For the biggest year in Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s history, the company went to the state where everything’s big — Texas — to introduce two Cooper premium light truck tires. Both are lines in the 30-year-old Discoverer family.
The Discoverer A/T3 and S/TMaxx were launched at a ride-and-drive media event at the Cooper Tire and Vehicle Test Center in Pearsall, Texas. They are designed for light truck, SUV and commercial applications.
The Discoverer A/T3 stands for “All Traction, All Terrain, All the Time,” and replaces the Discoverer ATR. In designing the tire, Cooper engineers worked for two-and-a-half years to give it attributes that light truck and SUV customers demand.
“The broken center rib gives you that aggressive all-terrain look and feel, and to help with vehicle stability, we couple the tread blocks together in pairs,” said Mike Stoltz, segment manager of SUV and trucks for Cooper’s North American Tire Division. “When you’re on the road, it gives you extra stability and confident handling, while the aggressive pattern helps off-road, so there’s a good balance for on- and off-road performance.”
The A/T3 is available in 62 outline white letter and blackwall sizes, broken out as follows:
• SUV, 30 sizes (27 outline white letter). They range from 235/75R15 to 275/55R20 XL.
• light truck, 32 sizes (27 outline white letter). They range from LT235/75R15 load range C to LT275/65R20, load range E.
Cooper said the new Discoverer S/TMaxx commercial-grade traction tire was designed to perform in the toughest terrains. It features the company’s three-ply Armor-Tek3 carcass construction, a new, proprietary cut- and chip-resistant tread compound and a progressive tread design.
The S/TMaxx is currently available in eight sizes: five 16- and two 17-inch sizes and LT275/70R18. The tire replaces the Discoverer S/T-C and selected sizes of the Discoverer S/T; in 2012, Cooper will move the remaining S/T sizes into the S/TMaxx line.
An all-terrain product needs to meet a variety of needs, including extreme off-road driving, typical hauling and winter traction. Stoltz said there are two different consumer sets in this market.
“The first is the hands-on enthusiast, the guy who gets his hands dirty. He works on his vehicle. He knows how he needs his vehicle to perform, and he wants tires that perform to that.
“Another consumer we’re looking at is the proud owner. He has similar interests to what the hands-on enthusiast has, but these guys really want their vehicle to perform well and they want it to look good.
“They may not necessarily do the work on the vehicle themselves, but they know how that vehicle needs to perform for them,” he added.
At Cooper’s ride-and-drive event, drivers tested the AT/3 against the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO and the Toyo Open Country AT. Cooper said the company strives for a tier one level of competition in performance and quality, while offering tier two value.
Drivers negotiated a 2/3-mile wet handling course to test wet traction characteristics, and a 500-foot-long mud lane to test mud traction handling.
Drivers also tested the S/TMaxx on a rock crawl, a hill climb, and a 1.5-mile road trail course filled with obstacles.
Big year, more tires -- Cooper also debuts two UHP tires
Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. also launched two ultra-high performance tires at its ride-and-drive media event in Pearsall, Texas.
The Cooper Zeon RS3-A is a UHP all-season tire. It replaces the Cooper Zeon Sport A/S.
The RS3-A’s silica tread compound is designed for all-season driving performance, while its advanced technology mold profile gives the tire a square tread footprint. The line initially will be offered in 31 sizes.
Cooper’s Zeon RS3-S UHP summer tire is replacing the Cooper Zeon 2XS. Its silica tread compound is designed to provide good wet driving performance, while durable uniform tire construction delivers a tight steering response. It is available in 21 sizes ranging from 235/45YR17 to 255/35WR20 XL.