I put new Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor tires on the Xterra Offroad about 10-days ago to replace the worn out BFG AT/KO tires. These are my first opinions comparing the two very fine AT class tires.
Vehicle: 05 Xterra Offroad with OEM suspension. 265-75/16 size tires.
Tire Ratings: Both are rated Severe Snow by the manufacturers and have the snowflake on a mountain symbol stamped on them. The BFG AT was load range D and the Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor is load range E Prograde.
Service Life: The BFG AT tires lasted 50K miles. Have 500 miles on the Goodyear Wrangler SA tires.
I have 15K miles on the Goodyear SA now. No visible wear although I have not measured the tread depth. Advantage Goodyear SA on the Xterra since I was able to see some wear to the BFG AT/KO by this kind of milage. I have not mentioned this previously but I had prior experience with the BFG AT/KO on my 2001 Frontier SC/CC 4wd. The BFGs were great on the Frontier and overall were a hassle on the 2005 Xterra Offroad. Different suspension type, different steering type, and different weight makes a difference I believe.
Dry Highway Handling - Advantage Goodyear Wrangler SA: Initially, the Goodyear Wrangler SA had a bit of oversteer but this moderated to a very nice handling personality. Probably, the Goodyear Wrangler SA tires needed a few heat cycles or to wear off some tire mold release compound.
Tire pressure definately affects handling for the Goodyear SA Load Range E. At 35 psig, there is a bit more oversteer than I like. At 45 PSIG, they feel kind of unstable, squirly. 40 PSIG seems to be the sweet spot for tire pressure and am running this in both front and rear. Because of the much stiffer sidewall than the BFG AT/KO in Load Range D, the Goodyear SA handles much better in high speed cornering situations. Frankly, the Goodyear SA feels like a performance tire as compared to a sissy car tire. The suspension is doing much more of the work without mushyness from wiggling sidewalls. Advantage to the Goodyear SA Load Range E.
Dry Highway Ride - Advantage BFG AT/KO: The BFG was load range D and the Goodyear Wrangler SA is load range E. The firmer sidewalls of the load range E are noticable but the ride is not harshly rough by any means. Right now though, the Goodyear Wrangler SA has a slight humming vibration that you can feel in the steering wheel and detect with your butt planted in the seat. This is coming from pebbles and such in the pavement I think. I probably don't have the tire pressure completely optimized yet and perhaps the Goodyear Wrangler SA will break in some to where one or both of these factors could smooth things out more. I'll update on this in the future after getting more miles on the tires.
Now that I have gotten the tire pressure in what I think is the right place (about 40 psig) I can give a better description. The first impression above was at 45 psig and by going with the lower pressure, the hum felt through the steering wheel has diminished. Still though, advantage BFG AT/KO Load Range D.
Wet Highway - Advantage Goodyear Wrangler SA: The Goodyear Wrangler SA has more siping than the BFG AT/KO and this seems to result in better water evacuation from the tread footprint. The Goodyear Wrangler SA is also more resistant to hydroplaning than the BFG AT/KO.
Snow Highway - Update 2 - Finally got some highway/town driving in snow a couple of weeks ago on the Goodyear Wrangler SA. Traction was excellent on packed snow and slush. The streets and highways were lousy enough that I had the 4wd-hi engaged for 3 days continuously to deal with maybe 6 inches of poweder snow with sleet then falling on top of the snow. Made good ice! Have about 35K miles on the tires now. Been too long since running the BFG AT/KO to where I have a valid opinion comparing the two.
Offroad Dry Rocks - No Data: Haven't had the tires offroad in dry conditions yet.
I've wheeled in dry conditions now and I can't tell much difference between the two tires. I'll rate this a toss up between BFG AT/KO and Goodyear SA.
Offroad Wet Rocks - Equivelent: I took the new Goodyear Wrangler SA on a familiar trail while it was raining and intentionally tried to slide off some rocks. No sliding! However, the BFG AT/KO would not side either off of wet rocks on this trail. If I can get on this trail with some snow this winter, I'll try and update on slippery rock characteristics.
Offroad Firm, Wet Dirt - Advantage Goodyear Wrangler SA: I can punch the throttle and darn near get whiplash with little to no wheel spin with the Goodyear Wrangler SA. The BFG AT/KO would give a noticable greater amount of tire spin when doing this.
Wet Clay - Advantage Goodyear Wrangler SA: The Goodyear Wrangler SA tread cleared wet clay much better than the BFG AT/KO. With the variety of clay on this trail, I did not have to spin up the Goodyear Wrangler SA whereas I would occationally need to spin up the BFG AT/KO.
Sloppy Mud - Small Advantage Goodyear Wrangler SA: This is kind of a weak opinion of an advantage for the Goodyear Wrangler SA but maybe I can get a better measure of the differences if any on some other trails.
Tire Durability - No Data: I haven't had enough time on the Goodyear Wrangler SA to compare the two tires. Over the 50K miles of the the BFG AT/KO, they acquired quite a bit of chunking and slicing of the tread blocks and several small sidewall cuts.
No damage to the tread or sidewall on the Goodyear SA. Advantage Goodyear SA if this trend continues.