Review: BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 | Still worth considering?

Ross Ballot
by Ross Ballot

BFGoodrich’s All-Terrain T/A KO2 has been a dominant force in the all-terrain tire game since its launch. It carries the torch once lit by the original BFG A/T which helped develop the category and made its mark by becoming one of the most popular and easily recognizable choices in the off-road, truck, and SUV tire world. To see if the KO2 is worth the hype, BFG sent us a set to test on our ongoing Lexus GX460 daily-driver-meets-off-roader build.

Photo Credit: Ross Ballot

All-terrain tires have come a long way since BFGoodrich launched its KO2 in 2015. New players in the field have tried to unseat BFG from its throne, but the company has sold 5 million KO2s since its debut; we doubt any other brand has sold more of a specialty light truck tire in that time. After nearly 10 years of the KO2 gracing the streets and trails, BFG is on the eve of launching its new All-Terrain T/A KO3, but we wanted to try out the supposed segment leader before the sun sets on the second-gen tire.

Let’s set the stage. For this test, we swapped out our 285/70/17 E Load rating Toyo Open Country A/T IIIs with a set of 34x10.5R17 D Load rating BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2s. The Toyos measure at a claimed 32.8” tall by 11.5” wide, with the BFGs measuring 33.5” tall by 10.5” wide. On the weight front, the Toyos are 55 pounds to the BFGs at 54 pounds. Every change made to a vehicle undergoing an ongoing "build" must have a goal, and here ours was to gain a little more height from each tire while keeping weight unchanged. Translation: More clearance for improved off-road performance, at no detriment to drive-ability or gas mileage. Tall, skinny “pizza cutter” tires might not have the curb appeal of wider meats, but they tend to have less rolling resistance and perform better in some off-road circumstances. Testing these theories was part of this experiment.

Left: 34x10.5R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 | Right: 285/70/17 Toyo Open Country A/T III | Photo Credit: Ross Ballot

We also swapped wheels at this time, the 17x8.5”, 24.54 pound Motegi Trailites getting changed out for 17x8.0”, 25.31 pound American Racing Baja AR172s. Both wheels have the same offset and backspacing, so the real reason for the swap was for the narrower width which is better for airing down tires off-road, as it allows for a greater contact patch. It also allowed us to change up the looks of the GX at the same time. All-in-all, each wheel/tire combo went from 79.54 lbs/corner to 79.31 lbs/corner, which is a negligible difference. Bear in mind that this isn’t a perfectly scientific test and we're going based on claimed weights, but we want to be transparent in how we review a tire, and part of that entails explaining the parameters from which we are drawing the comparison aspects. It isn’t perfectly apples-to-apples, but it’s as close as we can get when altering up an entire setup.

BFG is certainly playing up its supposed strengths and accomplishments with the KO2. “Baja Champion” is stamped into the rubber, as is the Three-Peak mountain snowflake Severe Snow Rated symbol. BFG includes a 50,000 mile warranty and a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. The tires are offered for wheels ranging from 15” through 22” and it’s available in 92 sizes.

Mounted up, the KO2s look great. We’re a sucker for the old-school vibe, so that meant white letters out when deciding between this and black walls. Though the tires are noticeably narrower than the Toyos, they do stand a bit taller and overall give the GX460 a much more purposeful look.

Something about the KO2's sidewall looks just right on an SUV. Photo Credit: Ross Ballot

On the road, it’s immediately apparent that the extra bit of sidewall and lower load rating allow for a softer, cushier ride than did the Toyos. The BFGs ride quite well for an all-terrain tire, and they don’t have any of the vibration or noise low-speed associated with some more aggressive A/Ts. A key feature of the KO2s are the “Interlocking Tread Elements,” which are an evolution of that which was on the original All-Terrain T/A. This design isn’t noticeable around town, but there is slightly more vibration at highway speed from the tires than we noticed with the more traditional tread pattern of the Toyos.

Traction on dry pavement is obviously a non-issue, and the KO2s fared beautifully in heavy rain, too. Some owners have voiced concerns over wet traction with these BFGs and we're glad to report our testing does not corroborate this worry, though the KO2s are perhaps slightly less confident than the Toyo Open Country A/T IIIs over standing water, or would-be hydroplaning situations. We haven’t tested the KO2s in snow yet, though this will (thankfully) have to wait for next winter.

One other tidbit we noticed on tarmac is that the narrower KO2s display a bit less rolling resistance than the wider Toyos. However, the taller size also means the GX460’s gearing is taxed ever-so slightly more, which is noticeable on longer highway climbs. It’s minor, and this note applies more to those specifically looking to go from the very common 285/70/17 size to the 34x10.5R17 “pizza cutters.” Gas mileage seems unaffected, as does fuel range.

The BFGoodrich KO2s performed flawlessly off-road. Photo Credit: Ross Ballot

Off-road performance is critical with an all-terrain tire, and especially one supposedly as capable as the All-Terrain T/A KO2. Our test included rocks, dirt, mud, sand, hills, water crossings, and so on. Aired down to 17 PSI, the BFGs impressed us in and on every terrain. Traction on the rocks was extremely strong, with the GX’s tires rarely struggling for grip and almost never spinning in trying to gain such. Dirt traction is fantastic, and mud performance was a pleasant surprise with the KO2s clawing well through the muck. Cleaning out once exiting the mud isn’t a strong suit of all-terrain tires and the BFGs’ post-mud pit look is consistent with that notion, though we haven’t pushed the tires to their breaking (i.e., stuck) point in the mud just yet. Overall, the BFGs performed as well or better than the Toyos off-road.

The elephant in the room is the price of this speciality size being tested here. The 34x10.5R17 size carries an MSRP of $452.99 per tire, which is on the higher side for all-terrains and doesn’t compare favorably to $311.62 for the same-size Toyo Open Country A/T III. However, these are the only two mainstream tires available in this size, and you can’t go wrong with either.

All-terrain tires have stiffer competition than ever, and the BFGoodrich All-Terrain A/T KO2 has certainly proven itself as one of the leaders of the pack, even as it hands the baton off to the incoming KO3. Even nearly ten years after its debut, the KO2 is is still a great looking and performing tire that is compliant on road and capable off-road. It only makes us even more excited and hopeful great things from the newest version when it launches properly later this year.

Ross Ballot
Ross Ballot

Ross hosts The Off the Road Again Podcast. He has been in the off-road world since he was a kid riding in the back of his dad’s YJ Wrangler. He works in marketing by day and in his free time contributes to Hooniverse, AutoGuide, and, and in the past has contributed to UTV Driver, ATV Rider, and Everyday Driver. Ross drives a 2018 Lexus GX460 that is an ongoing build project featured on multiple websites and the podcast.

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  • Agnello Agnello on Apr 09, 2024

    I've been fitting KO2s to my suvs for some time now and have never been disappointed. I'm curious, you wrote "All-terrain tires have come a long way since BFGoodrich launched its KO2 in 2015."

    Which other tyres are you thinking of specifically that come close or may have even surpassed their performance?