Both the Goodyear Ultraterrain and Falken Wildpeak AT3w are all terrain tires, which are aggressive enough to take you on rugged terrains and optimized enough to stay smooth on pavements.
Both of these tires are 3 peak mountain snowflake rated, and besides snow, they are also great on other terrains, including rocks and sand, but be careful with them on mud. Let’s find out more about these tires, starting with their tread pattern.
Falken Wildpeak AT3w
Central area of Goodyear Ultraterrain consists of sharp triangular shaped blocks with deep notches in them.
These notches/incisions face towards the center of two more unique blocks (where green one is slightly smaller than the blue one).
Overall all these 3 blocks make a somewhat triangular shape pattern with very minimal siping on the (red highlighted) sharper blocks.
All these central blocks are prominently separated (by zigzag circumferential grooves) from shoulder blocks which have notches facing inwards and rectilinear siping.
On the other side, the Falken Wildpeak shows a very simple, yet aggressive pattern in comparison.
It shows sharp Z shaped blocks which is surrounded by smaller blocks (with notches facing in all directions).
These blocks also make a more prominent pattern of rectilinear siping and is also divided by a wide circumferential grooves by its shoulder blocks.
If we compare the shoulder blocks of both tires, the Goodyear UltraTerrain features very similar looking blocks with very less varying sizes.
They have incisions facing the central blocks and have rectilinear siping.
These blocks are not serrated but still have sharp off set edges.
But these blocks are not as aggressive as the Falken Wildpeak AT3w, where you see multiple saw tooth like edges and bulkier sidewall lugs, which during sidewall flexing grab and pull in a much better way.
The thicker lugs of the tire is also backed up with it’s inner durable construction, discussed below (in durability section).
Wet Road performance:
When it comes to wet performance, there are two things highly significant, one is the traction of course and other is hydroplaning, which is often overlooked, but it has a deep role to play here.
Although the Goodyear UltraTerrain has dual siping and a softer compound which aid these sipes with flexibility so they can remove water off, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w is superior in both wet grip and handling times (on average).
This is because Wildpeak does everything right, first, it’s shoulders take on much more space of the tread and this adds to the stability, second, these shoulders are equipped with 3d wave like siping, which on corners interlock (contract from one edges and expand from the other), so the blocks get more flexibility and sipes remove water away more effectively.
And 3rd, as you’ll see below, the tire is better at hydroplaning, so if the tire is effectively cleaning off the water, there is less water for the sipes to deal with, and this enhances the overall traction.
The Falken Wildpeak has the advantage of deeper block valleys. On average it goes up to 17/32″, where some sizes even have up to 19/32″ (you see this much in more aggressive mud terrain tires).
So with that, the tire is able to take on much more water, and it efficiently moves it out of its grooves.
The tire also allows better lateral movement of water, where the Goodyear UltraTerrain, with less wider lateral grooves, and foundations underneath the blocks restrict the movement of water (when compared).
Performance on Dry Roads:
The dry performance, in case of all terrain tires, although depend of a number of factors, the most important ones out there is the overall steering response, grip and cornering of these tires.
Let’s discuss these all.
Dry Traction differences:
On dry roads, both tires show very similar grip, as they offer a lot of biters and griping is not an issue with them.
They also provide with optimized rubber to road contact, and their soft rubber sticks on asphalts very nicely.
Similarly, in case of handling, although there was a slight difference, both tires are again very much alike here as well.
But if we still have to pick one here, you can say Wildpeak provides a slightly better traction overall.
Responsiveness and cornering:
In terms of cornering stability, the Falken Wildpeak does much better, the tire with it’s stiffer inner construction, provides the shoulder blocks the stability they need, as the tire sides come alive during cornering.
But the response is seen better on Goodyear UltraTerrain, the tire shows smaller delays between the steering and the feedback, compared to Wildpeak.
It also gives you a more comfortable steering, where Falken Wildpeak AT3w seems a little harder, this is mostly due to the tire’s heavier weight.
