Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 vs CS5 Ultra Touring

Leave a comment

Out of both, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring excels as a grand touring tire with its focus on comfort and durability, while the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 stands out as an ultra-high-performance tire, prioritizing superior grip and responsive handling.

Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 on 300S
Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 on Chrysler 300S

Key Takeaway

So overall, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 takes the lead in:

  • Dry grip and quicker stopping power with its solid central rib and tougher rubber.
  • Overall handling and responsiveness, especially in cornering phases.
  • Superior winter traction with its advanced siping and in-groove notches.
  • Enhanced wet performance with strategic grooves and sipes for better grip and safety.

Detailed Discussion of Cooper Zeon G1:

Whereas the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring has the upper hand in:

  • Ride comfort, with a softer build and deeper tread depth for a smoother experience.
  • Tread longevity, benefiting from a lighter weight and continuous lug/rib design.
  • Noise reduction, thanks to additional ribs next to shoulder blocks and a more minimalist design.
  • Fuel efficiency for H and V speed rated sizes due to its rigid internal structure.

Info on Sizes

SpecsCooper Zeon G1Cooper CS5 Ultra
Rim Sizes16 to 20 inches15 to 20 inches
Speed RatingsW, YH, V, W
Load RatingsSL, XLSL, XL
Tread Depth10.5/32″ (some 10/32″)11/32″ on all sizes
Weight22 to 35 lbs19 to 35 lbs
UTQG500 AA A600 A A
Treadwear Warranty45k miles on all70k miles for H and V
50k for W-speed rated

Overall Dry Performance

Under dry conditions, I analyzed both tires in terms of their linear/lateral grip and steering responsiveness. Let’s take a look at each of these aspects.

Directional Grip

So, directional grip is all about how well a tire sticks to the road while you’re cruising straight ahead. It’s a big deal because it’s all about how quickly you can stop, which really comes down to the tread pattern.

Now, the real action happens in the middle part of the tread where the rubber hits the road the most. And let me tell you, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 really nails it here.

From what I’ve seen and tested, this tire can stop up to 4 feet shorter from 60 mph compared to others, like the Ultra Touring. This is thanks to its smooth, solid central rib and a tougher base layer that’s mixed with a harder rubber. Together, they give you a better grip and more control.

Cooper Zeon RS3 G1
Cooper Zeon RS3 G1

On the other hand, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring has a more segmented central tread pattern, which reduces its contact with the road.

Additionally, as a grand touring tire, it’s designed for comfort and longevity rather than the aggressive grip of an ultra-high-performance all-season tire, like the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1.

So, no shocker here, it just doesn’t measure up when it comes to that stick-to-the-road feel and shorter stopping distances that the Zeon offers.

Overall Handling

Overall handling is like the ultimate test for a tire’s dry performance, checking out how well it does with directional stability, side grip, and how quick it reacts to your steering.

And among these three (aspects), the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 is pretty leading the way.

But to get why, you’ve gotta think about the three stages of cornering, which cover all these aspects.

  • First up, Cornering Entry: that’s when you’re easing off the gas and getting ready to dive into the turn.
  • Mid-corner: This bit’s crucial. You need your tires to cling to the road like glue here to avoid sliding around (that’s what causes understeering and oversteering).
  • Exit: You’re winding up the turn here, and how the tire straightens out and picks up speed is key.

These moments are big deals for how well a tire handles dry conditions.

Now, here, although the Cooper Cs5 might not rush into corners as quickly due to slightly slower braking (with its lacking directional grip), but it does snap back in line faster after a turn.

Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring
Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring

Though as the mid-cornering phase is the most important one (out of all), the CS5 lacking there, isn’t able to outperform its high performance counterpart, leading to slower dry handling times (as seen on lap tests, averaged).

But why is it lacking here? Well this is mainly because of how the tire is built. Even though its lighter in comparison, its lugs (on the tread), still flex more, because they don’t have a super solid base or internal structure.

This flexing takes time to bounce back from. And that delay translates into a lag between what you do with the steering wheel and how the wheels actually respond.

That’s why, when you really push it, especially at high speeds, the tire can’t keep up with the Cooper Zeon, mostly understeering with quick steering inputs (where the car just plows ahead instead of turning).

Winter Traction

When discussing winter tire performance, several critical factors come into play:

  • Grip on diverse terrains such as snow and ice.
  • Traction levels.
  • Stability during use.

Although neither of the tires in question come with the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake badge, indicating optimal winter performance, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 surprisingly excels beyond expectations.

In rigorous testing, the Zeon outperformed the CS5, thanks to its well engineered design. It features multi-directional siping and distinctive in-groove notches, which, along with its C and S-shaped blocks with chamfered edges, contribute to significantly improved grip on icy and snowy surfaces.

Conversely, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring lags, particularly in lateral grip and steering feel, I mean with a notable difference on my comparative tests.

The primary reason is its relatively stiffer rubber composition, which becomes even less pliable in colder temperatures, resulting in diminished flexibility and grip (especially on icy terrains).

