- Very good traction and grip in dry and wet conditions
- Responsive handling
- Quiet and comfortable
- Extremely durable
- The long warranty at 65,000-miles
- Snow performance is not as accomplished as some rivals
Hello and welcome to my Cooper Discoverer SRX review.
Automotive journalist seems to be the perfect job – you get to drive the newest cars around and test them to their limits. However, the truth is that we’re not always enamored by the cars that are offered to us. For example, SUVs and crossovers aren’t the most exciting things in the world, unless you fall for their design and robustness that is. Even a small urban hatchback will serve you better if you’re a spirited driver. Yet, not everybody wants energetic driving experience, and I wholly understand that.
It’s the same with tires. Maybe even worse in fact. While you get to read reviews about the newest SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks, you’re out of luck if you want to read about tires made for that kind of vehicles. That’s especially true for mundane tires like the Discoverer SRX, which is primarily made to offer safe and comfortable driving experience. None of the high-performance cornering stuff here.
That’s where this website comes in. We’re doing reviews of tires that almost nobody else cares to do. See, the Discoverer SRX may be boring to some people, but it is a perfectly fine tire in its own right. Designed to offer comfort and smooth driving on the highway, I suggest that this tire may just be what the doctor prescribed for road trip admirers. But is it really? To find out, I have prepared a detailed review of the Cooper Discoverer SRX tire where you can see how it stands up to everyday driving scenarios. Then you can see how it compares to other tires you might be interested in, including other types of tires. But first, let’s see what the manufacturer says about the Discoverer SRX.
Cooper Discoverer SRX Overview
According to Cooper Tire, the Discoverer SRX is specifically designed for owners of light trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and vans. It is available in 36 different sizes, from 16-22 inches in diameter and with H or T/S speed ratings. This means that this tire is equally well suited to compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but also bigger SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban, and even full-size pickup trucks such as the Ford F-150 in case you don’t haul or tow with that truck.
On top of that, this is an all-season touring tire, which means that it is predominantly meant to be driven on the street and highway. Touring tires are also known for their durability and long-lasting treadlife. This particular one has excellent 65,000-mile tread warranty and a 45-day road test return policy.
To achieve that, the Discoverer SRX is made of high-silica compound molded into a symmetric design, which not only allows for easy cross-rotation, but it also minimizes uneven wear and improves fuel economy. Then, there is Cooper’s proprietary StabilEdge Performance technology that reduces movement of the individual tread blocks, which should improve handling and stability in dry conditions, akin to a high-performance summer tire.
For better wet traction, there is the competition grade resin, something that you don’t often see in this category. The 3D Micro-Gauge sipes additionally help in the wet, specifically in heavy rain, providing biting edges for better traction when accelerating, braking and cornering. The independent tread blocks and intermediate ribs in the center improve wet stability, even more, making this a fully ready wet tire. The Discoverer SRX has some winter abilities as well, thanks to the winter edge pockets into the grooves of the tire.
On the inside, the Discoverer SRX is primarily designed for ride comfort, stability, and durability, but not for toughness. It comes with two-ply polyester casing and two high-strength steel belts, reinforced by a single cap nylon ply.
Overall, the Discoverer SRX seems like a tire that’s designed for family drivers who want a dependable solution in dry and wet conditions, and also a tire that will be comfortable and durable. Let’s see if this stays true in real-world testing.
Detailed Review of Cooper Discoverer SRX
Treadwear and Durability
While it is expected from a touring tire to perform well in this category, not every model is created equally. In reality, some models will start losing their tread much sooner than others. The biggest problem is, there is no way to test this on a short run – you must find out what the owners of these tires say about them after several years of usage. And even then, that is not something that you can scientifically prove or take for granted.
That said, from what I’ve heard, the Discoverer SRX is excellent in this category. Being a premium tire from a reputable manufacturer, that was expected, but you get even better than what you pay for here. Owners report that they easily get a few years out of this tire with the tread intact and the performance still top-notch. Some say that even wet traction is excellent after thousands of miles, which is something that can’t be said for most tires.
Cooper Tire gives 65,000-mile tread warranty, which is one of the best results in the segment. On top of that, the tire is built down to 2/32nds of depth and has 185% more sipes than the previous model, which is probably the reason why a lot of owners report excellent wet performance even after thousands of miles driven.
Even when compared to other premium all-season touring tires from the likes of Continental, Michelin, and Bridgestone, the Discoverer SRX shows outstanding wear qualities.
Dry Traction and Grip
The Discoverer SRX is designed to be primarily used in dry conditions, with a big accent given to high-speed stability and safe cornering. This means that you shouldn’t expect to handle on the level of summer tires, but it should still provide you with adequate grip and traction in most driving scenarios.
