- Exceptional off-road traction
- Brilliant dry traction and grip
- Above-average puncture resistance
- Self-cleaning and competitively priced
- Not the best in heavy snow
Mud-terrain tires have come a long way. In the middle of the 20th century, mud-terrain tires were developed for one purpose: mud. Their aggressive tread pattern didn’t cut it on dirt and gravel roads. Nor did it help the tires hold their own in rocky terrain.
This disappointed users who wanted an aggressive version of a mud-terrain tire that could come in handy on all off-road terrains. Manufacturers were thus left with two choices: pay no heed to the feedback and risk losing a chunk of their users or read the writing on the wall.
The Achilles Desert Hawk XMT makes clear which decision the manufacturers took. This off-road mud-terrain tire is built for drivers looking for the ultimate off-road performance. Its aggressive tread pattern, biting side blocks, and 3-block pattern lend it stability in mud, rocks, and sand.
In this Achilles Desert Hawk XMT review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this off-road mud-terrain tire. We’ll discuss this tire’s performance on dry tarmac, wet, and snow-laden roads. You’ll also get to know how far it could go in off-road conditions. Read on to know more.
What are the features of Achilles Desert Hawk XMT?
Start with the aggressive tread pattern. A mere glance at the treading design was enough to convince me that I’d get excellent traction out of the tire. Fortunately, the drive proved me correct. Whether I was driving it on mud, gravel, or rocks, the tread pattern kept the tire steady on the road.
Next comes the 3-step tread blocks. Apart from improving the tire’s cornering abilities, they create friction at the point of braking. This reduces the braking distance. Throw into the mix the biting edges in the tread block, which provide extra grip, and a safer driving experience is guaranteed.
Then there is the X-Protection sidewall design. Off-roads are notorious for being filled with spiky elements that can puncture or tear any tire. However, thanks to the X-Protection sidewall, this tire is protected against tears, cuts, and any sharp objects that might come in its way.
Its wide open voids also deserve attention. Their positioning (b/w the massive central blocks) enables the voids to eject any material that might get stuck in the tire, be it mud, sand or rocks. The resulting self-cleaning nature helps the tire retain its traction on all terrains.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
As you may have expected, the performance of Desert Hawk XMT on dry tarmac is below-average. If you spend a lot of time driving on pavement, the Desert Hawk XM isn’t the best choice for you. Here’s why I’m so confident about this.
Mud-terrain tires are designed to offer high traction on soft, slippery surfaces, where their big lugs can go through the softer surface and grip the harder underlying substrate. If you use these tires on dry tarmac, you’ll get worse traction than all-season or even all-terrain tires.
Using this tire on pavement might also accelerate wear. Tires meant for pavement driving are designed to ensure heat dissipation, something this tire’s design lacks. So if you drive it on dry tarmac in the summer, heat will build up, hastening wear.
Loud noise is another problem you might have to tolerate if you decide to use this tire on the highway. This may leave you with no alternative but to crank up the radio to drown out the tire’s hum, which will increase as you press the paddle harder.
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
The Desert Hawk XMT grips the road brilliantly in wet conditions.
Part of the credit for this goes to its 3-step tread blocks. As stated above, the tread blocks create enough friction to reduce the braking distance. They are aided in this by the tire’s biting edges, which further enhance the tire’s traction on slippery roads.
That means that the Desert Hawk XMT won’t skid in slippery conditions. But what about hydroplaning? Does this tire have what it takes to channel water and mud from below its footprint? It does. Its tread pattern gives mud and water an easy passage from beneath the tire.
On the flip side, it is rather soft when cornering on wet surfaces. I also found the tire squirming a bit on twisting roads. But once you remember it is made for 4×4 and light trucks and not a sports car; its wet-performance seems admirable for tires with such an aggressive tread pattern.
How is it over snow?
I wouldn’t be confident using this tire in heavy snow.
It doesn’t feature an M+S (Mountain + Snow) rating awarded to tires with admirable snow performance. The XMT also lacks the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol found on tires that have been tested for acceleration on medium-packed snow.
Still, I didn’t face any problem using it in light snow (about 1 to 1 ½ feet) deep. Its super-aggressive tread pattern cut right through the ice, keeping my vehicle stable. Even after the ice had melted into that black liquid substance, the tire offered excellent grip.
