Cooper Discoverer AT3 vs BF Goodrich KO2

Both these All Terrain tires allow you to take your ride anywhere. May it be rocky desert, some kind of marshy terrain, or simply a highway. What allows them to do so is their peculiar tread design.

Both these renowned companies produces mid-range tires that last a while, along with giving you the performance you yearn for.

We compared the Cooper AT3 XLT variant here, as this is the main one comparable to KO2 because of its better off road abilities. The other variant Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S is a better pick for highway driving (where the only difference is that its circumferential groove voids are even smaller).

Upon testing and comparing, we observed that Cooper AT3 held it’s own better in dry & wet roads, whereas the BFGoodrich KO2 gave exceptional results in overall off road performance.

Let’s start off with their design differences:

Side Note: Check BF Goodrich KO2 with its predecessor KO to learn more about this tire. Similarly learn all about Cooper Discoverer Variants in Discoverer STT Pro vs ST Maxx vs AT3. (You can also use search bar to find them).

Comparing Tread of Both Tires:

Cooper AT3 XLT has a very simple looking design compared to the other.

Starting with the shoulders. The tire has serrated design (protruding edges).

Shoudlers of Cooper AT3 XLT

These shoulders further move forward to form a sidewall.

(Sidewalls protect the most vulnerable part of the tire from sharp objects. It also allows the tire to get out of deep mud/snow).

In case of BFG KO2, you get the same serrated shoulders but they are more aggressive. The scoop of both shoulders look same but in KO2 it has more edges. Also the shoulder blocks have deep incisions in them that act as strong biters to the surface.

Shoulder of BFG Ko2

These shoulder blocks grow into lugs which join together to form a sharper sidewall design which is more efficient in comparison.

Moving on to the central part of both tires.

The Cooper AT3 is seen with 5 Rib blocky design.

These multiple-sided blocks then form a 4 way circumferential groove pattern.

(The outer block valleys are more wider in comparison to the inner).

Cooper AT3 Features

These outer groove blocks also have teeth/biting edges which act as strong grippers for the ground.

Wave like pattern of sipes is also seen on all blocks which give the tire additional grip.

On the other hand, in case of BFG KO2, you get to see a totally different design. Here the blocks are hook shaped and they are uniform across the tire’s tread.

(The uniformity of these blocks distribute the stress on tires evenly, thus promoting even wear).

All these hook/c-shaped blocks are jagged with sharp notches in them which act as traction bitters.

You also get to see the 3D sipes all over the tire. These are deep and go all the way to the base allowing the blocks to have further move-ability.

Features of BFG KO2

The overall design of the KO2 don’t really form a proper upright grooves as seen in the Cooper AT3, instead you get to see a web of grooves giving the tire both lateral and circumferential traction.

Durability Comparison

Overall, both of the tires are made out of the silica based compound that give them chip and cut resistance.

In case of their construction, the Cooper AT3 has 2 steel belts covered by 2 ply polyamide wrapped with 1 layer of nylon.

And for BFG KO2, you get 2 steel belts but now 3 ply polyamide covered with 2 ply nylon. So you get 3 ply sidewall construction.

Which tells us that KO2 is tougher.

BF Goodrich claim it’s their toughest tire ever. They test dropped it from 10k feet too.

Off Road Traction of Both Tires:

As we saw in the design section, the BFG KO2 features 3D track sides, notches blocks, upper shoulder sidewall armor, and a serrated shoulder design.

All these things allows this tire to have a better off road experience.

And when it comes to off road, 3 things come to mind, mud, snow and rocks. And the tire is better in all of them. Lets see why?

Why BFG KO2 is better on Mud?

  • The overall design of KO2 offers wider grooves that allow more mud to escape in comparison.
  • The wider shoulder blocks act as efficient scoopers and the notches cut through the surface of the mud.
  • Cooper AT3 doesn’t offer the interconnected wider grooves and don’t have biters to it like the KO2.
  • Both have serrated shoulders but again the KO2 have more edges to them so it’s better able to get out of deep air tight situation. (Sidewalls help here too).

Why BFG KO2 is better in Snow?

  • The tire offers deeper 3D sipes that hug the surface of the snow and allow the tire to have shorter braking distances.
  • The notched blocks of the tire also bite in to the surface of the snow in a better way.
  • The tire has been rated with 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake (missing in Cooper AT3)

In case of Cooper AT3, the tire’s sipes and the biting edges of the shoulder blocks maintain a little grip but the tire doesn’t provide with enough lateral traction like the KO2. That’s why the tire tends to have more slippage here.

Why BFG KO2 is better on Rocks?

  • Tire sticks better because of the interconnected web of grooves which allows it to have traction in all directions. (Cooper AT3 only has circumferential traction going on for it).
  • The shoulders have bolder stone ejectors so the tire maintain it’s grip over smaller rocks in a better way. This also allows this tire to have higher speeds on gravel.
  • Although both tires are cut resistant from the middle, the KO2 also has 3 ply sidewalls construction so it is more protected from unwanted sharp rocks.

Traction on Road:

Cooper AT3 had to compromise off road for it’s amazing on road capabilities.

It can be clearly seen from the tread pattern of both that, this tire would make more contact with the road as the blocks have less gap between them.

This allows this tire to have shorter braking distances.

We summarized the performance of both tires in a tabular form:

Dry braking distance (from 60 mph)150 feet172 feet
Wet (Lap) handling time63 sec59 sec
Braking off-road (Gravels) (50mph)126 feet115 feet
Float speed (hydroplane resistance)46 mph48 mph
Fuel economy~22 mpg~18 mpg
Treadwear warranty60,000 miles50,000 miles

There are 2 key areas here where Cooper AT3 was better. One was the braking distance where it was almost 22 feet shorter. And the other was the overall fuel economy, where you get almost 4 more miles per gallon.

On the other side, the BFG KO2 performs better on standing water with larger float speeds and also have a better overall handling.

But same can’t be said about these tires in wet as they tend to loose their grip.

I mean they don’t startle you with sudden locking, but often on corners, you’d feel the tires are progressively loosing their traction.

Here, the Cooper AT3 provides better wet braking distances along with handling. They still have less floating speeds but their contact with the road along with wave like sipes come in handy here.

So Which Tire To Get?

Let’s consider the following points first:

The BF Goodrich KO2:

  • provides better off road capabilities.
  • gives you exceptional performance on snow.
  • are better in dry handling and aqua planing.
  • are more durable overall.

Cooper AT3 XLT on the other hand,

  • provides you with better comfort and lesser road noise.
  • better dry grip.
  • better wet grip and handling.
  • less

In the end: It all comes down to your driving needs. If you are planing to mostly stay ON-Road, go with Cooper. Otherwise, for off-roading enthusiasts, we recommend the KO2.

Compare BFG KO2 with other AT tires:

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