Pro Comp AT Sport vs Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT

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Both the Pro Comp AT Sport and the Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT being all-terrain tires are made for light trucks and SUVs. Although they may look less aggressive (compared to other options), don’t let their size fool you – they can conquer any rough terrain with their powerful sides and deep biters. Are these the new kings of off-road performance? Let’s find out.

Cooper Discoverer AT3
Cooper Discoverer AT3 lacks in biters a little bit, though it’s outer edges are more aggressive.

In my expert opinion as a tire engineer, the Cooper AT3 is a better tire, if you look at on-road traction (both in wet and dry conditions). Moreover, its winter traction and comfort performance is also much greater here. The Pro Comp AT on the other side, does great with tread wear, and it’s off-road performance.

Detailed Review of Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT:

Available Sizes

Moving towards the Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT, this tire comes with 32 sizes in total (15″ to 20″ rim sizes) and they have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: R and S
  • C to F, load ratings seen
  • 44 lbs is the lightest size, while heaviest is 70 pounds.
  • Tread depth is seen to be either 16.5 or 17/32″ in all sizes
  • All sizes have 60,000 miles warranty

On the other side, the Pro Comp AT Sport gives you 15 to 20 inches rim sizes with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: Q and S
  • Load ratings: XL, C, D and E
  • Weight range: 40 to 80 pounds
  • Tread depth: 14 to 17/32″
  • Not rated with 3PMSF
  • Warranty: 60,000 miles (same in comparison)

Highway Capabilities

Directional grip, which refers to a tire’s braking and acceleration performance, and it gets largely determined by “footprint availability” of the tread, though there are some other things at play here as well.

And considering them, it can be seen why the Pro Comp AT Sport, even though having a wider lugs in the middle (which helps in rolling straight), still can’t outperform its competitor.

This is because the Cooper Discoverer AT3 has a more blocky and consistent design throughout its tread with longitudinal arrangement of all ribs.

Cooper Discoverer AT3
Cooper Discoverer AT3 has deeper tread voids, and wider longitudinal grooves.

In other words, it has a more on-road oriented design.

Moreover, all it’s lugs have foundational supports (as they are joined up to each other from underneath). So you also get a superior stability a long with grip.

Wet Traction

So in order for the tread to grip properly on pavement, water has to be removed out in time, and this is done by sipes. These are basically slits in the tread, and they suck the water particles in them, by expanding.

That’s why with more siping, the Cooper AT3 provides better gripping values. Moreover, it presents with a superior siping structure, where the slits have an interlocking (wave-like pattern), these don’t get stiff when a tire brakes or corners.

Furthermore, the tire’s overall tread is already softer, and it’s internal construction only consist of a single cap ply of nylon. Both of these offer extra flexibility to the sipes, and they provide better wiping abilities.

Pro Comp AT Sport, on the other side, although contains a lot of sipes, and biters, they aren’t wide enough to carry as much water as it’s counterpart.

Moreover, it’s tread also lacks in providing its sipes with the flexibility needed.

Fuel and Tread Wear

The rolling resistance of the tires determines fuel consumption, with the weight and tread composition of the tire playing a major role, as well.

And considering all, it can be explained why both tires show up with similar results.

Pro Comp AT Sport has a harder compound so it’s tread blocks don’t bend too much upon cornering, and braking (for example), which consumes energy (made by the fuel). Whereas the Cooper AT3 has a lighter structure, so despite having a pliable compound, it’s overall energy consumption is similar to its counterpart.

Pro Comp AT Sport
Pro Comp AT Sport has more biters overall (especially in the middle).

To put things simply, both tires have similar rolling resistance values, and so have the same fuel economy.

Same is the case with the tread life as well. With greater weight the Pro Comp AT puts more pressure on its lugs, so they burn faster, but it’s saved by it’s compound being harder, whereas the Cooper AT3 has a supple compound, but then again with greater tread depth (on average) the tire gives you similar mileage in comparison, as it takes more time to reach down to 2/32″.

That’s why both tires have the same tread wear warranty of 60k miles.

Ride Quality

Two crucial factors in ride quality are tire tread noise and the tire’s capacity to soak up road imperfections via its structure and tread. I’ll go into more detail.

Tread Noise

Noise gets generated by two ways, when a tire rubs with the surface as it rolls, and with air particles hitting the tread.