Turning our attention to safety, you don’t have to worry about braking distances. The combination of sidewall biting edges (that provide grip), 3-step tread block (traction), and wide-open voids (which don’t let snow gather under the tire) help it offer a short braking distance.
In short, unless you’re driving in a cold desert, Desert Hawk XMT would work just fine.
Is it comfortable and refined?
The Desert Hawk XMT struggles in terms of comfort and noise.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The combination of large space between the lugs, wide-open shoulders, and an overly aggressive tread pattern make sure you get plenty of noise inside the cabin, especially when you’re traveling at high highway speeds.
What about the off-roads? Noise will still come in as the tire rolls over squishy mud or gravel. But there won’t be any jitters running through your spine as the tire climbs rocks. You won’t feel like something has set your whole body on vibration, an issue with cheap mud-terrain tires.
Is it good for off-roading?
Yes, the Desert Hawk XMT shines when it comes to off-roading.
Achilles’ X-Protection sidewall protects it from cuts, nicks, and other damage caused by sharp objects frequently found in off-road conditions. A 3-step block pattern gives it the bite needed to plow through loose surfaces like a charm.
No surprise for a mud-terrain tire, the XMT boasts excellent mud traction. It owes the credit for this to its aggressive tread pattern. The tread pattern’s aggressiveness helps the tire disperse mud while at the same time maintaining adequate road contact.
Its wide open voids take the tire’s off-road performance up another notch. The voids allow caked mud and sharp objects to fall off easily. Resultantly, the tire’s interior and, more importantly, its footprint stays clean, ready to grip any surface underneath it.
Is the Achilles Desert Hawk XMT ideal for sporty driving?
For obvious reasons, the Desert Hawk XMT is nowhere near good enough for sporty driving.
This tire is designed to fit light trucks and SUVs such as Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500. You can take a short drive at a higher speed, but keep in mind that the tire’s performance or heat dissipation won’t be anywhere near as good as needed for stable, sporty driving.
Achilles Desert Hawk XMT Warranty
Achilles has exceeded my expectations regarding the Desert Hawk XMT’s warranty.
The Desert Hawk XMT comes with the 2nd highest warranty period – 50,000 miles – of any Achilles tire currently on the market. Only the Desert Hawk A/T 2 and Desert Hawk H/T 2 are backed with bigger warranties (60,000 miles each), but none of them is a mud-terrain tire.
Achilles Desert Hawk XMT: Is it worth the money?
The Desert Hawk XMT deserves your attention, especially if you’re a frequent off-roader. This tire has all the attributes to keep you safe on mud, gravel, and rocky terrains.
You won’t experience any problem with this tire’s performance, unless you’re driving it in heavy snow, in which scenario it might struggle for traction. Despite the budget-friendly asking price, the tire fares exceptionally on multiple counts, with its warranty also above-average.
What Vehicles Will the Achilles Desert Hawk XMT Fit?
Here’s a sample of models that the Achilles Desert Hawk XMT will fit:
- Chevrolet Silverado, Colorado, K1500, Avalanche, S10, Blazer, Tahoe
- Dodge Ram, Dakota, Durango
- Ford F-150, Ranger, Bronco, Expedition
- GMC Sierra, Canyon, Jimmy, Suburban
- Hummer H3
- Isuzu Trooper, Hombre5, Rodeo, Amigo S
- Mazda B3 Series
- Mitsubishi Montero
- Nissan Crew Cab, Titan, Pathfinder
- Jeep Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, CJ5, CJ7
- Land Rover Range Rover
- Toyota FJ Cruiser, 4Runner, Tacoma, Tundra
Tire Sizes for Achilles Desert Hawk XMT?
- 235/75-15 109Q BW
- 27/8.50-15 C 95Q BW
- 30/9.5-15 104Q BW
- 31/10.5-15 C 109Q BW
- 32/11.5-15 C 113Q BW
- 33/12.5-15 C 112Q BW
- LT235/85-16 120/116Q BW
- 245/70-16 XL 111H BW
- LT245/75-16 C 108Q
- LT265/70-16 D 117Q
- LT265/75-16 D 123Q BW
- LT265/65-17 D 120Q
- LT265/70-17 D 118Q
- LT285/70-17 D 121Q
- LT305/70-17 D 119Q BW
- 265/60-18 112Q BW
- 33/12.5-20 E 114Q BW
- 35/12.5-20 E BW