Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 vs Continental ExtremeContact DWS06+

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Whether it’s Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 or Continental DWS06+, both fall into the ultra-high performance tire category, making them ideal for those who want top-notch all-season performance. Engineered to provide superior traction in both dry and wet conditions, they deliver outstanding results even when there’s light snow. But which is still a better pick for you? Well, you’re about to find out.

Cooper Zeon RS3 G1
I love the Cooper Zeon’s killer shoulders.

Main Highlights

So overall the Zeon RS3 G1 is taking the lead, in terms of:

  • Ride Comfort: Thanks to its more pliant construction.
  • Noise Dampening: The tire’s tread design effectively reduces road noise, making for a quieter ride.
  • Wet Braking: With its laterally arranged biters/sipes.

Whereas the Continental DWS06+ is better here, at:

  • Winter Traction: Offering a lot more biters, and snow vices, particularly, missing on Cooper.
  • Overall Dry and Wet Handling: Providing superior steering feedback and responsiveness in both dry and wet conditions.
  • Hydroplaning Resistance: The tire’s design offers better water clearance through its multiple grooves.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Thanks to its reduced rolling resistance, which also provides superior tread longevity.

Tread Features

The Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 showcases a sophisticated asymmetric tread pattern with five distinct rib or block columns.

Cooper Zeon RS3 G1
The central most rib on Zeon is the narrowest.

Let’s start with the outer two shoulder ribs, (towards the tread’s edges). Here, the lug patterns vary distinctly on each side.

One side is characterized by larger, simpler lugs, while the opposite side features a denser arrangement with linear sipes and interlocking lateral voids for superior traction and stability.

The centerpiece of this design is the middle (most) rib, the narrowest among them, adorned with a blend of linear and curving sipes, and unique outward-facing biters.

And adjacent to this rib are the ones which are very different on each side.

Here, one side features “S-shaped” blocks complemented by linear sipes and notches, while the opposite side boasts “C-shaped” blocks with outward-facing notches, enhancing grip towards the shoulders.

These ribs also integrate lateral voids that connect seamlessly to the outer circumferential grooves.

The ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus, on the other hand, presents a multifaceted asymmetric tread design

ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus
ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus features snow-vices, missing in Cooper’s tire.

This tread is segmented into four distinct sections, comprising two central ribs and two shoulder ribs.

But of course, the standout rib of them is the central one which has squared shaped blocks on them, with “plus-shaped siping”.

This rib features a lot of biting edges, and interconnect grooves running in all directions, together.

Moreover, it also features snow vices (the sharp saw toothed edges you see).

Though its a common features with one other rib.

Speaking of which, the shoulder ribs at both ends mirror a similar siping pattern, with minimal variation between the two, ensuring consistency in performance and appearance.

And the left over rib here, (the narrowest of them all), is also pretty streamlined, with linear lateral siping, and slanted lateral notches.

Info on Sizes

The Zeon RS3 G1 comes in 16 to 20 inches rims, with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10.5/32″ (with 2 sizes also seen with 10/32″ only).
  • Weight: 22 to 35 lbs.
  • UTQG: 500 AA A.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles.
  • The internal construction of the tire consists of a two-ply polyester casing, (with high-stiffness bead fillers), twin steel belts and a single ply spirally wound, nylon wrap.

Review this tire here:

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06+ come with sizes in 16 to 22 inches rims, having following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL only.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 18 to 35 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 560 AA.
  • Internal Construction: 2 ply polyester with twin steel belts, reinforced by a single ply nylon.

Review Continental’s tire here:

Winter Traction

In the realm of winter traction, both the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06+ and the Cooper tire provide decent results, but it’s important to note that neither achieves the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification.

This certification is a big deal because it indicates a tire can offer about 10% better acceleration than standard all-season tires that don’t have this certification.

Without this badge, it’s clear both tires have limitations, especially on ice. So if you’re looking for top-notch winter performance, there are better options out there, particularly in the grand touring category, as UHP don’t have a lot to offer here, well except for Nokian WRG4 (review).

