JK Tyre, widely recognized as one of the leading brands behind Indian Motorsports recently launched their all new Ranger Series of tyres in Panaji, Goa on July 26. Ranger is a multi-terrain, high performance SUV tyre series, meant to cater to the SUV segment in India. With the Ranger series, JK Tyre aims to augment its presence in one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian auto industry i.e. the Sports Utility Vehicle segment. JK Tyre will also export the new range of tyres to its international markets.
We got to experience Ranger AT on a specially designed off road track in Gurgaon, meant to test the toughness, reliability and traction offered by the new range of tyres. Must we say, the new line of tyres impressed us with what we saw and experienced.
The Experience of driving on some torturous terrain
We have done some off-roading very recently on some specially designed tracks in the past
But this experience was different on two counts. Firstly, while in the previous two events, it was the car (or SUV to be more precise) we were experiencing, in this case, we were to sample the footwear of the car and not the car itself. The Ranger A/T tyres were mounted on a Mahindra Thar test vehicle and we must say, the surface to be trodden looked more like a patch from the Red Planet than the planet we reside on.
The second major difference was that in the previous events, the cars had every possible electronic aid and hi-tech off-road features one could want but with these Thars, a lot more driver involvement would be required and we loved the fact.
We strapped ourselves up, made sure no loose objects were sliding around, put the transmission in Low Gear ratio and aligned the Thar between the two chalk lines. First we drove through the articulation section. The pits were deep and the entire load of the car was on one wheel. However, the Superior DUAL Tread Compound and deep thread provided enough traction to pull the beast out of the deep ruts.
One thing where off-roading and racing are similar is that the line is extremely important. So we kept to the line and were out of the tough section easily. Wheels would generally spin with hard throttle but keep your right foot under control and the tyres would claw on to even the loose dirt and pull you out in a jiffy.
Next we were on the tilt section – where our test car was tilted precariously to both right and left side. The tilt angle here was disturbingly higher than what we had experienced in the past. On this section too, we were meant to keep the line, with the steering dead straight, the tyres provided grip good enough not to send us off the line or have the Thar slip.
Coming out of the tilt section, there was a deep crater. Having driven on numerous occasions in UP, such deep craters were no strangers to me. Typically I would be really carefully while dealing with those monsters. Surprisyngly, the Tyres did not break a sweat either going down or up, nor did I feel any slippage. As soon as we got out, we gave the Thar some beans to see how the tyres would do in a straight stretch of muddy trail. While there was some initial spinning, the tyres managed to dig in their claws and pulled the Thar ahead.
The Plateau section was similar to the deep rut section, just that the inclines were above the ground rather than below it. Then came the real fun part – the mud section. A long pit was filled with water and we just powered right through it. While the tyres managed just fine, we did hear a scream from the oblivious photographer standing not too far away who shrieked in the fear of getting his expensive camera splashed. Thankfully no damage was done. The tyres did not spin or lose traction even in soft mud. However, once the mud gets into the grooves and sticks there adamantly, you do experience some wheelspin .
We did come out impressed with the performance of the tyres and would like to see how they fair in the long run after seeing all sorts of terrains and surfaces – tarmac, mud, gravel and sharp stones trying their bit to pierce through that rubber and high road temperatures.
We have often seen that the side walls of these SUV tyres get some beating during off roading as they scrape through rough rocks and stones. The Ranger series features uniquely designed, sturdy sidewall which enables the SUV to run on toughest road hazards with ease and total control and lower probability of damage.
Range of Tyres Available
Ranger tyres are available in two specialised applications, RANGER A/T -for all-terrain performance and Ranger H/T – for tarmac application. The tyres come in 10 sizes and therefore work best with a variety of SUVs available in the Indian market, namely
- Audi Q-series
- Land Rover Freelander
- Nissan X-trail
- And many more.
Sharing his thoughts on the introduction of the new range, Mr. Vivek Kamra, President – India Operations, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd said, “Technology & R&D have been the driving forces at JK Tyre. Aspiring to augment our presence in each and every product segment, Ranger Series is yet another marvel from our state of the art R&D facilities.” He also added, “Being a customer centric company, this product reiterates our commitment to identify new and emerging customer needs and proactively introduce technologically advanced products to keep pace with changing market scenario.”
The Ranger SUV tyres are claimed to have been rigorously tested globally by professional race drivers on various terrains and have been assessed as best in class in handling, grip and braking. JK Ranger AT Series is claimed to stops within 4 seconds; be it dry road or wet road (Dry road 100 to 0 kmph in less than 4 seconds and for wet roads 80 to 0 kmph in less than 4 seconds).
JK Tyre is also considering organic and inorganic growth in the emerging markets of South-East Asia. The company currently has 9 plants across India and Mexico with an annual capacity of around 20 million tyres. JK Tyre is committed to growing its footprint in new geographic regions across the globe.
Claimed features of the Ranger Series:
- All Terrain Performance
- Low Noise and Long Life
- Deeper Grooves for Supreme Grip
- Tougher Sidewalls for Tough Journeys
- Control and Stability
- High Traction Strength on Wet Surface
- Superior Grooves for Strong Wet Grip
- Excellent Steering and Handling
- Quieter Running at High Speeds
Check out the image gallery of the test track and our experience below