A Tire As Versatile As The Name Would Suggest
Story By: Kyle Callen
Photos By: Tom Leigh
It’s not very often a fresh tire comes on the market and blows me away. Tire technology has progressed at a very high rate up until reaching somewhat of a plateau recently, and most manufacturers of UTV tires produce great products. Whether it’s an all-terrain or purpose built tire, there are very few “bad” options these days; which means we are getting harder and harder to impress. Finite differences in handling, traction, and durability make it hard to tell one good tire from the next good tire. Once a set is worn out, no matter what you switch to, it will be better because you remember the attributes of the worn tire and feel the attributes of the fresh one. We are fortunate enough to run on a lot of different tires back to back to back which gives us a great feel for those finite differences.
Fortunately or unfortunately for ITP, Brandon is usually our test driver for the durability test (for obvious reasons). But, he was on another assignment, so I did do my best to beat these tires up. ITP sent us a set of their Versa Cross V3’s to play with while at the Trail Hero SXS Rally. Bolting a set of 35×10.00R18 to our 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX X MR would be a fun test for this 42lb tire. It wouldn’t be the standard performance test like putting them on a Turbo S, but a test on how well they would perform getting this portal lifted, four seat behemoth through the soft sand, hard pack trails, and gnarly rock obstacles of Sand Hollow.
Exiting the tunnel and heading up the sand trails to the dunes, the ¾ deep lugs on the Versa Cross V3 dug in just enough to accelerate the car forward and not dig a giant hole. In the sand, I was most impressed at the amount of flotation they had. They did a great job keeping the carcass of the tire above the sand and letting the lugs do what they were designed to do. Wherever you pointed the car in four-wheel drive, the tires would make sure that’s where you went with little to no hunting at high speed.
Out of the sand and into the rocks is where I thought they would struggle. I thought the power of the Can-Am through the gear reduction portals would just spin the tires and disintegrate the tread blocks. Hitting some basic rock obstacles before going full tilt, the tires felt like they had good traction and were compliant to the rocks, easily transferring the power to the ground. Getting into the more gnarly stuff, the 8 ply sidewall had enough flex to let the side lugs help the center lugs claw and crawl up anything thrown it’s way. Hitting some rocks with speed, the super-deep rim guard design kept the obstacle from taking chunks out of the wheel while being strong enough to not blow out. With great traction on even the most slippery rock faces, the ITP Versa Cross V3 made it a joy to drive this behemoth through any type of terrain.
Overall I was very impressed with this tire. Add in the fact that it is made right here in the USA and meets DOT standards, and I’d love to get a set to throw on our Polaris RZR Turbo S Velocity, and beat on them through the rough AZ desert.