Cooper Discoverer A/T3 Review & Rating
- Dependable on-road traction
- Excellent off-road performance
- Comfortable ride for an A/T tire
- Improved ice handling
Most off-road drivers will have encountered Cooper’s Discoverer range of high performance tires at some point. Now there’s a new addition to the range – the Cooper Discoverer A/T3. The name means All-Traction, All-Terrain, All-the-Time, which is an ambitious claim. We set out to give it a good test and came away very impressed at the results. Available in 30 SUV and 32 light truck sizes, from 15 to 20 inch rims, this tire should definitely be on your list of you’re looking for some rubber that’s equally at home on and off road.
Dry traction was predictably solid. Of course we hadn’t expected much else, because any decent modern tire will perform well on a dry road, but with the tire being billed as an all-terrain model we wanted to see if it sacrificed anything to gain its off road performance. The good news is, it doesn’t.
The tread of the A/T3 is molded from a silica-based formula for improved traction on wet surfaces, and it gives an edge you can feel immediately. The increased stability quickly gave us the confidence to ease the speed up, and the grip remained flawless. This is a great tire for wet roads.
It’s also a great tire for no roads at all. An aggressive shoulder design and wide, zig-zag grooves are tailor made for soft surfaces, letting the tread get a good bite and maximum traction. Normally, AT tires do not perform all that well in deeper mud, but Cooper has managed to come up with a design that tracks well and doesn’t get bogged down in heavier mud. We aren’t the only ones who have found this to be true as evidenced here. (www.off-road.com)
We were also impressed at how clean they stayed. Even after driving in heavy, wet clay the treads remained almost completely clear. Coming back onto the road we found little mud stuck to the tires.
Cornering – Steering
Tires that work well in mud don’t always perform their best when cornering on roads. We found no such worries with the A/T3, though. Out of the three tires we tested it was a clear winner, staying firmly stuck to the road even when pushed and clearly signaling when it was approaching its limits in plenty of time to do something about it.
The A/T3 is an all-terrain design, not specifically rated for mud and snow, but the long winter gave us a chance to see how it performed in snow and we couldn’t resist. We were very pleasantly surprised by how it coped, too. It’s likely the shoulder pattern helped a lot with the grip, letting us plow through several inches without a single slip. We were able to keep up a good pace with no worries about maintaining control. That said, ice handling is not an area where this tire performs well, which is not real surprising for A/T tires. Use a little extra caution and take it easy.
Ride Comfort – Road Noise
Despite their awesome off-road performance the A/T3 also gets good marks for normal daily use. Road comfort was excellent, although a lower profile size would probably suffer slightly here. We were also impressed at just how quiet they were.
Aggressive treads often make for a noisy tire on-road, but the Coopers were amazingly refined. In fact, they are some of the most comfortable and quiet all-terrain tires we’ve driven. If you’re looking for a tire that performs well in the rough but still provides a relaxing ride on the way to the office these could be exactly what you’re after. They’re available in three speed ratings too – R, S and T.
With a UTQG rating of 560 the tread should be good for around 55,000 miles, which considering its affordable price makes it an economical choice. The high quality silica compound plays a big part in this durability.
Cooper has put some effort into making these tires as durable as possible, and their attention to detail shows. The sipes are arranged in a zig-zag pattern, which cuts down stone. The lateral grooves have serrated steps for the same reason, and we were very impressed at how few stones we found at the end of the course. This should make a big difference to the life of the tires if you spend a lot of time on unfinished roads.
The Cooper A/T3 is warranted for 55,000 miles, which ties in nicely with its wear rating.