Cooper Discoverer AT3 vs Firestone Destination AT2


The Firestone Destination AT2 and the Cooper Discoverer AT3 come in the category of all-terrain (A/T) tires meaning you can take these tires off road (as they both have cut resistant rubber), and at the same time have a comfortable experience on highways, as their tread is optimized for it.

Cooper Discoverer AT3
Cooper Discoverer AT3

Being a tire engineer in my opinion, on highways, the Firestone Destination AT2 offers superior wet grip, comfort and fuel economy, whereas the Cooper Discoverer AT3 provides you with a better dry traction and snow performance. And although both of them don’t do too much off road, the Cooper AT3 yields better traction there as well, overall.

Internal Design

The internal construction matters a lot for off-road tires, as there are a lot of things that can pierce through if the structure is not durable enough.

Although both tires offer you with similar inner make-up of 2 ply polyester casing, 2 steel belts and a single cap ply nylon covering, the Cooper AT3 is still stronger with it’s availability of LT sizes and thicker rubber layer on top.

Both of them discussed further after looking at the tires externally.

External Design

The Cooper Discoverer AT3 comes in 3 variants, and all of them have similar looking tread from the middle (as the aggressive variants like the XLT offers sidewall lugs in addition to that).

Cooper Discoverer AT3
Cooper Discoverer AT3

In the central area of the tread, the tire offers conventional 5 circumferential ribs, where the outer two are of shoulder lugs.

These lugs form a staggered pattern on the outer margins and they vary in length and width consecutively.

Moreover, they provide with some tread features such as full depth interlocking sipes, reinforced foundations supports and ridges (connectors) in between and snow vices.

The middle 3 ribs make 3 longitudinal channels where the outer two are wider and more aggressive (having snow vices at both ends).

These blocks also have chamfered edges and foundation supports underneath them for handling and braking stability.

On the other side, if we take a look at it’s competitor, the Firestone Destination AT2 offers a less aggressive design.

Destination AT2
Firestone Destination AT2 forms a continuous running rib in the middle.

Although the outer margins of this tire is quite biting with U shaped lugs and stepped edges, they don’t form staggered pattern like seen in other tire.

Towards inner edges, the tire makes a very blocky shoulder lug design with small traction notches and very straight siping and there aren’t any other biters there.

Following shoulders, are zigzag longitudinal grooves having arrow shaped stone ejectors and surrounding by notches from either side (one from shoulder lugs and other form inner rib).

Speaking of which, the inner most rib is continuous, yet it also makes full depth siping and notches pattern just like the surrounding two.

These surrounding two ribs are also reinforced with continuous running layer underneath and all lugs are joined together on it.

For Your Info: The unique design of Firestone Destination AT2 allows it to have the best fuel economy in the list of top all-terrain (A/T) tires.

Tire Specs

Starting with Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT.

  • It comes in total 32 total sizes, ranging from 15 to 20 inches.
  • Speed rating is either available in R or S
  • load ranges, C to F.
  • Weight range goes form 44 to 70 lbs
  • Tread depth is seen to be either 16.5 or 17/32″ in all sizes.
  • 60k miles warranty.
  • 3PMSF and M+S Rated.

On the other side, the Firestone Destination AT2 comes with following specs.

  • Available in 30 total sizes going form 16 to 20 inches (rim diameter).
  • All sizes are M+S as well as 3PMSF rated (offering great snow traction).
  • All sizes have 55k miles warranty.
  • Either S or T speed rating availability.
  • Load Ratings are seen with either SL or XL in all sizes.
  • Weight ranges from 29 to 45 lbs.
  • Tread Depth is seen with 12/32″ on all sizes.

Fuel Consumption

Fuel is used more when a tire makes larger frictional forces with the surface its on. And it does that with weight (which puts more pressure on the roads), and tread composition (including biters) which tell how easily the tire can remove itself from the surface its moving on.

Firestone Destination AT2 does great here. In fact I ranked this tire in my list of all terrain tires, for most fuel efficient.

The Cooper AT3 is lacking here mostly because of its weight. The tire’s heaviest size weighs almost 30 lbs more, so it makes sense why being a heavier tire it takes more energy to roll.

Tread Life

Now here it would make sense that the Cooper Discoverer AT3 with larger rolling resistance would rub off faster in comparison.

But there are other factors to consider as well. These include tread depth which is greater in Cooper AT3, and rubber make-up (it’s softer in Firestone Destination AT2).

That’s why with more deeper tread voids, and stiffer make-up the Cooper AT3 offer better mileage.

That’s why this tire also offer 5k more tread wear warranty.

Ride Quality

In order to get a comfortable ride, you need two main things in a tire. One, it should produce very less on road noise.

And second, it should be able to soak up the bumps on and off road.

Let’s start with tread noise.

Noise is just air passing around in tread. The more the gaps the freely the air moves and the more it strikes around to generate noise.

Out of these two tires here, the Firestone Destination AT2 although with softer rubber compound produces slightly larger groove resonance it still offers better effectiveness overall with its more closed up tread blocks in comparison.

The tire’s softer rubber also allows better vibrations soaking abilities as well.

On Road Performance:

Pavement performance is something where All terrain tires don’t make too much of an impression.

Dry Gripping

Braking and acceleration tells about the tire’s grip, or should I say directional grip. And here how much rubber of the tread is exposed to the surface matters a lot.

So balder the tire, the limited the grip.

Comparing our tires here, although the difference is negligible, the Cooper Discoverer AT3 still offers better performance here.

