Long story short, I buck trends. And when it comes to shelling out cash, I want a product that fits my needs over what is cool, trending or flavor of the day! I also research the hell out of a product before buying.
Reviews and recommendations are good and always helpful... but what else is out there?
Living in Utah there is a considerable amount of off-road... but with my profession, many highway miles. I want a tire that does everything very well, even if they don’t excel at one specific thing! The Goodrich T/A K/O came highly recommended but I decided to give the Cooper Discoverer A/T3's a try based on equally high recommendations. On paper, they looked to fit the bill in regard to what I was looking for.
For perspective, My Tacoma is a 2004 TRD 4WD Double Cab. Billy 5100 leveling coil-overs up front set to highest... and Pro-Comp AAL with Billy 5125's.Moving from Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2, in P265/70 which were great wearing tires, giving me 54K miles under aggressive driving through most of those miles.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Moving to a LT tire may not be the best for our Tacomas in regard to comfort or fuel economy…but these "C load" rated tires are not horrible by any stretch. This is one reason I chose the Cooper. Few manufacturers offer a C rated LT tire. And I can imagine that a "D" or "E" load tire having more weight and stiffer side-walls could get uncomfortable and kill fuel economy quickly! To me, the Coopers were a perfect compromise. It took a bit of getting used to, as handling and softness WERE compromised... but not to a degree that I didn't expect. Fuel economy difference has been negligible at best as they are only approximately 5 pounds heavier than the tires they replace. The BFG’s would have been closer to 10 pounds heavier!
Where looks are concerned... I mounted the tires White Letters out. I liked the look with my White truck/Black wheel combo from chancing it with the old B'Stones. I was happy overall. Decently aggressive but not overly so. The tread is very deep compared even to the A/T K/O, (9/16th compared to 7/16th ??) although not as square shouldered. Two notes… I didn't like that there was way too much rubber left from trimming out of the mold. Also, there are no built-in rim edge protectors.
ON ROAD: Handling is very good. NOT as good as the Passenger tires they replace. But again, this is to be expected. I do miss the responsiveness of the passenger rated tires but on the same side of the coin, I rather liked the more truck-like, on-a-rail feel off the line and on the highway. The compromise is much more evident on twisty, mountain passes, where it takes more effort and time to corner. Especially if you like a bit of speed in doing so. A definite plus would be when exiting a turn… the tires pick up on the straight-line much more quickly! Wet road traction is AWESOME! These tires STICK. And they cut through standing water like no other tire I’ve had. Even at highway speeds on a trip to Denver through a downpour. I also, purposely pushed the grip to its limits while making turns on wet surface streets and was unable to break free without considerable effort. No spin on moderately hard launches from the line. (I do have considerable weight in the bed with a loaded tool box and Cargo carrier set-up). The Coopers are also very quiet. Even at highway speeds, the difference over other“P” rated A/T’s I’ve had is hardly measurable.
OFF ROAD: I recently took the Taco out to the Desert north of the Great Salt Lake. A place called Kelton, near Promontory Point, where the East/West Railroads Met. Great area because there is a mix of loose soil, fine sand & steep, rocky bluffs to climb and a wide expanse of open desert with deep, moist, sandy flats to rip through! No real mud to speak of but the sand of the flats is heavy, almost cement-like as it has a lot of organic materials in it and holds moisture from the lake. The closer you get to the lake shore, the wetter and deeper it gets. Only to about 2 inches but it really causes a bog-down. More importantly, a bog that doesn’t END! If you go out more than a mile, you’ve committed! This was a GREAT opportunity to see how the tires evacuate material and evaluate digging power. These tires performed AWESOMELY! An even better test was stopping and then re-gaining traction again from a start. MAN was I impressed! Obviously, these are not mudders but I could swear they were if I didn’t know better! As far as “rock climbing” is concerned… the tires performed admirably. They dig and grip very well over the loose, volcanic soil and conform well to larger rocks when aired down “slightly”. This is NOTa tire for EXTREME rock climbing but for the regular adventurer they are more than adequate. I beat up on them pretty good with no chipping or scars left behind after my trip. I also noticed they did a FAR BETTER job of evacuating stones from the tread than the Revo 2 A/T’s
TREADWEAR: I’ve only put approximately 4500 miles on the Coopers but I can say that my old Bridgestones began to show me wear patterns almost immediately…which was a good thing because it allowed me the opportunity to evaluate early on the best rotation pattern. Again, those tires gave me more than 50K and could have gone longer. The Coopers have showed very little signs of any “patterns” Therefore, I’ve settled on a criss-cross rotation to both axles. The ‘stones went rear straight forward to the front …and the fronts criss-x to the rear. I expect 60K easy from the Coopers!
SNOW/ICE: I was informed that although these tires don’t carry the “snowflake” symbol, it is a matter of Cooper not submitting them for testing. Knowing from my career experiences how these test certifications work and the costs associated with them, it makes sense that Cooper’s philosophy is to keep costs down and let real world performance be evaluated where it makes the most sense… On your vehicle with you at the wheel! I expect great things from these tires in the snow and will post soon.
CONCLUSION: Sans snow and ice… and I expect great things…(See update below) These tires aren’t just good A/T tires, they’re GREAT A/T tires! They are the perfect tire for someone like me that doesn’t want to sacrifice any specific thing for greater performance in another area. This tire will do everything very well if not Excel at one specific thing. The way I see it, the perfect tire for all around performance. Head & Shoulders above the Dueler A/T Revo 2’s they replaced. The Duelers were good, well wearing, quiet tires that did well in snow and handled well.. but were horrible on wet roads, ice and prone to damage and compromised traction off-road. Based on that, I can only imagine the fun I’ll have come winter with the Dicoverer A/T3’s!
UPDATE: Lots of snow this winter! The AT3's performed GREAT in deep snow. Ice traction was just "acceptable" which is expected with any AT tire. I did get stuck during one, particular outing in about 18 inches of hard-packed, heavy, wet snow in the mountains... but I decided to STOP for a picture opp! This was a mistake because a bigger problem was caused by the truck settling in and ultimately "bottoming out". My Tacoma only has an additional 2" or so of lift. In highway slush, the tires track VERY well!! ALSO... these tires are wearing EXTREMELY well. Again, I have settled on a straight front-to-back rotation and have done this twice so far. Tread is still like new!
See Attachments at bottom. "Tire 2" Pic shows the rubber "tags" left from trimming...