Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT vs BF Goodrich KO2

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No matter where your journey takes you, whether it be off the beaten path or the daily commute, both Cooper Discoverer AT3 and the BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tires are designed to provide superior performance and comfort.

BFG KO2 TA
The sidewall lugs of BFG KO2 provide a ton of biting.

The BFG KO2 is although pretty solid on highways with minimal noise levels and good overall traction values (on dry), the tire can’t outperform Cooper AT3, as it’s tread is better optimized for pavements and it’s interlocking sipes give off better water wiping capabilities. Though it lacks off road, where it struggles the most with mud.

Where BF Goodrich KO2 is better?

  • It offers superior durability.
  • It’s interlocking lugs offer grip in all directions, which deliver amazing traction on rocks.
  • And its tread is more self cleaning, so it’s mud grip is also superior.

Where Cooper Discoverer AT3 is better?

  • This tire is very smooth on roads, and if you switch form passenger tires, you are not going to feel too much of a difference.
  • It offers better fuel efficiency.
  • And it’s much quieter and comfortable on highways.

Tread Appearance

Looking at the tread design of both tires, it’s clearly visible how one tire is less aggressive than the other.

Cooper AT3 XLT
The Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT features snow biters on the block edges which help in snow traction.

The Cooper AT3 XLT basically is the most aggressive variant of Discoverer family. The other two are 4S and the LT, and although the tread pattern is similar, their blocks are closely packed and they don’t offer as thicker sidewall lugs as this tire.

The tire features staggered shoulder blocks with clear traction scoops on the outer edges along with sidewall lugs (that are not as thick as the BFG KO2).

In the middle it features 3 ribs divided by 4 longitudinal channels (where the outer two are wider and more aggressive, as blocks there make snow vices/biters).

All blocks have 3d full depth wave like siping and foundation supports underneath them, which provides on road stability. This includes the shoulder blocks as well where the ridge in between connect each other.

Cooper markets it with a fancy term: Whisper Groove Technology.

BFG KO2 TA All Terrain
The symmetric design of BF Goodrich KO2 allows equal biting from all sides.

On the other side, the BF Goodrich KO2 offers a more rugged design, where its shoulder blocks are clearly more combative.

These are although staggered like the Cooper AT3, they offer multiple full depth notches, along with wider lateral spacing in between which carry stone ejectors.

(The tire actually has dual stone ejectors, where besides conventional ejectors, triangular ones are placed in the tread gaps).

On sidewalls, the lugs are thicker and have strong biters embedded in between, which supply greater grabbing capability.

Moving towards the center. BFG KO2 offers 3 ribs here with full depth siping and they form an interconnected pattern throughout.

These blocks are closely packed compared to shoulders and with such a uniform design in the middle, it’s able to perform well on smooth pavements as well.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency depends on the the rolling resistance of the tire, which is then dependent on the tire’s weight and construction.

The BF Goodrich KO2 as it provides a way more heavier construction, its difficult to move in comparison.

Further adding to that, the erratic lugs on the tire also hug the surface and don’t want to let go too easy. So the tire consumes more fuel in comparison.

On the other side, although the Cooper AT3 has a very decent grip on roads, it does not manufacture as much rolling resistance, simply because of its lightweight.

That’s why passenger tires consume so little fuel compared to all-terrain tires; they are even lighter.

Dry Performance

On road traction of both tires is definitely not discouraging. But with a more on road aligned tire, Cooper Discoverer grants you a more desirable overall performance.

In the case of BF Goodrich KO2, the tire limits its dry grip with wider grooves between the tread blocks (especially on the sides).

So as less of it’s rubber meets the road (in comparison), the overall grip is compromised.

On the other hand, the Cooper AT3 makes considerable exposure with surface, and it’s smaller tread gaps are made more stable with ridges placement in between (which also provide noise reduction, talked about it above), provide better grip, relatively.

These act as supports and keep the blocks steady while curving and stopping quickly.

Wet Performance

The BF Goodrich KO2 still does a lot better on dry highways, as its not able to perform satisfactorily in wet conditions, at all.

On wet curvy roads, the tire under-steers a lot and there is a lot of slippage seen (I don’t recommend you run these tires without turning traction controls on).

This tire also has a mixture of 2 layers on top (in rubber), one is a little flexible and the other one underneath is harder, and although softer layer is good for sipe flexing, it’s still harder when compared to Cooper AT3.

Moreover, with wear, the tire’s wet traction is further compromised with the harder layer underneath.

The Cooper AT3 not only provides better flexing abilities to its tread, but all its blocks are also equipped with interlocking sipes, which perform much better under pressure.

Durability Difference

In my list of All Terrain tires, no other tire was able to outperform BF Goodrich KO2, in terms of durability.

The tire features a powerful inner assembly of 2 ply polyester made skeleton, which is powered with 2 steel belts (running on top of the casing).

These steel belts get sandwiched with nylon cords (2 ply), and both these nylon layers also cover the sidewalls, as they wound around the other steel belts.

So with this tire, you get 3 ply sidewalls, which are then further wrapped with 2 more layers of nylon, providing you with one of the strongest sidewalls you can get.

