Cooper Endeavor Plus vs Firestone Destination LE3

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Both the Cooper Endeavor Plus and the Firestone Destination LE3 come under highway all-season category, designed for SUVs and light trucks, offering balanced performance and tread wear. But which tire stands out? Well, you’ll find that shortly.

Endeavor Plus on Acura Type S
Endeavor Plus on Acura Type S

Drawing from my expertise as a tire engineer, the Firestone LE3 offers better dry road grip and shorter braking distances, improved handling and steering due to its responsive tread, an impressive 70k mile tread life from a heat-dissipating rubber formula, and also has a slight advantage in fuel economy. On the other hand, the Cooper Endeavor Plus leads with superior wet traction and hydroplaning resistance, enhanced snow performance, and a more comfortable ride, (absorbs road vibrations better, and provides a quieter ride).

Sizes Available

The Firestone Destination LE3 comes in 15 to 22 inches wheels. And all of those sizes have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: Almost all sizes have 10/32″.
  • Weight range: 21 to 40 lbs.
  • UTQG: 700 A B
  • Mileage rating: 70k miles warranty.
  • Winter ratings: No 3PMSF, only M+S.

Review this tire in greater details:

On the other side, the Cooper Endeavor Plus comes in 16 to 22 inches (rims) with following.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: 10.5 to 12.5/32″.
  • Weight range: 22 to 42 lbs.
  • Tread warranty: 65k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 680 AA.
  • Winter ratings: Similar, no 3 peak, only M+S.

Review this tire in greater details:

Tread Pattern

The Firestone Destination LE3 is characterized by its notable symmetric tread design.

Firestone Destination LE3
Firestone Destination LE3 clearly has more biters.

Examining its tread, you’ll find five vertically aligned columns, known as ribs.

A closer look, (in it’s image), reveals that its three central ribs feature “F” and “S” shaped lugs.

The “S” shape is seen on the relatively wider, central most rib, which is basically formed by the combination of slanted lateral voids and notches.

While “Fs” are seen on adjacent ribs, which are formed in a similar manner.

Moving towards shoulders, you get a slightly cleaner look.

Although these shoulders carry similar siping pattern (like seen in the middle), they have more linear slits, and notches.

Beneath its surface, the tire is constructed with a single layer of polyester, strengthened by dual steel belts and capped with a nylon ply.

Now, let’s move towards the other tire.

Cooper Endeavor Plus
Unlike LE3, Cooper’s tire only has linear siping.

So the Cooper Endeavor Plus also comes with a similar 5 rib symmetrical pattern.

But comparatively, this tire comes with more packed up outer ribs, or shoulder blocks.

As you can see (from its tread image), the lateral grooves of these lugs are blocked by a continuous running rib (forming zigzag longitudinal slit, all the way).

Cooper calls it’s Whisper Grooves Technology, (but more on that later, in its noise section).

Talking about the 3 central ribs in the middle, they are again slightly less voided up, in comparison.

All of them are characterized by interlocking lateral grooves, and linear sipes.

Internally tire comes with 2 ply polyester, with 2 steel belts, and a single, nylon reinforcement ply is also added on the very top, which aids handling.

Dry Performance

The performance of a tire on dry roads hinges primarily on its grip and maneuverability, and here the overall tire’s grip is further dissected into directional and side-to-side traction.

Let’s check them all out.

Directional Grip

Several elements dictate directional (or should I say, straight-line) grip, such as tread composition, the area of rubber in contact with the road (especially from the middle), and the tire’s weight.

And since it’s “directional”, it makes sense why it’s gauged by how effectively the tire brakes (or accelerates).

Having said that, the Firestone Destination LE3 is a better pick here, where it showcases 3 feet quicker braking distances (on averaged tests).

Its rubber formula is finely tuned for optimal adherence (on dry terrains), especially when advancing in a linear path.

And it’s pattern (of tread), augmented with sharp lateral grooves (especially those making “S” shapes in the middle), largely contribute to its superior straight-line traction.

On the other hand, the Cooper Endeavor Plus is pretty good here too, but it’s greater weight, with less uniform pressure points across its tread, consequently exhibits greater momentum inertia, translating to a less efficient braking.

Dry Grip and Steering

Regarding lateral traction, both tires, given their similar road contact profiles, deliver nearly identical side-to-side traction levels, as evidenced by their recorded g-forces (on tests).

Yet, the Firestone Destination LE3 exhibits more agile handling times, thanks to it’s more heightened steering reactivity, in comparison.

The tire responds pretty quickly to the steering inputs. In fact, its the most responsive, when it comes to highway terrain all season tires.

The tire’s leaner build ensures each tread lug bears less weight, as they engage with the road. This allows them to keep them form too much deformation (the lugs on the this tire bend/flex less, relatively, with their more composed structures).

In contrast the Cooper Endeavor Plus with it’s comparatively softer rubber composition, does the opposite, where it’s greater tread depth isn’t helping either.

Sure, both these factors enhance the tire’s ride comfort (as you’ll see in its respective section), but it also makes its lugs more susceptible to flexing.

This bending of the lugs, wastes time, as tread has to be reshaped back, (when the tire is done cornering). And that adds to it’s overall handling lap “times” (as seen by it’s slower laps on tests).

Wet Traction

When it comes to rain-slicked settings, tires need to clear off water from their tread effectively, otherwise a layer of water would come in the way, and tire would float or “hydroplane”.

To mitigate this problem, tires are equipped with grooves and sipes. Let me explain.

Now most of the water is channeled away via grooves, while sipes attend to the remaining moisture. These sipes act as water containers, where they flex to create a suction, drawing in water (and later throwing them out, as tire rolls over).

And both of these working together, allow for the tire’s rubber to effectively grip on the relatively dried up surface.

