Off the trail with Vredestein Pinza AT tyres

Are the new Vredestein Pinza AT tyres rugged yet tarmac friendly? We test the all-terrain tyres at an off-road training course to find out.

Vredestein Pinza AT tyres
Vredestein Pinza AT tyres is aiming to target premium SUV brands in the market

When was the last time you actually took some time out and paid attention to the tyres of your vehicle? And we don’t mean checking the tyre pressure. Well, Vredestein, the premium division of Apollo Tyres, recently entered the niche off-road tyre segment in India and we got the opportunity to push the new Pinza AT tyres’ limits at the Learn Offroad training academy at Khopoli near Mumbai.

The cherry on top is the SUV lineup, which was nothing short of an extravagant range of off-roaders starting from the iconic Jeep Wrangler to the Isuzu D-Max V Cross pick-up truck to all-rounders like the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour. No prizes in guessing, we went straight for the military green Wrangler, which is powered by the old-school 3.6-litre V6 naturally aspirated petrol engine. Anyways, let’s focus on the new all-terrain Pinza AT tyres and find out their capabilities. 

Vredestein Pinza AT: What are they? 

With the SUV market thriving and expanding in India, Vredestein has decided to join the bandwagon and cater to the needs of hardcore off-roaders in the premium segment. According to Vredestein, this is a niche class and sells around 12,000 tyres in a year, but the tyre manufacturer is confident that the Pinza all-terrain tyres will meet the needs and requirements for both off-roading and tarmac driving. 

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These made-in-India tyres are exported all over the world including  Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. Currently, the Pinza AT is available in different sizes and in 17, 18 and 20 inches, though Vredestein has confirmed that they will later offer 16-inch all-terrain tyres. Being an all-terrain tyre, the Pinza AT is designed to offer grip and traction on challenging terrains, but according to Vredestein, its stand-out feature is that it remains stable on the tarmac and offers a quiet ride experience. We will explain in further details when we are behind the wheel of the Wrangler. 

Vredestein Pinza AT: Makes short work of harsh terrains

We drove the Wrangler for a short time on the tarmac to reach the off-road course and within a couple of minutes, we realised how on-road friendly the Pinza AT are. Due to the lack of chunky grooves, the rolling noise of the Pinza all-terrain tyres is low and provides stability on-road. Our first impression of its stoppage power was also quite decent. The Pinza AT offers enough grip to compliment the brakes with its effective shorter stopping time. Of course, we would need to spend more time with these tyres, but our first impressions were positive. 

We put the Pinza AT’s through various tests like free falling from a 40-something-degree drop to climbing uphill a rocky trail and of course the articulation test. 

With the first obstacle was driving off the ledge of the hill on the steep slope, we opted for 4-wheel-drive Low, which offers torque at a low gear ratio. What was impressive was that the tyres provided the required traction. The key to confidently overcome downhill and uphill driving is a steady throttle input. 

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The next obstacle was the axle articulation test when one tyre went inside the ditch the opposite rear tyre would be up in the air. With the lack of a consistent and measured accelerator, the vehicle got stuck for a fraction of a second but before we could bat an eyelid, it coolly dragged itself out of the obstacle. The Pinza AT showcased that it can handle high-stress situations by providing optimum control. 

To make things more interesting, we drove into mud sludge. With wider tread patterns, the tyres offered ample traction and the slippery conditions didn’t lead to wheelspin even once. With rugged sidewalls, the tyres remain protected from getting punctured or damaged by the jagged edge of a stone or rock. 

Once we were out of the mud pit, our concern was whether the Pinza AT tyres had enough grip and traction as the upper layer was baked. To our surprise, the all-terrain tyres managed to get rid of all the muck thanks to four herringbone grooves which ensured it is a self-cleaning tread.  

Vredestein Pinza AT: For which SUVs?

Vredestein Pinza AT tyres is aiming to target premium brands in the market like the Ford Endeavour, Isuzu V Cross, Jeep, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Toyota Fortuner. In the affordable range, Mahindra Thar and Tata Harrier owners can also look to upgrade to the Pinza AT tyres. Currently, the company hasn’t revealed the prices, but this range is expected to be slotted 15-20% higher than the regular tyres. Currently, it is only available in 30 to 35 cities.   

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First published on: 21-02-2023 at 08:00 IST
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