Updated January 2019
Cooper Tire has overhauled its truck, SUV and crossover tires.
With the crossover and SUV tire market booming, the brand has begun to place additional focus on CUV and SUV tires. The brand’s SUV/CUV tire lineup includes the Discoverer SRX, which is a tire tailored to everyday driving and that is available for an extremely wide variety of vehicles, from small crossovers to big half-ton trucks and more.
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The SRX is Coopers most highway and street based SUV/CUV tire. It’s the antithesis of the hard-core, off-road STT tire. It replaces Cooper’s current CUV/SUV touring tire, the CTS. And no, the parallels with Cadillac’s naming convention are not intentional.
A Tire for All Trucks, Crossovers and SUVs
Cooper has designed the new SRX to be able to fit anything from a Toyota RAV4 to a Ford F-150. Currently there are 36 tire sizes available for wheels ranging from 16– to 22–inches in diameter in H or T/S speed rating. By year’s end, four more tire sizes will be added as well as ones with V speed ratings.
SEE ALSO: Cooper Tire Discoverer AT/W Tire Review
Regardless of which size or rating is selected, all Discoverer SRX tires come with a 740 treadwear rating that allows Cooper to back it with a 65,000 mile warranty. As well, Cooper Tire offers a 45 day road test return policy.
To Build a Quiet, Efficient and Safe Tire
The goal with the SRX is to reduce tire noise, reduce rolling resistance and improve both wet and dry handling over the outgoing CTS. Reducing rolling resistance while improving grip may sound like an oxymoron, but there is a secret to achieve this seemingly impossible feat – silica. Silica is a wonder additive. By using upwards of four times more silica than other SUV touring tires, the SRX is more flexible in its performance abilities. The tire grips harder under skidding conditions while reducing friction under normal operation – more grip, less rolling resistance.
As well, Cooper employed a more curved tread footprint design. Looking at the tire head-on, the top of the tread is arched more than a conventional tire. This saves weight and reduces rolling resistance, but when it does roll around to make contact with the road, the tire’s footprint is flat and still wear evenly.
Sipes? Yup, There’s a Lot of Sipes
So just what are sipes? They are the squiggly lines found on tires are called sipes and work as hundreds of miniature squeegees that wipe away water to give a tire better traction in the rain. Cooper uses what the brand calls 3D mircro-gauge siping on the Discoverer SRX and has them built all the way down to 2/32nds of depth, which is near the point when a tire needs to replaced. In all, the SRX has 185% more sipes than the old Discoverer CTS.
And being an all-season tire, there are even some winter technologies built in to the SRX. At the forefront are the winter edge pockets that are recessed inside the groves of the tire. Acting like tiny scoops, the pockets trap snow inside the tire’s tread, which is a good thing as snow compressed against snow provides much better traction than just rubber pressed against snow.
Putting it to the Wet Test
To prove if all of these technologies actually work, the Cooper Tire Discoverer SRX was pitted up against the Goodyear Wrangler SR-A touring CUV/SUV tire. On a 14-acre wet skidpad, we drove identical Chevrolet Tahoes through an autocross course featuring various turns, straights and s-bends.
Immediately it’s apparent how much more acceleration grip the Cooper has over the Goodyear. During slower corners, power could be applied to the Tahoe wearing the SRXs much quicker than the SR-As. The Goodyears would break traction faster and take a lot longer to regain it as well when too much throttle was applied.
The SRX also offers more cornering grip as higher speeds could be carried into corners with the Cooper Tires. Both tires offered similar steering feel and a linear drop off point in traction, making them predictable. Cooper did mention that the SRX should provide more steering feel, but we didn’t notice. Braking performance for the SRX was marginally better, especially in a panic situation.
The Value of a Non-Value Tire
After finishing up on the wet skidpad, we went off to the high speed oval to perform the double lane change maneuver that’s sometimes referred to as the moose test. The point of the test is to show how well and strong a tire’s sidewall is built. Cooper wanted to demonstrate the old adage “You get what you pay for” and show that a premium tire like the Cooper SRX is worth its price premium due to a better construction.
SEE ALSO: Cooper Tire CS5 Touring Tire Review
First we performed the test in a Tahoe equipped with a Sailun Terramax H/T touring tire. After the hard turn left, the Tahoe immediately began to slide in a howl of tire scream. A few tank slappers and a lot of body roll later, the SUV did complete the test but composure took a few corrections to regain.
Next we did the test with the Cooper SRX. It too lost grip during the lane change maneuver but tire screeching and sidewall rollover was much lower. More importantly, the Tahoe did not slide as much and the SUV needed less correction to regain composure.
Sound and Price
Aside from emergency lane changing, we also drove around the oval at a set speed over differing surface conditions. The Sailun was louder in all scenarios, emitting an unusual harmonic compared to the quieter SRX.
The SRX begins at a price around $101.99 for a 215/70R16 tire. It can be had with either black or white sidewall lettering. Debuting last year on the CS5 Touring tire, the SRX features Cooper Tire’s wear square that shows a tire’s remaining tread depth in a straightforward, easy to understand way.
The Verdict: Cooper Tire Discoverer SRX Review
Cooper set out to build a mainstream CUV/SUV tire that not only exceeded the brand’s previous effort, but could also go head-to-head with the best the market has to offer. Although it was only a brief drive against a select few competitors, it appears Cooper has succeeded. This is a budget-friendly tire that won’t break the bank and while there are superior sets of rubber out there, the Cooper Tire Discoverer SRX is a good option for those who are on a dime.
- The SRX is available in 36 sizes with four more to come by year’s end.
- It comes with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty.
- The SRX comes in wheel diameter sizes ranging from 16- to 22-inches.