Though out of these boys here, the ExtremeContact DWS 06+ is taking the lead, edging out with better performance specifically on light snow.

This is mainly because this tire is designed with a lot more biting elements, notably its void that run throughout the middle, acting as in-groove notches, and the snow vices on the shoulder and central ribs.

These features improve snow-to-snow contact, as they pick up and lodge in snow particles, which is crucial for enhancing braking and handling in winter conditions.

Why? Well its due to the fact that snow tends to bond better with itself than with a tire’s rubber.

For Your Info: All these tires I discussed here, i.e. standard, grand touring, and UHP all season tires can be found here:

Ride Quality

A tire’s ability to dampen road noise and bumps greatly influences the comfort level passengers experience during a ride. And both of them, typically come under the pros of all-season tires.

Anyways, let’s see how both tires performed next to each other here.

Vibrations Comfort

When looking at ride comfort, the focus is on how well a tire can soften the impact of road bumps and irregularities.

And in this area, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 stands out. It’s actually one of the most comfortable tire (in my books). I mean out of all the top-notch ultra high performance all-season tires that I’ve reviewed, this one gets the highest impact comfort scores.

This is because the tire features a robust nylon cap ply beneath its rubber layer, which is specifically designed to absorb road shock and vibration, enhancing stability.

Additionally, it features a dedicated (for comfort), contact-patch, which allows for a smoother transfer of weight from the center to the shoulders of the tire and back, especially noticeable when cornering.

Another key factor is its rubber composition, which is although not the softest, is pretty efficient in contributing to a smoother ride.

Noise Dampening

The tread design of a tire significantly affects how much noise it makes while moving. This noise primarily comes from air particles hitting the tire’s surface, entering mostly through shoulder voids.

Simply put, when these air particles collide with the tire, they create primary source of noise that then, echoes within the tread grooves, creating secondary, in-groove resonance.

Now here looking at the more voided up ExtremeContact’s design, one can guess why the tire is not the quietest, but it does keep its in-groove resonance at bay, thanks to its well engineered pitch sequencing technology.

In other words, the Continental is engineered in such a way that air particles hitting different areas produce a range of tones and frequencies. These varying frequencies work to counteract each other, effectively reducing in-groove resonance and making the tire quieter.

So overall decibel readings are better on this tire compared to Cooper Zeon RS3 G1.

Dry-Road Performance

The three key components of dry performance are dry grip, handling, and steering response. I’ll explain each of these in detail.

Longitudinal Grip

Longitudinal grip is all about a tire’s ability to stay glued to the road while moving straight, which is crucial for both braking and accelerating.

And the key factor here is how well the tire’s central tread contacts the road, as this part is where most of the weight gets concentrated (when tire rolls straight).

Now, here comparatively, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 is lacking behind a little bit. Why is that? Two main reasons:

  • It has a narrower central rib, as mentioned earlier (in design section). This pattern means the tire isn’t able to provide you with as much contact.
  • It’s on the heavier side. This matters because a lighter tire, like the Continental DWS06+, doesn’t gain as much momentum, making it easier to stop.

FYI, the DWS06+ is actually one of the lightest in its class for UHP all-season tires. See all different types of all season tires.

And yes worth reminding, the tire also provides you with a better, on center feel, whereas on Cooper, one has to careful getting out of the corners, as accelerating there often cause some slippage.

Overall Handling

Overall handling is a great way to gauge a tire’s dry capabilities because it considers everything: directional stability, lateral grip, and steering responsiveness.

And out of these 3 factors here, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 only offers better lateral grip, as seen by lateral g forces on average, (on tests).

So its no wonder, the overall dry handling times (on lap tests), are better on Continental.

I mean, the ExtremeContact DWS 06+ with its faster braking, has an edge in corner entry, where it slows down quicker before hitting a turn, and with superior steering feedback, it lets you know exactly how much grip is available. Needless to say both of these improve the tire’s lap times.

