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A Detailed Review of the Mastercraft Courser MXT [Mud Terrain] Tire 2018: Affordability Meets High-End Performance

Mastercraft Courser MXT

Product Information Summary

  • Brand/Manufacturer: Mastercraft
  • Product Name: Courser​​​​
  • Product Number: MXT
  • Tire Type: Mud Terrain (M/T)
  • Tread Depth: 18/32” to 21/32”
  • check-square
    Studdable: Yes
  • Vehicles: Light Trucks, SUVs, and Other 4x4s
  • Noise Level: Relatively Low
  • Warranty: 50,000 miles

Highlights of the Mastercraft MXT

  • Aggressive upper sidewall
  • Optimized void-to-rubber ratio
  • Large shoulder scallops and traction edges
  • Wide shoulder grooves
  • Full-depth, variable siping
  • M+S rated

What do you want in a mud terrain tire?

  • Great look?
  • Terrific traction?
  • Exceptional off-road performance?
  • Quiet on the road?
  • Less weight?
  • Hard to beat pricing?

How about all of these (and then some) rolled into one nice package?!

The MT tire space is not for the faint-hearted. Competition is fierce with the Nittos, Toyos, and BFGs often being the go-to options. So much so that it is sometimes easy to miss top performers like the Mastercraft Courser MXT that give the giants a run for their money.

Mastercraft is owned by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company—the second largest tire manufacturing company in the US. And with the Courser MXT, the objective was to manufacture an extreme mud-terrain tire that:

  • offers both aggressive off-road traction and excellent highway handling
  • has low weight​​​​
  • has negligible road noise
  • and has really affordable pricing

The Courser MXT certainly has the pedigree. But in this review, and especially since its predecessor (the Courser MT) was a lil’ rough around the edges, we provide a detailed answer to the all-important question—“Does it hit the mark?”

Mastercraft Courser MXT Review 2018

Sporting a mean look

It all starts with the look doesn’t it?

The Courser MXT is one of the meanest-looking MT tires. Its “side biter” design is edgy, aggressive, and more importantly, attractive.

It’s got all the staples of an extreme MT—wide shoulder grooves, aggressive sidewall, and traction edges. All of these are optimized and cautiously designed to be as functional as they’re attractive. The MXT would definitely get compliments. And there’s nothing as cool as a top performer that’s got the looks to match.

Courser MXT Features

Aggressive Sidewall

mastercraft courser mxt aggressive sidewall

The aggressive sidewall is a big part of the side biter design. And while it looks great, its function is to:

  • improve off-road traction
  • increase resistance to sidewall abrasion (wear, cuts, scratches, and punctures)

Traction Edges and Large Shoulder Scallops

Both are necessary for remarkable off-road traction and better handling.

  • The large scallops scoop mud—Mastercraft calls it the mud-scoop effect
  • While the traction edges on alternating shoulder elements provide additional bite for improved lateral grip

Wide and Deep Shoulder Grooves

For seamless transition, the Courser MXT sports wide and deep grooves between the outer tread that allows for easy, quick clean out. The quick channeling of mud, water, and snow improves grip, stability, and comfort.

In addition, they help keep spontaneous wear on the down low.

Full-depth, Variable Siping

The primary function of sipes is to improve on-road wet traction. That said, in addition to providing good on-road wet performance, Mastercraft implements full-depth siping that:

  • also helps provide extra bite for off-road traction, and
  • remains functional even when the tread is half worn

Optimized Void-to-Rubber Ratio

Mastercraft optimized the ratio of tread on the road to space between the treads in a bit to improve traction and driving feel. And if its performance is any indication, they nailed it.

Furthermore, the Mastercraft Course MXT is studdable—you can add studs—if you so desire (and when the law permits).

Performance

Off Road

As an MT tire, the Mastercraft Courser MXT is designed mainly to be an excellent performer on off-road terrains. And it does put all its headline features to good use, from its shoulder scallops and traction edges to its optimized void-to-rubber ratio.

Off-road, it digs in like claws into anything you throw at it—be it mud, rocks, grass, or dirt; always maintaining great traction. If you want any better traction, you’d have to spend more than double its asking price for a true hardcore off-road tire.