Durability of both tires:
Both tires seem equally durable at first, as they both have 2 ply of polyester casing construction, which is layered with 2 high strength steel belts and 2 layers of nylon on the very top under the rubber.
But the Falken Wilpeak AT3w, does a few things more to protect the weakest part of the tire, the sidewalls.
It offers 2 more layers of polyamide (a polymer), just dedicated to the sidewalls, as these layers run around the tire’s bead (around the rim). So, on sidewalls, this tire is actually giving you 2 ply polyester casing, layered with 2 more layers of another polymer, which is then covered with thicker rubber lugs.
So in case of durability, there’s no doubt which is better.
The Falken Wildpeak AT3w is superior in terms of rock climbing, although both tires offer enough biting edges, Wildpeak, has a softer compound with aggressive sides that provide the best combination of lateral and circumferential traction, but mostly lateral.
The lateral traction component is highly important on rocks, its protects the tire from slipping sideways, especially in wet conditions, so Wildpeak with it’s aggressive sides and interlocking sipes does it better.
On the other side, the Goodyear Ultraterrain is not too far off, the tire also offers a soft enough compound, and with numerous biters, it’s hugs the rocky surface firmly, but the only thing where this tire lacks is sidewalls, they are not so powerful both from the inside and out.
The tire offers just 2 ply inner construction, like seen in the durability above. So Falken Wildpeak AT3w with 2 extra layers of polymer on sides and bulkier lugs provide better efficacy.
The thicker lugs of Wildpeak play a huge role in traction, when you air/pressure down these tires, they provide this tire with extra footprint, that grabs rocky surface much more effectively.
Can these tires handle Mud?
When it comes to muddy terrains, one of the most required feature needed in a tire is it’s cleaning ability. Also you don’t want the tire to be a good digger, you want to be able to move forward and being lighter in weight also helps.
Now saying the above, although both tires are not going to impress you, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w would be slightly better, in terms of evacuation of mud, the tire offers deeper tread blocks (in fact it’s the deepest in the category), so it’s going to give you a better flow rate that way.
The tire is also good at cleaning the mud laterally, and that’s what you want, as the central blocks break down the particles and the escape from the sides.
The UltraTerrain although has an edge of being light in weight (on average), and the tire does not dig as much, but the reinforced foundations underneath it’s central blocks, limit the flow of mud laterally.
But the difference is only marginal.
In terms of winter traction, there are couple of things to be sure of. The nice thing about both of these tires, is that they are both 3 peak mountain snowflake rated. This test actually tell you that these tires are good on snow, compared to all season tires (it’s not an affirmation of their braking or handling performance).
But the surprising thing is both tires show very similar performance here.
In case of Goodyear UltraTerrain, the tire although has dual siping like the Falken Wildpeak AT3w, the ones on the shoulder blocks are not interlocking and they are not as efficient. Where on Wildpeak with it’s wave like sipes, its able to grab more snow in it.
This is better because the lodged snow enhances friction on snow. Ultraterrain also has this to it’s advantage, as it offers more biters in the middle that does the same job for it.
Moreover, both tires although don’t have staggered shoulders, they have enough sidewall biters to cut through the deep snow. So both of them can take up to 2 feet of snow without any problem (given the tires are under a skilled driver).
And although the Falken Wildpeak AT3w has a slightly softer compound, both of these tires don’t stiffen up with freezing temperatures (that’s why winters tires are made so soft).
What’s the Verdict?
Both tires are a good option if you want to do 50/50 on and off road, but still, Falken Wildpeak AT3w does things a little bit better. The only areas where this tire lacked to Ultraterrain, is wear, fuel economy, and cornering stability.
But other than that, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides you with greater traction overall on both dry and wet roads, and has better hydroplaning resistance. And of course off road, the tire provide better durability and very deep tread voids which are efficient in self cleaning.
The bulkier sidewall lugs which are protected with 2 layers of polyamide, provide amazing snow traction during flexing sidewalls.