So even though it lacks in lateral grip here, it good at utilizing that grip more efficiently.

On the other side, the Cooper Zeon lacks, mainly because of its heavier construction, which stresses the lugs more, and combined with a (relatively) softer compound, the lugs bend more.

This bending takes “time” to recover from the deformation. And that time is directly translated in to the “delay”, you get between the driver’s input, and wheels’ output.

That’s why when pushed to the limit, especially at high speeds, the Cooper exhibits some worrying behaviors, where rapid steering often leads to understeering, (where the car drifts forward instead of turning).

Whereas, the the DWS06 Plus, although feeling a bit less natural, offers more direct steering, delivering better feedback mid-corner and a solid feel post-cornering.

Wet-Road Performance

The effectiveness of wet performance is rooted with the tire’s handling/grip and resistance to hydroplaning. Let’s talk about both of these one by one.

Wet Grip and Handling

Wet traction is tricky due to water’s non-compressible nature. If water doesn’t exit the tread, it leads to hydroplaning (discussed in the next section).

That’s why sipes and grooves are crucial in tires, acting as water expulsion mechanisms.

Grooves provide direct pathways for water to flow out, while sipes, by flexing, create suction to absorb remaining moisture within their slits.

In this context, we have some mixed results, where the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 excels in linear grip, providing you with more efficient wet braking, while DWS 06 takes the lead in overall handling.

For Cooper, its longitudinally aligned ribs with numerous lateral notches enhance grip during linear travel, making it superior for directional grip, as seen by its relatively shorter stopping distances on tests, comparatively.

But yes, just like in dry conditions, the ExtremeContact DWS 06+ outperforms in overall handling, thanks to its multi-directional and more effective sipes.

Moreover, these sipes have less (water) burden on them, to begin with, as the inter-connectivity of its grooves discharge a larger volume of water, reducing the reliance on sipes.

Resistance to Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning occurs when tires can’t push out enough water from their grooves, leading to a loss of traction. In this regard, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06+ stands out in its category, offering higher float speeds.

Now as already discussed, this is due to its central rib (with squared off blocks), creating a web of grooves, throwing out water in all directions.

This is of course unlike the Cooper Zeon, which has very longitudinally aligned ribs, and packed up shoulders, not allowing water to leave out, especially sideways.

This particular aspect impacts the tire’s curved float speeds (which is how fast the tire moves over a few mm deep water, while its turning).

Side Note: The DWS 06+ actually ranks on top, in my list of top ultra-high performance all-season tires.

MPG Comparison

Tire rolling resistance plays a crucial role in fuel efficiency, influenced mainly by three factors: the tire’s weight, its rubber composition, and the tread design.

And considering these variables, it can be seen why the ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus has a slight advantage, showing marginally better miles per gallon (MPG).

A key feature contributing to its efficiency is the ContiEvenForce technology. This system ensures that pressure is distributed evenly across the tire over time, optimizing the contact patch with the road. Such an even distribution helps in reducing rolling resistance, thereby improving fuel efficiency.

And yes, there’s not a lot of pressure to begin with. I mean with the tire, incorporating a single ply of polyester along with a nylon cap ply, it gets to be pretty light in weight, reducing the overall burden on the lugs.

And with less burden, lugs generate less friction, as they get rubbed against the road.

In a Nutshell

Each tire demonstrates strengths in specific areas, underscoring the importance of choosing a tire based on individual driving needs and conditions.

The DWS06+ excels the most in terms of wet handling, though wet braking is slightly better on Cooper Zeon.

And on dry, the Continental offers better overall handling and steering response, while the Zeon provides better lateral grip.

Though we have a clear winner in overall winter performance, the ExtremeContact.

Other than this, although the tire excels in fuel economy and tread life, it lacks to Cooper in terms of overall ride comfort performance.

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