And the Pro Comp AT Sport generates both of these. It’s multiple angled biters rub off the surface with greater rolling resistance, producing different kinds of sounds (with its irregularly shaped lugs), and it’s slightly more open design especially form the outer circumferential grooves, allows for air particles to have more room to hit around and result in louder noise.

Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT on the other side, has a more streamlined arrangement of the lugs, and it’s shoulders, with ridges in between, don’t allows the air particles to get inside the tread in the first place.

On-Road Bumps

The level of comfort provided by a tire is determined by its ability to absorb road irregularities, and it gets influenced by its overall composition.

That’s why the Cooper AT3 with it’s softer rubber composition is better at effectively reducing vibrations. Moreover, with more tread depth, it provides a thicker rubber layer between you and the imperfections of the surface its on. So vibrations are dampened more before reaching the drivers seat.

Pro Comp AT Sport on the other side, isn’t able to cushion bumps as much as its counterpart, and on them, the ride feels jittery, especially on gravely terrains.

Internal Construction

All-terrain tires come in a very wide variety of both internal and outer builds, and both of them contribute to the tire’s overall durability.

And considering all factors here such as tread depth/composition, resistance to cuts and most importantly, internal construction, it makes sense why the Pro Comp AT Sport with its 3 ply polyester casing is much harder to get punctured, in comparison.

On the other side, the Cooper Discoverer AT3 is slightly weaker with it’s 2 ply sidewalls, though just like it’s counterpart it also provides 2 steel belts on top, which gets reinforced with a single nylon cap ply, so it’s not so bad.

Winter Performance

Out of both, the Cooper Discoverer AT3 carries better winter tires’ features. It’s compound is softer, it carries a lot more siping, and snow vices, and its outer edges have traction scoops.

With a softer compound, it’s lugs get to have better thermal adaptability against negative winter temperatures, and with sipes and “snow vices” (toothed edges on outer circumferential grooves), the tire is able to hold more snow particles and make snow to snow contact with it.

(This type of contact is better on this terrain, compared to rubber to snow).

Moreover, with the staggered shoulder lugs, and greater tread depth (on average), the tire is also able to take on deeper snowy terrains.

Pro Comp AT Sport on the other side, although features good enough biters and notches, they get stiffen up with freezing temperatures, and with sharper outer edges (instead of traction scoops), the tire digs in more in deep snow, instead of moving forwards).

Off Road Traction

Off-road terrains can present a range of difficulties, from mud requiring specialized tires to gravel and dirt roads being easy to handle. That’s why I’ve decided to delve into each one individually.

On Mud

Although both tires aren’t great with mud, the Pro Comp AT Sport still offers better traction abilities in comparison.

This is because the tire’s offers open shoulder lugs, which account for better sideways mud evacuation, and it’s central biters break down the mud particles in a more crushing way, so it could pass out of the tire with more ease.

Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT on the other side, although features mud scoops on shoulders (like its counterpart), it’s whisper grooves don’t allow for as much of the mud removal, comparatively.

Also Read –
Mud vs all-terrain tires:

Desert Traction

To effectively drive on sand, it’s recommended to use a tire with a lower air pressure, this is done to enhance the tire’s floating abilities.

The whole idea is to avoid as much sinking of a tire as possible, so lighter weighting construction and smoother tread edges produce desirable results.

That’s why the Pro Comp AT Sport with a heavier weight, going up to 80 pounds

Moreover if you consider, the tire’s outer edges, you’d note that they are pretty sharp, and that combined with its sharper compound, it tends to dig more compared to its counterpart.

So I am going to go with Cooper on this one.

Rocky Terrain

When driving on rocky terrains, a tire with a lot of biters, combined with durability is needed. And the Pro Comp AT Sport is doing much better here in both of these departments.

It’s 3 ply sidewalls account for all the protection form sharp rocks, and the thick lugs on top, combined with staggered and saw-toothed edged shoulders supply better grabbing abilities with lower air pressure.

Moreover, the tire also has a lot more biter in the middle as well, whereas on Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT, you see a very blocky design.

And so this is the main cause, why this tire is lacking here, even though it’s sidewall lugs are thicker in comparison.

To Sum Up

Overall, as I discussed above, the Cooper AT3 is a better tire on dry and wet roads, in terms of traction, fuel winter and comfort performance.

The Pro Comp A/T on the other side, with it’s greater number of biting edges yield superior off-road grip.

Though worth reminding, both tires show up with similar tread wear life.

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