And when you’re switching terrain, it faces no issues clearing the muck.

On Road

With the MXT, Mastercraft opines that shuttling to put it through or back after some hard trail abuse doesn’t have to be unpleasant on a MT tire. The MXT rides great, holds its balance well, wears slowly and nicely, and very importantly, remains quiet on the highway.

Its on-road performance is at the level of, if not better, than what most of its more expensive competition offer.

Wet

Slogging through deep puddles is a cinch on the Courser MXT. This is thanks majorly to its comprehensive, variable, and full-depth siping. It edges many other MTs in this regard, since its siping isn’t implemented half-heartedly.

Mastercraft asserts that 80% of the siping will remain functional, even after tread wear (depth) reaches 50%. This guarantees consistent wet performance over the tire’s lifespan.

Snow

Photo via: https://www.continental-tires.com/car/technology/winter-tire-expertise/winter-tire-markings

Photo via: https://www.continental-tires.com/car/technology/winter-tire-expertise/winter-tire-markings

The Courser MXT has an M+S (mud and snow) rating. Which means it offers decent performance in light to medium snow. It relies mostly on the same features that offer excellent mud performance to cut through the snow and grip the terrain directly.

It isn’t a full-on winter tire by any means, but it would comfortably handle whatever snow most other more expensive MT tires can munch through.

mastercraft courser mxt snow testing

Usage

The Mastercraft Courser MXT is smooth and balance both off and on the road. You’d not experience any vibration or discomfort, regardless of the weather or terrain. And you’d appreciate the fact that it ages well, with slow tread wear. It has a 50,000-mile warranty, which is a testament to how well (and long) Mastercraft thinks it can hold up.

With that said, the MXT’s noise level is relatively low for an MT tire. You’d find it to be a pleasant surprise if you’re replacing a set of the more expensive, weightier, and usually noisier MT tires. Its low road noise is one of the cardinal things owners of the MXT find impressive.

Mastercraft Courser MXT Sizes and Specifications

Mastercraft Courser MXT Sizes and Specifications

Photo via: http://mastercrafttires.com/

Courser MXT Pricing

The fact that virtually all of the MXT’s competition with comparable performance and usability are substantially more expensive (especially when the increased cost on each tire in a typical set of 4 adds up), tells you all you need to know about how good a deal the Mastercraft Courser MXT really is.

It literally sits in its own space with some plus points compared to more expensive MT tires—lower road noise and less weight. And that’s perhaps its biggest draw: Offering you the same exceptional performance and capabilities at a more affordable price point.

Cons

If you are familiar with the performance of MT tires, you’d barely have any issues with the MXT.

Like all MT tires, it wouldn’t hold up to extreme winter as winter tires and 3PMSF AT tires would, it isn’t great in sand, and highway driving & noise may take some getting used to if you’ve only ever used HT (Highway Terrain) tires.

With that out of the way, the Courser MXT is slightly taller than most other MTs of comparable sizes, but with smaller width; which may explain its lighter build. That’s something to keep in mind; although, it doesn’t affect its performance.

In a nutshell

Since we’ve gone at length about the MXT’s remarkable features and performance. Let’s start off by itemizing its most significant pros:

  • Outstanding traction both on and off the road
  • Decent wet and snow performance, grip, and handling
  • Lighter than the competition
  • Less noise than the competition
  • Attractive pricing

Perfect isn’t the word to describe the Mastercraft Courser MXT—it almost certainly isn’t the word to describe any consumer product. But with the Courser MXT, Mastercraft grazes it slightly by offering an excellent MT that is priced aptly.

“Get more for less” would be a rather accurate ad slogan for the MXT. It is more than capable of dealing with rocky, mud, gravel, dirt, wet, snow, or any other rough terrain. And it does it all with as little complaint (noise) as possible, with proper comfort, balance, handling, and feel.

It gives you all the perks of an MT tire, while suppressing associated inconveniences, and just as importantly, without breaking the bank. It’s a great choice for a weekend off-road warrior who does a healthy amount of commuting.

Steven K. Galloway