Moreover, it lacks the in-groove biters found in the Zeon RS3 G1.

These biters are crucial as they grab and hold snow particles, creating snow-to-snow contact that enhances friction.

And why this type of contact matter here? Well, this is because snow particles adhere better to each other than to the rubber of the tread, offering superior grip.

Overall Ride Comfort

Two factors are vital for driving comfort: the noise emanating from the tread and the tire’s ability to handle road imperfections. Let’s analyze these elements in depth.

Noise Comfort

Regarding the noise level of tires, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 tends to be noisier, largely due to its unique tread pattern, which has wider gaps, particularly around the shoulder area.

A closer look at the tire’s design at the beginning of this page reveals more open shoulders, leading to increased air flow.

On the other hand, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring employs additional ribs next to its shoulder blocks, which serve to close off lateral spaces and limit air penetration.

This design aspect is crucial because the primary noise in tires originates from air entering these shoulder voids and colliding with the tread walls.

Moreover, as the tire comes with a more, you can say, minimalist design (with relatively lesser tread features), it also doesn’t produce as much of a “growling” noise as the Zeon.

Note to self: Discover your perfect all-season tire by starting with my comprehensive guide on the main all-season tire page.

Road Smoothness

When we’re talking about the feel of the drive, there are a couple of key things to keep in mind.

First is how smoothly the tire handles bumps and jolts from the road. The second is the stability it provides during twists and turns. Now, the results here are a bit of a mixed bag.

Let’s talk stability first.

Here, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 is leading the way. Like I discussed in the steering response (handling section), the tire keeps a more firmer and stable contact with the road, during abrupt maneuvers.

Though still, when it comes to soaking up those road bumps, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring takes the crown.

This is down to a couple of factors. It’s built softer, which means it’s more forgiving on rough surfaces. Plus, it offers a deeper tread depth of up to 11/32″.

That’s a big deal because it means there’s more rubber to cushion the blow, helping to smooth out those imperfections before they ever reach the cabin.

So overall, the CS5 ends up with relatively better scores according to my subjective testing with these boys, but I guess you say this coming, given that its a comfort focused grand touring tire, and not a performance focused UHPAS option like the Zeon.

Tread Longevity

Tread longevity depends on two things.

  • First, how quickly the rubber wears down.
  • Second, how long it takes for the tread to thin out to 2/32″, which is the legal limit for tires in the U.S.

Considering these points, it’s pretty obvious why the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring is ahead of the game.

This tire benefits from being lighter and having a continuous lug/rib design that’s supported by a secondary rubber layer. These features help lessen the pressure and heat when the tire hits the road, meaning less wear.

Plus, stating the obvious, being a touring tire and not ultra high performance like the Zeon, it generates less rolling friction. So yes, besides giving out more miles (throughout its life), the CS5 tire also provides better fuel economy in comparison here.

So that makes sense why the tire offers an impressive 70k miles warranty, (but keep in mind that’s only for the H and V speed rated sizes, and for W speed rated sizes, it only offers 50k).

Wet Performance

Performance on wet roads hinges largely on the design of a tire’s tread pattern, specifically its grooves and sipes, which are indicative of its water dispersal capabilities.

Grooves are the primary mechanism for water evacuation. They function like channels, directing water away from the tire, effectively preventing hydroplaning.

Whereas the sipes, the finer cuts in the tread, complement grooves by absorbing and clearing residual water, much like a sponge, ensuring the tire maintains contact and grip on the road.

Given this, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 excels in wet conditions. Its superior grip and stability make it a reliable choice, giving drivers a clear sense of the tire’s adherence to the road.

This performance is attributed to its innovative siping pattern. The sipes are strategically angled to provide multidirectional grip, enhancing safety and control.

Moreover, its circumferential grooves are interconnected to enhance water expulsion, significantly reducing the risk of aquaplaning. These efficient grooves also mean that less water is left for the sipes to manage, thereby improving the tire’s overall wet grip.

In contrast, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring, while offering adequate grip and comparable wet braking to the Zeon RS3 G1, falls short in steering responsiveness, particularly prone to understeering. This is primarily due to its longitudinally aligned ribs which are more closed up/packed up, restricting lateral water flow and thus diminishing steering precision for the most part.

Though surprisingly, both tires do pretty great and are almost equal in terms of wet braking.

Take Home Points

In conclusion, when it comes to overall dry performance, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 dominates with its superior grip and quicker stopping power.

It also leads in handling, particularly in cornering phases, due to its more responsive structure.

Moreover, in winter and wet conditions, it surpasses expectations, significantly outperforming the CS5 with its advanced siping and notch design, combined with interconnected groove structure.

However, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring edges ahead in ride comfort and tread longevity, with its softer build and deeper tread depth providing a smoother ride and longer tire life, particularly for H and V rated sizes.

So, while the Zeon RS3 G1 excels in performance and safety, the CS5 Ultra Touring offers a more comfortable and durable ride.

Leave a Comment