The truck came from the factory with Bridgestones A/T tires. A/T stands for All Terrain, but these tires are really a mix of on and off-road with the accent towards city and highway. They lasted 30,000 kilometers, which isn’t that much but they took a real beating in 2018 on the trip to Tierra Del Fuego. Just on that trip I put 12,000 km on the truck, with a lot of kilometers on gravel and rocks, and even volcanic rocks. After that trip the tires were cut and worn. It was time for an upgrade. Welcome to the Pirelli Scorpion MTR.
Why Pirelli? Pirelli isn’t the first manufacturer that comes to mind when talking about off-road tires. There are many others brands that will come before. One might not even think of Pirelli as an off-road tire manufacturer. The answer is that here in Argentina Pirelli is very present because it manufactures its tires in Brazil. There is in South-America a sort of economic union called Mercosur. The products from Mercosur are taxed favourably compared to products imported from overseas. The Pirelli MTRs are significantly more affordable than say BFGoodrich, roughly 37% cheaper. Also the new Ford Rangers now come from the factory mounted on Pirelli Scorpion ATRs. The Ford Ranger Storm, a concept truck showed in Brazil, is mounted on the Scorpion MTRs. If Ford trusts Pirelli, I can give them a chance.
Why the Scorpion MTRs? Simply because I wanted a more aggressive tire than the stock ones, since I drive quite a bit off-road. The Scorpion MTRs come in a limited range of sizes but there is one size that really works for me. The stock tires are 255/70R16 and I wanted to increase the diameter to gain some needed ground clearance, but I didn’t want to go more than 5 or 6% taller. The Pirelli Scorpion MTRs come in 265/75R16 which is an increase of exactly 5%. That means a gain of 4 cm in diameter and 2 cm of additional ground clearance, and 1 cm in width. They fill the wheel-wells better, look nice but discreet since they don’t look as aggressive as the new BFGs Mud-Terrain. I had BFGs in the past and was always very satisfied with them, but I find the new range calls a lot of attention with the aggressive sides and the white lettering.
Why not upgrade the rims? I thought about it long and hard. I would have chosen rims with a bit less offset to bring the wheels out a touch – for visual satisfaction. But, I didn’t want showy alloy rims. Here in Argentina most alloy rims are made in China and are of a questionable quality, and US-imported rims are very expensive. Then for intensive off-road use it is considered more reasonable to drive on steel rims. They can absorb a strong impact better than an alloy rim, which could simply crack. A steel rim, if damaged can be repaired or easily replaced. An alloy rim could be hard to obtain outside of a large city. And for the visual maybe it isn’t worth the trouble. Also going with a wheel with less offset puts more strain on the suspension and steering components, increasing the risk of trouble in an inopportune moment. I decided to save my money and keep the stock rims. I can always upgrade later if I really want to. So here we are. Now I have to see how the Pirellis will perform.
First impression: The tires look cool and they mean business. They definitely changed the appearance of the truck and make it look like what it was supposed to be from the factory but wasn’t: a 4×4 vehicle that can go to remote places and back. Driving home I could get briefly close to a hundred km/h. They handle well and are as comfortable as the stock tires, but just a touch noisier as the speed increases, but not unreasonably. The potholes and bumps don’t seem to hit harder than before. The acceleration, steering and breaking feel just like before. My first impression is really good. I will report once I get more experience with them. Photos & video report coming soon!