Both General grabber AT2 and Cooper Discoverer AT3 are All-terrain (A/T) tires that are built for better traction during off-roading as well as on-road. In comparison, AT2 is better equipped to handle harsh conditions while off-roading whereas AT3 provides above-average performance while traveling on paved roads.
Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) rating gives AT2 an edge over its counterpart in soft snow traction. Find more about the unique tread design of these tires in sections below.
Comparing General Grabber AT2 with Cooper AT3
The AT2 tire features a computer-optimized acoustic tread pattern with winter traction edges and multiple embedded sipes. The tread blocks are widely spaced decreasing its contact area with the road hence lowering its grip which results in much inferior on-road traction. The wider grooves and numerous sipes are responsible for better-wet traction as they wipe the water efficiently. Mud, soft snow, dirt, and gravel can easily be evacuated with the help of wider grooves resulting in much greater traction. The wide grooves between its shoulder studs also provide a pathway for mud to easily pass through the tires further increasing its mud traction. It is not viable to use these tires on icy roads as it lacks decent contact with the ground and deeper sipes which can probably cause the tire to lose traction and slip on ice. The bold stone ejectors are the key essence for responsible rock traction along with highly optimized shoulders which allow great handling while turning in a rocky terrain. The higher built and lower rolling resistance results in better durability and longer mileages of the tire. Its noise cancellation is not so great on-road due to wider voids but during off-road travel, it can provide a much more comfortable ride.
AT3 has a tread design with tread blocks that are closely packed with one another, giving more contact area with the ground, increasing its dry grip. Its design is focused to provide better on-road traction. The tire compromises on wet traction as it has narrow grooves and fewer sipes which are not sufficient for effective passing of water and may cause hydroplaning. The soft snow, mud, and gravel traction of the respective tire is bad as narrow grooves don’t allow efficient removal, causing the tire to lose grip. Its stone ejectors are also not bold enough to efficiently eject all stone. However, its ice traction is better due to higher contact patch and deep sipes which allow a good grip on slippery roads. It has lower built strength compared to its counterpart, this decreases its treadwear resistance despite having Silica tread compound used in its treads. The high rolling resistance and treadwear drastically decrease its durability and in turn, allow lower mileage.
On-Road Traction Comparison
AT2 has wider grooves due to widely spaced tread blocks that allow a limited contact between tread and road hence limiting the grip of the tire to a minimum. This results in greater braking distances and overall lower traction of the tire on-road. During wet conditions tires are required to wipe a decent amount of water to maintain traction and avoid hydroplaning. AT2 achieves this with the help of wider grooves and numerous sipes which allow efficient passing of water through the tires making its wet traction second to none.
In the case of AT3, the higher contact patch is created by closely packed tread blocks which allow better grip and lower braking distance. This enhances the on-road traction of the tire, on the contrary, the wet traction is decreased by these closely packed tread blocks as they lower the void ratio of the tire. Narrow grooves and fewer sipes don’t allow a considerable amount of water to pass through them, causing hydroplaning in extreme wet conditions
Off-Road Traction Comparison
AT2 is very effective in mud due to its higher void ratio, as wider grooves easily evacuate the mud through the tires by throwing it backwards. The open design of its shoulders further enhances its performance by allowing easy passage of mud through them. This allows the tire to perform exceptionally well in mud terrain making it a more suitable choice for such terrain.
AT3 features narrow grooves which hinder the mud traction capability of the tire by not effectively removing the mud through them, resulting in accumulation of mud within the grooves which don’t allow the tire to bite and grip the mud any longer, truing it into a slick.
AT2 due to the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) rating can easily tract in soft snow as wider grooves efficiently throw the soft snow backward and move the tire forward. The problem arises during the traction on icy roads since the tire lacks a decent contact patch and deeper sipes resulting in poor traction on ice as well as on hard snow.
AT3 is ineffective on soft snow as its narrow grooves don’t allow the tires to effectively evacuate soft snow and may fill them, don’t allowing it to maintain grip. On other hand, the ice traction of AT3 is superb due to the higher contact area in addition with deep sipes that confidently move the vehicle on icy roads.
Bold stone ejectors make the performance of AT2 unparallel on rocky terrain which is aided by strong and optimized shoulders. The stone ejectors eject all the stones /pebbles from grooves and prevent them from drilling through. The strong built helps to protect the tires from trail damages like cuts or chips and its optimized design helps in handling. The wider grooves also enhance performance by providing extra grip on rocks especially at tricky angles of approach.
The AT3 tread design was more focused on-road that’s why it doesn’t provide features such as bold stone ejectors, optimized shoulders, and stronger sidewall built. This makes the tire vulnerable in rocky terrain as it could not protect itself when exposed to the harsh condition of rocky terrain. It is not preferable to use this tire on rock terrain mainly due to its weak stone ejectors which can’t prevent all stones from getting stuck inside the grooves.
Durability and Treadwear differences
The durability of a tire depends upon its ability to resist treadwear, since AT2 has a lower contact patch which decreases its rolling resistance defined as the force required to keep the tire moving. The lower rolling resistance leads to lower treadwear which is also enhanced by good built of the tire. It is made up of cuts and chips resistant compounds and strong internal elements increasing its treadwear resistance. These all characteristics lead to a highly durable tire with extreme mileage.
The higher contact patch of AT3 increases its rolling resistance hence greater energy is required to roll the tire which directly impacts its treadwear. Since the rolling resistance is higher so will be the treadwear. The tire built further add fuel to the fire by not allowing it to provide better treadwear resistance as it lacks the toughness to do so. All this contributes to the lower durability and mileages of the respective tire.
Which tire is more Comfortable?
AT2 having a higher tread ratio allow greater amounts of air particles to get trapped inside the grooves causing them to strike back and forth producing loud noises, especially when traveling at high speed. This decreases the comfort level of the tires on-road, but the wider grooves do allow a comfortable ride while off-roading as they absorb the intense jerks during traveling over a rough patch and smoothen the driving experience.
AT3 having a lower void ratio allow narrow tread voids which results in a lesser amount of air particles striking with the sidewall and dampens its noise during high-speed travel. While passing through an unpaved path, the grooves are not wide enough to absorb the jerks hence decreasing its off-road comfort level significantly.
Both are affordable tires with AT2 available at a cheaper price tag while AT3 is the expensive option. If you prefer a tire with aggressive off-road performance, AT2 is the tire for you, but if you are interested in a remarkable on-road tire, AT3 fulfills your needs.
- Both are All-Terrain (A/T) tires.
- On-road traction of AT3 is better while AT2 performs well off-road.
- Wider grooves and numerous deep sipes of AT2 allow it to perform better during wet traction.
- Mud traction of AT2 is superior is higher due to wider grooves and open shoulder design.
- AT2 performs better on soft snow whereas AT3 has enhanced ice traction.
- The durability and treadwear resistance of AT2 is greater compared to AT3.
- On-road noise cancellation of AT3 is superior.
- Cooper AT3 tires are highly-priced compared to General AT2.