Now out of both tire, the Cooper Endeavor Plus is leading the way, demonstrating heightened resistance to hydroplaning and offering a firmer wet grip.

These attributes are predominantly governed by the tire’s proficiency in water displacement, of course, where the tire’s superior integration of its longitudinal/circumferential channels throw out more water in the first place, leaving behind less for sipes.

Meanwhile complementing this, its softer tread compound, which keep the sipes from stiffing up, further enhancing water dispersion, and overall traction.

In contrast, while the Firestone Destination LE3 although showcases numerous biters and sufficient siping, its stiffer rubber makeup diminishes the sipes ability to properly flex and throw out water (as effectively).

Though I’d like to mention that the tire with its latest hydro-grip technology is still pretty great, especially when you compare it with its predecessor.

Fuel Economy

In terms of fuel economy, neither tire distinctly outshines the other, largely because of their rigid internal structures and high speed ratings, reaching up to V, (I mean it’s quite high for highway and crossover all season tires).

But still if you have to pick one here, I should tell you that the Firestone Destination LE3 holds a minor advantage, evident from its slightly lower average rolling resistance.

This benefit is derived from its lighter build and a tread depth that is 1/32″ shallower than the Cooper Endeavor Plus.

A lighter tire means less strain on the lugs (as they maneuver), and a shallower tread depth results in enhanced tread stability.

Ride Comfort

Crossover and highway touring tires (like these boys here), are primarily designed to provide a quieter and smoother ride.

So both tires are doing great here, offering superb noise and bumps dampening abilities. Let’s discuss both.

On Road Vibrations

Addressing road vibrations necessitates multiple considerations, where tire’s ability to act as a shock absorber and its overall stability, are the most important ones.

And both of these factors highly depend on the tire’s overall architecture.

Having said that, the Cooper Endeavor Plus, endowed with its suppler rubber composition, stands out here, providing a smoother overall ride.

The tire’s internal construction has a more pliant nylon cap plies, and it’s softer and thicker rubber on top (with greater tread depth), gives road disturbances more room to get neutralized, before they reach the (vehicle’s) cabin.

On the flip side, the Firestone Destination LE3, constructed with a more rigid rubber compound and reinforced with a more robust nylon cap ply, falls slightly short in this regard.

Road Noise Reduction

When it comes to noise levels, the Firestone Destination LE3 registers a more audible presence compared to its peer (as seen by its greater decibel readings on tests).

Let me explain why.

So primarily, its tread pattern is the main culprit here. Simply put it’s more voided up, and that allows air molecules interface with the tread with more ease, (where the impact of them colliding with the tread rubber/lugs, is what creating the noise in the first place).

And since these air particles predominately enter through shoulder voids, the Cooper with its Whisper Grooves technology, takes the lead. Its a fancy term, which simply means, that it’s shoulder voids are blocked, restricting air entry.

So the tire only generates subtle tones (accompanied by a muted hum), providing a quieter ride, relatively.

Winter Performance

All-season tires generally offer appreciable performance in winter conditions, particularly when it comes to critical steering, and aggressive braking and acceleration, (on both snow and ice).

However, when testing out these boys here, you see a lacking overall performance on both, particularly when it comes to steering responsiveness on ice.

Though still out of both options, the Firestone Destination LE3 lacks more, ending up with smaller overall winter scores (concluding this from all the performed tests).

So what’s going on here?

Well, the tire’s weakness lies in it’s relatively rigid rubber composition, which hampers the effectiveness of its biters.

Meaning, Le3’s rubber doesn’t adapt well thermally, and becomes more rigid in frosty temperatures, so there’s not ample biting going on.

Whereas the Cooper Endeavor Plus excels with its softer rubber, allowing for better maneuverability.

It’s central rib, designed with staggered edges and flanked by ribs with versatile biters, ensures superior snow-to-snow adherence, as they stay more flexible.

(This contact is significant here, considering the fact that snow sticks more seamlessly with itself than with rubber).

So overall, Cooper’s tire leads, showcasing sharper steering feedback and consistent/faster lap performances.

Note: Neither of the tires here have the 3-peak mountain snowflake ratings, though they do come with M+S.

Tread Wear

Tire tread lifespan is influenced by several factors such as weight, material composition, and tread depth.

And here the Firestone Destination LE3 is exceptional, especially when you consider that it’s a highway all season tire (giving you a 70k miles warranty).

I mean, it stands as a top contender in it’s category, where it’s distinct rubber formula ensures reduced resistance, particularly at higher temperatures, allowing it to efficiently dissipate heat.

On the other side, the Cooper Endeavor Plus, technically should wear out slower, since it’s greater tread depth means it would take more time to reach down to the 2/32″ U.S. legal tread depth limit.

But it still burns down faster, because of its softer rubber, and relatively greater weight, causing more rolling resistance, or should I say friction for this tire, as it rubs against the road.

For Your Info: The overall wear difference between the two is minimal, evidenced by Cooper’s tread mileage warranty being just 5k miles less, at 65k miles.

To Conclude

In conclusion, assessing both tires brings to light multiple standout performance traits.

The Firestone Destination LE3 excels in the following:

  • Better directional grip, with quicker braking distances on dry roads.
  • Superior handling and steering responsiveness, due to its more responsive tread composition.
  • Exceptional tread life, owing to its distinct rubber formula.
  • Slight edge in fuel economy, attributed to its lighter build.

While the Cooper Endeavor Plus takes the lead in:

  • Enhanced wet traction, with superior resistance to hydroplaning, thanks to its proficiency in water displacement.
  • Better winter performance, particularly in snow, due to its better snow scooping abilities.
  • More comfortable ride quality because of its softer and thicker rubber.
  • Reduced road noise, with its Whisper Grooves technology.

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