend down onto the sidewall and subtly portray advanced traction capabilities.
Where the shoulder lugs terminate on the sidewall is a textured section that creates an awesome transition to the branding elements. In the case of our 265/60R18 sized test set, and most (but not all) REVO 3 sizes and specs, "Bridgestone" and "Dueler A/T" are featured in raised white letters. The Bridgestone "B" logo and "REVO 3" elements are contrastingly carved into the sidewall. (Note that if the raised white letters aren't your cup of tea, the opposite sidewall is black only. And since the REVO 3 is not directional, either sidewall can be mounted outward.)
REVO 3 tread features Bridgestone's new Traction Claw™ Technology. This aggressive new tread pattern is intended to provide additional grip in off-road and snow conditions. Our REVO 3 test set is equipped with 12/32" tread depth. Some REVO 3 sizes deliver up to 17/32".
The very wide circumferential grooves and various exit pathways are conducive to water evacuation and wet road traction.
The REVO 3's tread pattern is symmetric and non-directional, which allows for optimum tire rotation patterns and maximum mileage potential.
Additional REVO 3 tread features of note:
- "Groove Stepping" stiffens tread blocks, contributing to on-road handling stability and long treadlife.
- 3D steps and staggered shoulder edges grab onto terrain and add "lateral" traction.
- Sipes throughout the tread blocks act as biting edges in slippery conditions.
Alright, enough about REVO 3 looks and features -- how's it do on the move?
Dueler A/T REVO 3 On-Road
It's easy to get caught up in the adventure capabilities of an all-terrain tire and overlook the day to day attributes. But the fact of the matter is that most all-terrain tire buyers will spend the majority of their drive time on-road where the comfort factor is vital.
According to Bridgestone's internal ratings, the REVO 3 isn't quite an equal to road-focused, SUV/truck all season tires like the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus. Specifically, the REVO 3 doesn't match the Alenza Plus for quietness.
From behind the wheel that increased road noise is pretty hard to identify. Consistent, low frequency feedback starting at about 35-40 mph is perceptible, but not at all disruptive or annoying inside of the cabin. We'd suggest that it would be difficult to identify the REVO 3 as an all-terrain tire on the basis of elevated road noise characteristics, which speaks to its optimization in this area.
We've found the REVO 3 to be likewise optimized as far as performance on dry roads --
The REVO 3 generates positive and immediate handling. There's no sense of delayed response from steering input to vehicle behavior, or tread squirm. Even pushed on 180° highway ramps the REVO 3 stays consistent and planted. Behavior under maximum braking and ABS engagement is consistent and satisfactory as well. We think that SUV and truck drivers will find little to fault with the REVO 3's dry road handling and grip characteristics.
No news is good news when it comes to traction in wet conditions --
The REVO 3's wide circumferential grooves, water evacuation pathways, and sipes contribute to drama-free wet road performance. When a tire is capable of slinging some mud, a bit of standing water isn't typically going to be a problem. Speaking of…
Dueler A/T REVO 3 Off-Road
Off-road performance is the payoff and upside of all-terrain tires like the REVO 3. They might not be quite as optimized for on-road performance, but in return all-terrain tires open up overland and adventure opportunities that simply aren't possible (or at least prudent) with many OE truck and SUV tires.
To validate the REVO 3's off-road performance we've put it through its paces across a range of conditions and environments. Loose sand and mud, wild grasslands & stumps, steep hillclimbs, mild rock gardens. Our goal is to test in conditions that are likely to exceed what you'll encounter. In summary, we went looking for trouble with the REVO 3… and found fun.
The REVO 3 is a clear "stage 2" off-road traction tire -- a distinct cut above road-oriented all seasons -- both in terms of traction across the range of conditions and durability. Avoiding getting stuck is one thing, avoiding punctures and damage is equally important if the aim is to keep rolling. To that end, the REVO 3 delivers puncture-resistance and structural reinforcements absent from many OE truck and SUV tires.
When mated with a capable 4x4, the REVO 3 delivers a level of off-road performance for just about any reasonable adventure. And when you pull back out on the tarmac, there's little to no penalty to pay in exchange. For most buyers in the all-terrain tire segment, that's the right blend of characteristics.
Check out the REVO 3's Traction Claw™ Technology at work in the off-road testing highlights video below.
Note that while we found the REVO 3 to deliver truly solid off-road performance, it is limited as compared to mud-terrain alternatives. If you spend the majority of your time off-road, or venture into truly extreme off-road environments, e.g. deep mud pits, a dedicated mud-terrain (off-road) tire is the more suitable fit.
REVO 3 Fuel Economy (mpg)
All-terrain tires typically require some compromise in fuel efficiency. The bulkier tread blocks and off-road tread characteristics create increased rolling resistance, and therefore lesser fuel economy.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk comes equipped with Goodyear all-terrain tires, which achieve very respectable mpg numbers. With the Goodyears as the reference point we experienced no drop in mpg after fitting the REVO 3.
Like on the subject of comfort, Bridgestone's tire performance ratings indicate that the REVO 3 will not match road-focused tire alternatives for fuel efficiency. In the case of our Trailhawk, however, no fuel efficiency penalty has been experienced.
REVO 3 Mileage & Treadlife Warranty
The REVO 3 is backed by a 60,000 mile treadlife warranty (excludes LT-spec sizes). This mileage warranty is +10,000 as compared to the outgoing REVO 2, and in line with the very best mileage warranties currently offered in the all-terrain tire category.
Groove Stepping and other REVO 3 tread advancements are expected to produce superior mileage. The increased treadlife warranty underscores a clear commitment to long-term use and durability.
REVO 3 Winter Performance
Unfortunately, (well, fortunately if we're to be honest) we didn't have an opportunity to test the REVO 3 in snow this time around.
As previously mentioned, the REVO 3's Traction Claw™ Technology is claimed to advance traction in loose off-road conditions and snow. Given the way the REVO 3 manages loose sediment, we expect deep snow traction to be reasonably strong.
A spate of modern all-terrain tires have qualified for the 3-peak mountain snowflake symbol, which is an indication that a tire meets the industry's severe snow traction performance requirements. The REVO 3 doesn't follow this trend, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the tire is incapable of meeting the requirements. (Or that the qualification isn't pending.)
However, remember that for all-round wintertime traction and performance, dedicated winter tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 remain the standard. The all-terrain tread characteristics of the REVO 3 translate well to loose snow conditions, but when winter road conditions are icy, mixed, dry, wet, and sub-freezing, the dedicated winter tire compound and tread attributes yield significantly better overall performance.
The final word on the Bridgestone Dueler A/T REVO 3…
There's a growing demand for versatile all-terrain tires that are reflective of modern, all-purpose 4x4 trucks and SUVs. The REVO 3 hits the mark.
Enjoy the off-road testing highlights... (Don't miss Traction Claw™ tech hard at work around the 2:00 mark.)