Small Tires, Big Performance
While overland travel is a hot new trend in America, it has been a way of life in Australia for decades. Off-road trailers, freezer fridges, and rooftop tents are all commonplace in the Outback. Another feature we have noted on many Australia 4x4 rigs is the use of Cooper tires. We decided to see if the Australians’ good taste extended beyond beer and shrimp on the barbie and test some Cooper tires for ourselves.
We ordered up a set of 32x11.5R15 Cooper Discoverer STTs to mount on the factory alloy rims on our Ford Explorer. This particular size is getting harder to find, so we appreciate that Cooper still offers it, along with 27 other sizes up to 37 inches tall. This Explorer isn’t trailered; it is driven on everything from freeways to desolate backroads and requires a tire that works well in a wide spectrum of conditions.
As soon as the lug nuts were torqued to spec we headed to Colorado from Albuquerque for a week of exploration that took us over such trails as Schofield Pass, Devil’s Punchbowl, Lead King Basin, and Corkscrew Gulch during nearly a thousand miles of backcountry exploration. We ran the Discoverer STTs at 34 psi on the pavement and 25 in the dirt, never encountering terrain difficult enough or soft enough to warrant lower pressures.
We were looking for a tire that works well in a wide spectrum of conditions
We did, however, travel over wet roads, washboard, and sharp rocks during our journey. The Cooper tires did an excellent job in these conditions, resisting hydroplaning and chipping while providing excellent traction. Noise levels were on par with other mud-terrain tires we have tested and not overly loud in the enclosed cab.
After racking up a few thousand more miles of driving on the pavement and the trails the Cooper Discoverer STTs continue to impress. Now we understand why they are so popular Down Under.
Make & Model: Cooper Discoverer STT
Size Tested: 32x11.50R15LT
Type: Mud-terrain radial
Load Range: C
Maximum Load (lb): 2,535 @ 50 psi
Sidewall Construction: 3-ply
Approved Rim Width (in): 8-10
Tread Depth (in): 0.63
Tread Width (in): 9
Section Width (in): 11.4
Overall Diameter (in): 31.7
Weight (lb): 49
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