This is because the tire offers thicker rib in the middle which allows more rubber to meet with the surface its on.

The Firestone Destination AT2 on the other side, although has continuous running rib in the middle, it still offers less area of rubber to meet up with the road with its equally wide 3 zigzag circumferential grooves.

Dry Handling

The lateral traction of the tire is calculated by measuring the g forces a tire produces on corners.

And here shoulders make the most contact with the surface (as whole tire’s weight shift on to them while turning).

Firestone Destination AT2 is better here a tiny bit with its well optimized lugs having very small lateral spacing in between.

The tire also gives you better lateral stability and steering response as well, as it’s shoulder lugs are more uniform and not staggered like the Cooper AT3.

Wet Traction

On wet streets, there are two main things involved, the tire’s grip and hydroplaning.

Both of them remove water, put simply. Lets discuss them.

Wet Grip

Wet traction of the tire although depends on directional and lateral grip combined, it has nothing to do with how much a tire’s rubber meets with the surface.

Here sipes are significant, both in number and design.

Firestone Destination AT2 is simply amazing on wet roads and is one of the top ranking ones in the list of all terrain tires.

The numerous siping of the tire don’t let any water particle left while the spongy rubber composition ensure that the sipes stay efficient even while cornering and extreme braking.

The Cooper AT3 is also a great tire here as well, even though the tire does not offer as many sipes. That’s because its sipes with interlocking design are very effective (as they don’t get stiff).


When water comes in between the tread and surface, the tire loses all its grip, and this is called hydroplaning. In order to avoid it, water has to channeled out through grooves.

And it can move out either laterally or longitudinally.

In case of our tires here, they don’t let water to move out sideways that easily as I explained how they have closed up shoulder lugs.

Though still the Cooper Discoverer AT3 with wider grooves provides better overall resistance to aquaplaning.

Off Road Traction

Off road, terrains are very different from each other, yet still they can be divided in to 3 key areas. Let’s talk all.

On Mud

On mud you need tread scoops, bigger grooves and a lighter tire with smooth edges.

Bigger grooves help leave out the mud, while the scoops do the obvious. And with smooth sides, the tire does not dig in more, which is dire able.

Both tires here are although too closed up the Cooper AT3 still has staggered smoulders which help push the mud backwards to produce forward momentum.

On Rocks

Rocky terrains include gravel and dirt, and I’ll talk on that separately below, for now let’s just considering climbing rocks.

In this scenario, you need a tire which is durable (basically on sidewalls), has ave a lot of biters to grip in all directions (lateral traction is a main one here), and has swooping sidewall lugs to grab things with lowered pressure.

Now having said that, the Cooper AT3 with it’s availability in Lt sizes is better suited.

The tire also has sidewall lugs unlike the Destination AT2, and these under lowered pressure increase the footprint of the tread to come in contact with the rocks.

On Sand

On sand you need a softer (on the edges) tire which would not dig in. As with digging you get stuck, you need to move forward. SO for that, you need a smoother-on-sides tire which is lighter in weight and has more contact patch to offer.

Here Firestone Destination has the advantage of being lighter in weight, so this puts less pressure on sand and the tire becomes less prone to dig in.

The Cooper AT3 being heavier does not offer that, but that’s not too much of an issue for it as you can lower the pressure further on it (as it has more powerful rim locks). And with sidewalls, you increase the tire’s footprint a lot.

Winter Performance

With all-terrain tires, the sever winter ratings like the 3 Peak Snowflake and the M+S is a new standard, as all new tires coming in have that, which includes these two as well.

But still out of these tires, the Cooper Discoverer AT3 is still going to perform better.

That’s because of the tire’s powerful snow vices on the outer circumferential grooves.

These are better able to tarp in the snow particles in them.

On snow you need that, as snowflakes stick on other snowflakes, that’s why we have the term, the snowball effect.

Furthermore, the tire’s heavier construction is also handy here as more weight produces more pressure on snow, and with more pressure more snow gets packed in the tread which then sticks better with more friction.

In comparison, the only edge Firestone Destination AT2 has over this tire is it’s capacity to bear more negative freezing temperatures.

Meaning with highly negative temperature conditions of extreme winters, this tire is less prone to become an ice brick.

Quick Sum Up

Let me give you guys a quick summary.

Firestone Destination is better in wet traction, fuel economy, and comfort on roads, whereas it’s snow traction is only slightly off in comparison.

The Cooper Discoverer AT3 on the other side, is superior in terms of dry grip, hydroplaning, snow traction, and overall off road traction.

2 thoughts on “Cooper Discoverer AT3 vs Firestone Destination AT2”

  1. Very good analysis in the comparison of Firestone to Cooper. You might want to touch on the pricing for the two tires and where, on average, dealers offer the best value for the buck. Now, here is a tricky request, and this is surely proprietary: can you delve into the rubber compound makeup of the two tires, which results in them being more or less sensitive to UV light? This contributes to their wear factor and, more importantly, their lasting durability. This, of course, depends on the tire’s exposure. Being parked inside a garage has to be discounted. You will have to do some digging into the science of the compounds that go into the fabrication process, and it might be difficult to obtain. Anyhow, thank you, and have a pleasant time over the holidays. Gee, Anthony.

    • Hi Anthony, thanks for the insightful comment! I’ll definitely consider adding a pricing comparison and value analysis for Firestone and Cooper tires. As for the rubber compound and UV sensitivity, that’s indeed complex but still something to think about.

      Appreciate your input and wish you a wonderful holiday season too!


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