First Test: Cooper Discoverer A/T3
At a recent event at Cooper Tire's test facility near San Antonio, Texas, we got the chance to test out two of Cooper's newest tires. The first of these is the Discoverer A/T3, a tire built to survive off-road, provide better handling and traction in the wet than the competition, and achieve this without sacrificing handling on dry pavement. Cooper set up several different courses at the CTVTC (the test center) to show the tires' capability.

The A/T3 is a replacement for the Discoverer ATR. The company focused on the compound, tread design, and technology to create the A/T3. Groove protectors help reduce the amount of stones that would get stuck in the grooves, and the shoulder design is made to improve traction on soft surfaces. The tires have tread elements created in pairs to improve on-road handling, and a divided center rib and wide grooves improve off-road traction.

The first course for the A/T3 was an autocross, driven in Chevy Silverados equipped with 17-inch A/T3s as well as other competitive tires. We did three loops on the course on each tire brand, for a total of nine loops, each of which was timed. And the laps in the Cooper-equipped Silverado were quicker. Not only that, but there was a stronger feeling of confidence when driving: Shod with that rubber, there was less of a tendency to slide, and the truck was very easy to keep under control. The second course was in deep, gooey mud, where we tested out the off-road traction in Wranglers fitted with 17-inch A/T3s. Imagine a huge, flooded field of mud, complete with deep ruts. The tires got through it without any trouble. The A/T3 is available in 30 sizes for SUVs and 32 for trucks, for 15- to 20-inch wheels. Starting at $150.

Cooper Tire
419/423-1321
www.coopertires.com