Words and Photos by: Jason Kramer
Recently, Cooper Tires asked us to review their Discoverer AT34S tires that are designed for drivers of pickup trucks, crossovers and full-size SUVs. We decided to take them up on the offer and upgrade the tires on one of our chase vehicles, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, to see just how those tires handle everything we throw at it.
When the tires arrived it was clear to me that these aggressive tires will be able to handle quite a bit. The open five-rib design, which Jennifer referred to as “Dino the Dinosaur”, is supposed to help provide elite wet and dry performance, in addition to off-road capability.
Cooper boasts a 65,000 mile warranty on the Discoverer AT34S due to their silica based tread compound engineered into the secure-grip™ all-terrain design.
Only a couple days after putting the new shoes on the Jeep, we loaded up all our camera equipment and headed off to Road America for a track day full of excitement.
The hour drive from our office to the track had smooth highway tarmac, a construction zone with gravel strewn everywhere, an off-the-beaten path farm road and finished with a winding road around the fabled racetrack.
My first impression was that road noise was minimal and barely noticeable from behind the wheel. It was so quiet I was wondering just how aggressive that tread really was.
We pulled into the pit area and I was wondering if I would get to shred a little tread on the track during the days shoot. Some of the hardware that we were shooting was quite capable of setting lap records and there is no way the Jeep could keep up even on track tires, but I was anxious to see how these tires would handle some aggressive driving.
Then my heart skipped a beat as that hardware began rolling in.
First up was the 2021 Supra GR followed closely by a Stage 3 Roush Performance Mustang, then a Shelby GT350, then a Shelby Cobra! But the crown jewel of the days activity was Ford’s GT.
The different sounds of the turbocharged 4-cylinder, turbocharged 6-cylinder and the V8 American muscle as they all sped past me heading onto the track was quite the parade. And the Jeep was going to chase them all.
I shifted the EcoDiesel into Race mode, pushed the pedal to the floor and the Cooper Discoverers dug in with a little chirp as I headed toward turn one. I couldn’t wait to see how the tires would handle around the Carousel, through the Kink and around Canada Corner.
As I left turn 1…perfectly clipping the apex I might add…our videographer gently reminded me that this was a Jeep full of camera equipment that needed to work all day. In other words, slow down! I wasn’t going to catch the other cars anyway. That became clear as I heard them screaming around the track way ahead of me. So I cut through turn 5 and headed back to the pits.
The first full day of use on the Cooper Discoverer AT34S tires did not disappoint. I saw an increase in fuel efficiency of about 8% over the past several tanks of fuel. But the biggest surprise of the day was how quiet the tires were throughout the trip on the many varied road surfaces.
If it’s not winter in Wisconsin it is construction season and pothole season. Seriously, some of our potholes are larger than a studio apartment in New York.
I couldn’t avoid one of the rather large potholes but was glad I didn’t because it really showed off the ride quality and the durable construction of the Cooper tires.
The Discoverer AT34S tires consist of a durable, two-ply polyester casing and a single-ply nylon reinforcement above two high-strength steel belts. That design is meant to increase durability and handling response, along with providing high-speed stability.
The Micro-Gauge ZigZag sipes will definitely help in slippery conditions and the tires also received the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol for their severe snow service rating thanks to their saw-tooth technology. This year is the first one in awhile that I’m actually looking forward to some heavy snowfall.
We will have some regular updates on these new tires from Cooper so stay tuned for more!