In my testing, I found out that this tire offers a very high level of grip for the class, possibly in the top 3 of this category. This is true for hard cornering and braking, where the distances achieved are one of the shortest in the class. Handling is also pretty good for a touring tire, but not exceptional. Still, I think that responsiveness and precision are not something most drivers are looking for in a tire like this, so that’s not a big downside.
The best thing about the Discoverer SRX is how much traction it has. Accelerating hard in a straight line or out of a corner is easy because the tire has very good ability to put all the power down on the road. This is very important for pickup truck owners, where the driven wheels are often without weight on them and thus lose some traction naturally.
Overall, dry traction and grip are excellent for the class, giving the driver a safe and hustle-free driving experience. Certainly one of the best in its class right now.
Wet Traction and Grip
Cooper Tire obviously paid a lot of attention to wet traction in the designing process, because the Discoverer SRX shows great promise in these conditions as well. Thanks to the increased number of sipes, traction is very good in heavy rain – up there with the best (and more expensive) tires in its class. Hydroplaning is very well controlled, even in corners, while braking distances are also shorter than the class average. This is a very important trait for a tire made for family drivers because it heightens the safety of all passengers and acts as a sort of active safety equipment.
Considering the use of high-silica tread compound, grip and traction on damp surfaces are excellent as well. The tire almost never slips, even under harder acceleration, and it provides the driver with excellent stopping power. This part is also vital for pickup trucks, but it is also essential for owners of SUVs and crossovers with 4WD who want to extract the best possible traction in the corners, even when it’s raining.
Overall, again a great showing from the Discoverer SRX in the wet traction and grip category. It may not be the best tire in the all-season touring category, but it is so close to the best that most drivers will never notice the difference. Oh, and while we’re at it, it is cheaper than comparable tires.
Snow Traction and Braking Performance
The Discoverer SRX is an all-season tire, which means that it should offer good performance in light snow. That said, the results are what you would expect from a tire in this category – passable at best. The thing with all-season tires is that while they do offer some benefits in the snow when compared to summer tires, they are still far from what a proper winter tire can give you. That’s why, I always recommend going for legitimate winter tires, because they will offer the safest transformation for the whole family.
That said, for owners of SUVs and crossovers who live in areas with mild winters, the SRX might be a very good bet. First of all, it is capable of delivering decent grip when the weather gets very cold, but the pavement is still dry. You can thank the advanced compound for this, which is pretty pliable even in the coldest conditions. Light snow can be easily tackled as well, but be advised that you should be driving slowly, as traction is nowhere near as good as winter tires, and the braking distances will be longer.
In the end, it all depends on where you live. The Discoverer SRX is fine in winter, but not spectacular – there are even some tires in this category that are better.
Comfort & Noise
Cooper Tire may have installed a bit of sporty edge to this tire, but this is still a touring tire first and foremost. For the people that are concerned about noise, this means that you should get a quiet ride over almost every type of pavement. In real life, that is true – the Discoverer SRX might not be the quietest tire in its category, but it is very close to the best. On the highway, few may notice the noise that these tires produce, especially on big SUVs where the noise that comes from the wind is a much bigger issue and more noticeable.
Apart from the great noise characteristics, the SRX provides a very smooth ride. Given the fact that Cooper Tire made the sidewall a bit tougher and stronger to allow for responsive handling, this is very impressive. The tire is very good on smaller bumps on the surface, such as the highway, but it also handles bigger bumps with aplomb. This is especially true for the smaller models that are made for compact SUV and crossover vehicles. All in all, again a great showing for Cooper Tire in this category, where it stands with the top 3 tires in its class.
Comparison with Other Tires
Cooper Discoverer SRX vs. Cooper Discoverer AT3
Some owners may be puzzled whether they need a touring tire or an all-terrain tire. If you already decided on buying Cooper tires, that dilemma will be between the Discoverer SRX and Discoverer AT3. Both tires are very good models in their respective category and very popular with buyers, but which one is the best for you?
As you can see from this Cooper Discoverer SRX review, the Discoverer SRX is geared towards people that use their vehicles for long road trips on the highway or the street. In other words, this tire will serve the passengers with smooth and quiet driving experience on the road, while the driver will have high levels of grip and traction in the corners, both in wet and dry weather.
The Discoverer AT3, on the contrary, makes sacrifices in this department in order to give the driver better off-road performance. On the road, this tire will be noisier and harsher on bumpy roads. Traction will also be limited while handling responsiveness will suffer greatly due to the softer sidewalls. In off-road conditions, the AT3 will give much better traction on every possible surface.
As a matter of fact, while the SRX can’t be used in off-road conditions at all, the AT3 is capable of delivering excellent results across the boards, especially for drivers that don’t drive over very demanding terrains. In those circumstances, you will need a proper off-road tire.