On the other side, the Cooper Discoverer AT3 would not stand a chance as it features a 2-ply polyester casing covered with similar steel belts, though they are reinforced with just a single nylon ply.

The nylon is also not covering the sides, so sidewalls are just 2 ply.

Off Road Capabilities

Off road has a lot of variations, mostly in the form of terrains, so let’s talk about all one by one.

Sand

On sand, you want maximum contact of your tire’s tread. That’s why tires have to be pressured down, which increases the tread’s footprint.

Talking about these two tires in topic, both carry out things a little differently.

The Cooper Discoverer supplies a better contact patch to meet with the sand, as it’s ribs have less gaps in between. And since the tire also has little weight comparatively, its able to provide better traction especially on the inclined sand dunes.

On the other side, although BF Goodrich KO2 lacks a little because of its weight, it’s side biters still delivers a lot of extra footprint to the tire.

Moreover, these sidewall lugs also act as paddles on this terrain. So a good enough sand traction is achieved with this tire as well.

Rocks

Relatively, BF Goodrich KO2 is a very good tire on rocky terrains, in all types of scenarios, small rock crawling, big rock climbing, gripping stones, high speed gravel, you name it.

It yields a very husky sidewall lugs reinforced with 3 ply inner polyester built combined with robust rim locks, so you air down this tire without worrying about a thing.

With lowered PSI pressure levels, the tire’s slanted side lugs, with gripping biters wrap around the rocky surface and provide epic lateral and circumferential traction.

On the other hand, although Cooper AT3’s softer compound has the advantage of sticking well on rocks, with narrower groove mouth, the tire is not able to produce enough biting efficiency.

It’s side biters are also not as strong either and are very prone to damage against sharper objects.

Mud

All terrain tires can not handle thick deep muddy terrains, that’s why we have MT tires.

But still out of these two, BF Goodrich KO2 is relatively better, though the tire does not offer satisfactory mud cleaning abilities.

It’s staggered shoulder blocks with bigger mud scoops combined with side biters, basically provides most of the traction here.

Although the Cooper AT3 has similar staggered shoulders, the tire is not able to dig in too well and throw mud backward to aid in moving forward.

Highway Noise

Noise is a flow of air, which mostly comes in from the edges of the tire. This air then strikes the rubber and produces loud sound waves, which you call tread noise.

So, it makes sense that with narrower grooves, the Cooper AT3 is silent.

The tire features Whisper Groove Technology where the shoulder blocks are joined together with the help of tie bars, so these don’t let an easier flow of air, dampening overall noise levels.

On the other side, the BFG KO2 are quite louder in comparison, as with such wider spacing (mostly towards the sidewalls), the tire gives a lot of room for air particles to come in and strike with full force.

Ride Comfort

Ride comfort although depends on the noise, is still a separate issue, and it depends on how well the tire absorbs the bumps underneath on both bumpy as well as smooth roads.

So here the tires construction has a huge role to play.

The Cooper Discoverer AT3, with its spongy rubber and less stiff internal construction (only 2-ply polyester and a single ply nylon), offers a very comfortable ride.

On the other side, the BFG KO2’s tread is not as porous. It’s inner architecture is also layered with more no. of plies, so impacts don’t get absorbed effectively in it’s rubber.

For Your Info: In AT tires, best for comfort is, Yokohama Geolandar G015 (review).

Winter Traction

Winter performance of the tire is judged by measuring the stopping stability, handling and acceleration, in both shallow as well as deep snow, and ice as well.

And although, both tires are graded with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating, the BF Goodrich KO2 is a better winter tire relatively.

KO2 basically lays out aggressive shoulder blocks which aids with deeper snow, and it’s multiple notches and interconnected rib voids are very efficient in collecting the snow in the tread.

And the accumulated snow provides better traction, as snow particles stick really well with each other.

On the other hand, although the Cooper AT3 offers snow vices (biters seen on outer longitudinal grooves), and these grab a good amount of snow, it’s still not as much as the KO2.

Furthermore, the BF Goodrich KO2’s larger weight is also helpful here, as with that, the tire emphasizes more pressure on the surface, which pushes snow to get lodged in the tread voids (and this way better contact is made).

The Cooper AT3 has nonetheless, advantage of having a softer mixture of rubber, which would not freeze up quicker, comparatively, the tire’s less no. of biters don’t provide as much traction.

Take Home Points

Let’s start with KO2, this tire is one of the toughest you can get (staying in A/T tires) so with that combined with it’s powerful biting lugs, the tire provides tremendous off road traction.

On the other side, the Cooper AT3 has an on road oriented design and with less durable inner construction, it’s able to provide better highway stability, as it gets to be lighter in weight.

3 thoughts on “Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT vs BF Goodrich KO2”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this comparison, it was really helpful. It’s a tough choice but I think for the way I use my truck the most I am leaning towards the Coopers. I had the BFGs on a Jeep about 10 years ago and remember how poorly it did on wet surfaces. Which is fairly common here in Houston in certain seasons. Thank you again and God bless.

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    • Appreciate it. Have you checked out the new Cooper Road+Trail by the way? I’ve recently published it on my site. Search it out, it’s got better wet traction in comparison.

      Reply

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