In the end, you should buy tires according to your needs. For example, if you use your vehicle at least 20% off-road, then you might think about an all-terrain tire. Even though these tires are nowhere near touring tires in terms of performance and comfort on the road, they are becoming better with every generation.
Cooper Discoverer SRX vs. Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring
Here, the contrast between these two Cooper tires is for which vehicles they are intended to be used. While the Discoverer SRX is intended for SUVs, trucks, and crossovers, the CS5 Ultra Touring is designed for use on coupes, sedans, and crossovers. As you can see, the overlap here is crossovers, which are probably the most popular vehicle type on the market today.
If you own one, here how to check which tire is the best for you, first of all, the SRX is designed for bigger and heavier crossovers, starting from models like the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V. The CS5, on the other hand, is designed for smaller and more compact crossovers, like the Honda HR-V or Toyota C-HR. Sure, there are bigger sizes of the CS5 Ultra Touring available, but they are still not the best choice for those vehicles.
That said, for buyers that don’t tow or haul a lot of stuff with their vehicles, the CS5 Ultra Touring might be a great option. It offers an even smoother and more compliant ride, better traction and grip in the corners, and more responsive steering. You should also be able to get better fuel economy with these tires. Nonetheless, the Discoverer SRX still offers better performance if you bring a lot of passengers and luggage on-board, due to the stronger construction.
In the end, the CS5 Ultra Touring is cheaper than its counterpart, but it may suffer from durability on heavier vehicles. It should be fine on light crossovers though.
Cooper Discoverer SRX vs Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus
Here we have tires that are in the same category. Direct competitors if you want. But, which one is better? The answer is not as straightforward as you would think. First of all, the CrossContact LX20 is more expensive than the Discoverer SRX, with the difference being small and perhaps negligible to most people. Still, it must be taken into account when comparing these tires.
Then, there is performance. To be honest, the LX20 is the better tire in my opinion. It has more responsive handling and is marginally better in wet conditions. It is also slightly better on snow, which may be important to a lot of people that live in wintry areas. The Continental also has a longer warranty than the Discoverer SRX, albeit by only 5,000-miles. And, from what I’ve heard of the LX20, it is a champion in durability and treadlife.
Overall, the difference is not as big as you might think – these are just small differences that are only measurable on a test track. While the Continental LX20 is still a better choice, you will be served by the Discoverer SRX greatly if you want to save a few bucks.
Cooper Discoverer SRX vs. Cooper Evolution H/T
Interestingly, both tires fall in the same category, even though they are made by the same manufacturer. Discoverer SRX and Evolution H/T are touring all-season tires, designed specifically for owners of SUVs, light trucks, crossovers, and vans. However, while the Evolution H/T is aimed at the budget audience, the Discoverer SRX is marketed as a premium offering.
In reality, they offer similar traits, but in almost every conceivable category, the SRX is better – dry handling is more responsive, wet traction is better, the ride is smoother and quieter, and the warranty is much higher at 65,000-miles vs. 50,000-miles. The difference in price is not small though – you can save up to a hundred dollars for a set of four tires if you opt for the Evolution H/T.
This means that you should decide if you’re prepared to agree to the compromises of the Evolution H/T. I would say that if you don’t cover a lot of miles annually or you own an older SUV or crossover, the cheaper tire is the better choice. It is still a great bang for the buck, mind you. That said, the Discoverer SRX will be much more durable, and it will offer better performance in almost every category.
Are Cooper Discoverer SRX Tires Directional?
The Discoverer SRX has a symmetrical, but not directional tread design. This has several benefits, such as easy cross-rotation. In other words, you can easily put the front left tire in the rear on the right for minimized wear. However, directional tires still offer much better performance in wet conditions, better handling, and fuel efficiency.
Where are Cooper Discoverer SRX Tires Made?
Cooper Discoverer SRX tires are made in the USA, in four different plants – Albany (Georgia), Tupelo (Mississippi), Findlay (Ohio), and Texarkana (Arkansas).
Check out AutoGuide.com’s review of it too:
The Discoverer SRX is a fine tire in its own right. It has a high-tech silica compound that is the best Cooper Tire can offer right now, and it is carefully designed to suit the needs of American SUV, truck and crossover owners. It is also made in the USA, which may be important to some patriots who only believe in American products.
With that said, this category is flooded with excellent tires from other manufacturers, such as Michelin, Continental, Pirelli, Goodyear, and Bridgestone. Some of them offer even better performance on the road, albeit at a higher price. Those differences are small though, and most drivers will never notice them.
Considering the price, which is lower than other premium products, I think that you should put the Discoverer SRX in the shortlist of three or four tires the next time you purchase. It not only offers a safe and comfortable driving experience, but it does that at a fair price. Highly recommended!
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this Cooper Discoverer SRX review helpful. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.